Finding Warmth

finding warmth June 19 2016.jpg

Finding Warmth

a Steve Rogers fan fiction

by avenger-nerd-mom

Steve Rogers recounts his meeting with Charlotte Mayer and the first few months of their relationship together

Warnings: FLUFF, adult situations, language, jealousy

Word Count 3079

Watching her sleep, her dark curls hide her angelic face as her arm lays gracefully over her belly.  He sits quietly in the chair just watching her, so grateful to be home again.  He’s missed so much time away on missions.  He hopes it will be a while before he is needed again.  Attempting to stay awake, to watch over her, he thinks back to how they met, a lazy smile on his hardened face.

************************************

September

Steve looks up from his sketch pad as the group of women approach his table.  He rises slightly from his chair, but sits back down quickly.  His old-fashioned manners are sometimes hard to let go of in this new world.

“Excuse me,” one of the ladies says, “we’ve seen you here before? We just had to say hi!  Our friend is too shy to come and talk to you, but Charlie thinks you’re really cute.”

Steve smiles at the three women who have stopped to talk to him.  “Oh, ladies, thank you.  But tell your friend, Charlie, although I’m flattered, I’m not interested in men, sorry.”

One of the ladies laughs, “Oh, no, Mr. Rogers!  That’s our friend, Charlie!”  The ladies part from their circle around his table, and point across the coffee shop.

Steve’s eyes follow their gaze, and he sees a lovely young woman sitting at the tall table.  All he sees are chocolate brown curls, cascading down, as the woman is sitting with her hands over her face, laughing and hiding from the embarrassment her friends have caused her.  His eyes continue to sweep down and he takes in her long legs.  If he wasn’t in mixed company, he would have let out a low wolf-whistle.  He can’t remember the last time he saw such a nice set of gams.  She drops her hands and he sees eyes the deepest color of blue.  She waves at him shyly.

*********************************

November

Several weeks later, Steve enters the common area of the Avengers tower, whistling a tune under his breath, and throws his bag down on the couch.  He flops down next to it, and leans forward to grab the TV remote.  Before he can even reach it, it is snatched from his grasp by Natasha, who seems to appear from nowhere.   “You’re awfully happy these days, Steve.  I haven’t seen you around much.  What have you been up to?”

If Steve didn’t know better, he’d almost think that was a tone of jealousy in the red-headed spy’s voice.  After a failed attempt at a relationship, the two had settled back into an easy friendship.  Steve feels a strong bond with the woman who always stands by his side.  “Not everyone got exciting missions to run off with Coulson and his new team.  I’ve just been here, getting ready for the holidays, following up on leads about Bucky; nothing special.”

“Nothing special, huh?  I think the red lipstick stain on your shirt collar says otherwise…”

She throws the TV remote at him, and leaves the room in a huff.

Steve pushes his head back on the couch in frustration.  He does not need Nat digging around into his personal life.  He takes a deep sigh, and knows he really has no control over that.

“Captain Rogers,” JARVIS interrupts his thoughts.  “Although Ms. Romanoff has tried to jam the signals and search phone records, the phone you have used for personal contacts is not appearing on the tower servers.  No connection to Miss Charlotte Mayer can be made by these means.  Your secret is safe with me.”

“Thank you, JARVIS.”

Wanda steps from the shadows and settles on the couch next to Steve.  “Give her time.  She knows you’re seeing someone.  She’ll come around to the idea soon enough.”

Steve hands the young girl the remote, giving her choice of their Netflix marathon for the evening.  “You didn’t tell anyone did you?”

Her dark eyes search her friend’s face.  Her quiet accent brings a musical lilt to her words of comfort.  “You’re like my older brother.  I would never betray your trust.  You should know that by now.”

Steve pats her leg, “Thanks, ‘sis.’ I appreciate it.  Don’t let Nat try to get under your skin, nagging at you for information.”

Wanda laughs at his brotherly protection.  “Oh, you don’t have to worry about that! Nat would never admit it, but she’s just a little bit afraid of me.”

Steve joins in her laughter, shaking his head at the confidence of his newest confidant, wondering what insipid show she will choose to distract them with this time.

**************************************************

A few days later, Steve meets Charlie for their morning cup of coffee before she has to get to work.  He sees that one of her friend’s is leaving and waves to her on her way out the door.  Steve kisses Charlie on the cheek before sitting down at their favorite spot.  They share a little small talk, but he quickly senses her body language change and sees her eyes growing wide, just before he feels a hand on his shoulder.

“Steve!  What are you doing here?!  Oh, my goodness, darling!  I haven’t seen you in ages!”  The red headed spy throws her arms around Steve as if they were long lost lovers. To add insult, she kisses him on the lips quickly, and looks at the other woman, “Oh, pardon my manners!  Steve and I are old friends!  And you are…?”

The question trails off as Natasha glares at the young woman with dark curly hair.

“Jeez, Natasha.  Just don’t…” Steve complains.

“I know who you are…,” Steve’s girlfriend smiles sweetly, not caving under Natasha’s glare.  “I’m Charlie.  It’s nice to meet you, Natasha.  Steve talks about you all the time!”  Charlie extends her hand to the other woman, her voice friendly, but her kindness is ignored.

“Really?  Because he never talks about you,” Natasha responds curtly.

Charlie simply grins.  “Steve, why don’t you go get your coffee, and bring me a refill to go.  I don’t want to be late to work.  Please, babe?”

Steve may have been frozen on ice for 70 years, but he knows when to avoid a catfight.  That much hasn’t changed!  And frankly, he doesn’t want to be around to watch these two steadfast women have it out with one another.  “Are you sure?” he looks at Charlie, conveying that she doesn’t know what she’s really asking.  She nods her head firmly, effectively dismissing him.

“Play nice,” he whispers to Natasha, before going to join the long line of customers.

The crowd in the little shop has hit its morning peak, and he can’t see the table over the crowd of tourists and shoppers who have come in.  Several minutes later, when he returns to the table with morning snacks and a coffee for himself and each of the women, he is pleasantly surprised to find them talking and laughing like old friends.  He just looks at Charlie, questioningly, and she shakes her head and smiles.

“Oh, Charlie, it was so nice getting to meet you!  I really hope you can come to dinner!  I have a debriefing, so I really have to go.  Thanks for the coffee, Steve.  I’ll see you at the Tower later?”

With a kiss on the cheek for Steve, Natasha grabs her buzzing phone from the table and coffee from his hand and leaves.  Steve sits there, stunned.  Natasha isn’t one for ‘girl talk’ and she just made nice with Charlie.  It has him a little curious.  Nat’s awkward exchange with Charlie has the handsome soldier wondering what the red headed spy is plotting.  Bitterly, he’s also irritated by her intrusion into his personal life, a piece that is solely his since awakening from the ice.

“What just happened?”  He asks, incredulously.

Charlie laughs at the puzzlement on his face.  “I’m not sure.  I think I just got invited to Thanksgiving dinner at the Tower by Natasha?”

Steve chuckles, “Well damn, I guess I’ll have to find my own date then.  I was planning to ask you tonight, but looks like Nat beat me to it.”

“Well, I’d much rather be your date…  Which is the plan- she was afraid you wouldn’t ask me, and apparently the team is worried about you because they know you’ve been keeping secrets.”

******************************************************

“Problem solved.  I went to the coffee shop he always visits….  I was right…  That’s where he’s been meeting her…  Yea. Nice of you to text me the whole damn time.  Like my buzzing phone didn’t make her uncomfortable… Meh, she seems like a nice girl… Really wholesome and squeaky clean…” Although she played nice, at Steve’s request, Nat’s voice shows she isn’t too sure how she feels about this new development with one of ‘her boys.’

“Yes, Tony, I told her about the dinner.  She said she’d love to attend.  No, of course he isn’t happy with me for butting in; you know he likes his privacy.  But it’s done.  She’ll be there. And we’ll all get a chance to meet her,” Natasha explains over the phone.

Before hanging up, she tosses an aside.  “And she mentioned knowing Wanda.  Wanda’s known about her for weeks.”

*******************************************************

“NAT!  NAT!” Steve enters the common living space, having already been to her quarters, failing to find her.  “JARVIS! Where the hell is she?”

The fridge door closes and Nat steps calmly into Steve’s wrath.  “Looking for me?”

“What the hell was that?”  His jaw flexes, showing his restrained anger.

Nat sighs deeply, setting the carton of eggs on the counter.  “Scrambled or fried?” she asks.  “What was what?  At the coffee shop you mean?”

“Don’t play dumb; you know what I’m talking about.  Why did you come find Charlie?” Steve asks.

Nat pulls a large bowl from the cabinet and begins cracking eggs.  “You get scrambled.  Why?  Because you didn’t tell me…  You’re the one person I’m always honest with, besides Clint, and you didn’t tell me you had a girlfriend?”

Steve’s anger dies when he sees the hurt in his friend’s eyes.  Nat always hides behind her armor of confidence; he sometimes forgets she has feelings too.   He drops his fist to the counter.  “Shit, Nat, I wasn’t really keeping it a secret-“

“Wanda knew; that hurt.”

Sighing, Steve leans to pull the larger skillet from the drawer by his hip, placing it on the island stove top.  “She reads minds, for Christ’s sake!  I didn’t actually tell her anything; she just knew.  Nat, hey, Nat?  Look at me,” Steve waits till he has her attention, placing his hand on her arm, resting on the counter.  Nat’s eyes shine brightly under the lights, still lit with a silent fire.  “Hey, you’re right.  We’re partners.  We’re a team.  I should have told you.  Charlie’s really important to me.  I’m crazy about her, to be honest, and it’s such a new feeling for me, I’m still trying to process it all.”

“She seems really sweet.  I can see why you like her, and I was only with her a few minutes,” Nat replies, trying to mask the slightest ounce of jealousy in her voice.

Steve steps away and gets some cheese from the fridge.  “This world we live in isn’t safe.  I wasn’t keeping our relationship a secret from you or anyone else for any reason other than to keep her safe.  She’s just the girl next door; the beautiful girl who caught my eye in the coffee shop.  She can’t shoot arrows, or drop kick some villain like a bad ass.  She can’t be part of my life here; the more she knows, the more at risk she could be.”  He tosses the cheese into the mix as Nat begins to stir the contents of the bowl, working together as a solid team, wordlessly knowing what needs to be done to finish the task.   “Charlie is my safe place.  It’s like finding warmth for the first time in seventy years.”

Natasha pinches the bridge of her nose.  Her voice drops, and she replies apologetically.  “Steve, I’m sorry.  I wasn’t thinking.  I was mad because I knew you were keeping a secret, and I kicked into ‘spy mode.’  I was just curious to know who was making you so happy.”

Steve laughs, “You mean you acted like a girl and got jealous?”

She laughs with him, bumping his hip as she adds the egg mix to the heated skillet.  “Shut the fuck up; I did not act like a girl!”

The easy friends sit and chat over a late breakfast as Steve answers Nat’s questions about his relationship with Charlie.
“Nat, it’s really important to me that you try to get along with her.”

“I’ve never really had a girl ‘friend’ before, Steve, but I can try.  I’ll just pretend it’s spy training; a new challenge for me,” she laughs as she steals the last bite of his toast from his plate.

***********************************

Steve smiles to himself while he finishing up the coffee.   Charlie’s calm demeanor instantly set everyone at ease at Tony’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.  It was nice for him to finally show off his best girl to his friends.  He was grateful to Pepper for giving him cooking lessons, and he loved surprising Charlie with the noodles she said her grandmother used to always make for the holiday. She was a vision of loveliness in her navy pants, cream colored silk blouse and forties inspired hair-do.  Steve appreciates the little efforts she makes to honor his lost time, and the patience she has with teaching him about modern life.   He is still reminiscing about the dinner, when the kettle starts to whistle.

He fixes two mugs, one black and one with two sugars and a splash of French Vanilla creamer. He places them on the tray with slices of pumpkin bread he baked the day before, using an old recipe of his mother’s he remembered.  It didn’t seem like Thanksgiving without it.  He sends a silent prayer up to the heavens, thinking of his mother.

The super soldier is happy for the first time in a long time.  A true happiness, a warmth he can feel in his bones.  The handsome blonde carries the holiday goodies into the living room, and freezes at the doorway. Steve is surprised to see Charlie sitting on the floor, staring up at the un-decorated Christmas tree Pepper had delivered earlier in the day.  His heightened senses signal to him that she is crying.  He silently sets the tray on the table, and walks quietly behind her.  “Hey doll, are you okay?” he quietly asks.

“Oh, Steve,” she says, reaching for his hand. “I just miss my dad so much this time of year, you know?”

As soon as she realizes what she’s said, she gasps.  “Steve!  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it like that.  Of course you understand…  I’m just kind of a mess right now.”

Without letting go of her warm hand, Steve reaches over and grabs a tissue from the shelf, and passes it to her.  He sits down behind her, wrapping his arms and legs around her, holding her tight.  “I understand.  It is hard; do you want to talk about it?”

“Not really. It was just the lights on the tree.”  Charlie squirms a bit in his grasp and he loosens his hold enough to allow her to turn her upper body to him so he can look at her beautiful face.   “It reminded me of how when I was little, we would sit for hours under the Christmas tree and talk and laugh and he would tell me stories about Christmases when he was a kid and when he and mom first got married.”

“It’s harder this year because your mom is in Paris with her new husband?” he asks.

“Yea, a little bit.  I mean, I’m here with you.  And that makes me so happy; more than I can even put into words.  And I love your crazy friends, and they obviously adore you. Especially Maria…” she pokes him in the ribs, and he bashfully bows his head.  “I gotta watch for her.  You have a type.  Dark haired beauties, huh?”  She smiles at his blush.

“Only you now, doll.  You’re my girl.”  His lips crush to hers, taking her for his own.  Steve backs off after a moment, slowly pulling from her sweet grasp.  He tilts his forehead to hers.  He takes a deep sigh.  “Sorry, not trying to change the subject… You were talking about your family?”

Charlie moves her head back to search his face.  Licking her lips and then slowly pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, she smiles.   “Nah, I think you did a good job changing the subject.”  She pulls from him and begins to rise to her feet.  She reaches her hand out to him.  “You’re family too.  Let’s go talk quietly about you… maybe some sweet whispers in your ear?”

Steve takes her hand and uses his other to push himself up off the floor.  She takes a quick sip of the now cooled coffee and he kisses the top of her head.  “Not just sweet but naughty too?  And how quiet does it have to be?  You know this floor of the Tower is soundproof.”  His lips brush across her silky hair.

Charlie sets the cup down, pulling his hand, moving towards the bedroom.  “Hmmm,” she teases.  “You want a little noise? Can you make me scream?”

“Oh, you know I can do that,” Steve chuckles, picking her up and tossing him over his shoulder and playfully smacking her rounded ass.  “Is that what you want tonight, baby doll?”

Charlie shrieks with laughter, claiming, “Oh, yea.  It’s definitely what I want.”

************************************

Author’s Note: In my collection of Steve stories, I will be ignoring certain aspects of the MCU.  JARVIS still exists, and Vision doesn’t.  Civil War never happened, although certain elements of the Civil War plot will be brought forward.  I began writing this story in December 2015, but then Girls Weekend happened!  I lost sight of Steve and Charlie, but they have always been in the back of my mind.  I’m happy to have time now to return to their story.

A special thanks to @virtualgirlfriendsan and @marvelmom for helping to guide this story and helping me to find Nat’s voice.

Click here for “What’s His Number?”

Copyright © 2016 avenger-nerd-mom.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

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