1963-08-25 - Date Night


Summary: "Jack" (Bucky) takes Pepper on a very special date. They affirm their affection for each other. There is no way this could go wrong.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
bucky pepper 

Bucky's invitation had been fumbling and awkward, but Pepper, bless her, had taken it as 'sweet'. Ever one to play things close to the vest, Bucky had picked Pepper up from Stark Industries and put her on the back of his motorcycle— a beat up old Interceptor with an engine that runs like a sewing machine. Weaving through traffic with a breathtaking disregard for the laws of speed, Bucky drives Pepper east towards the piers, in a part of town that is notionally not the sort of place a woman like her would get mixed up.

Bucky seems unconcerned, though, helping her off the bike and slinging a set of leather saddlebags over one shoulder— he leads her through a series of doors, up a set of old stairs, and emerges onto what was once the overseer's walk. Late in the evening as it is, there's a terrific view of the sky overhead, and the ocean breeze brings the clean, strong smell of saltwater in from the deep waters to banish away more proximate tidal scents.

"Thought we could eat dinner here," Bucky says, speaking for the first time in a while. He opens the saddlebag— a picnic cloth is inside, wrapped around a meal or two. "It's quiet. Kind of away from everything," he says, gesturing back at the city— at the Tower, the people, the noise.


While it's not generally her part of town, Pepper also seems unworried. That is proof to JUST how much she trusts Bucky — with her life, to be frank. The fact she got on the back of a motorcycle shows it also. She's had to tuck her powder blue dress up between her legs and beneath her buttocks to make certain it doesn't fly everywhere as they drive down the street. Then her small arms linked around his waist and she's remained safely tucked against him the whole time.

She happily takes the hand down off the motorcycle, flashing him a good bit of leg but possibly that was intentional. A wider smile crosses her legs and she stands, tilting her head curiously. "…Alright, lead the way, dear…" She murmurs, reserved and grinning. Her high heels click as they climb the stairs and walk.

Once outside, her breath is most certainly a little bit taken. She stares up at the sky, eyes wide, drinking in the moon, the water, everything around them, "Oh…Jack…it…It's beautiful…" She whispers softly, completely stunned for a heartbeat or two.


Bucky looks relieved and a small smile curls at the corner of his mouth at her words. "Glad." He kneels down and starts unpacking the saddlebag— cloth, some chicken and breadrolls, a pair of sturdy, low glasses and a bottle of champagne. And some fruits, carefully cut into squares. And sure, it gives him a good look at the legs Pepper was flirtily showing off earlier, but he really /is/ trying to unpack. Mostly.

"Did you know Julia Child has a show? She teaches how to cook. Got the recipe for chicken from her." He sets the bags aside and offers a hand to Pepper to help her sit, then leans on his hip and supporting arm next to her, reaching for the champagne. "I hope it's good," he says, a bit of concern in his voice. "Never tried cooking chicken."


Pepper seems rather oblivious to the fact he's looking at her legs or, honestly, probably is a bit proud so she's certainly not going to stop him. Still, his commentary about Julia Child is the first thing that completely draws her attention away from the view. She blinks down to him, shocked, charmed, and really touched by it. "You…you learned to cook from that french lady for me? THat's… amazing. You…That's so much… Oh, Jack…" She leans down to tug him up into a deep, immediate kiss, not really able to express her feelings any other way.

But, this was the time for eating, not kissing. So, after a few breathless moments, she lets herself pull away and sinks down onto the blanket, her skirts spreading out around her while she gets comfortable settled there. SHe's still flushed a bit from it all, her smile unwavering. "I'm sure it's going to be great. It smells delicious."


"Thanks." Bucky sets a plate for Pepper— chicken, a roll, and a single pad of butter on the edge of the plate, warmed from the trip over (for easy spreading). He undoes the wire on the champagne and removes the cork with about as much effort as undoing a twist top, the bottle going *fwop* as pressure equalizes. He pours Pepper a glass, then himself, his motions careful and deliberate, then takes a small sip of his drink.

"Bread, chicken, and I made a fruit salad, I think." He eyes the container a bit suspiciously. "That's what the lady said it was called, anyway. I made sure there weren't any strawberries in it. Someone said you were allergic."


For once, tonight, Pepper absolutely is letting herself be taken care of. Bucky has planned this entire spread, has done a great job of keeping it hidden fro her, and has charmed the skirts of her for doing it. So, Pepper sits back, a dopey sort of grin on her face as she watches him open the champange and happily accepts her glass once it's poured. She takes a sniff of the sweet bouquet, relaxing all the more.

The cincher to everything is when he mentions the fruit salad and her allergy. He even looked into that? Suddenly, Pepper is blinking against slight moisture in her eyes, touched all the way to almost tears. "…Oh…Jack. Yes, but you… well… that's.. the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me. Tonight, honestly… is the most thoughtful thing. Thank you… I don't know what to say, actually…" She gives a crackling little laugh against the tears. Pepper is generally the caretaker, not the one taken care of. So this is… beyond nice for her.


"It— was that—" Jack gives Pepper a perplexed look as she seems to be laughing and crying at the same time. He frowns, looking confused, fingers flexing against his trousers, then he shakes his head.

"I don't understand why you're crying. Is this not what you want? I didn't pack out anything else," he says, looking a bit surly at his inability to process her parallel emotions. Poor fellow's obviously trying hard, but some of the nuances of feminine emotion seem quite lost on him. He's visibly not angry, but there's a mild self-directed frustration as once again, he's /certain/ something just went over his head!


"…I'm crying because I'm *happy*, Jack… because I'm so touched. It's good crying, I promise!" Pepper admits with another of those strained laughs. He knows her well enough that there certainly isn't any deception in her voice so, while he might not understand it, she's being honest about the source of her tears. She leans over, careful not to spill her champange, and gives an ever so soft kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Truly, Jack… this is the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me. Thank you."

Then, hopefully having reassured him, she leans back and settles up straight. She takes up her champange again and downs a good, long sip of it, letting the fizziness tickle at her throat. Her free hand reaches out, picking at the fruit salad straight with her fingertips. Once the champange is done, she pops a few cubes of melon past her red lips and licks the juice off in a way that says, well… she knows exactly what she is doing.


Jack returns the kiss a half-beat slow, but sincerely, seemingly a bit touched and cowed by her gentle and constant affection— always unprompted and made so much the sweeter for it.

"Oh, I see," he says, in a way that indicates he doesn't understand it at all. "I am glad it pleases you. You… deserve it," he says, in those quiet, gravelly tones.

He's reaching for his own leg of chicken and taking a bite when Pepper starts consuming the fruit salad so sensually, and he almost bites his own hand, eyes widening in surprise. He clears his throat and shifts his hips uncomfortably, trying to resettle his weight and clearly far more bothered by his rather… human response than by Pepper's bold forwardness.

"I… you like it, then?" he asks, his neck darkening a few hues.


Of course she knows what she's doing. There is a touch of flirtatious wickeness in her still slightly glassy smile as she takes up another melon cube and pops it past her lips, letting the savoring of it linger even slower than before. "Mm…I love it. Worth savoring, don't you think?" And then she does something probably even more maddening — she reaches over and picks up a piece of melon before offering it to HIS lips, that smile never wavering. She could be such a seductress when she wanted, especially beneath her innocent eyes and girlish dress.


Jack's eyes stay open wide and his head twitches a bit in confusion, still not sure how to come to grips with this sudden bold turn in Pepper's behaviour— but clearly not remotely disapproving of it!

She slips the melon into his lips and it takes Jack a moment to realize the fun side of being fed a lush fruit, and his face slowly starts to relax, eyes finding Pepper's and something languid and aroused darkening them noticeably, even in the low light by the bay. Then he realizes the fun of it and carefully licks her fingertip clean, the digit trapped behind his lips, and lets it loose with a cautious glance at Pepper— always so tentative about doing the right thing.


Her lips pull into a wider grin, half her lipstick off by now but she has no cares. He seems to have accepted her every less than perfect way that she is, so lipstick is not a concern of hers. "See? The fruit salad is good. You definitely made one, and it's delicious…" She lets him get the very last drops of juice off of her finger, slowly pulling her fingertip back, though she brushes the edge against his mouth one last heartbeat before she goes back to claim her champange and relax a bit more, as if nothing happened at all.

"…How is work settling in? Are you finding it tolerable? I've been trying to find a few more interesting assignments for you but, heck, maybe you like the relaxing nature of it? I don't know. I just am glad to see you more and know you… you are stuck running off all the time again."


She jumps tracks so fast its' all Jack can do to keep up, and he blinks in surprise and disappointment as she switches back to casual banter so effortlessly.

"Er, yes. Yes, it's fine," Jack says, settling back on his hip. "I like what I'm doing— the lab area is quiet. Lots of machines, not a lot of people. Scientists want to be left alone." He shrugs his good shoulder at her. "I'm fine with that. Would be nice… seeing more of you," he admits. "But moving to administration level— hard to be professional. And I think Stark doesn't care for me."


"…I can see if there is an opening up there. Yes, you'd need to wear more of a suit, but I don't think Tony has an issue with you. Heck, he let me off work and wrote a letter all on his own so we could have our date. That's practically red carpet treatment from Tony. Honestly! So, don't worry too much about him, Jack. Would you prefer the offices more?" Pepper does seem to genuinely be worried about this, especially as something in her realizes she must have been a super tease over the fruit. She might as well make certain the work conversaton is productive.

And, a whole dinner can't be fruit. Done with the momentary flirtations, she reaches down to the chicken to dig into it delicately between sips of her champange. SOmehow, even at a picnic, she can manage to eat completely smooth and lady like.


"I… maybe," Jack says, hesitantly. It's hard to read his face— for a moment he looks conflicted, but it passes into something more like contemplation. Which is normal, right?

"I guess I could ask my supervisor about working in shipping," he says, finally. "That's near administration. Some days at the labs, some days at the offices. I don't… I don't want favors," he tells Pepper, warningly. "You've done too much for me, already. I'll ask. My supervisor will probably say yes. If he doens't… well, the labs aren't too bad." He eats his chicken with a steady hunger, as if barely stopping to taste the food. It doesn't take him long to strip the drumstick and he flicks it away over the balcony's edge, to land in the water with a *plop*.


As he tosses the drumstick over into the water, Pepper laughs warmly, following suit a few minutes later, though she's far slower at eating than he is. And she is genuinely savouring the chicken, which is probably a good sign as to how well he did in cooking it. "I guess that's the good thing about eating next to the river. Probably the cleanest thing that was thrown in there in a year." Pepper teases him warmly.

She then shifts the way she is sitting so she can kick off one of her high heels and idly rest her foot against his ankle. It's just a warm bit of contact between them that lets them both relax together and not need to be all over each other while they are eating. "… And fine, if you want to talk to your supervisor about it, I.. I'll try not to interfere. I promise. I'm just glad you're doing better. I… I'm so proud of you, Jack. You know that?"


Jack's right arm encircles her shoulders and he kisses Pepper's lips, briefly but with genuine affection. "Thank you," he says, gravely. "I wouldn't have all this if— if you hadn't helped me out. Would still be sleeping at the VA. The job, the apartment— it's all thanks to you. I owe you," he assures her. "If I can make you proud of me, I'll do that. Anything you need," he says, reaching around awkwardly to stroke her cheek with a thumb. "You've been better to me than I ever thought I deserved."


The petite woman leans against his arm happily, eating even slower now because she's half full but also because she's quite enjoying them just being near. She sets down her chicken, carefully dabbing at fingertips and mouth, before just scooping up her champange glass in her fingertips and letting her other free hand rest upon his leg. Now, she's content to just lean there against him, drinking in his warmth and scent, as she looks across the water. "You don't owe me anything, Jack. Seriously… You've been a… wonderful, great new part of my life too. I'm glad we're here, together. That's all I need."


Jack nods at Pepper. What more needs to be said? He kisses her again, then leans back on his palms, supporting her weight against his chest. The stocky, quiet fellow sits quietly for several minutes— listening to the lap of the waves, the quiet rustle of the distant trade winds. Letting Pepper's perfumed hair waft under his nose.

He finally reaches for the saddlebags and pulls them into a sturdy slope, then lays back and rests his head and shoulders against them, his left arm at his side and his right resting against Pepper's back, stroking the material of her dress in idle circles with his fingertips. "I'm glad I make you happy," he remarks. "You make me… happy, too."


The redhead seems quite content to just lean against him, but when he lays back on the saddle bags, she smiles a bit more. She shifts her body so she can sink down and curl up against his side, resting her head on his chest and letting his big arm wrap around her body. She turns her head up and presses a gentle kiss to the edge of his strong jawline. Not seductive this time. Just sweet and enjoying.

"…You make me very happy. So… that's all that matters, for both of us. We found something good. Just… don't run away again. Don't leave and… we'll make it work. Whatever it is." Pepper whispers softly against his throat, her small arm reaching out to wrap around his waist and tug their bodies just a bit closer.


"I won't leave," Jack assures Pepper, hugging her close. He leans his head back to look at the sky, finding common constellations— tracking Ursa the bear, a haunted look in his eyes.

"Not without you," he says, a bit more firmly. "No matter what." He hugs Pepper to him with a surprisingly fierce affection, despite the one arm, and then stares out at where shore and stars marry, trying to find the invisible line

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