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#PitchWars is here!

I’M SO F#$<*&@ NERVOUS!!!!

Sorry, Cap.

Anyway, as I’m sitting and deciding on whether I’ve chosen the right mentors for my story…
Should I really submit the revamped Darrows? Because it is somewhat a repeat.
Who should I really submit to? Because they can help make me or break me right now.
Is every single person who read that story being sugary and fluffy with their praises or are they being so-very-true blue?

I just now–like literally right this second–remembered that I hadn’t even done a #PitchWars Bio for this year. Not that much has changed since last year. I’m still writing and unpubbed, except now I’m also serving up coffee and talking to everyone under the sun at my coffee-house job…

The story I’m submitting:

Love, Darrows

This is the retelling of the whole Cupid tale from myths of yore. And I say it like that because most people think of Cupid as being Greek myth, but he started out in Roman myth circles. Which my story touches on both here and there. The twist to my Cupid tale is the fact that my Cupid is gay. Plus, there is a Psyche (the original Cupid’s love) but I’ve included the other erotes and Greek/Roman myth characters and stories to create a modern-day, high school Cupid with his own unique story and personality. Quentin Darrows is seventeen–a poetic little $#!+, too–and in love with his best friend who loves to date anyone, male and female alike. And this poor Cupid is just trying to cope with it all.

(Quentin is going to kill me for using this Cupid image. He really doesn’t like babies in diapers being Cupid.)

Love, Darrows is a modern take on a Cupid who can’t control his own love life with his phone app arrows, so he fights for his boyfriend, Lex, in any way he can. The story I am submitting it part one and part two, Love, Carter, completes the tale.

What I am ready to do:

I am ready to rip this baby apart if I have to. I want to learn and make QUENTIN THE BEST DERN CUPID ever! I want to get his story out there and into the world. Give him the wings to fly because I know when he does, he’ll fly far! I’m ready to work hard and absorb all the advice a mentor wants to give. Be harsh with me, because I need the honesty to get my story living. I’ll stay up all night. Work all day, except when I’m working, and even then I’d be working on Darrows.

I just look forward to having new eyes and new thoughts on something that’s been with me for years.

Even if I’m not chosen, MY ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO GET DARROWS PUBLISHED.

What I typically write:

Usually my stories fall into a million different categories. Well, except for my NYC-RomComs. I write adult and YA. I usually go contemporary with my tales, though I’ve been in and out and twisted around almost every genre out there–Paranormal, supernatural, retellings, rom coms, myths, knights and princesses, angels and demons, ghosts, dystopians, mystery, space, and superheroes[ish]–with the exception of horror.

What I read:

I like almost any kind of story. Romances tend to be in my top picks (most recently Mónica B. Wagner’s Frosh series and Rachel Van Dyken’s The Matchmaker’s Playbook series). I love a good non-romantic series (see the Lunar Chronicles and Divergent). Graphic novels–Scott Pilgrim, Agent Carter, Spider-Gwen, and Ms. Marvel are among the tops ones I read.

Well…I just love a really good book I don’t want to put down but then I regret when I finish reading because I want to keep those characters and events with me forever.

Favorite Movies/TV/Netflix/Hulu

In other words, random stuff that has nothing to do with writing, yet has somehow inspired me in so many ways.

Anything Chris Evans, my favorite being What’s Your Number?

And Scott Pilgrim…

I like Captain America, The Avengers, Underoos (aka Spider-man), Back to the Future, Star Wars (Han Solo), Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Rec, The Office, Rick and Morty, Supernatural, Brooklyn-9-9, Stranger Things, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Friends from College, iZombie, Game of Thrones…

I CAN’T BELIEVE CAP KISSED MARGERY TYRELL!!! *WORLDS COLLIDE*

…Westworld, you name it and I’ve probably watched it. Almost anything you can find at a Comic Con panel or that will make me laugh. Or sigh. Or go awww, or even just…

Random things about me:

I am becoming a polyglot.

I speak American natively, and I have many years of Spanish under my belt. Recently, I started learning French, Norwegian, and Japanese. (I have plans for Swedish and Italian in the future.) I can already label some items and ask questions in French and Norwegian. I also can recognize a lot of Hiragana on packages (and read a few things) when I’m shopping at Daiso–Japan’s answer to the dollar store.

Daiso is one of my favorite places to go.

I have a growing collection of Funko figures. Mostly Captain Americas. The first one I owned  was Han Solo I found back in 2011/2012. Then Marty McFly and Doc. Then Chewbacca. Then when Cap came out…and so on and so on…

Recently, I used a plastic Coca-cola crate and turned it into a shelf for my Toby Stanks (yes, I did that on purpose. #TeamCap #SorryNotSorry) and Underoos Funko figures on the other side of the room from Cap and me.

I like photoshopping photos into looking like a comic or something someone drew. (This is one I did for a coffee project at work.)

I am allergic to sulfites, meaning that virtually everything I eat will make me sick–including my beloved fruits and veggies. I was never vegetarian but I really don’t like meat especially without ketchup or a sauce or seasoning.
The only thing I like without that stuff is the Flying Dutchman from In-N-Out. So I’m there a few days a week.

Despite my allergies and my body’s inability to handle food properly, I have managed to lose almost 100 pounds…which is a great feat, IMO. It’s still a work in progress, though.

I always wanted a Captain America sweater, but when I couldn’t find one that not everyone else would have, I looked up knitting patterns and figured out how to knit my own…It’s a great comfy sweater perfect for reading and rainy, cold days.

I like to draw.

I now draw the boards for my store.

this isn’t the best one, but it is the most recent.

 

L’il Sebastian. Because…

 

And…well…if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a HUGE fan of Chris Evans. He has the BEST SOUL anyone could own.
Everyone at work picks on me, a lot of people roll their eyes, but I will defend him/that fact to the death.

MY FAVORITE CAP IMAGE:

Why? Because it always reminds me that when things look bleak, when you’re feeling down, when all looks lost in the world, keep fighting, keep hoping, keep working and you will come out of it a better person and hopefully on top of it all.

I plan on staring at this one a lot in the coming weeks when the mentor/mentee teams are announced. (And hopefully long after as I’m readying Darrows with my mentor’s help.)

Well, it’s time…

Time to begin. Isn’t it? (sorry, channeling Imagine Dragons there) Time to get those mentors listed and get Darrows into the mix.

*deep breath*

Thanks for taking the time to read. And sorry about the fangirly me. (not too sorry, though. it is who I am.)

GOOD LUCK TO ALL WHO ARE ENTERING!!!
SEE YOU GUYS ON THE FLIP-SIDE!

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all gifs found on giphy.com

all images are mine.

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Filed under amwriting, aspirations, back to the future, Chris Evans, determined, i resolute, LGBTQ, love carter, love darrows, love story, Pitch Wars, posted from another site, publish it, the fangirling has made it here, write

Working on my writer’s resolutions…

Started the final rewrite on my YA LGBTQ story, Sync or Swim, yesterday. I plan on entering it into a few contests and/or submitting to agents who are actively searching for LGBT stories. Got in touch with my reader and he’s going to comb through it for me. Looking for one more reader to add a new set of critical eyes. I am excited about that one finally being done done.

This morning, I found a publisher who is accepting book proposals for LGBTQ stories. Google will help me learn how to write a proper book proposal. (I hope.) Then I plan on submitting my Love, Darrows/Love, Carter duet for consideration. The gut feeling is still there. Darrows and Carter are meant for something great. And it’s been close a few times. Quite a few times. I’m hopeful that this will be their destiny! *fingers crossed*

In the meantime, Human Touch, my opus of a tale, has been rewritten from beginning to end. I LOVE this version more than the first, more than the last, and DEFINITELY more than that one I will never see again…the one that starts off with a “The Lovely Bones” vibe and feel… It was too dark and dank for a story I wanted to be like a teen soapy romcom with ghosts, angels, demons, and a FBI-type bureau in the afterlife all while being contemporary. I feel good about this version. I had a new lovely reader volunteer to read it–in addition to the two people I trust most with this story–and she has been sending me good notes and some great criticisms so far. Hoping this is the final destination for that part of the overall series.

Been working on book 4 of that series, being in editing/rewrite/second draft. Been working on an off-shoot story about one of the secondary characters in the series, Callum (see gif…he’s very much a Cap inspired character). Because his story is complicated and really compelling. Writing notes on two other stories, compiling images, drawing floorplans…hoping to get busy typing on those soon. After the others are complete.

So far, 2017 has blessed me with the gift of stories. I am VERY THANKFUL for the plethora of tales, especially since the block of 2016 (June-September) sparked major doubts about writing in my mind.

How’s your writing goals coming along so far this year?

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all gifs found on giphy.com

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Filed under amwriting, aspirations, author woes, book proposal, Chris Evans, human touch, i resolute, learning lessons, LGBTQ, love carter, love darrows, my opus, publish it, random blathering, sync or swim, thinking out loud, write

Review: Captain America: Dark Designs Prose Novel

Captain America: Dark Designs Prose Novel
Captain America: Dark Designs Prose Novel by Stefan Petrucha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very solid four star book.

Disclaimer: I LOVE CAPTAIN AMERICA! The one from Marvel Cineverse more than any. Which is where most of my Cap knowledge comes from. I do not have a clue as to whether Dark Designs is from the graphic novels…I will say that I did google and amazon the title and only came up with copies of this specific novel, leading me to believe it’s an original story.

cap 1

First, I must mention the cover under the book jacket. Gorgeous silver foiling create Cap’s shield and letters on the spine on a matte black finish had cover. Beautiful!

Second, while this book isn’t a graphic novel by any means, it does have some art…every two to four chapters. Not many pages, but very nice. The images are grey-scale (black & white), clearly drawn and colored. A great surprise, because I wasn’t expecting to find art at all in the pages of this book.

Cap 2

Third, if I had to date this story, it would be somewhere after The Avengers and slightly before Captain America: Winter Soldier, movie wise. Though it does mention the Infinity Wars have happened already and the Cineverse isn’t there yet. (They film next year.)

So for my review:

“Forty years. I’ll wake up in a completely different world. Everyone I know will either be gone or nearing the end of their time. Again.”

That’s always on my mind when I read/watch anything Cap. It’s heartbreaking.

This time, though, there is talk of sending him back into a deep freeze because Cap has picked up a viral pathogen. While it remains dormant in Steve Roger’s blood, this pathogen has extinction level possibilities. Meaning Cap is in quarantine. Just as The Red Skull in Cap’s clone (apparently that’s a thing in the Marvel Universe not in the Cineverse) is calling forth Nazi Sleeper Robots. Why? Well, because he has the same virus as Cap, though his form is active. Zola, or the robotic consciousness of him, gives Red Skull some options, and Skull chose the Sleepers.

“Hey, old man. Heard you got some kind of flu or something, so I figured I’d pitch in.”

Cap 3

That quote came from Tony Stark himself. While I have this “thing” about Iron Man hogging the spotlight from Cap’s movie, I did enjoy his addition to the book. He’s snarky, and quippy, and really plays off Steve’s “living in a whole new world” thing…They were true comrades in the best sense. Working together to defeat the evils and keep the virus at bay.

Nick Fury showed up, SHIELD still a force to be reckoned with (before Hydra took them down). He stuck fear in many a doctor and was as fun to have Samuel L Jackson’s voice in my head along with Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. The three made for a great trio–one serious, one snarky, and one bad ass commander.

There were no other Avengers/Captain America characters in the mix, but then the story didn’t need them. It was strong and intriguing all on its own.

Cap 4

WARNING: Some parts were intense and worrisome, which made for a great story. The beginning was horribly slow. A lot of mention of gun/tank specifics took the possibility of something awesome to begin the book. If the first chapter or two wasn’t wholly necessary for some information that carries throughout the story, I’d say skip it.

And because I love Falcon: Sam Wilson was only mentioned, never took part.

It had been difficult, to be sure–especially when his first love, Peggy Carter–now in her eighties–said through her tears, “At least this time, I’ll know where you are, that you’re alive.”

Okay, so I cried… Peggy and Steve always…

Anyway, this book was pleasantly entertaining. If it had less tedium upfront–I mean, I don’t need to know every single gun the soldiers are carrying–this could have been five stars easily.

*I NEED A HERO READ – MAY 2016 THEME* Going to definitely look into more of Marvel’s prose novels, hopefully will find some of my favorite characters in there. (Ant-Man, Falcon, Winter Soldier…)

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all images are my own.

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“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 15

Story Summary: Bucky is on a Mission: Find out about his past and try to remember the Man in Blue. His “mission” takes him to Boston where he meets the fun and flirty, Colin Shea. With Colin’s help, he might just find all the answers he’s been searching for…but he also might find love. With outside pressures, Bucky has to decide between remaining in the dark and staying with Colin or going after the man who haunts his nightmares.

Crossover: What’s Your Number? meets Captain America: Winter Soldier/The Avengers/Captain America: Civil War (more the movies and less the books or graphic novels)

Rating: R if this was a movie. MA if it was a TV show. Mature on Archive of Our Own. Not rated on Tumblr. There is some LGBTQ/slash sexual situations, though nothing erotic. It’s a simple Rated-R romcom. No porn. (Think along the lines of Wings meets Love, Darrows, kiTT.) As Cap would say: Language! Because yes, there is some language and double entendres. Not so much violence as of now.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 1,186

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Colin Shea,

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their original creators. There is no copyright infringement intended. This is all done in fun and love for my favorite movies. Thank you for stopping by and reading.

Notes: Oh, Agent Carter. You may have been Steve’s love, but I adore you with or without him. This chapter was definitely inspired by Agent Carter, season 1 & 2, and CAWS. And after watching Civil War, I want to say, it’s even that…


15.

 

The three-hour train ride from Boston to DC is the best option we had for safe travels. Easy in and out under the radar, unlike the airport and all of the security there. Better than driving, because Colin doesn’t like to, and I tend to speed. Plus, we got to interact like boyfriends—the kissing, hand holding…being close and affectionate instead of secret agents and undercover cops.

Plus some gropey PDA will keep most eyes following us glued to somewhere else or at least to someone, else. It really is a nice little trick.

“Next stop, Union Station in five minutes,” a voice announces over the train’s speakers.

Colin leans close and tucks some of my brown hair behind my ear. “Hear that? We’re almost there. With no problems at all. Look who was worried over nothing.”

“There’s always something to worry about.” I give my lips a quick glaze with my tongue before kissing him. The words “How are we getting from here to Virginia?” are whispered into his lips.

“Sharon agreed to pick us up,” Colin whispers back then plants his lips to mine to seal his words in secret.

We keep up the charade of making out—

That’s a lie. We kiss like there’s no tomorrow after this mission.

His tongue tangles with mine until the moment a passenger asks, “I hope you’re here to help take that North Carolina law all the way to the Supreme Court. Those bastards.”

While Colin turns to nod and agree with the man, I duck down and reach for the backpack I stowed under the seat in front of me. The voice sets a fire of recognition in my brain. A memory sparks from that fire:

Rumlow’s deep voice complains, “You almost blew the objective, Barnes!”

“That man remembers me when I don’t remember myself. I just wanted an answer!”

“That was not our mission!” He lifts his finger and points it into my face. Our eyes lock and he growls, “Our mission was to bring him in so we can take him out. Got it?”

I shove Rumlow backwards. He grabs a maroon car to steady himself before stumbling back into the bus. I stalk towards him, keeping him in my sights. “That man was my mission. My mission, Rumlow, assigned by Pierce himself. At last check, you are in my command. Do not hurt him until I can question him. Got it?”

Rumlow scrubs a hand through his dark hair. Bit of metal and dust fly free as he pushes  the button on his shoulder for the com. “Yes, sir?” He pauses, eyes glued to me. “Yes, Mr. Pierce. I’ll detain him for reset immediately.”

And before I could act, a blast comes from the gun he was holding. A neutralizing blast pushes into my rib cage and blowing the air from my lungs just before the world fades to black.

“Buck? Are you okay?” Colin’s hand rubs across my back, making small comforting loops as he goes. “Was it Rumlow?”

I nod and lift the backpack to my lap. I pull out a black ball cap, handing Colin his favorite Red Sox one. “He’s going to recognize us.”

Colin places the cap on his head and pulls the brim as low as I have mine—enough to shade the eyes. His hand slides over mine, pressing a key into my palm. “Here’s the key you left in my apartment. Don’t lose it this time.” He turns to face me, leaning close and whispering, “If anything happens and we need to separate, meet me back home.”

I clasp the key and nod.

“Now…” He interrupts himself by giving me a quick kiss. “…let’s go meet Sharon.”

#

When I meet Sharon Carter, I realize she is just like her Aunt Peggy, though her hair is dyed blonde. They are both tenacious and forthright. They’re both assertive and demanding to get their way. Both possess a strange lure to the men in my life. And while Sharon claims to be a nurse at a local hospital, her gaze is sharp and studious, coming at me from the rearview mirror. I swear she’ll peg me for that man who’s wanted by most government agencies—both US and Hydra—before we get to that retirement home in Arlington, Virginia.

Thankfully, Colin is in the front seat with her and using his irresistible charm. Before the thirty minute ride is over, he has her edges softened. She’s laughing and tapping him coyly with her hand and saying things like, “Oh, Colin…stop. You’re just saying that.”

Colin flashes a quick grin back to me and I roll my eyes as Sharon stops in the circular drive. She sets the car’s gear into park. She reaches for the ignition button, but Colin grabs her hand. He tosses a quick glance at me, serious and dire as though this situation is life or death.

“My partner should do the interview alone. I don’t want it to seem like we’re ganging up on Miss Carter. While he does that, I can interview you…as her niece…for an outsiders perspective on…what it’s like having a power World War ii heroine in the family.”

Colin winks at Sharon and somehow I’m getting the evil glare from her. Because I’m the interloper in this situation? I pick up the phone Colin gave me—something called a burner?—and get out of the car.

Sharon’s window hums as it slides lower and lower. She pokes her head out and tells me, “Just tell the front desk your name and that you’re with Harvard. I’ve already told them to expect you.” The window lifts, showing off the browning leaves on the tree behind an image of me. It stops and she quickly adds, “We’ll be back in a few hours to pick you up.”

The window closes and I watch as the nurse takes Colin away. I take a deep breath and walk towards the glass doors. I pass a concrete statue of a man in a suit, a walking crutch on his left arm. The doors slide open and a female voice says, “Welcome to the Daniel Sousa Memorial Home.”


First Chapter

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End Notes: Thank you for reading! The images are mine screen capped from Captain America:Winter Soldier.

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Filed under Hey 6B, the fangirling has made it here

“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 14

Story Summary: Bucky is on a Mission: Find out about his past and try to remember the Man in Blue. His “mission” takes him to Boston where he meets the fun and flirty, Colin Shea. With Colin’s help, he might just find all the answers he’s been searching for…but he also might find love. With outside pressures, Bucky has to decide between remaining in the dark and staying with Colin or going after the man who haunts his nightmares.

Crossover: What’s Your Number? meets Captain America: Winter Soldier/The Avengers/Captain America: Civil War (more the movies and less the books or graphic novels)

Rating: R if this was a movie. MA if it was a TV show. Mature on Archive of Our Own. Not rated on Tumblr. There is some LGBTQ/slash sexual situations, though nothing erotic. It’s a simple Rated-R romcom. No porn. (Think along the lines of Wings meets Love, Darrows, kiTT.) As Cap would say: Language! Because yes, there is some language and double entendres. Not so much violence as of now.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 2,370

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Colin Shea, Dane, Ally Darling, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Natasha Romanov, Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter (though the last two are only in mention)

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their original creators. There is no copyright infringement intended. This is all done in fun and love for my favorite movies. Thank you for stopping by and reading.

Notes: Almost there on finishing the typing…one chapter and an epilogue…because I feel it needed an epilogue.


14.

 

Peaceful nights. Calm days. Research on my past and my mission, The Man in Blue.

The past few weeks have been full of those moments. We’ve been on the case day and night. Researching the Man in Blue, though, has practically fallen by the way side as all of our leads have been stagnant. These days, we’re more concerned with the new neighbor in 2C and the man in 4D then anything else.

Though it’s not been a total loss. I’ve found this Zen in Colin that I’ve never had with anyone before—not that I can remember, anyway. Every day has been stress free, full of laughs and flirtatious moments. Even work has been reduced to fun times, horrible names, and…again, Colin.

A smile graces my morning expression as I wake up in his bed, seeing him sitting by the bed on the floor, covered in files and papers. He’s staring off into space, wearing this blissful catlike grin. I can’t help the sigh of content that leaves me as I watch him. Colin is contagious.

He shifts his gaze to me. “Morning, Buck…how about I fix you some breakfast in bed?”

Damn. He’s got this sly smile as his eyes are trained on my lips. Then he licks his lips like he’s about to devour me. And I would so let him.

Instead, I prop myself up on one elbow, leaning over him, and say, “I’d love it, but I have work.” I plant a kiss on him and slide out of bed, freezing the moment my feet hit the floor.

“Okay. What time are you off?”

“Noon today.” I grab my shirt from the end of the couch and slide it on, not bothering to button it. “But after that, I have a three-day weekend.”

Colin slides both hands behind his head and stares at me. “Any plans for those three days?”

“Yeah…some guy I know is taking me on a trip. It’s supposed to be for something we’re working on together, so all business.”

“I’m sure that guy can find some way to make sure you get some sort of pleasure out of your time away,” he teases.

I lift an eyebrow at him, trying to keep the stupid grin off of my face. “Is that what he really has planned? I feel like I’m the prey now. I’m not sure I should go away now.”

Colin snorts. “Too bad. I hear he was going to make it a time to remember.”

I’m positive he could.

I pad over to his side of the bed and lean down. “See you for coffee at ten,” I say and peck his lips. Then I walk across the room and up the steps, turning at the door. “Don’t be late.”

The content smile snakes its way across his face again as he nestles into the bed. Internally, I smile like a fool in love—which I just might be a fool in love—and shut the door behind me, turning the knob slowly so no noise emits. Then I sneak into my apartment and get ready for another day as a glorified coffee peddler.

#

“Grande white mocha, with foam no whip,” says the blonde as she digs through her purse. “And the name is Ally.”

I scribble “Alley” on the cup and hand it to Dane just as the woman pulls out her card to pay. She swipes it through and the five dollar purchase was declined. Her wide blue eyes meet mine and this innocent smile spreads across her face.

“Sorry. Let me find my other card.” Her hand dives back into the large blue bag and fishes around a few moments. “Ah hah!” she screams when she pulls out a twenty-dollar bill. “I’m between jobs,” she adds, handing me the bill. “Fingers crossed my old boss, Carol, didn’t badmouth me and I get a call back from Roger about that marketing job.”

I hand her the change and say, “Good luck.”

She utters a quick thanks and moves down the line. Just in time for Colin. Except no Colin. I check the time on the register screen. Ten o’clock. He’s late. I look through the windows at the pedestrians on the street. No sign or hint of the man who has quickly become the most important man in my life.

Love life.

No. Life.

While I don’t see my current mission, I see a current job that needs to be complete. “Dane, I’m going to collect the mugs from the tables outside.”

“Okay, Bucky. I have this covered.” Dane lifts the cup he just filled and says, “Grande white mocha for Alley?”

The blonde reaches over the counter and accepts her cup. Just as I step outside, I hear her complain, “My name is A-L-L-Y…not like an alley way.”

I smirk to myself and get busy stacking the cups and adjusting the umbrellas. Someone out of the corner of my eye catches my attention. The red-head whose name fluctuates more than the chasing lights on a theater marquee. She’s across the street, wearing a tight black body suit that hugs all of her curves like a second skin. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail and sways back and forth as her finger angrily jabs into the chest of a man in sunglasses, then furiously points in the direction of See You Latte.

I can’t hear over the traffic driving past on the four lane road between us, but my soldier training screams that she’s talking about me, specifically. My whole body tenses and readies to act in a moment. My fists clench around the ends of the towel in my hands and pull it tight to use as a weapon. I feel the compartment in my boot with my toe, knowing my knife is waiting there to be used.

The man looks in this direction—I swear our eyes meet briefly—before his jaw clenches. Then he says something back and points to a file in his hand. He’s in a tight black shirt and black pants…which wouldn’t be so odd, except his left sleeve has either been rolled up past the elbow, or it’s been left intentionally short and he’s sporting some sort of glove on his hand.

The man shakes his head and glances one more time. It’s as he turns to storm off that I notice he has a quiver of arrows strapped to his back.

The nameless woman turns at the time she yells and motions him away. She stops cold. Her stance is wide, arms tense as though she’s about to bolt forward and crash into me, taking both of us through the window behind me. And I’m ready for her…

But she doesn’t make a move. She stares at me, eyes narrowing in threat.

I return the glare. Though I know it’s virtually impossible from this distance, we are definitely in a pre-war stare down. Her jaw tenses, and yet she still doesn’t move. Not until a delivery truck passes on the road between us and she disappears from the street.

The surrounding buildings seem empty, the rooftops barren. The shadows touching the ground and climbing the walls tell me she’s no long here.

I’ve been compromised. Colin may have been compromised. That’s why he isn’t here mooching his free coffee and pastry.

I tuck the towel into my back pocket and collect the stacks of cups, balancing them in my hands as I carry them inside. Dane takes one stack from me when I step behind the counter. We both carry them to the dishwasher in the back. The towel goes from my pocket to the counter. I remove my apron and take my name tag from it before handing it to Dane.

“Sorry, but I have to quit.” Before there is another incident like that flipped bus on the side streets of DC. Except this time, Colin is in the mix.

Dane checks his watch. “It’s not even ten thirty.”

“I know, but this is a more permanent sort of quit. Minus the two weeks’ notice. I…” I shrug, willing a valid excuse to surface in my brain. “I found out this morning that my…father is dying. I need to go back home and care for him.”

“Bucky, you don’t have to quit,” Dane says, his head shaking in sadness. “I could let you take some time…”

“Thanks, but they aren’t sure how much longer he has. Could be a week, could be a month. I just know I want to be there for him.”

“Your father?”

I nod and say the first name—outside of Colin—that pops into my mind. “Steve.” The name accompanies a twinge of guilt in my gut and a breath of relief for pulling off a lie.

“The Stark three-oh-two will be happy. You made crappy coffee anyway,” he laughs, staring at the green apron in his hands. “I can’t promise to save your job, but if you come back to Boston and need a place to work, don’t hesitate.”

“Thanks, Dane.” I can’t even bear to stare into those sad brown eyes. “I’ll…see you latte.”

Dane laughs again, tossing the apron on the counter. He goes out front and I sneak out of the back into the alley. My surroundings get a quick check and I jog down to where alley meets alley, taking a long yet very guarded route back home.

The path I take is fairly lifeless. A few store owners readying for deliveries, but nothing dangerous or out of the ordinary. It leads me to the corner of my street, where I have to step into sunshine. I wait until a small crowd has accumulated on the corner before taking my hair out of the holder and blending in with laborers and business persons alike. The light changes to a walking stick-man and I cross in the group. I catch a hint of the man from earlier crossing in the opposite direction…from the exact direction of my apartment.

Shit.

When I step on the curb, I glance back, making sure he didn’t notice me. Once he’s gone and I’m in the clear, I bolt for my building. Thud-thud-thud…I barely touch the steps of my building with my feet, and yet it sounds like a million soldiers running up them I barrel into the man from 4D just inside the door to the building.

He says, “Watch the fuck out!”

“I’m not the one kissing my dog on the lips in the doorway,” I say without stopping.

More noise as though soldiers are running up the stairs, though I’m the only one in the stairwell. By the time I’m on six, I’m breathless. My heart pounds in my ears and my pulse rages. I lift my fist and knock on the door of 6A. No answer.

“Colin?” I ask the A on the door. “Are you in there?”

Still no answer. I make a fist and pound into the door.

“Come on, Colin! Open up!”

Nothing.

Fear eats every last nerve I have. I unlock my door and go over to the side table next to my bed. The key for Colin’s apartment isn’t there. Papers from the files Colin has amassed lift in this hide-and-seek but with every leaf out of the way, I’m still keyless. I fall to my hands and knees and look under my bed. Dust bunnies and my brown boots. Under the table is too dark, so I slide my hand in the three-inch tall space. I shift my fingers around in the dust, sliding my hand back and forth, but no key.

“I like the way you present yourself, Buck.”

I sit upright on my knees and toss a glance at the man over my shoulder. Yep, it’s definitely Colin. Leaning on my door jamb. Wearing blue camouflage boxer-briefs. And nothing else. I don’t know if I should love that flirtatious entendre or if I should scream at him for scaring the ever-loving hell out of me.

“Why didn’t you answer me?” I ask getting to my feet. I take a few long strides, going up the stairs and wrap my arms around him. The hug is desperate, needy, and oh so thankful.  “And why didn’t you come for your coffee?”

One of Colin’s arms goes around my shoulders, the other going around me. His hand slides down my back and rests on my butt. He squeezes it and exhales with a soft groan.

I push him back and growl, “That doesn’t make up for giving me a heart attack this morning. Do you understand the danger you’re in just by associating with me?”

Colin’s smirk eats up the left side of his face. “You’re going to want to take it back once I tell you my news.” He pushes me into my apartment, shutting the door once we’re all the way inside. I take the four steps down backwards, his hand still on my chest as he follows going forward.

“What’s the news?” I ask, taking his wrist in my metal hand.

His playful blue eyes tag one of my eyes then the other. He licks his top lip and says, “I found her.”

“Her who? Peggy?”

Colin nods. “Peggy Carter. I’ve been on the phone all morning with her niece, Sharon. Thanks to my wits and charm, she has agreed to allow us visitation with her aunt…on the grounds that we don’t upset her…that and I said we’re James and Collins from Harvard doing a research paper on World War II and the women who made a stand for our country.”

His hands go out from his sides. I can’t tell if he’s asking for a hug or if he’s announcing a big finish as though he’s a grand magician.

Doesn’t matter. I hug him close and utter “thank you” into his neck before placing a kiss there. Though I can’t say for sure the thank you was for Colin’s job well done or if it’s just me thanking someone out there for his safety.

We’re another step closer to finding the Man in Blue.

Steve.

At this point, though, I’m not sure I want to find him.


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End Notes: Thank you for reading!

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