Lee versus Li: The Last Word
January 8, 2017
“Another movie?” Darcy raised an eyebrow and sat in the center of Tony’s couch, twisting to look over the back and into the kitchen. Steve was getting bottles of water for them. She watched unabashedly as he bent to lean into the refrigerator. The man had an ass. And back. And shoulders. Pretty much all of the parts. It was like looking at an artist’s rendering of the ideal human form.
Darcy was pretty sure she would have jumped his bones even when he was 110 pounds and wheezing with asthma just for the way he said things like ‘freedom and power come with responsibility’ in that serious, deep voice. She had once given the Captain of the Culver debate team the best orgasm of his life after he successfully argued that economic imperialism was a lasting harbinger of world peace. And that guy had the bone structure of a malnourished crane. The nose of one too.
“Final Stage of my plan to date Darcy Lewis,” he said, turning with a smile.
Yeah. Pre-serum Steve she would have tossed on her couch and done all the heavy lifting, and pumping, and squeezing so he wouldn’t strain his heart too much; she would have worked that skinny, beautiful man over for hours just so he’d smile like that and whisper how nice it was. Post-serum Steve was making it difficult not to order him to strip down so she could just lick. Darcy was trying to appear ladylike. Show a little decorum. Some restraint. Display a little respect for the man so he wouldn’t assume she was just about his body.
“Anticipating mission success?” She really hadn’t intended anything suggestive, but by the color of his ears she guessed it hadn’t sounded that way.
“Won’t know until the end.” His eyes widened suddenly and he hurriedly continued, “And I find out if I get a second date. That would, that would be success. A second date.” He winced, and she laughed. It was a wickedly devastating combination: hot body, pretty face, and there he was trying so damn hard when he definitely didn’t need to.
She let him stew in the awkwardness for a moment, admiring the folded sleeves of his button-down and the fit of his jeans before she took pity on him. “So, what’s playing tonight?”
He settled carefully in next to her, placing their water on the coffee table. She hadn’t left him much room; his thigh brushed against her curled up legs and his elbow touched her waist. “Shaolin Temple.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize there was a theme. Just so you know in case you were thinking of a follow up with kung fu lessons or something, that’s not the kind of sweating I do on a first date.” Darcy waited to see how he would react. His eyes widened, he glanced her way. He blushed a little and swallowed hard. Then, he grinned. God, that smile really did it for her. More even than that ass.
“Friday,” he called out, “would you pull up the movie please?” As casually as if he had done it a million times, which Darcy highly doubted, Steve put his arm over her shoulders. “I thought I’d save street fighting demonstrations until at least date five. Teaching you new moves seems like a commitment sort of thing.”
The lights dimmed and Darcy snuggled in, not bothering to suppress a smirk when he tensed at the feeling of soft girl pressed all along his side. “Steve, sweetie,” she murmured, knowing he would have no trouble hearing her, “I’ve got all the moves you’ll ever need.”
The movie was fine, might have been great, if Darcy could have focused on it. As it turned out, Steve talked during movies. He hadn’t at the theater, out of nerves or respect for the other patrons she wasn’t sure, but there was nothing holding him back in Tony’s living room. He made jokes about over dramatization. He pointed out flaws in fight scenes and admired Jet Li’s abilities – clearly Steve was seeing more than she was with his experience and enhanced eyesight. He questioned historical accuracy. That pretty much sealed the deal for her. Sure, she could ignore all the shaved armpits and clean bodies in any historical show – because 1880’s hygiene? ick – but watching 24 and accepting the idea of a cell phone rigged to hijack the nation’s power distribution system was too much for her. Steve also teased her, although she didn’t think it was on purpose.
His long fingers would begin rubbing gently on her shoulder, then he would pick up a lock of hair and play with it. Then he would lean over and almost rest his cheek on her head, realize what he was doing, and sit up straighter – which only shifted her deeper into the dent his weight made in the cushions. A few minutes later it would start over again. By the time the credits rolled, she was practically in his lap, his right hand twined together with hers and his left wrapped firmly around her upper arm.
“Okay. Now that I’ve softened you up,” he began, and for a surreal moment Darcy thought he was going to invite her back to his place. His place that he shared with Bucky Barnes. Best friend. Worst fiend. Hearing enhanced roommate who would look at her with judgey eyes – not judging her virtue, but her technique that he would not doubt hear through the walls – and know that she had shamelessly used a bonafide national hero and good person for her own personal hedonistic pleasure. Even then, she was not at all ashamed to think that she’d probably say yes if Steve asked. At least, she would really, really want to. “You have to answer a question for me. No pressure, just the foundation of the team and our ability to work together to save the world at stake here.”
“Oh,” she breathed out, wrestling with whether she was disappointed or not, “if that’s all…”
“Best action star?” Darcy raised her eyebrows and Steve drank the last of his water. “It’s a long story, but I’ll sum up by saying it’s a been a dragged out and tiresome debate. There have been exhibits. Graphs. A memo. A year with Clint and Sam has left me desperate for resolution on this issue. So I turned to the expert.”
“Darcy Lewis. International Diplomat, Mediator to the Supers, and Movie Critic. You have come to the right place, Captain Rogers.” She pushed herself up and cleared her throat while she tried to untangle the soft, warm, squishy feelings of relaxing against Steve with the reality of good dating protocol. Generally speaking, sex on the first date didn’t end well. And given Darcy’s history and the honest, actual desire for things to end well – or maybe not at all- did my heart just skip? Am I getting enough oxygen to my brain because clearly I’m not thinking clearly. Or at all. Clearly. She needed all the help she could get.
“Parameters first. Is this question sub-genre specific, or are we reaching into the Bourne series and space flicks as well?”
It was another thirty minutes before he helped her with her coat and led her to the elevator.
“You’re sure I can’t take you home?”
From any other guy, that line would have been cajoling and insinuating. Steve seemed both genuinely distressed that he couldn’t see her safely inside her own door and manfully trying to repress any social customs that would be labeled as old-fashioned or sexist. Not because he wanted her to sleep with him – although she hoped to God he did or wearing her ninety-eight dollar bra was a complete waste – but because he understood feminism and independence and he agreed that she was capable in this new century of taking care of herself. He looked like a delicious mess. Hopeful, eager, earnest, and honest. It certainly didn’t hurt that his hair was sticking up where her fingers had played with it through half the movie.
Risk equals reward, she reminded herself. “Friday, hold the elevator please.”
“Certainly, Ms. Lewis. Please let me know when you would like to resume.”
“Darcy?” His eyes were so blue. It was ridiculous. Since the first time she had heard him speak, post-thaw, she had been half in-lust with the man. He was hot, no one was arguing that, least of all Darcy, but lots of men were hot. She lived with Thor – exposure 24/7 had given her a pretty strong immunity response to hot. When she had read Steve’s speech from the Triskellion, even in transcript form he had just about melted her panties.
Darcy was twisted. She knew that about herself. Give her a man with brains, a strong moral code, and a sense of responsibility and she’d ride that like there would be a brass belt buckle at the end – regardless of looks. Hence, the crane-nosed debate captain.
Then, she met Steve in person and her Thor-immunity began to waiver. In the flesh, he wasn’t just hot. He was warm to the touch, hard all over, and those blue eyes conveyed concern and compassion straight to her, well, parts that probably shouldn’t get that excited about compassion. Finally, she got to know him, and he was nice. And funny. Not funny like Tony with his crass jokes or Thor with his outrageous stories. Sly and quietly dry and so fucking sneaky with his humor that she wanted to laugh and take his pants off at the same time. Most men tended to be a little put off by that combination, though.
She had wanted the date, was pretty sure they would have a good time. Maybe even a great time. She was not prepared to w ant it to just keep going.
“Steve,” she said seriously, “Tony knows I had arranged for car service. If I cancel it, tomorrow he’s going to ask why, and no matter what you or I say, he’s going to make some insinuations.”
She cut him off, tugging his hand and pivoting until the were facing each other, less than a foot between them. “More importantly, I am a big girl who can look out for herself and have a rule about giving out my home address on a first date.”
“Most importantly,” she interrupted again with a squeeze of his hand before his worried frown could become deeper, “I think if I have you on my doorstep with my tongue in your mouth we’d both have to depend on your good manners to make sure you don’t spend the night.” His frown melted away and his eyes darkened. Darcy felt an answering pull low in her belly.
“Probably not all that dependable at the moment.” He squeezed her hand and pulled her a little closer. His gaze flicked between her eyes and her mouth. She sucked in a breath, feeling her pulse quicken and wondering if he could tell.
“I’d rather not say goodnight at the car either. Even in the garage there will be the driver and the security guard and anyone else who pays to park down there.”
“Okay.” He looked almost sad, and Darcy was torn between amusement and frustration.
“Steve. I stopped the elevator. You really do have to meet me halfw-”
His lips were on hers before she could finish. He was warm, delightfully warm and firm. He brushed his mouth against her softly then with more pressure, his free hand coming to grip her waist. The first touch of his tongue and she welcomed him in. Her right hand ran up his arm to his shoulder, squeezing the muscle there. He flexed under her palm and it sent a tingling shock down her spine. Her grasp slid to the bare skin of his neck, hot compared to her perpetually cold fingers. He moaned into her and pulled her closer when her nails scraped against the short hair at the back of his head. His tongue was everywhere. Testing the feel of her inner cheeks, teasing her own tongue to explore, dancing along her lower lip in a prelude to the barest hint of teeth.
When he straightened at last, they were both breathing hard, and she was dazed enough that it took her a moment to realize she was standing on her tiptoes and that she had evidence he was quiet obviously enjoying their activities as much as she was. Darcy abruptly rocked onto her heels.
“Well fuck me,” she breathed out in dazed surprise. He laughed. It was a short, shocked burst of air and sound that stirred the hair on the top of her head. She looked up, an embarrassed blush heating her cheeks. She hadn’t quite meant to say it that way. He was even redder than her, but his wide grin set it off nicely.
“But we already agreed I wasn’t going to take you home. I could never live with myself if I was responsible for starting gossip about my girl and trampling gender equality all in one evening.”
“I think I could manage,” Darcy got out past the smile that was curling her own mouth. Her lips still felt hot and tender and she desperately wanted more. “But I suppose it is important to set a good example.”
Steve gently pushed her away, but interlaced their fingers. He pointedly looked around the elevator. “An example for whom, exactly?”
“All the good little girls and boys,” she replied promptly. “And Friday. Look at what she has been learning from, she needs a wider pool of data or she’ll never know how normal people behave.”
“Normal people?” Steve was still smiling
“More normal than Tony. And I think Vision and Wanda are operating on a whole ‘nother level. Friday, we’re ready to go down now, if you please.”
“Yes, Ms. Lewis.”
“So,” Steve broke the silence as they slowed for the public garage levels. “Mission success?”
Darcy laughed. She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed so much on a date. “I think we both deserve a second date. But I get to plan the next one – that’s only fair.” He followed her out of the elevator and to the waiting town car, waving off the driver who was ready to open the door for her. He did it himself.
“Fair is my middle name, Miss Lewis.”
She used the car as a step stool and leaned in for one last quick kiss. “Pretty sure it’s Grant,” she murmured, liking the way his eyes had gone dark again. “If I don’t see you on Monday, I’ll text you with date details.” He leaned in again, but rather than kiss her he lifted her hands from the door frame and gently backed her into her seat, making sure she didn’t bump her head.
“Thank you, Darcy. I had a wonderful time. And I look forward to seeing you again.” His serious words, the almost reverent way he was looking at her made the warm knot of want between her thighs ache. Her heart wasn’t far behind, and Darcy had to physically put a hand to her chest to remind herself not to get carried away. It’s one date, get a grip Lewis! He actually pressed his mouth to the back of her hand before settling it in her lap.
“Steve,” her voice was far too husky, “shut the damn door before I start some gossip.” She swore she was halfway to Brooklyn before she stopped replaying his last laugh. It was a long, long time past that before she stopped replaying the kiss. And it wasn’t until the next morning that she thought to wonder how serious he was about calling her his girl.