Word Count: 6050
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Also Posted At: AO3
Author's Note: Continuing thanks to my wonderful beta, the lovely 51stcenturyfox!
Summary: "Oh, God," he said, and she knew just enough about Captain America to find this a pretty strongly worded statement on the situation. (Or, Steve and Darcy wake up married in Vegas.)
< Chapter 1
She slept through two email summaries from JARVIS, six separate texts from Jane, one boisterous voicemail from Thor calling to reminisce about the previous night's exploits, and a terse email from a former roommate about paying her share of the last month's rent. All in all, it was a pretty epic nap.
And even with that, it still took an obscenely long shower, swapping out her contacts for her glasses, and pulling on her oldest pair of blue jeans topped off with an aging hoodie before she started to feel like a functioning human being again.
She decided to start with texting Jane back.
Jane swung the two plain paper bags enticingly under Darcy's nose as she opened the door. They were dark with grease and smelled of hamburger and salty fries and everything that was right in the world,
"I picked up some food for you, if you think your stomach can handle it."
"YES," Darcy said, snatching the nearest bag. She peeled back the waxed wrapper from a cheeseburger and took a bite. Her eyes might have rolled back in their head at the explosion of cheesy, greasy goodness that flooded her mouth. "Jane Foster," she moaned, "you are a goddess."
It came out more than a bit pornographic, but Darcy couldn't fault herself, because at that moment she was kind of wishing she'd put a ring on the burger and locked it down last night. It was that good.
"I know," Jane said brightly, setting down the second bag on the table and propping her chin up on her fist. "But less about me. Let's talk about you - specifically, your World War II-era husband who wears spangly tights."
"Can't chat right now," Darcy mumbled around a mouthful of fries. "I don't think I've eaten solid food in, like, a day."
"Excuses, excuses," Jane grumbled, but pushed what appeared to be a chocolate shake in her direction. Darcy grabbed it and shot Jane a look of intense BFF-level gratitude.
Two burgers and a small village's worth of french fries later, Darcy happily pushed herself back from the tiny coffee table that comprised her hotel room's only nod to social guests, and took a celebratory look-at-all-the-food-I-just-ate sip from the chocolate shake.
"Okay," Jane said sternly. "Spill."
"Well, first off - I don't think you get to talk smack about Steve's wonder boy outfit, not with the getup that Thor runs around in. The man wears a cape. A red, flowing cape. Spangly tights are the least of a superhero's worries."
"He only wears it on formal occasions!"
"...Red cape! Winged helmet! Phallic-y giant hammer! And what, is every day that ends in a -y a formal occasion?"
Jane settled back in her chair and crossed her arms. "Touché, Lewis."
"Damn straight. So, then, ah..." she faltered a little, "...here's the second thing." Darcy held her hand out over the table and Jane snatched it between her own, bending Darcy's wrist this way and that to examine the diamond ring in the sunlight from the window.
"It's nice," Jane said finally.
"I know," Darcy groaned. "That just makes this whole thing even worse. Because the ring is nice and Steve is astronomically nice - I'm pretty sure that's, like, his entire job description - and it makes the whole thing just that much more tragic."
"I notice you're calling him Steve now," Jane observed mildly.
"Yeah, whatever, I've joined the company of all the cool people who are on a first name basis with Captain America."
Jane leaned forward. "Seriously, Darcy. What happened last night?"
"So many things that I can't remember." Darcy slumped forward and hugged her chocolate milkshake in tight. "Apparently we had a one-night epic love affair that neither of us can recall, and what the fuck kind of way is that for the universe to treat somebody?"
"You're talking to the woman who fell in love with a guy who literally fell out of the sky, turned out to be a Norse god, and disappeared again a few days later. The universe sucks."
"Says you, Ms. Look-At-My-Happy-Ending-And-The-Abs-On-T
"Okay, I've never seen Steve without a shirt on, but I'm not buying the pity party on that one."
Darcy took another sip of her shake and smiled. "The abs were pretty great."
Jane raised her eyebrows. "And...?"
Jane widened her eyes and tipped her head toward her. "...And?"
"...Okay, I really don't know what you're and-ing. And... we didn't have sex? At least that neither of us can remember? I don't even remember making out with Steve, not even a little, and that might be the biggest joke of my entire life."
"Steve said he remembered kissing you."
"Proves your point. The universe sucks."
Jane snagged a cold french fry from the cardboard carton. "So you're sure you didn't have sex?"
"No, not at all. Evidence points to no, but we woke up in bed together, unclothed enough that maybe we started to get there, and - oh fuck, I'm not on birth control right now. Fuck." Visions of super-sperm, gearing up to do battle in the foreign territory of her uterus, flashed weirdly before her eyes, scrolling by like one of those old black-and-white reels of Captain America punching out Hitler and then smiling broadly for the camera.
Jane paused, the fry halfway to her mouth. "Guess that means no condom then, huh."
"Nope. Damn it." She pinched the bridge of her nose. She really did not need to deal with the possibility of pregnancy on top of everything else today. "I guess I'll run out and see if I can get something."
"You know, S.H.I.E.L.D. has extensive medical resources..."
"Uh, no. Double no. I don't want to go in for a health exam with my maybe-future employer and have to explain I might have accidentally been knocked up by their star superhero in a forgotten night of debauchery. I'll just run to a Walgreens or something."
"Need my help?"
"You already brought me awesome food and totally made the right call to sic Pepper Potts on the problem. You've pretty much aced the friendship test."
"So you're good?"
"Yeah, I can handle it. I'll do it celeb-style, and dig up a baseball cap and some big sunglasses."
Jane absently tapped the french fry a couple times on the table like a cigarette, looking her over carefully. "Really, though, Darcy... are you okay?"
She buried her head in her hands, took a deep breath, and raked her fingers back through her still-damp hair. "...I don't know. I'm mostly fine, but... I'm also not. I think my mind is still trying to sort out what actually happened."
"It's just... I really liked Steve. I mean, I think I like him - god, I haven't even known him for 24 hours yet! This whole thing is so messed up. We jumped so far past first-date territory that I don't even know if it's possible to back up again."
Jane pursed her lips together, but didn't say anything. Instead, she took Darcy's hand again and wiggled the ring thoughtfully, testing it against the swell of her knuckle.
"Want some help getting this thing off?"
"I thought you'd never ask."
Darcy hesitated, tapping her finger a couple times against the trackpad of her laptop, before opening up a browser.
Perez Hilton and E! were clean. TMZ, however, had small byline underneath a blurry cellphone photo, sandwiched between the latest update on Lindsay Lohan's rehab and Miley Cyrus heading to the studio for a new album.
Her hair was down in the photo, swinging forward enough to obscure her features, and apparently she'd gone for the mini-skirt by this time in the evening - Steve's hand was wrapped around her hip, his fingers pressed into the fabric of the skirt, hiking it up even higher. She had to admit, from a purely academic point of view, she looked good showing that much leg.
She was leaning into his side carelessly, her arm wound up in his, and Steve's head was tilted back, eyes closed, mouth open slightly. It took her a moment to realize that he was mid-laugh.
Everybody's favorite WWII superhero showed us a different side of his clean-cut all-American image last night... and TMZ has the exclusive photos to prove it! Captain America was out for a night on the Strip, visiting several Las Vegas clubs and bars with the unknown woman pictured above. Was it a one-night Vegas fling, or does Steve Rogers have a new beau?
Tony Stark -- SEE the Stark Expo Blooper Reel!
Steve Rogers -- America's Golden Boy Hits the Waves
Charlie Sheen -- Apologizes to Tiger At LA Zoo
She stared at the picture. The quality was grainy and blurred around the edges with motion, but they looked happy, relaxed and open, body language tipped in toward each other and his large hand splayed out around the bone of her hip.
They looked indecently, illegally, totally unfairly happy. Ugh.
She shoved a cheap plastic pair of sunglasses on her face, pulled her ponytail back through a baseball cap, and headed out.
He opened the door on the third knock, sweatpants hanging off his hips and and sporting what she was beginning to guess was one of a vast multitude of t-shirts he kept in rotation plastered to his body like a second skin. Today's lucky shirt was gray with a black S.H.I.E.L.D. logo screen printed on the front.
He scrubbed a hand back through his hair, and she noticed that he was still wearing the ring from this morning, the thick gold gleaming dully. "...Miss Lewis?" The room behind him was dark.
"Oh, hey, sorry - I didn't wake you up, did I?"
"No, I've just been out on the balcony." He blinked into the light of the hallway. "You're wearing glasses."
"The better to see you with, my dear," she said, and slid them down her nose to give him a librarian look, arching an eyebrow. "Also, sleeping in contacts makes my eyes feel all gunky, so, bonus."
He stared at her, silent for long enough that she started to feel a little awkward, standing in the hallway with her glasses perched on the end of her nose and wearing a hoodie with the fabric worn thin at the elbows and a velociraptor stalking around the hem. She remembered the photo of them from last night, and wondered how they had ever been those two people.
He cleared his throat, and the odd moment passed. "I could use some company. If you like."
She made a show of considering it. "Well, I was really only stopping by to make a few Red Riding Hood references and split - but what the heck, I guess I can hang out for a while."
Steve's balcony overlooked the strip. Car horns and the steady buzz of distant conversation wafted up through the air, and only a few stars were visible above them, valiantly fighting to be seen through the bubble of ambient light that surrounded the city. The sky was a dim grey, lighter at the edges, and the street in front of them was like a fireworks display frozen in time, brilliantly bright and full of neon color.
She fished the wedding ring out from where it was tucked away in the front pocket of her hoodie.
"Hey," she said, more seriously, "so I actually stopped by to give you the ring back. I managed to get it off my finger this afternoon, with the help of some pretty rank smelling lotion and Jane almost yanking my finger off."
She held the ring out to him, and he took it from her carefully. The thin band of gold looked even smaller pinched together between his fingertips.
"I think you bought it?" she continued. "At least, I checked my credit card and didn't see a charge for it, so that's my best guess right now."
"Thanks," he said. He rolled the band between his fingers, rotating the diamond at the top back and forth in a semi-circle. He seemed hypnotized by the motion, and then his gaze slid down to the ring around his own finger. He pulled it off in a swift, decisive motion and placed both rings, side by side, on the square metal bar at the top of the railing.
"I was keeping mine on until you were able to get your ring off," he said, sounding a little embarrassed by the gesture.
"Dude. That was incredibly thoughtful. Thank you."
He nodded. "It's the least I could do."
So, awkward item number one on her agenda: Done. Awkward item number two: Up to bat.
Being an adult sucked sometimes.
"...I also came here to tell you that I got the morning-after pill today, so we're covered there."
He looked over at her with blank curiosity. "I don't know what that is."
And of course nothing was that easy. "Oh. It's a pill that... prevents unplanned pregnancies."
"Oh," he echoed, his voice suddenly strange, and his eyes skipped away from her again to watch the strip, crawling with people underneath their feet.
"Since we couldn't remember, and if anything did happen we didn't use a condom... I thought it seemed like a good idea. You're, like," she fluttered a hand at his entire body, encompassing the length, "you, and it's possible to get pregnant without doing much, it's just really unlikely. Except in your case we also might be dealing with, I don't know, genetically engineered super sperm. It seemed like a good idea. Just in case."
Red had seeped into his cheeks, giving them a faint glow like he'd just been exercising (or whatever the superhero equivalent of normal-person exercising would be - it made her feel exhausted to even contemplate the options there). "Do you think...."
"Honestly, no. But better safe than sorry."
"Yeah. But it never occurred to me," he said, his voice turning low and thoughtful. "I hadn't thought about it."
"Right. Well, no Captain America babies! That's my motto. Um, that's not a global statement, because I guess that could be a thing that you actually want, you know, with, ah..." She shut herself up fast, because if there was ever a sentence that was going to end up no place good, that was it. For fuck's sake.
He was quiet a moment before adding, his diction careful, like he was saying a sentence he'd never had reason to speak before, "I don't have any venereal diseases."
It was probably the sweetest way anybody had ever told her not to worry about STDs. "Thanks," she said. "I'm clean too, as of my last exam, and I haven't had any reason to consider a change to that status since then. So we're cool on my front too."
He nodded, and his hands relaxed a little from where they were gripping the railing.
"You know what," she said, "I think we deserve to give each other an adult high-five for having that conversation. Because we pretty much just rocked at life."
He laughed - the laugh was low and short, but still, he laughed and gave her a small but genuine smile before holding up his hand. She slapped it enthusiastically, then tried to shake out her hand as discreetly as possible because oh my god the man was like hitting a brick wall.
"Excellent," she said. "That's the last of the awkward conversational topics off of my list."
He snorted, and Darcy tried to tamper down the thrill she felt, heady and a little troubling, at making him laugh. The feeling shot through her like electricity, squeezing at her heart so that it thumped erratically in her chest and shorted her breath.
"I've never had to do this before. I'm so sorry for making this awkward." He said it like an apology.
"You know, I'm pretty new to the whole post-Vegas-marriage racket too. And that conversation was going to be a little awkward no matter what. As these things go, I think we're pretty much knocking this one out of the park."
"For sure," she said firmly.
"Good," he said, sounding a little easier.
"So..." She cleared her throat. "I did want to ask you - from the list of things which are less awkward but maybe still weird - but, what's the last thing you remember? I mean, the very last thing. I've been trying to remember what happened all day now."
He closed his eyes, and his nostrils flared. "It gets so blurry. I remember you laughing - you couldn't stop laughing, you were bent over and you said it made your stomach hurt, you were laughing so hard."
"I remember the laughing," she said, slowly.
"And..." his eyes were still closed, "I remember..."
His eyes snapped back open.
He fidgeted, staring at her intently, and reached a hand out toward her tentatively, before snatching it back like she was hot lava, giving her a desperately uncertain look.
"Seriously, what is it?"
"Can I just... can you turn around, please?"
"Like, away-from-you turn around?" She twirled a finger in illustration.
"Sure, I guess." She rotated ninety degrees, putting Steve behind her, and jumped a little when she felt him place a hand flat against the small of her back. "What's going on?" she asked, trying to twist her head around and not freak out because Steve was seriously starting to weird her out.
"I'm going to check something. Okay?" His voice was steady now, like he'd flipped a switch and turned on his Captain America mode. It was the kind of tone she could imagine him using with a wounded soldier or a flighty woodland creature he was trying to tame, and she really shouldn't be surprised that that analogy made Steve the Disney princess of this whole scenario, because look at him.
His hand slipped under the hem of her hoodie, the pads of his fingers warm against the skin of her back, and tugged the fabric up a couple inches.
"Shit, I don't have a tattoo, do I? Some sort of crazy S.H.I.E.L.D. tattooing technology that doesn't itch or hurt and now I've got your name on an anchor as a tramp stamp, oh my god. Steve, you've got to talk to me right now."
"It isn't a tattoo," he said softly, and she felt his finger trace something on the small of her back. "I drew this."
"It's my shield," he said in the same low tone, and she realized with a sudden shiver that the shape he was tracing on her skin was a circle. Goosebumps broke out on her arms as his finger drew a slow, even path around the base of her spine.
"The Captain America shield?" She tried to crane her neck around a few more precious millimeters.
He breathed out hard, like he hadn't even been aware that he'd been holding his breath. "Yeah. My shield."
"You drew your shield on my back last night?"
He straightened up again to his full height behind her, and she realized that even in the few moments he'd been crouching down, she'd already started to take his sheer size and bulk for granted. "It's okay - it's in marker."
"...Permanent marker? Hold on," she fumbled in her purse, searching by touch for her phone, "I have a camera." She unlocked her phone and handed it over, and realized only a split-second later that she wasn't sure Steve would know what's-what in iPhone land, but he just squinted at the display for a second and got down to business. The guy had been dealing with Stark tech for the last year, so really, she shouldn't be surprised.
The shield sat low on her back, half hidden by the line of her jeans, blood red concentric circles and a white-on-blue star outlined in black at the middle. It was about the size of her fist. She stared at it on the screen of her phone and she could feel the thing now, like a brand, burning on her back.
"It looks good," he offered, a little uncertainly, when she didn't say anything. His voice was rough. And yeah, she got that, because knowing that he had used her skin as a signpost of whatever crazy feeling had made them get married last night made her feel strangely nervous.
She twisted an arm back to rub her fingers over the base of her spine. It didn't feel like anything.
"I like to draw," he continued. "Mostly buildings, architecture, that sort of thing."
"I can tell," she made herself say. "It does look good."
"I have sketchbooks of the different places I've been. I don't have the ones from before, though, not anymore. And the war didn't leave much time for," he pressed his lips together tightly for a moment, and she watched him, momentarily forgetting the shield on her back, as it occurred to her that this was a man who had been fighting World War II - as in actually fighting, on the front lines of god-knows-where - only a year ago, and life hadn't exactly been a model of stability and sanity for him since then.
"I can see that," she said, more quietly. "I always wished I could draw."
"I can't imagine not being able to draw."
"I'll imagine it for you then," she said, and poked him gently with an elbow to show she was teasing him.
Something shifted at the corner of his mouth at that, and all of a sudden Steve just looked... well, sad in a way that made him seem oddly ancient for the first time, like a forgotten and once-loved relic brought out and shined up to be put behind glass in a museum.
"How old are you?" she asked abruptly.
"Ninety four," he answered, but his tone was automatic and weirdly mocking. She thought she heard an echo of Tony Stark in the answer.
"No... I mean, how old are you, really?"
"Uh. Twenty eight?" He rubbed at his eyes. "It's hard to know for sure unless I sit down and work it out."
"Hmm," she murmured. It was strange to think that he wasn't much older than she was.
He was looking at her curiously now, his gaze openly cataloguing her. "How about you?"
"How old do you think I am?"
"You just graduated from college, so... twenty two?"
"Well." She coughed. "Twenty four, actually - that's what multiple long internships that aren't related to your field of study get you."
Steve didn't say anything to that, and her eyes dropped back down to her phone, which was fading slowly to black. She swiped a thumb over the screen.
"I can't believe I've been walking around with something like that on me for an entire day, and I didn't even realize it," she said. "It's so weird."
She stared at the photo, and some thing, some memory peeked out cautiously from the back of her mind.
"...Hey, Steve," she said slowly, as one thought connected to another which connected to what was, dimly and finally, a useful memory of the previous night. "We should check you too. Your back, I mean."
The double-take he did was almost comical. "What?" he asked, and craned his head back awkwardly over his shoulder, followed the motion like a dog chasing its tail, and rotated around a full 360 degrees.
"Hold still," she said, batting his hands away, and yanked up his shirt from where it was tucked into his sweatpants (and seriously, who the hell tucked their t-shirt in when wearing sweatpants?) and spotted the top of a few unsteady cursive loops of what was definitely her handwriting. She wondered how she hadn't noticed it this morning, but she had been doing rather more staring at the front of his naked chest than the back. She wedged a finger underneath the elastic band of his sweatpants to tug his waistline down a few more inches and tried to ignore the feeling of muscles shifting underneath her fingertips and the fact that this was a man who had the waist span of a ten year old girl.
...And she finally got a good look at what was scrawled, unevenly, across his lower back.
She laughed, bit it back quickly, and slapped a hand over her mouth. The whole thing ended in an attractive sort of hooting gargle that she was totally sure was the kind of thing that brought the boys to her metaphorical yard.
Steve whirled around to face her. "What?"
"You... I wrote something. On you."
"You wrote on me?"
"Shoe's on the other foot now, huh, soldier?"
He crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at her, impressively.
"Don't give me that look, you logo-ed me up like the way those girls got painted on the noses of planes!"
"What does it say?"
She started to laugh again, turned it into a cough, and, to her horror, felt something like a blush start to heat up her face. "It says Property of Darcy Lewis. I might had signed my name back there."
He stared at her, and a smile cracked at the corner of his mouth. "Really?"
She nodded, and bit down hard on the bubbling feeling of hilarity floating around inside of her.
The hint of a grin spilled out to the rest of his face and he started to laugh, catching his nose between his thumb and ring finger as he gulped in air, and she joined him. A couple people below them looked up at the noise, tilting their faces upward and squinting into the darkness above them, their features backlit by Vegas's artificial day.
"Let me see one more time," she said, gesturing behind him, and he turned for her obediently. She licked her finger and scrubbed over the black line of ink that curled up above the line of his pants, and spent a brief, glorious moment contemplating how marvelous it was to have something like that scrawled over the top of an ass like that.
"I think it's permanent marker? At least, it doesn't look like it's rubbing off easily."
"Yours didn't look faded at all," he said, watching her more easily now. It wasn't that his posture was any less obnoxiously perfect, but there was a miniscule droop to his shoulders that hadn't been there a minute before, like he wasn't constantly tensed for an unknown evildoer to leap out of nowhere and punch him in the face.
She wondered if he felt like they were even, again.
"So you remembered that?" he asked.
"Yeah, a little bit."
He smiled at her, and damned if he didn't accomplish that gesture as sweetly as possible. She felt almost giddy with the sensation. "So what else do you remember, then?"
"Hmm." She tightened her grip on the metal railing and leaned away from it, feeling a warm stretch across her shoulders. "I remember you said you could kick my ass in video games. You were talking some serious smack about it."
"I'm positive I did not use those words."
"Tomato, tomahto, dude. I know a throwdown when I hear one."
"I was trying to impress you," he protested, doing an admirable job of achieving near mythical levels at the twin skills of deflecting inquiries into talent and being obscenely humble.
"And you thought I'd be the type of girl who'd be impressed that you beat Tony Stark's ego into a pulp through the competitive medium of two-player Mario Kart. Because you're right. You're totally right." She grinned. "It was hot."
He did something with his shoulders that it took her a minute to realize was shrugging in a way that was supposed to be both self-deprecating and a little cocky at the same time. "Tony built a robot that beats me in Mario Kart," he said. "I think that means he won in the end."
"Oh my god. Seriously? Tell me you at least gave the robot a run for its money. Does it have a name?"
"Yes, it was close, and Karty-with-a-k."
"Tony's a pretty literal guy."
"I can see that. Iron Man. Stark Tower. Dude's got a Hemingway-esque knack for calling a spade a spade. I suppose you can't give him much shit about that, though, what with the whole patriotism-in-your-face Captain America name thing."
"I didn't call myself that," he pointed out. He looked panicked at the idea that he would have been the one to name his own superhero alter ego.
She waved it away. "Either way, Tony Stark built a robot solely to beat you at video games. I think that means you're awesome."
He smiled crookedly. "Maybe," he said, and that was probably the closest she was ever going to get to an outright brag here.
"Well, you're on. You'll probably wipe the floor with me, but I've got a few fifth-grade tricks up my sleeves." She cracked her knuckles. "I'm crafty."
"I believe you."
"Damn straight," she said. "I don't mess around."
"I believe that too."
"Careful, all this positive reinforcement is going to go to my head."
"Now that I don't believe."
"Mixed messages, I like it. Or," she scrunched up her nose, "maybe not-so-mixed messages?"
"Yeah, I'm not sure either anymore." He was smiling now, his hands clasped together in front of him. "So, anything else? That you remember, I mean."
The diamond of her ring, sitting on the railing, caught and refracted the neon light of the city in small pulses of color as she watched it. The gold curves of the two rings glowed.
"I remember drinking in the bar with Jane and Thor and Tony, but I imagine you remember most of that too. Then it gets a lot more jumpy. I remember... ah... throwing up somewhere? And you were rubbing the back of my neck, like the awesome guy that you are." His hand had been warm and soothing, wrapped around the base of her skull like her own personal heating pad, his fingers tangled up in the damp tendrils of her hair and his thumb kneading absently at the spot just under her ear, on the jawline. She still had a visceral, almost physical, memory of how good that it had felt.
Steve stared down at his feet. "Oh. I had a different pair of shoes when I woke up this morning. I was wondering about that."
"Oh, dude! I'm so sorry."
"I wasn't attached to the pair I lost. These are nice, too."
"...Right then, so I guess we got you new shoes at whatever time I bought that mini-skirt thing? I have to say, the fact that we stopped in the middle of whatever the hell we were doing last night to go clothes shopping is so fucking weird to me."
"But practical," Steve pointed out earnestly, and yup, she could pretty much put a bow on whose idea the shopping part had been last night, because Captain America.
"It's probably the best idea either of us had last night, so kudos. Even if it did end in me deciding I needed to up my quota of patriotic outfits."
Steve nodded seriously, all yeah-I-know.
"And what about you? Do you remember anything about..." she trailed off, then settled for nodding meaningfully in the direction of the rings, sitting on the metal lip of the railing.
"Well," Steve tried out, and licked his lips. "Not really, no. I don't remember anything like that."
Darcy's eyes flew back up to his face at the reappearance of a sudden odd strain in his voice.
His hands tightened around the metal railing. "But I do remember, the very last thing I remember... is that we were, ah, necking. Kissing. I don't remember where."
"You get all the good memories," she grumbled, but Steve didn't even look over at her.
He took a deep breath. "We were kissing. And I really, really wanted..." He stopped and shook his head, and he was visibly breathing faster now. "Well. I wanted." His voice fell to barely a whisper. "And I remember thinking, I could if she was my wife."
"Oh, fuck," she breathed.
He looked at her again, his expression a heady mix of embarrassment and something far more serious. She swallowed thickly.
"I would have slept with you without the ring," she said, trying to make it sound like a joke and totally failing.
He closed his eyes. "I'm sorry."
Shit. "No, I was... look. You didn't throw me over your shoulder and force me to marry you in some backwoods podunk chapel. I was there too, you know. I married you just as much as you married me. We both obviously thought it was an awesome idea at the time."
"I really..." he tried, then paused. "I..."
"I really wanted to sleep with you last night. Like, kind of desperately bad. You were... I was really into you," she finished, a little lamely. "It's just something that happened because we were really drunk and a little stupid and that's life, sometimes."
"I know," he said. "It's just, I like you." He frowned, and there was something defeated and sad about his expression now. "But we messed something up last night."
"Yeah," she said quietly, watching him. Steve shifted his grip, staring out into the city, lit up in neon and gaudily flickering colors, the hum of crowded sidewalks beneath them. She knew that Tony Stark loved Vegas - he had held forth on the subject with some eloquence and a few highly illustrative gestures last night - and she wondered abruptly what a man like Steve Rogers saw in this city and its oversize attitude. He wasn't ill at ease in Vegas, but he didn't fit in either, with his t-shirt tucked neatly away and blonde hair falling into his eyes.
She slid over a couple inches into his personal space, so that their shoulders almost touched. "...So you're into me, huh?" She bumped into him companionably, and raised her eyebrows when he looked down at her curiously.
"No, Mrs. Rogers, I wouldn't say that at all." His voice was bone dry, and it took her a moment to react to the tone, because that was some serious sarcasm aimed her way from this man of all people, and that kind of thing took a little getting used to.
"Ooh, feisty. I like it."
He snorted, sounding a little calmer, and his shoulder pressed warmly into her own as they stood together, forearms propped up on the black metal railing. He glanced down at her again, sideways, and she realized his eyes were sliding down to the lower curve of her back.
He angled his body toward her then, and her pulse started to beat a little faster, because fuck, she really did like his stupid face a lot. The fact that he remembered what apparently were some epic makeouts while she had mostly vague memories of doing shots and throwing up on his shoes made the whole situation ridiculously lopsided and pretty much demanded she throw him up against a nearby wall to even the playing field.
She squeezed her hand into a fist, her fingernails digging into the flesh of her palm.
"I think I should go," she forced herself to say, hating it even as she said the words. She reminded herself of their adult high-five earlier and that the only way to make this situation even more awkward was by doing the one thing they'd apparently not been able to accomplish last night in their high speed attempt to fit an entire relationship into a single desperate evening.
She hoped it wasn't just her imagination that he looked a little disappointed. "Okay," he said.
She took a step back from the edge of the balcony. "I'll just... I'll talk to you tomorrow, yeah?"
He took a step toward her, eating up the space she'd so carefully put between them, and stuck out his hand. She stared at it dumbly until she remembered, oh yeah, this was the rockstar move she'd come up with this morning.
She took hold of his hand and shook it firmly.
"Goodnight, Darcy Lewis," he said.
She smiled, just a little. "Goodnight yourself, Cap."
Chapter 3 >