Denver: ANYWAY.

Denver: With how boring I find life here, you can imagine that I’d like to travel anywhere. Like, literally anywhere has to be better than here.

Shepard: I dunno…I hear Missouri is pretty damn boring too.

Denver: Fine, anywhere but Montana and Missouri. No states that start with M.

Shepard: I think you can swing that.

Denver: What about you?

Shepard: Baseball. It’s my life. It’s all that matters. As long as I’m playing, I don’t care where I’m at.

Denver: Even Missouri?

Shepard: Okay, maybe not Missouri.

Shepard: Oh, and since I asked you, I only have the one older sibling, Zach. He’s a genius and I admire the shit out of him.

Shepard: Total nerd though.

Denver: Is he hot?

Shepard: Watch it… I think he’s about to get engaged, actually, to his college sweetheart. I don’t really like her, but don’t tell either of them I said that.

Denver: It’s too late. I’ve uploaded that to the internets.

Shepard: I don’t think you even know how to make a status update, so I’m pretty sure my secret’s safe with you.

Denver: You’re not wrong.

Shepard: I just still can’t believe I didn’t know you were a twin this entire time. I could have been working on getting a threesome set up. So many missed opportunities.

Denver: Omg

Denver: No. We are not doing this. I’m going to bed.

Denver: Good night, Captain.

Shepard: I hope you have sweet dreams. I know I will. Night, Bucky.

Denver: Hate. You.

Denver: Found your Halloween costume!

Denver: DOWNLOAD ATTACHMENT

Shepard: Holy shit. Hang on a sec.

Shepard: DOWNLOAD ATTACHMENT

Denver: NO. WAY!

Shepard: Yes! I bought it today. Was going to surprise you with it.

Shepard: And since I’m Captain America, you HAVE to dress up as Bucky. It’s the rules, Den.

Denver: No way.

Denver: How can I look cute dressed as Bucky Barnes?

Shepard: Just do it. It’ll be our own little thing.

Shepard: Pleeeeeeeease.

Denver: I’m sorry, are you trying to give me puppy dog eyes via text?

Shepard: Yes.

Shepard: Is it working?

Denver: Possibly.

Shepard: If you do it, I’ll be your best friend forever.

Denver: That feels more like a threat than a reward.

Shepard: That might be the rudest thing you’ve ever said to me, and you have said a LOT of rude things.

Denver: I am not rude!

Denver: I’m honest. There is a difference.

Shepard: True. It’s one of the things I love about you.

Denver: Ooooooh, love. Shepard Clark said love!

Denver: Told ya you were falling for me.

Shepard: I am not.

Denver: Bullshit.

Shepard: BULLSHIT bullshit.

Denver: BULLSHIT BULLSHIT bullshit.

Shepard: BULLSHIT Bu omg I don’t think I can keep this

up.

Denver: I win.

Shepard: I think I’m starting to hate you, Denver.

Denver: *love

Denver: Fixed it for ya. <3

Denver: Happy Halloween, Shep.

Denver: DOWNLOAD ATTACHMENT

Shepard: HOLY FUCK

Shepard: You are definitely one hot Bucky.

Shepard: I’m saving that photo.

Denver: Not for anything pervy, I hope.

Shepard: Of course it’s for something pervy—why else would I keep it?

Denver: Gross.

Denver: I’m headed to a party. I expect a photo of you too, Captain.

Shepard: DOWNLOAD ATTACHMENT

Denver: OMG PUT SOME FREAKIN’ CLOTHES ON!

Shepard: What? You said you wanted a pic. I’m not dressed yet.

Denver: I meant of your costume. THE COSTUME.

Denver: No wonder you’re single.

Shepard: I have a girlfriend!

Denver: A girlfriend I’d have better chances with.

Shepard: That cut deep, Den. Super deep.

Shepard: Enjoy your party. I’ll send a real pic later.

Denver: I swear, if there is a single dick in the pic…

Shepard: Well, there could only be one. I’m not going to sprout another dick in the next hour.

Shepard: Though that could come in handy for our threesome…

Denver: BLOCKED

Denver: Brace yourself. I’m about to admit something crazy.

Shepard: I’m ready.

Denver: You are a genius.

Shepard: I know I am, but care to elaborate on why?

Denver: I got SO many compliments on my Bucky costume last night. I’m pretty sure everyone thought the gender flip was the greatest thing in the whole world.

Shepard: I kind of figured you were…popular. I saw your photos on BookFace.

Denver: You did?

Denver: I didn’t get any notifications from you.

Shepard: That’s because I didn’t like them.

Denver: Oh. Okay.

Denver: Did I do something wrong?

Shepard: Not at all, Den.

Denver: Then why do I get the sense you’re mad at me?

Shepard: I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at me.

Denver: Wanna talk about it?

Shepard: Not tonight. I’m tired. Maybe later?

Denver: Yeah. Sure. I’ll talk to you later, I guess.

Shepard: I’m glad you had fun at your party last night.

Denver: Are you though?

Denver: Shep?

Denver: Okay. Good night.

Ten

Shepard

Don’t kiss her. Don’t kiss her. Do not fucking kiss her.

It’s the same thing that’s been on repeat in my mind since yesterday in the dress shop.

It’s the same thing I’m repeating now as she stands before me in a royal purple dress looking like sex wrapped in satin.

I loathe dressing up and rubbing elbows with people. It’s stuffy and all they do is gloat about how much money they have in their pockets and who they know.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a cocky bastard when it comes to being a baseball god, but the rest of that shit? The money, the fame? I don’t give two fucks.

I love baseball. I need baseball.

That’s where the line is.

But this punishment my PR team and agent are making me endure?

It’s almost worth it to see Denny in this dress.

I want to shove her back into her apartment and rip the overpriced garment from her body and make her scream my name…finally.

Instead, I hand over the bouquet of flowers I’ve brought for her.

“What’s this?” She stares down at them, surprised.

“Flowers, for you.”

“Well…well, thank you. I think.” She runs her fingertips over one of the petals. “Come on in. I’m almost ready.”

I follow her inside, closing the door behind me as she makes her way into her small kitchen.

She grabs a vase from one of the cabinets on the island and begins filling it with water. “What kind of flower is it?”

“Alstroemeria. It symbolizes friendship.”

She glances at me over her shoulder, brows lifted high. “Friendship? Is that what this is?”

“I hope it can be.”

“I-I…I don’t know, Shep.”

“We used to be really good at being friends, Den.”

Shutting off the water, she turns to me, drying her hands on the towel sitting on the countertop. She regards me with cautious eyes. “We were, but we messed that up and let feelings get involved.”

“We don’t have to let them this time.”

“Is that even possible?”

No. “Yes.”

She nods and lets out a shaky breath. “All right. Let’s do it then. Friends.” She tests the word out on her tongue like it’s a foreign language.

In many ways, it is—for us, at least.

We started out as friends, sure, but it wasn’t long before everything became…well, more.

I fell first, and hard.

But how could I not? She was smart and kind and funny. It didn’t hurt that she was beautiful, too, and it didn’t matter that she was over two thousand miles away.

I fell. I was ready for us, for a future.

Until I lost my nerve and wrecked us.

“We can be…friends.”

There’s a spark of hope that flares to life inside me.

“I’d like that, Den.”

“Just try not to fall in love with me this time, Cap.”

I wasn’t prepared for tonight at all.

Not for the media hounds peppering me with question after question and not for all the fake smiles I’d have to plaster on my face.

I most fucking definitely was not prepared for Denny.

God, the woman oozes charm and wit and pure sex. I’ve spent half the night with my cock straining against my dress slacks.

Thank god the lighting is low and everyone is too captivated by her to pay me any mind, or else they’d be getting one hell of a show.

“Clark, where did you find this girl? I think I’m in love,” says my teammate Joe, not giving a shit that his own date doesn’t care much for his admiration of mine.

My jaw ticks and I bring my champagne glass to my mouth, sipping at it so I don’t wring Joe’s neck. “Don’t you have a date for the night?”

He shrugs and leans in toward me so only I can hear. “She’s a boring lay. Been there, done that, not interested in going back. But seriously, man, if you’re not planning on keeping this broad around, I’ll gladly take her off your hands.”

“I’d step away if I were you, Joe.” Another teammate, Braxton, joins the conversation, and I appreciate the help. “Don’t you know this is the same girl who got Gerard knocked out last month?”

***

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