Steve jiggled his foot in anticipation for Bucky’s arrival. He was weirdly nervous for their first date, despite parting ways with the man a few hours previous. Bucky spending the morning after their one-night-stand with Steve was different than their standing-date plans. Bucky spending the morning was… well, it was sex.
A date was the promise to keep having it, possibly exclusively.
Steve didn’t think Bucky would stand him up. He didn’t believe that of the man who had hyperventilated into his ear over the phone about the idea of walking up to someone and asking them out. But there was a small piece of Steve who - despite being the confident dater between the two of them - couldn’t help but be nervous about the idea that Bucky could stand him up. He could freak out at the idea of dating, or he could decide the sex was enough, or any number of things that would give him pause and keep him from meeting Steve at the restaurant they agreed on.
Because Steve really liked Bucky. It was impossible to consider their night together as a one night stand when Bucky had become the person he called to gossip about relationships with.
Steve looked up as the door to the restaurant opened again and a couple wandered in. He was early because he’d been excited to see Bucky again, but now Bucky was five minutes late - negligible, really, when they’d made out against his door for eight minutes before Bucky finally pulled away - and the waitress was sending Steve pitying looks and made a point of bringing him the complimentary bread sticks before the rest of his party arrived.
Then Bucky was rushing in the door in a whirlwind of motion, shaking rain off his jacket, and looking so devastatingly handsome with drops of water in his hair that Steve felt his cheeks go hot at the memory of seeing him for the first time, lounging back against the bar and looking like he was only attainable to the one person he selected.
And he’d selected Steve.
Then Bucky smiled at him, wide and open, and Steve felt like his heart skipped a beat. Steve didn’t think it was his imagination that half the people in the room watched him cross over and take Steve’s jaw in his hand as he leaned in for a kiss before settling into his seat. Bucky’s hand had been chilled against Steve’s skin, and his hair left a damp streak across Steve’s forehead, and he was so real.
“I’m so, so sorry. I’m not usually late for things, I promise, and I’m late now of all the times I could be late. I had been early but I couldn’t find a parking spot and by the time I did, it was so far away that I should have just taken the subway…” Bucky paused for a breath and then grinned ruefully at Steve. "Hi,“ he said.
“You drive?” Steve blinked, thrown, because he didn’t know anyone else who owned a car in the city, let alone tried to drive it.
“I do,” Bucky answered happily. "I know it’s weird. A car in New York City, right? but it was a work investment. Thank you for waiting.“
“It was only a few minutes,” Steve dismissed. "Text me next time.“ And there would be a next time. Bucky could be an awful person and Steve might consider hanging up all his morals just to get him in bed again, but Bucky wasn’t an awful person. He was sweet, and charming, and could laugh at himself, and apologetic over being less than ten minutes late. If Steve had a choice, he’d be booking a month of dates in advance.
Bucky looked chastised, but he was still smiling, even wider now at the idea of a next time. "I know, I thought of that, but then instead I just kept walking faster and I told myself I’d pull out my phone if I hit a don’t-walk sign at an intersection. And I… I’m sorry,” he said, his hands coming up to his cheeks. "I can’t stop smiling.“
"I’m glad to see you too.”
Bucky reached across the table and took Steve’s hand. "Thank you,“ he said, completely sincere. "For taking a chance on me.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Steve pointed out, a little helpless in the face of that earnestness. Especially when he didn’t feel like he’d done anything that deserved thanks. He’d almost let this man walk away, and he could remember the feeling of it acutely. That need to speak out and yet the words not coming.
Bucky shook his head. "You did all the hard work to get me here.“
"You knew what you wanted and you went for it. Don’t dismiss that.”
“Yeah,” Bucky said with a slow smile, dragging his eyes over Steve deliberately as he licked his lips. "I still know what I want.“
"Do you?” Steve said, his voice pitched to sound sexy.
“Oh yeah, probably lasagna!” Bucky replied, and then his eyes crinkled in amusement at Steve’s expression right before he threw back his head and laughed.