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I Never Believe Me

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“Hey there, I’m Darcy Lewis.  I’m your roommate…I’ll apologize in advance for my Walking Dead obsession…”

She was across the hall.  Greeting her new roommate.  Some girl with red hair and too many freckles. 

Pietro remembered Darcy.  Of course he remembered her.  She was his first kiss.  The girl Wanda used to tease him about constantly. 

And of course, his 9-year-old former self would scoff.  “Ew.  GROSS.  I HATE HER!” 

Darcy Lewis.  Her father was a military man.  He couldn’t recall if he was Navy or Army, but he knew that he had served a tour in Sokovia. They lived on the military base, but her family had gotten involved in an afterschool program for all the children in his town. 

They’d left suddenly one day.  Most likely because of the airstrike.  They’d cleared out all the civilians from the military base. 

She’d run over to him at the playground, throwing her arms around him and kissing him full on the lips with her mother yelling her name. 

Zdravo, Pietro,”  she’d whispered before turning and running back in the opposite direction.     

And then she was gone.  Blue eyes and pigtails. Teeth that were too big for her face.  Skinned knees and always, ALWAYS sticky. 

Not that he had been much better.  He was constantly dirty with a runny nose he wiped on his sleeve. 

Kids were gross. That was the prevailing lesson here.  They were gross, but sometimes, sometimes…they were pretty awesome too.

Of course, he’d be hard pressed to name ANY of the children he played with throughout the years. 

They’d all meshed into one blobby person.  Especially after the bombing.  When he and Wanda had been orphaned.  They moved into the orphanage with so many other children. 

But Darcy Lewis, he remembered.  He wasn’t sure why. Even years later, he remembered her.  He figured it was probably because of the time he’d met her.  Right before something traumatic. 

His shrink would probably call it a coping mechanism or something.  His mind holding onto something completely harmless instead of remembering the bombing in detail. 

Oh right.  He was seeing a shrink now.  Wanda was too.  Something their adoptive parents had asked them to do.  It seemed to be helping Wanda. 

Pietro, though.  He felt like it was a waste of time.  Dr. Banner didn’t always seem like he was listening.  Sometimes, Pietro wondered if he’d fallen asleep.  But then he’d come out with something.  A line, a phrase.  Sometimes just a word.  And then Pietro would know that all the angry rambling he did was being heard. Listened to.   

He guessed he just needed to yell sometimes.  But, why charge his HMO for therapy when it was really just an hour of yelling?  He could do this at home. 

Well.  No.  He really couldn’t.   Not with his younger…adoptive siblings.  Cooper and Lila.  Baby Nathaniel.  They didn’t really deserve to hear him stomp around his room.  Yelling at his shoes and his backpack and anything else that dared cross his path.   The cows and chickens weren’t great listeners.  And if he kept kicking the hay bales apart, Clint would probably murder him.  So, maybe this was worth it.  A little. 

He had to admit, he wasn’t as angry and brooding now that he had an outlet. 

He’d even enrolled in some college courses, deciding to live on campus in lieu of staying at home and driving in like Wanda was. 

“Independence.  It’ll be good for him,” Dr. Banner assured his parents.  And he had a full scholarship, so it wasn’t hurting anyone for him to live on campus.  Even though the Bartons had a nice home twenty minutes away.  

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to live there anymore, no…Clint and Laura had given him and Wanda a lot.  A home.  A family.  Love.  Younger siblings.  A chance at a real life.  Not surrounded by rogue bombs and civil unrest.    

But the truth of it was…it was all very stifling.  He knew they wanted him to know they loved and cared about him.  And he appreciated it.  He loved Clint and Laura like parents.  They’d been his parents since he was thirteen. 

How anyone could have loved him when he was thirteen and a ball of anger and spite with a vocabulary of only a dozen or so English words was beyond him.  As he understood it, thirteen year olds were little shits only their mothers could love. And yet, somehow, Laura and Clint had loved him from the minute they met him.  With all his prickly refusal to return hugs and days upon days of silent treatment for no reason. 

Clint was deaf and spoke in sign language, so that was the first American language Pietro really used, and it had happened completely by accident.  He hadn’t meant to pay attention when he signed things to Wanda.  He just DID.    

It had all started at the end of a week of self-imposed silence.  When Laura had decided to cook an authentic goulash to try to make them feel more at home.  A swing and a miss.  It hadn’t tasted like goulash.  More like beef stew. 

Pietro’s silent treatment didn’t bother Clint, who had stomped into Pietro’s bedroom, signing repeatedly at him while nudging him with his foot, demanding that he go in the other room and apologize to Laura for spitting out her food into a napkin.  He was cussing.  Swearing because he didn’t know Pietro could understand him.  His ASL was peppered with just plain body language, waving his arms, frowning in disapproval. 

He knew he’d been rude.  But he didn’t care.  At the time, he hated living with the Bartons more than the orphanage.  He had to learn a new language before he could go to school.  One he’d only ever known a few phrases in to begin with. 

“Fuck. Off.  Old. Man…”  Pietro signed back to him.  Clumsily and by spelling out the words.  But he signed it to him.   

Clint raised his eyebrows in surprise, but didn’t miss a beat. He grabbed Pietro by the shirt, dragging him out to the kitchen and sitting him down.  “You don’t have to eat it, but you’re going to sit here with us.” 

He looked over at Wanda who was chewing the food in her bowl very slowly, her eyes widening as if to encourage him.  “Pietro. Jesti.”  She whispered, kicking him with her foot and looking over at Laura. 

Nije Majke,” he replied. 

Ona je naša majka sada.;  She glanced over at Laura again.  Pietro followed her gaze to see his adoptive mother staring at her spoon in her bowl, unshed tears gathering in her eyes.  And he was flooded with remorse and the realization that this wasn’t just hard for him.  He wasn’t a terrible person.  He was just…so fucking lost.   

So, he’d picked up the spoon, taking another tentative bite.  It wasn’t terrible.  But it wasn’t goulash. 

“Paprika…” he said to Laura.  “Is not bad.  Needs paprika.”

And to judge by the look on her face, he might as well have said it was the best thing he’d ever eaten.    

Laura’s cooking improved.  So did Pietro’s attitude. 

But he’d never really bonded with Clint and Laura the way Wanda had.  Wanda, who called them “Mom” and “Dad”, and who didn’t want to live apart from them when she started college.  He just…couldn’t.  Not when they HAD a real Mom and Dad.  Just because they were dead, didn’t mean they didn’t exist.

Wanda rolled her eyes.  “Mama and Papa are gone, Pietro.  They aren’t coming back.  Clint and Laura…they love us.  And we love them.  Can’t you just…stop being like this?” 

Apparently, he couldn’t.  He could hug them.  Love them.  Go to therapy for them.  But he just couldn’t call them that.  He couldn’t.


 

Clint had helped him move, Laura was too emotional.  Crying and hugging him constantly.  With one arm, because little Nathaniel had taken up permanent residence on her side. 

“I’ll literally be coming back every weekend…” he mumbled, accepting the kiss she pressed to his cheek. 

“I know, but…it’ll be different without you here…” 

“Less depressing,” he joked.  “You’ll all be better off.” 

“No…” she clutched him tighter.  “Never better off.  You belong here.” 

Nathaniel squawked at being smushed between them and Pietro chuckled, leaning down to kiss his forehead. “Take care of your mom, Nate.  She’s being emotional.” 

Cooper and Lila were too busy playing to be very upset at his departure, but they did take the time to wave. 

Wanda had hugged him tightly, tearing up a little herself.  Pietro had rolled his eyes, repeating that he’d be home on the weekends.  But that had just made her hold him tighter. 

He’d helped Clint load up the car the night before.  He wasn’t exactly looking forward to moving in.  There would be a lot of people.  A LOT of people.  And the dorms were co-ed.  Which meant girls. 

Girls made him nervous, but he’d overcome that by simply being what Wanda called a “jerkface”.

He didn’t necessarily agree with the moniker, but whatever it was, it had kept him in dates all through high school.  And had gotten him laid quite a bit.  Apparently he had a “bad boy” vibe that all the girls in his high school had really seemed to like.  The accent helped too.   

His relationship with women…girls... wasn’t really healthy.  According to Dr. Banner. 

But Pietro wasn’t looking for something healthy.  He was looking for something warm.  Not that he’d ever tell his therapist that.  Sounded like a recipe for multiple sessions a week.  And who needed that?

Clint helped him put together his desk and set up his mini fridge.  They fumbled through making the bed, regretting not bringing Laura with them because neither of them had ever wrestled on a fitted sheet without her help.  They got it on the bed, though and Pietro just tossed the rest of his sheets in a pile with the pillow.  He didn’t make his bed at home, he wasn’t going to start doing it here. 

His roommate wasn’t going to move in until Monday morning, so he had the weekend to get adjusted.  It was going to be VERY nice.  Alone, but surrounded by people.  Not much different than home. 

There were tons of activities on campus, apparently Culver was VERY into a unified student body.  Pietro didn’t really anticipate going to any of them, but he assured Clint he’d do something. 

They got his room in order and Clint took him out for lunch before he drove the twenty minutes back to the farm. 

“Your mom is going to worry about you…”  he signed. 

“She always worries.” 

“Just be careful.  And don’t…don’t get into too much trouble.” 

Pietro snickered, shaking his head.  He knew what “trouble” he was talking about.  The safe sex talk was coming.  At least it would be signed instead of spoken. 

“Just try to open up your heart a little.  I know you don’t…usually do that.” 

He had to admit, he was surprised.  He was expecting the condom talk.  Maybe the morning after pill talk.  Not this.  Definitely not this. 

“It’s just.  We worry.  About you being alone.” 

“I have a roommate.” 

“Just.  In general. And in the future…” 

“I am eighteen years old, Clint. I’m not thinking about that now.” 

Clint sighed.  “I know that.  We just…we worry about you.” 

“Well don’t.  I’m fine.  I have friends.  I’m outgoing.” 

Clint sighed again and shook his head like Pietro wasn’t getting it. But, he dropped the subject and they talked about other things. 

The classes he’d signed up for.  How the gym on campus that was way better than the one his high school had.   How he was going to try out for the cross-country team.

Clint hugged him a little longer than he’d expected when he left.  Told him to call whenever.  To come home and do his laundry every so often.  Girls didn’t like smelly guys.  Axe wasn’t a shower.  

And he was gone, driving down the highway in the opposite direction. 

Pietro went back to his dorm.  Unsure of what else to do, he laid back on his bed. 

And that’s when he heard her.  Her voice carried.  Through the door.  Muffled, but he could still make it out.   

“Hey there, Darcy Lewis.  I’m your roommate…I’ll apologize in advance for my Walking Dead obsession…”

At first he brushed it off.  No way it was the same person.  And maybe, just maybe he’d remembered the name wrong.  Darcy Lewis.  It could have been…anyone.  Anything.  A false or warped memory. 

But he still found himself standing slowly, walking to the door and pulling it open.  If it wasn’t her, he could always just…act like he was going to the bathroom. 

She was standing in the hallway, holding a box of her stuff. 

She turned when his door opened, her eyes passing over him like he was just part of the background. 

But it was her.  Big blue eyes.  That smile.  She’d grown into those teeth. 

She’d grown into…wow.  She’d grown. 

Narrow waist, perfect hourglass.  Great laugh.  Long dark hair that curled at the ends.  He wanted to touch it. 

“Darcy?” he blurted, resisting the urge to clap his hand over his mouth. 

She turned to look at him.  “Who wants to know?” 

He shook his head.  “You’re probably…never mind…” he ducked back into his room, shutting the door on her and backing away from it. 

There was a knock a few minutes later.  And he didn’t want to answer it.  He’d made an idiot of himself.  She probably didn’t even remember him.  She was an army brat.  Or navy?  He still wasn’t sure.  Probably met a MILLION people.  Why she’d remember him from almost a decade ago…God, and now he’d have to live across the hall from her. 

He pulled the door open, looking down at his shoes. 

“Pietro?” her voice was quiet; like she wasn’t sure of herself either. 

He looked up immediately. 

“From Sokovia?” she looked at him hard like she was looking for the similarities.  “Yep, it’s you, isn’t it?” 

He nodded, a smile creeping over his face.  “You kissed me on the playground. The day before you left.” 

She grinned then.  “Oh my God!”  And then her arms were around his neck and she was squeezing him so tightly.  “Oh my god…how are you?” 

He shrugged, “I’ve been alright.” 

“So you guys got out then?  Before all the…mess?  I was so worried.  I don’t think there’s been a week that’s gone by that I didn’t think about you and your sister.  Your mom?  With those yummy…nettle things?” 

He chuckled, “Knedles.” 

“Yeah, those!  The dumplings…with the plums?” 

He nodded, “Yeah…” 

“So they’re okay?  Your family?” 

And he honestly didn’t know why he lied.  Maybe it was because he was sick of seeing the pity etched in everyone’s faces when he told the truth.  The sympathetic nodding when they didn’t have any idea how to be sympathetic.  “So sorry your parents got blown up in a third world country.  At least someone adopted you and you’re here now!” 

“Yeah,” he smiled in a way he hoped was convincing.  “They’re fine.” 

“Oh, that’s great.  My parents will be thrilled. They loved you guys.  Your dad was always so helpful.  Translating for the soldiers and stuff.” 

Pietro shrugged.  “Yeah…yeah…” 

“So is your sister here?” 

“Wanda?  Oh, yeah…she’s uh…living off campus.  But.  She’s here.”  

So the lie was already falling apart.  He felt a little sick. 

“Awesome!  I can’t wait to catch up!” 

“She’s…uh…really busy.  But.  I’ll tell her you said hello.” 

“Do you have a phone?  Of course you do…stupid, Darce…” she shook her head.  “Let me give you my number, and just tell your sister to call me sometime? We could all…hang out or something?” 

“I’m sure she’d like that…” he pulled out his phone, unlocking the screen and handing it over, allowing her to input her contact information.  Even though he had no intention of giving Wanda her number.  Or of even telling Wanda she was here.  He wanted to drag out this…fantasy for a little longer. 

He wasn’t a messed up charity case in her eyes.  He was a success story.  A little puzzle piece from her past that suddenly fit into her life again.  And he wanted to keep it that way.  He didn’t want to be the little sad story she called her mom with.  Not yet, anyway. 

“Are you busy tonight?” he asked, a slight smile pulling at his lips. “They’re showing a movie in the field in the quad.  Indiana Jones or something.  I have a big blanket.  Care to join me?” 

She grinned.  “I’d love to.”

He hadn’t been planning to go to the quad at all.  He’d been planning on doing literally anything else. Looking up porn on his laptop.  Eating a pop tart for dinner.  Anything but be around people. 

But he found himself craving her presence.  For the express purpose of living this life he’d just created for himself. 

This…success story life. 

So, he decided to act the part.  Act like a success story.  He was outgoing.  He was funny.  He introduced himself to a few people.  She didn’t know anyone, but she was a social butterfly.  Probably came with the territory of moving so much.

It must have worked, though.  She held his hand in the line for food.  He figured that was pretty telling. It had happened after the fourth girl they’d spoken to had given him her number.  Darcy had slipped her hand into his and the numbers stopped coming. 

Normally, he’d have started backing away.  He didn’t really like clingy girls. 

But.  He didn’t back away.  He held on. 

They ate with a group, but they split up for the movie.  Darcy making herself comfortable on his blanket.  He slid in beside her.  His brain was telling him it was a mistake. She wouldn’t want to be with him after she found out the truth.  He’d ride this wave for as long as he could.  So, he ignored his brain.

Ignored it when she snuggled into his side. 

Ignored it when she cuddled into his lap. 

Ignored it when she tugged him down for a kiss. 

Their lips popped when she ended it, and he smirked.  “You’ve gotten better at that…” 

She waggled her eyebrows, “Likewise…” 

His stomach flopped.  He was in big trouble.  This was going to end badly. 

But at that moment, he didn’t care how it ended.  He just wanted to kiss her more. 

So he did.    

Chapter Text

So...it actually hadn't fallen spectacularly apart like Pietro had expected it to.  

It was really more of a subtle thing.  It took months.  But that...it wasn't what he wanted to think about right then...not while he was sleeping on the couch in his uncle's house.  His father's brother.  Emil.  And his wife Sonja.  Emil and Sonja’s couch.  He didn't want to think about how he and Darcy came together and had fallen apart slowly, ending in a very emotional phone call that night.  How she’d ended the call while trying not to cry and he just…he wanted to hear her cry…it felt like he deserved to be immersed in the sadness he’d caused her.  As if it would somehow dilute the pain she had to feel.        

He’d been putting if off.  He had felt it start to end the second he walked away from her in the airport.  He'd known they were just kidding themselves with the talk of keeping this going long distance.  It hurt like hell, but he knew it wasn't going to last.  

Darcy had tried.  Bless her.  He didn't know why she even bothered with him at all after he'd lied to her, but there she was...sending him sexy photos via text message.  She had probably spent a fortune on lacy bras and panties to give him fuel for his "spank bank" as she called it.  

And the shit she'd talked about on the phone.  Talking him through the blow job she wished she was giving him right then.  About how she'd let him stick it in her ass when she saw him again.  In her ass.  Bless her.  Darcy Lewis was a saint and no one could convince him of anything different.          

Especially considering they'd only slept together a total of three times before he left.  

Once on the night he came clean.  Told her the truth about his parents.  She'd rewarded him for lying by climbing on top of him and riding him until morning.  God, she was beautiful.  As if he needed any more fuel than what he already had, what she'd already given him.  He could just imagine her face that night.  Covered in a thin sheen of sweat, those pouty lips partially open as he rubbed her clit for her, coaxing her to come on his cock.

The second time was when she came home with him to meet Clint and Laura.  He'd taken her out to the barn and had taken her out IN the barn.  He'd dropped to his knees and poked his head under her skirt and flicked her panties aside, lapping at her with his tongue until she made him stop.  Looking at him with that look she had.  The dark eyed, heavy lidded look that had him unbuckling his belt as she turned and braced herself against the wall of the barn.

He loved her.  In whatever way he was capable.  He knew that about three thrusts in, his hand braced on the wall in front of her...her pinky finger reached over to stroke his thumb as he pounded into her wet heat.  He loved her and he wanted to be better.  Get better for her.  Not be such a depressing piece of shit all the time.

Which was what had prompted him to talk more with Dr. Banner.  Up his sessions to three times a week.  To reach out when he discovered he still had family alive in Sokovia.   Which was what led him to make the major life decision to move back there.  Live with his family.

Because it wasn't that the Bartons weren't family enough for him.  It wasn't that Darcy wasn't enough for him.  It was just...he didn't belong in America.  His home…Sokovia was calling to him.  It had been since he left.

And so, the third time they slept together...was the night before he left.  He'd still been under the false illusion that they'd somehow make it work.  He and Darcy.  That she'd come visit him once he got on his feet.  Got an apartment.  Moved out of his Uncle's family room.  

So he'd climbed between her legs, made her cry out his name, claw his back.  He'd climbed into her warmth for the last time, fucking her wildly, without abandon.  Making her call out his name over and over and over, because he wanted her to remember how he made her feel.  He wanted her hungry for him and only him.  

If he'd figured it out sooner...if he'd just made the connection twenty-four hours sooner...he'd have done it differently.  

He'd have taken it slowly.  Coaxed her into orgasm gently.  Using his hands, his mouth...his tongue.  All the knowledge he'd accrued, which...while it wasn't much, he knew a lot about what she liked.  And instead of using it as a way to lock her in...he'd have used it as a way to say goodbye.  Because...the way they'd eventually said goodbye...

It wasn't the way he wanted it to end with her.  She was still special.  And he still loved her.  But he understood now that they weren't meant to be.  It was too hard.  They weren't what the other needed.  

And this...this was definitely NOT what he wanted to think about.  

Not here.  Not now.  Not ever again, if he was being honest.  Because it was guilt he didn't want.  It was proof that he wasn't better.  Not really.  Not if he still had the guilt that was Darcy Lewis running through his veins.  He couldn't even think about the good times with her without feeling guilty for being such a royal dickface.  

And of course, of COURSE she didn't see it that way.  She'd been such a fucking beautiful person throughout the whole thing.  She understood.  It was too far.  They were too young.  Yes.  She understood it all.  

He clenched his fist and released it, unable to get the simultaneous image of her astride him, fucking him so hard her breasts were bouncing out of her bra, and the image of her sad smile the day he left, the squeeze of her hands on his.  Like she wanted to tell him to stay, but knew she couldn't.  

He wanted to cry.  He wanted to jack off.  He didn't know what the fuck he wanted.  Both?  

If she understood everything so fucking well, maybe she could enlighten him a little.  Explain why this hurt so badly if it was for the best.  Why she had to rush off the phone with him to go cry alone…why she couldn’t let him hear her.  Why she had to fucking shelter him so damn much.  

She shouldn’t have fucked him that first night.  She should have smacked his face.  Made him leave her alone.  

He sat up in a huff, letting his head hit the back of the couch as he looked up at the dark ceiling.

But he couldn’t judge her.  He couldn’t claim to know how her mind worked.  How she could delve down deep inside herself to give him so much.  There were lots of things she should have done.  But she didn’t.  And no amount of getting mad was going to change it.    

The kitchen light came on, some rattling around.  Rustling.  

And before long, his Uncle Emil came shuffling out into the living room, handing him a glass of water and sitting down beside him.

"You have trouble, Pietro?"  His voice was gruff.  Groggy.  The voice of a man who should shuffle his sleepy ass back into bed.  Not come out here to sit with his nephew.  His nephew who was too emotional and too volatile right now.    

Pietro debated not saying anything, but her name escaped his lips nonetheless.  A mumble.  Nothing more.  But it was quiet, so Emil heard.  "Darcy..."  

"You miss her."  It was a statement of fact.  Pietro was still getting used to how matter-of-fact everyone was over here.  There was no innuendo.  There was no need for joking or wasting time.  Not when real conversations needed to be had.     

He shook his head.  "We broke it off."  

"Ah. So you REALLY miss her." Emil sighed. Reaching over to pat his knee a few times.     

Pietro took a sip of the water, nodding.  

"Well. What do you want me to do, eh?  You want to talk?  Yell?  Want me to take you outside and let you kick that tree stump out back?  You want to cry?  What?"  

Pietro exhaled.  "Talk.  About anything.  That isn't America or Darcy Lewis...or women."  

Emil chuckled, patting his shoulder.  "I have to be honest…I was hoping for the tree stump.  Sonja has been after me to get rid of that thing.  Thought maybe, if you were angry enough, you’d kick it up for me.  But…that’s okay.  I got just the thing...you know that...uh...refugee camp downtown?"  

Pietro raised his eyebrows.  The refugee "camp" that was basically the entire town now.  He was pretty sure they slept wherever the police would allow it.  The poor unfortunates who'd lost their homes.  It had been almost ten years and still nothing had been done.  It was like this everywhere.  All over the country.  Of course he knew it. "Yeah?  What about it?"  

"I have this idea.  To eh...get the houses built.  You know?  Not just houses.  But sustainable houses.  Towns.  Commerce…  It would mean...community involvement.  It would mean...gardens...daycares...soup kitchens.  It would mean..."  

"Jobs," Pietro finished for him.  His mind clearing of his personal problems as it started to fill with ideas.  Ways to help the people here.  His people.  His country.  

"Yes.  Jobs. Now if only we had a whole slew of unemployed people…" Emil scoffed.  His sarcasm clear.     

Pietro snorted.  "Unskilled, though.  We'd have to get someone to train them..." he trailed off, turning to look at his uncle, who was practically on the edge of his seat, waiting for Pietro to get it. To finally be on the same page.   "We ask the old business owners.  The butchers...the contractors...the restaurant owners..."  

Emil grinned, " Exactly.  Who are all out of work now.  Getting paid by the government to sit around and wait for their businesses to rebuild themselves..."  

"We ask for training on good faith, though? Is that going to work?"  Pietro made a face.  

"You've been in America for too long, Nephew.  Good faith is all we have here."

“You can’t raise a family on good faith…” He sniffed.  

Emil held out his hands.  “What the fuck do you think I’m doing here? Picking my nose?  We got this house built…out of favors.  My wife…she does the laundry for the neighborhood.  In exchange for…other things.  This is how they did it before money was involved.  You traded.  Bartered.  Your credit score was based on good faith.  We have to go back to basics.  There is almost no money.  And the money there is?  Practically useless. There is no gold.  No silver to back it up.  What we have in abundance?  People.  Bodies.  And good faith.”

Pietro smiled, gazing out the window.  Where the first slivers of sunlight were creeping up over the horizon.  “Where do I come in?”  

Emil laughed, slapping him on the back.  “Wherever.  What do you do?  College boy?”  

“I did one semester.  Of Algebra.  U.S History.  English Comp.  And…” he trailed off.  

“And?”  

“Bowling…” he burst out laughing.

“They make you pay for that shit?”  

“No, I had a scholarship….” He grinned.  

“What else did you do?”  

Pietro’s smile fell.  “Darcy.”  

“Bah.  Don’t think about her.  What else?  Didn’t those people who adopted you…didn’t they have a farm?”  

“Oh. Well yeah.  I know the livestock.  The gardening…” he shrugged.  “I’m strong.”  

“You’ll get trained too.  You’ll do just fine.  You’re a Maximoff.  You’ve got too much of my brother in you.  Stubborn ass, that one.”  

Pietro smiled.  “I remember.”  

Emil stood up.  “Good.  Now, if you’ll excuse me.  I’m going to try to sleep for a couple of hours.  We’ll start planning today.  Work out a way to go talk to the business owners or I don’t know…something.”  

“Feed the people…” Pietro said suddenly.  “We have to feed the people first.”  

His uncle snapped his fingers, nodding.  “Yes.  Food.  Food is a good thing…”  He continued his tired shuffley walk down the hall.  “Get some sleep, Pietro.”  

Except he couldn’t.  He couldn’t sleep.  Not with all the ideas forming in his head.  Replacing the bad thoughts.  The sadness.  The guilt was still there.  Masked.  If he could do something good.  Maybe it would cancel out the bad.  

Here.  Here was something he could do.  Here was something that gave him purpose.  Here it was.  For the first time in his adult life. Hell, for the first time ever.  He felt.  Useful.  


 

Darcy flopped down on her bed.  Mary-Jane nudged her with her foot.  “Speak.  Don’t make me hold a mirror under your nose.  Tell me how you’re feeling.”  

“I just cried on your lap for two hours.”  

“Yeah?  I cry for lots of reasons, Darce.  Tell me yours.”  

“My boyfriend dumped me.”  

MJ snorted, “You asked him to.  If you ask me, you dumped each other.”  

Darcy nodded.  “Yeah.  We did.”  

“Are you crying because you miss him?  Crying because you think you made a mistake?”  

“No.  I’m crying because.  Because…” she shook her head. “I liked him.  I wanted it to work.”

“So you miss him?”  MJ hopped up off the bed, walking around the room to start picking things up.  She was a nervous cleaner.  And Darcy knew that her impending break-up with Pietro had been the cause of all the tidying up she’d been doing lately.  She hated that it had seeped into everything around her. It had been a long time coming.  She wasn’t deluding herself into thinking it was going to work.  No matter how much oral and/or anal sex she promised him…they probably weren’t going to see each other again.  She was pretty sure sex bartering didn’t make for a strong relationship basis.        

“No.  I miss…the idea of him.”  

MJ started picking up all the balled up tissues.  “Deep thoughts, Lewis.”  

“I felt like…you know, when we found each other?  It was like…one of those rom coms…we met when we were kids?  Brought together again?”  

Her friend shrugged, reaching for the trash can.  “It was sweet…”       

“And like…he lied his ass off about his family, but I couldn’t be mad at him for it…” Darcy almost gagged at how sappy that sounded.    

“Well…I mean…lying’s not the best way to start a relationship…just saying.”  

“I know…but we had it all, though…the meet-cute…the reunion?  The kiss in the moonlight?  Hella chemistry…fuck…his hands were so…”  

“Shhhhhhh…you promised.  No more hands talk.”  

“But they were niiiiceeeee…” she whined.  “And he knew what to do with them…”  

MJ rubbed her back.  “I know, I know…it’s difficult to find a guy our age who knows what buttons to press.”  

“And I think I’m lowkey in love with him?”  God, even as she said it…it sounded dumb.  Too idealistic.

“Okay….?”  

“But like…I’m not even sad about the things I’m supposed to be sad about, so I don’t even know.”  

“This sucks, Darcy.  No two ways about it.  But listen.  You have me.  You have Wanda.  Wanda, who is scared to come over because of everything her jerkface brother did.  You have Natasha.  Who would probably swim over to Sokovia right now and bust his nose for what he did to you.  You can wax poetic all you want…but at the end of the day…Pietro’s a dick.  He’s a dick who might one day grow out of it.  But we don’t care about that.  Because he was/is a dick to you.  This is current.  Right now.  Dick.”  

Darcy nodded.  “He was. He was a dick.”  

“The worst.  He was self-centered and had all those issues.  He’s an adult.  He had no excuse for getting involved with you with all of those issues. It sucks that all that stuff happened to him.  But seriously…messing up your happiness so he could dip his prick.”

“He was good at that, though.  Not selfish at all in bed.  Very chivalrous.”  

MJ rolled her eyes, tossing her long red hair behind her shoulder. “Like I said.  One day, he might not be a dick.  One day, he might be decent.  That day is not today, and you can’t make excuses for the man he might become.  Because the DICKFACE he is now, hurt you.  And you have to own that.”   

“Own that…” Darcy echoed.  

She nodded. “Right.  And you have to call Wanda.  Because…that girl doesn’t know up from down right now.  She thinks she’s gonna lose you.  Is she?”  

Darcy shook her head.  “No.”  

“So call her.  And…call Nat too.  We need a girl’s night.  One where you’re not checking your phone constantly.”  

“MJ…”  Darcy held out her arms.  “Thank you.”  

“Welcome. I’m just happy to have my Darce back,” she slipped her arms around her, hugging her tightly.

“So like.  What happens now?  Do I just…go back to normal?  What WAS normal?  I re-met him on the first day of class…do I just…make a new normal? Just like that?”  

She nodded.  “Gonna have to.  Or risk living the abnormal for the rest of your life.”  

“No thanks…” Darcy snorted.  “I’ll just. Redefine.”  


 

And it wasn’t really a quick thing that happened.  It didn’t happen overnight.  Things make impacts.  Some larger than others.  It takes a while to resurface from the rubble.  Just like things didn’t fall apart suddenly…they didn’t fix themselves suddenly either.

But gradually…as she woke up each morning.  She lived her life.  She could breathe a little deeper.  See things a little clearer.  

Pietro was a broken, flawed person. And parts of her would always love him and hope for his recovery.  But that didn’t mean that she had to feel guilty for moving on. So she buried the parts of her that loved him.  Buried them deep, deep down.  Where they wouldn’t see the light of day.   

Wanda talked about him every so often.  She heard little snippets about his new life.  He was helping their aunt and uncle rebuild Sokovia.  And Darcy felt legitimate happiness over how things seemed to be falling into place for him.  

Her own life was changing too.  Those college years flew by.  She dated a few guys.  Nothing really permanent, but nothing really serious either.  She wasn’t complaining at all, mind you.  She had fun. That’s what had been missing from her relationship with Pietro.  Fun. 

She watched her friends find happiness.  Some THANKFULLY with one another…Because holy hell, everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Wanda and Natasha finally FINALLY hooked up.

And in MJ’s case…she found her own little brand of the happies with their other across the hall neighbor.  Sam Wilson.  He became a fighter pilot in the Air Force while MJ toured the world as a kick-ass journalist.   

Wanda opened a bakery in downtown Washington DC and Natasha toured with a ballet troupe.  

And Darcy was…Darcy was making good use of her degree by becoming one of the youngest PR directors for Potts Limited.  Which, was NOT a company that sold cookware.  It was a DC-based company on the front line of the green energy initiative.  And if you didn’t think a company with a female CEO that specialized in shutting down major corporations needed a PR manager, well.  You’d be wrong.  And kind of stupid.  Because they did.  Need that kind of thing.  A lot.  

So…yeah.  She looked back fondly on a lot of things.  Pietro being one of them.  Because, without him, she wouldn’t have ever met one of her best friends.  And their break-up signaled for her, the end of an era.  The end of her wide-eyed days, so to speak.  Things didn’t surprise her anymore.  And who knew how long that would have taken if it hadn’t been for him?

She inhaled sharply as the saleswoman pulled on the zipper.

She definitely wouldn’t be getting her ass zipped into a beautiful, floor-length mauve pink bridesmaid’s gown for what had to be the most beautifully planned wedding of the year.  It wasn’t every day that a prima ballerina married the city’s up and coming pastry chef.   

“Beautiful color…”  the saleswoman smiled.

Natasha walked over to fuss with the bodice.  “Needs to be let out a little here…is there a fabric allowance for that?”

“Jesus, thanks, Natasha…” Darcy rolled her eyes, tugging on the front of the dress.

“Not what I MEANT…I just meant…”

“My knockers are huge.  Yes, they are.”  

Natasha smirked.  “Are you sure you’re okay with this, Darce?  I’d hate for you to be miserable on our account…”  

“Hey.  Nat.  It’s been 8 years.  I think I’m good with seeing a guy I dated for 4 months my freshman year of college.”

Natasha’s arms appeared around her waist as she hugged Darcy close.  “I love you so much, Darce.”

“I know, I know.  And I love you.  Which is why I’m your Best Girl or whatever.”

“Best Lady,” she corrected.  “It’s cute.  Because Wanda has Pietro as her Man of Honor…you’re my Best Lady.  It’s cute.”

“If you keep having to say it’s cute…it might not be as cute as you think…”

“It’s cute, dammit.  Agree with me.”  

Darcy rolled her eyes.  “Adorable, Nat.  Adorable.”

“And you’re fine with seeing Pietro?” Natasha asked again.  Darcy rounded on her, her eyes wide and incredulous, causing her to raise her hands in front of her in mock surrender.   “I’m JUST making sure!”

Darcy shook her head, chuckling. “I’m FINE, Natasha.  Really.”

Chapter Text

The wedding was gorgeous.  Everything both the brides had dreamed of.  Darcy had tears in her eyes during the vows, thankful she'd worn waterproof eye makeup.

Forward thinking.  Yes.  This.

Unfortunately for her, she wasn't forward thinking enough to secure a date to this thing.  But neither had Pietro.

So...that was something.  Something that didn't interest her in the slightest. In fact, nothing about him interested her in the slightest.  Nope.  Not at all.

He looked good, though.  Taller.  Broader.  Filled out that suit pretty nicely.  And...AND, she caught him looking at her.  A few times.  Also, there was an open bar at the reception. And no obligation whatsoever for her to be mentally present after her “Best Lady” speech. No bunny hop for this chick.  So, good news all around.

She leaned back slightly in her seat, crossing her leg as she watched everyone dancing, lamenting slightly the fact that she couldn’t truly take advantage of everything an open bar offered, since she technically had work the next day.    

"This seat taken?"  His voice was deep.  Rumbling.  

Darcy looked up at him.  Really looked at his face for the first time in years.  Saw the effects of age there.  A scar over his left brow.  Chiseled cheekbones.  Five o'clock shadow.

"Nope.  Sit away..." she straightened up momentarily, only to slump back down again, resting her face on her hand.

"You...uh...you look good."

She chuckled, "Thanks."

"That dress is um...Natasha has good taste."

Darcy smiled, close lipped, nodding.  "That she does.  That she does."  They were both quiet for a few moments.  "So.  Elephant in the room..."

He chuckled.  "Elephant?  What elephant?"

"Oh, the one you can't see over there in your boat."

"My boat?"

"Right, your boat in denial?"

He laughed, "Good one."

She shrugged, "It's what I do.  I take painfully awkward situations and make them go away...or at least make everyone pay attention to something else."

"What you do?  You're in...?"

"Oh...PR. I'm the PR director for this big company here," she explained.  Pretty pleased with herself for working it organically into the conversation.

He nodded, "Impressive, Ms. Lewis...can I get you a refill?" He gestured towards the empty hurricane glass in front of her.   

"Nah.  I have a meeting tomorrow. Gotta be on my A-game…" She picked up the glass and fished inside for the toothpick, sliding the cherry off into her mouth.    

"A meeting on a Sunday?"

"Yep, some big shot with a new government job." she waved her hand.  "Thinks he can call meetings on Sundays and fuck up everyone’s weekend…”

"Or...you know...maybe he's a busy guy and he's just in town for the weekend..."

She shrugged.  "Still kind of a dick for making me work on a Sunday...but enough about me.  What are you doing these days?  Wanda said you and your Uncle had really turned things around in Sokovia."

He smiled, an amused expression on his face.  "Yes...we uh...we actually HAVE. I just got a promotion.”

"That's awesome...I'm really glad you found something you love doing."

"I do love it..." he grinned.

"So...what's the big promotion?  What do you do now?"

He chuckled and stuck out his hand, "Pietro Maximoff, the new Director of International Aid and Cultural Recovery, AKA kind of a dick for making you work tomorrow."

Darcy blushed a deep, deep red.  She was certain of it.  She bit her lip to keep from smiling, but it stretched across her face anyway.  "Pleased to meet you, I'm Darcy Lewis, Director of Public Relations, Potts Unlimited...I don't have a copy of my resume with me, but under special skills, you'll see that I'm able to fit my entire foot in my mouth, so...you know...I'm pretty much a big deal."

He grinned, "I'm sorry you have to work tomorrow."

"Ehh..." she shrugged.  "I was really just gonna get drunk tonight and sleep all day tomorrow.  This is probably better for me."  They were both quiet again before Darcy filled the silence.  "So, just this weekend, huh?"

"For now.  I...uh...have a couple things to wrap up in Sokovia...I'm moving back Stateside in a month or so."  

"Oh?"

He nodded.  "Yeah...and I mean...I don't know anything about the city...other than where the Smithsonian is…and everything else I visited on my Eighth Grade Trip.”

"So you want a tour guide?  Do I look like a tour guide?" she teased.

"You look like someone who might know something about the city..."  

"What about your sister?  She literally lives here."

"She is literally a newlywed."

Darcy chuckled, "yeah...I guess that's true."

"Look, I mean...if you think it will be weird...then by all means, say no."

Darcy bit her bottom lip in thought.  This felt...so casual.  So comfortable.  How was this so easy to slip back into?  How?

She nodded.  "I mean.  I don't have many days off."

"I promise not to make you work on anymore Sundays."

She sighed good-naturedly.  "Fine."

His grin was so wide.  He had a great smile.  She'd forgotten all about that.  She'd seen it so few times.  "I can't wait."


 

His apartment was coming together extremely well for something he'd bought practically sight unseen.  Pietro glanced around the flat, still full of boxes, but he was slowly unpacking things.  Not today, though.  Today, he was sightseeing with Darcy.  He was dressing down.  Wearing jeans.  A t-shirt. It was kind of nice after wearing suits to work every day for the past week.

He’d originally planned on doing this the previous weekend, but instead, he’d spent it down at the farm with Clint and Laura.  He’d kept in touch with them throughout the years, but this was the first he’d seen them in person and not via Skype chat.  Cooper was about to start his freshman year in high school, and Lila was entering seventh grade.  Nate was a rambunctious ten year old.  All of three of them were so high energy.  Clint and Laura looked the same. A little older.  Tired.  Pietro offered to let the kids come stay with him one weekend once he got settled and he didn't’ think he’d ever seen two people look as happy as they did.  Wanda had offered to take them many times, but her schedule ended up not working out.  Apparently starting a new business was time consuming.  Go figure.  

They all hugged him when he left, but Laura was the last to let go.  She was crying and smiling, her tears wetting his shirt.  “You have no idea how proud we are of you…” she whispered. “I’m so glad you’re happy now.”  Then she’d smoothed his shirt onto his shoulders.  Like she used to do when he was younger.  Before he hit his growth spurt and towered over her.

And he’d smiled.  Grinned broadly because he was happy.  Or he was on the way.  For the most part, yes.  He was happy.  He was proud of what he was doing with his life and he didn’t feel lost anymore.       

It still felt weird.  Being this person.  This successful person.  The person that people opened doors for.  The person people came to with their problems instead of the person WITH the problems.  He was so used to working with his hands.  That’s all he’d done for the past eight years.  Work construction.  He HAD been the face of the project for a while though, because while he was hot-headed, he was nothing compared to Uncle Emil, and most people preferred to deal with Pietro.  This whole…job had just kind of been…thrust upon him.  And his dual-citizenship really opened doors.

But Laura...no...MOM.  Mom was happy because he was happy. Not because he was successful.  And that fact really hit him on the way home.  

It hit him so hard that he had to pull over.  Pull out his phone and call his MOM and DAD...and tell them that he loved them.  Because they deserved to hear it.  They deserved to know.  Because he was such a shitty kid when he was younger.  They deserved to know that he realized that the names weren’t titles and parents weren’t like Highlander.   

Laura had to tell Clint, of course.  But her voice had wavered and she’d gushed about how much they loved him too.  And he’d sat there on the shoulder of the road, crying into the phone because he was too much of an idiot to have told them in person.    

But that was last weekend.  This was now.  He had one more person to mend bridges with.  And these bridges were....well...they were completely destroyed.  And rebuilding from the ground up was tricky.  There were no support beams.  No foundations.  Any contractor worth his salt would just find a new place to build.  

But he didn’t want a new place to build.  He wanted…

All metaphors aside, he wanted Darcy.  And he didn’t care how long it took.

He checked his reflection one last time in the mirror, wondering if he looked like a tourist or if he looked like someone who lived here.  He wondered what Darcy would think.  Would she laugh at him? Or would she even notice?

Was he an idiot for even thinking about this again?  He'd hurt her once.  Regardless of what she said or insisted to the contrary.

He'd hurt her badly and it had shaped who she'd become.  Wanda had filled him in on some of it.  He knew it wasn't everything though. Wanda was a good friend and wouldn’t share everything about Darcy. Not to mention, Pietro didn't have claim to anything in Darcy's life.

But, he knew about the string of relationships.  No particulars.  Just that none of them lasted long.  He knew about how methodical Darcy could be.  To a fault.  She could explain anything away, given enough time to think.  He'd noticed other things during their meeting the month before.  During their talk the night of Wanda's wedding.  Darcy was slippery.  Like an eel.  You would think you had her pinned down and she'd wriggle free so easily that it was painfully apparent who was in charge.  All the time.

The doorbell rang and he exhaled, trying to calm his nerves.  If she needed to be in charge...well...that was fine with him.

He opened the door, pleased to note that Darcy was also dressed casually.  That maybe this was going to work out well after all.

"Where to first?" he asked, clapping his hands together.

“I hope those shoes are comfortable…” she smirked.  “Because we’re walking a lot.  You need to get a feel for the lay of the town.  So you’re not doing that…blinky-turny-touristy thing.”

He shrugged. “Lead the way.”

First, they walked over to the metro, where Darcy got him set up with a metro card.  Then a short ride ON the metro up to Wanda’s bakery.

It was called “Mystical Munchies.”  It wouldn’t have been Pietro’s first choice for a name.  But…he couldn’t argue with the throngs of people.  All waiting for one of Wanda’s confections.  He’d known she was good.  But…apparently, knowing and seeing were two different things.

His sister walked with a spring in her step.  A smile on her face.  And while he hadn’t teared up at her wedding with everyone else, he felt tears forming in the corners of his eyes just from watching her work for five minutes. He had to blink and turn to stare intently at her health department score sheet because damn if she didn’t look just like their mother.

She hugged his neck when she spotted them, grinning at both he and Darcy until the latter slung her arm around Wanda’s shoulder.  Darcy tugged her over to one of the cases, asking for one of her knedles.   Wanda made them with everything.  Plums.  Black currants.  Wasabi and ginger.

Darcy got one of the plum ones, though.  With a shrug.  “What can I say?  I’m a purist.”

He got a pear fritter because Wanda insisted he’d love it, so of course he did.

Even if it was a little too heavy for this early in the morning.

Darcy pulled him back out the door, linking her arm into his as they really began their walking tour.  She wasn’t kidding, though.  They really were walking everywhere.  But, she was a lot of fun.  Not that he’d forgotten…he’d just never really…appreciated it before.   She held his hand when they crossed the street, as if he was going to run off like a wayward child or something.

He wasn’t complaining.  He’d have held her hand all day.  If she…wanted to hold his.

He wasn’t ever the first to let go.  He made sure of it.

By lunchtime, his feet were aching, but he’d seen a lot.  And remembered next to nothing because he was too busy studying other things.  The way she tucked her hair behind both ears.  The way she’d always done.  Since they were kids.

The way she stared down at her hands when he talked to her. The way her cheeks rounded when she smiled.  The way they reddened whenever he said something even vaguely complimentary.

He might not know which direction to walk to get to work in the mornings…but that’s what he had GPS on his phone for.

There was no app on his phone that could tell him how much sugar she put in her coffee.  Or how she liked to drag the spoon over the rim of the cup a few times before setting it down.  There was no app to tell him every single thing about Darcy Lewis.


 

It was weeks before she noticed.  Or maybe it just took weeks for her to say something.

It wasn’t a huge deal, she wasn’t mad or anything.  They were in line to get coffee one morning.  It was cold.  She had on a coat and a beanie and a scarf.

She turned to look up at him, met his gaze because he was already looking at her.   “Pietro…what are you doing?”

He didn’t try to play coy.  He knew he’d been really obvious in his affections lately. “If you’re asking, you already know.”

She swallowed hard, pressed her lips together.  “I’m not…I’m not ready for that.”

“Okay,” he said simply.   

She frowned. “Okay?”

“I’ll wait.”

“Piet.  I can’t ask you to—“

“You’re not asking,” he interjected.  “I know this. I left you .  I made you wait already.”

She opened her mouth and closed it a few times, and then it was their turn to order.


 

Darcy didn’t think he’d actually wait longer than a few weeks.  A month tops, before he found some pretty exec that was better worth his time.

But he waited.  Even after she went on a couple of dates with a guy from the accounting department.  She wasn’t really into the guy, she just wanted to nudge Pietro in another direction.  She didn’t know if she’d ever be able to open herself up to more with him again.  She didn’t want him growing old waiting.

But there he was, after that doomed relationship went down the tubes.

Pietro hadn’t ever struck her as the type of person who had a lot of patience.  In fact, even with his business dealings, he was a known hothead.  A bustling, driving force behind a lot of deals that might not have happened if it weren’t for him.  One might even venture to say he was a touch on the obnoxious side.

But after that initial conversation, he never mentioned it again.  Never pressed her for time, never bugged her for an answer.  And his demeanor and behavior around her was nothing short of well…friendly.

There were only a few times, moments that were few and far between, where his feelings pushed through and she could see all of them there in his eyes.  Affection was just one of them.  But the longer she looked, the deeper she delved…she could feel his wants, his desires.

Heat.  Passion.  All the things that scared her because those were the things she’d succumbed to the first time.  And true, she wasn’t a blushing eighteen-year-old anymore, but she still could feel the pull.  The undertow.  The way those feelings tugged on her own.  Bringing out the same feelings in her.  That magnetic jerk she felt deep in her gut.  The yearning for his touch.  His kiss.  His love.

And she wasn’t ready yet.  Not ready to open the floodgates. Because that’s what it would be.  A flood.  And once opened, she wouldn't turn back.   

So, she’d invariably look away and the next time she ventured a gaze in his direction, he’d have it all under control.  In whatever way he had of controlling that kind of thing.  Darcy kind of wanted his secret, because…damn, it was rough.


 

She didn’t make him wait too long. Not really, in the grand scheme of things.  It wasn’t like she had some kind of sentence in mind for him.  Penance he had to do before she’d climb in his lap.

But it WAS almost a year.

Wanda and Natasha were coming back from their one-year anniversary trip and Darcy had a work function to go to.  One that she actually went and bought a dress for.

She took Natasha with her, settling on a navy blue number that hugged her waist and showed off her legs.

It was kind of an important function and she had been putting off asking Pietro to attend for no other reason than nerves.

Not nerves for the function, nerves because she had felt a shift recently.  A shift in herself.  She always enjoyed spending time with him, but lately she realized it was more than enjoyment.  It was more flustered butterflies in her stomach than a warm fuzzy feeling.  It was more the feel of a tightly wound spring than well…not.   

She was ready.  For all that unspoken stuff that had been hanging around in the air above their heads since he’d moved back to the States.  All of that stuff she saw swirling around in his eyes when he let his guard down.  She was damn ready for Pietro Maximoff.  It was just…now she had to actually TELL him.

And her nerves were getting the best of her. But Darcy Lewis was NOT a slave to her nerves.  Nope.  She was not the type of woman who let the synapses dictate what she did.  She didn’t get where she was by listening to her nerves.

So, with her dress bag over her shoulder, she marched up to his office.  She’d have gone home to drop off her dress first, but she was worried she’d lose her…well, her nerve.  His receptionist let her go right through, and she walked into his office, finding him actually sitting down for once.

He looked up when she walked in, a surprised look crossing his face. It was cute.  The look.  And his face.    

Darcy shut the door behind her.  “Pietro…look, I understand if the offer’s expired.  I know it’s been a long time…I’m shit at making decisions and making up my mind and I just…I just need to tell you that I’m ready.”

His mouth fell open for a split second, but he recovered quickly and stood up, crossing the room to get to her.  He paused just short of embracing her.  “Just making sure, but you’re ready for…”

“You.”

He closed his eyes for a second, opening them again just as quickly.  “Really?”

She nodded.  “I’m sorry it took me so long to…”

He shook his head, “No…” he reached for her, pulling her close to him.  “No.  Don’t apologize…”

Her body melded right to the front of his.  She gripped at the lapels of his shirt, her thumbs grazing his throat.  “I feel like I need to…I’m so sorry…”  Tears were forming in the corners of her eyes and thankfully he closed the distance, cupping her face and kissing her before they started to fall.  She broke off the kiss to quip, “You’ve gotten EVEN better at that…”

“Likewise…”

She tugged him down for another, pressing her lips gently to his.  Still soft and tentative because they were in his office.  Not that she hadn’t thought about getting pressed down on this desk. But she didn’t feel like being especially quiet and she figured that his receptionist didn’t want to hear their reunion sex. “I have a thing tonight.  This…gala…event…a work thing… and I need a date?”

“I’ll clear my schedule…” he murmured, thumbs stroking her cheeks.  “What time should I pick you up?”

“Nine…”

He kissed her again, groaning slightly and pulling back.  “I have a conference call…starts any minute…”

“So kiss me until they call…”

“Until they call” turned out to be approximately ninety seconds.  But they made them count.

He pulled away from her, eyes dark and lips red, switching back to all business as he barked something at whoever was on the other line.  He muted the phone, waving to her as she ducked out of his office.  “See you at nine!”


 

The party had been…well.  Boring.

But, everyone in attendance now knew that she and Pietro were an item, based upon how they were attached at the hip for the whole night.  She slid her hand into his as they walked back to his place. It was closer to the event.  Only a twenty-minute walk.

A twenty-minute walk that ended up taking forty because they kept stopping.

He’d tug her into his arms, his lips gently pulling at hers, making her really REALLY want to just climb him like a tree.

Like a big…naked tree.

Which…was a weird metaphor, but she didn’t have time for accurate metaphors right now.

“We don’t…we don’t have to sleep together, you know…if you want to wait…” his hand was in hers as they walked, arms swinging as his apartment came into view.  “I mean, I know you said you wanted to spend the night, but…”

“I’m through waiting, Pietro.”

He nodded rapidly, sucking his bottom lip for a moment as they entered the lobby of his building.

The elevator ride seemed to take forever.  But they were sharing it with a middle aged woman carrying a laundry basket, so they were chaste.  Holding hands and waiting to be let out on his floor.

She felt like they were practically running towards his door, he slid the key in and turned the knob.


 

Pietro dropped his keys, she dropped her purse, slid out of her shoes.  He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close as his lips pressed against hers again.

They didn’t quite make it to the bed that first time, only getting as far as the couch before he tugged down on the zipper of her new dress.  Her breath caught in her throat and he slowly eased it down over her shoulders, kissing every inch of newly exposed skin.

She giggled softly when he got down to her belly.  “You’re all scratchy…”

“Is that bad?  Do you want me to shave?”

“No…”

He smirked up at her, starting to straighten.  “I’ll go shave.  You wait here.  It takes me a while.  I use a straight razor and I have to heat up the cream…it’s a whole routine.  But.  Just…wait here…watch some T.V…try not to go to sleep…”

She pushed him back down.  “Don’t you dare…”

He grinned, pressing his lips just below her belly button.  He tugged the dress down over her hips, humming against her when he saw the black lace strap of her panties.

He let the dress fall, kissing down one thigh while his hand ran up the other, cupping her ass and gently pushing her down on the couch.

He stood, shucking off his suit coat and unbuttoning his shirt.  Darcy leaned forward, tugging on his belt to pull him closer before undoing it.   She unbuttoned his fly, tugging on the zipper as he impatiently kicked off his shoes.

His shirt was forgotten momentarily as she pulled down on the waist of his pants, rubbing her hand over his erection.  Still covered by his boxer briefs.  He pressed his lips together and tried not to buck towards her.

She tugged his pants down to his knees and he kicked them off, unbuttoning his cuffs so he could slide out of his shirt.  He sat down on the couch beside her, pulling her into his lap.

She straddled his thighs and pressed her lips to his, rolling her hips.

His hands skimmed her sides, making her shiver as he moved up to her breasts.  He cupped them in her bra, pushing them up until her nipples peeked out over the black satin.

His thumbs brushed them, making her breath catch and her lips still.  She took his lip between her teeth, nibbling lightly as his calloused thumbs circled the rapidly stiffening peaks.

Pietro broke off the kiss so he could watch her face as he pleasured her.  Darcy rubbed herself wantonly against his erection, every rock of her hips made him more desperate for her heat.  The wet heat he felt building between her legs.

Her hands gripped at his wrists when he tried to abandon her breasts.  To reach down and use his fingers on her.  Maybe lay back and coax her up onto his face.  Use his tongue to spell out how much he loved her against her clit.

“Don’t stop…” she panted.  “Feels so good…”

Her thighs were quivering and his eyes widened at the possibility of making her come just like this.  With her rubbing against his dick and his thumbs circling her nipples.  He’d forgotten how sensitive they were.

He leaned forward to kiss her.  “I want you to feel good…” he murmured.  “I want to touch you all over, Darcy…but I’ll do whatever you want...whatever you ask…”

She moaned.  “Oh fuck, yes…keep talking to me…”

“Can you come like this?  Will you come for me, Darcy?  Oh, Princeza, you are so beautiful. You are a vision…can you come for me?  Like this.  Let me feel you…”

She bit her lip, her eyes squeezing shut as her hips steadily worked her against his dick.  Now rock hard and leaking all over the inside of his briefs.  A jolt of pleasure running through him with each little thrust of her hips.

She was squirming atop him, his thumbs never relenting in their exquisite torture of her nipples.  He pressed hot, open-mouthed kisses to her throat, whispering sweet, filthy nothings in her ear as she worked herself closer.

“I’m close…” she moaned, her rhythm stuttering as she gripped his wrists harder.

“Ohhhh, yes, come for me… Princeza… come for me, you’re so beautiful…”

He felt her thighs clench, felt her flutter against him as she came.  Her hips pumping…her moans were loud.  So loud.  His name interspersed with the word Fuck.   

Her cheeks were red as she came down.  She laughed nervously and hid her face against his shoulder.  “Oh my god, I’m so sorry…”

“Why?  That was the single hottest experience of my life…I love watching you,” he consoled her.  In truth, it had been.  He’d never been with a woman who had gotten off like that.  Who’d been so worked up for him that they couldn’t even get their underwear off first.  It made him preen a little.

But only a little, because she was shifting against him, sliding off her panties and coaxing his briefs off as well.

She was still flushed, still panting with her release when she slid down onto him.  All her slick wet heat engulfing him at once.  He groaned, gripping her waist and quivering inside her.

Darcy rose up and down once, leaning forward to swallow his moans.  The sounds of his pleasure.  She ran her fingers through his hair, tugging gently to tip his head back, sucking bruises on his throat as she fucked him.

He could feel her walls spasming still with the aftershocks of her release, and all he could do as she brought him steadily towards his own was watch.  And moan.  He moaned a lot.  Giving up on trying to stifle the sounds because they seemed to spur her on.

Her pussy gripped his cock, sliding beautifully up and down as she bounced in his lap.

He felt his release coming, a rippling in his gut.  Fluttering there at the base of his spine.  He gripped her hips to steady her, planting his feet on the ground as he fucked up into her.  Her breasts bounced out of her bra with the force of his thrusts.

She clenched so tightly around him, whimpering as she toppled over the edge again.  He came when her walls squeezed him suddenly, the sensations surprising him, dragging him under.

“I love you…” he whispered against her skin.  So softly, that he wondered if she heard him.    She tensed for a moment, but relaxed into his arms, her head nestled against his neck, his shoulder.

“Thank you…” she replied.  Just as quietly.  And he knew it was the most she could give him right then.  And that was okay.  It was.   


 

It was several months later before she returned his sentiments.  Or at least, until she vocalized them.

They were relaxing on her couch.  She was laying in his lap.  It was raining outside.  The day was gloomy.  Their plans had fallen through.  They had all this momentum to go somewhere and nowhere to go, so they had flopped on her couch and turned on the TV.

They got hungry eventually and Darcy offered to run down the street and pick up take-out. She was pulling on her coat when she turned and kissed him goodbye.

Zdravo, Pietro ,” she whispered.  “ Volim te.”

“Love you too…” he murmured, his response almost automatic.  He stopped, though, once he’d realized what she said.  “Darcy…really?”

She nodded.  “But I need to go get the  food , soooo…”  She grinned and ducked out of his arms, reaching for the door.    

Pietro reached for her again, “Let’s have it delivered…it’s raining.  And you love me.  If you think you’re going anywhere, you’re crazy…”  She giggled when he scooped her up over his shoulder, carrying her back to her bedroom.