1 Emergency Engagement
“Bucky, emergency!” I squealed into my phone as soon as it connected and he answered.
“What’s wrong?” he asked groggily.
“I need you to pretend to be my husband for the next month!”
“Wh-why?” I could hear him yawning.
“I was on the phone with my grandma and she’s coming to visit New York for a month and she asked if I'd gotten married yet and I didn’t want to disappoint her so I panicked and said yes. And she asked why I hadn’t sent her an invitation or an announcement and I told her we had to keep it small because of what he does for a living and sending out invitations or announcements would be too dangerous for us.”
“You're really good at lying on your feet,” he commented tiredly. “Why didn’t you ask Steve?”
“Because there’s no way in heck she’d ever believe I landed Captain America! She’s practically old enough to remember him!”
“Why not? Every Grandma thinks her granddaughter is worthy of Captain America.”
“No, Gran knows I'm too much like her when she was my age. Captain America is brave and smart and cool and all—but she knows I'd end up falling for the… bad boy, for lack of a better term,” I admitted. I could hear Bucky chuckling. “Will you please do it?”
“Sure. When is she coming?”
“The day after tomorrow.”
“That’s enough time to get a ring. Call Tony and tell him the good news while I get dressed because he’ll insist on getting a ring for you. Then call Steve so he can have a good laugh. I’ll be at your place in like an hour.”
“Well, we gotta make it convincing, don’t we doll?” he teased.
Tony texted me the second the conversation was over. YOU AND BARNES ARE PLAYING HOUSE?!
Tony what the heck?! Did you bug my phone?!
No I bugged Barnes’ phone. I don’t trust him being completely on his own. But congrats on the “marriage” kid!
And Barnes is right. I totally wanna get you the ring. Wanna design it and send me the pic or do you want me to choose?
I feel like if I'm pretending to be married to Bucky it should be 1940s styled.
Okay. Give me two minutes. I’ll send you some pictures of what I find.
Anytime kid. It’s not every day you pretend to be married!
I chuckled and stopped texting him back, rolling my eyes. I pulled a brush through my hair and was just getting out of my pajamas when my phone went off and several pictures of wedding rings came up with the caption, Like any of these? I scrolled through the photos with eyebrows raised. They were all elegant and classic—they reminded me of my grandma’s ring.
The third one is my favorite of them all.
Then expect it to come tomorrow.
I pulled my clothes on and called Steve while I made breakfast. When I told him what was happening, he did indeed have a good laugh. “Well then, congratulations, Mrs. Barnes! Bucky’s a lucky guy!” he chuckled.
“It’s just for a month.”
“Unless you fall in love.”
“Shut up Rogers or I’ll kick your butt into next year.”
“I don’t doubt that!” He hung up. I ate my breakfast and was just finishing brushing my teeth when the doorbell to my apartment rang. I straightened up from the sink, put my toothbrush away, and rushed to the door. I glanced through the peephole—it was Bucky—and yanked it open. He was smiling, all dressed up in a blue Henley, black jeans, boots, and a black leather jacket, arms behind his back. There was a black overnight bag just behind him. My eyebrows lifted when I saw his whole outfit.
“You look nice. What’s the occasion?” I asked. I was in a loose-but-dressy short-sleeved green shirt with my own black leather jacket over it, a short black skirt with leggings underneath, and boots. I looked decent, but not really nice.
“Can a man not dress up for his wife?” he teased, bringing his arms around to the front to show he had a red rose in his metal hand. I blushed the same color as the flower and yanked him by the shoulder into my apartment.
“Come on, you big sap!” I exclaimed. He snagged the overnight bag and pulled it in with him. I gave him a hug. “Thank you for doing this.”
“You know,” he remarked as I closed the door. “You could just tell your grandmother that you panicked and said yes when you actually meant no and get yourself out of this situation. It’s not too late to turn back.” I buried my face in my hands and sighed heavily, sitting down on the arm of the sofa. I hung my head and shook it several times.
“I know. And I should. But the look of utter disappointment in her eyes when she realizes that I lied and actually have no love life is just something I'm so sick of putting up with and…” I trailed off. Bucky patted my shoulder awkwardly. When I finally looked up, my eyes lighted on his bag. “So what’s in there?” I asked curiously. Bucky shrugged and unzipped it.
“Just a couple things to make it look like I live here too,” he answered. He pulled out a few of his other jackets and hung them on my coat rack next to the door. From the very front pocket he pulled out a framed picture of the two of us—him with his normal arm around my shoulders and me with one arm around his waist. We were both smiling and someone else had obviously taken the picture. His metal arm was covered by a long-sleeve shirt and the hand that would reveal it was metal was cut off by the frame. I scrunched my eyebrows.
“When did we take that?” I asked as he set it on top of the cabinet that held my TV.
“Long time ago. Back when we first met I think. I found it on my phone.”
“And you printed it and framed it?”
“Yeah. I have framed pictures of me with everyone all over my apartment,” he replied. “It reminds me that I'm not alone. That I have friends. After seventy years of isolation, I'd say I deserve a little bit of friendship, don’t you think?”
“Absolutely,” I answered without thinking.
“And I hope you don’t mind, but I brought this too.” He pulled his old utility belt out of the bag. There were three wickedly-sharp knives hanging from it.
I opened and closed my mouth for a few moments, trying to think of what I wanted to say in response. “I don’t mind. But why?”
“Because I'm an ex-assassin and I'm paranoid that someone will break in.”
“Ooooooookay,” I remarked. “That’s fine. Just don’t let my Gran see or she’ll have a conniption. Do you wanna, like, bring your normal clothes? I have plenty of room in the closet and you’ll be staying here for a while…” Bucky shrugged.
“Sure. But I’ll bring them tomorrow. For now, we need to get our stories straight. We’ll keep it as true as possible. We met in Brooklyn, through our mutual friend, Steve Rogers. I was a sergeant in World War Two, turned into an assassin kept in cryofreeze for a long time, thawed out for missions—et cetera. We dated for a year before I asked you to marry me on the roof of the Avengers Tower. We got married April second. We didn’t have any groomsmen or bridesmaids because the ceremony had to be small. We’re not having kids for a couple years because there are still people after me.”
“What was our first date?”
“I took you dancing. I know you're very good at it, so don’t deny that would be our first date.”
“How do you—?” I started.
“Remember the party Tony threw where he got you to swing with him?”
“You were there?!” I demanded.
Bucky shrugged. “I was, like, way late because Steve told me the wrong time, but I turned up eventually, yes. And I saw you dancing with Tony. Pepper was laughing her head off at you two,” he answered. I wanted to bury my face in my hands. That wasn’t a memory I thought back on with fondness—more like embarrassment. “You were very good at it—you're very talented.”
“Thanks,” I muttered.
“And you’ll have to get used to me holding you, hugging you, even kissing you. Because that’s how my parents used to show affection, and it rubbed off on me,” he informed me cheekily. I rolled my eyes but sighed.
“Okay,” I conceded. He gave me a big, cheesy hug. “Get off of me, you big sap!”
He laughed and let go. “You know you love me!” he teased.Grumbling, I moved away. “We’ll see about that.”