A Time for Heroes – Chapter 35 – Back to Reality

ring_heartThe next morning, Steve woke with a start. There was someone in their room! Steve opened one eye cautiously to assess the situation. It was one of Tony’s kitchen staff laying out breakfast for them.

“Sorry to disturb you, Captain Rogers.” he whispered. “Everything will stay warm so no need to rush.” And with that, he was gone.

Well, that was interesting, he thought. What if they’d been in the middle of something? Then he remembered what he’d heard about Tony’s lifestyle before he settled down with Pepper. There was probably not much his staff hadn’t seen.

It was just past 9 o’clock by the clock on the night stand. Steve got up to use the washroom.

When he got back, he saw that Ginny’s eyes were opened. She held the blanket so that he could get back into bed.

“There’s food, if you’re hungry.” Steve said before crawling under the covers.

“Later.” she said, still drowsy, and he crawled back in next to her.

He lay facing her and he ran his finger down her throat towards her breast. “Are you hungry for something else?” he asked, suggestively.

She rubbed one eye and asked, “What time is it?”

“Just after 9.” Steve answered, still letting his finger linger near her nipple.

She stretched out on her back, then looked over at him with a smile. “Yes, then. Hungry for something else. Let me use the washroom first.” and she popped up out of bed. She stopped quickly at her suitcase and grabbed a little bag. She looked back at Steve with a smile and he raised an eyebrow at her.

“Gift wrap.” she said as she disappeared into the washroom.

Steve waited impatiently for Ginny to come out of the washroom. Just seeing her in bed next to him with her hair all disarrayed had been enough for him to create his own little tent in the blankets. The mention of gift wrap had pushed his desire through the roof.

Ginny opened the bathroom door a tiny bit to peek out. Steve had stuffed an extra pillow under his head so he was sitting up a bit to see.

Then she stepped out into the bedroom and Steve’s breath caught in his throat! She was wearing a short nighty with spaghetti straps in a deep, rich burgundy satin trimmed with black. Over that was a short robe made of some flimsy, see through material in black. The robe was sitting just off her shoulders, ready to drop to the floor.

“Wow!” he said, shaking his head and taking it all in. “That colour looks great on you!”

She put the tip of her finger between her front teeth and whispered, “Too bad I won’t be wearing it for long.” She let the robe drop to the floor behind her as she crawled up onto Steve from the foot of the bed, making sure to pin him under the blankets.

She kissed him playfully a couple of times before saying, “Maybe we should have kept those cords.” Steve was flexing his arms, trying to get free, not that he couldn’t if he really wanted to, but he was enjoying her little game too much to try too hard.

Finally, she relented after peppering his face and neck with kisses, licks and nibbles and let him free his arms. He ran his hands up the smooth satin watching her nipples poke out as he touched them. Ginny threw the blanket off and slid back over him and took him inside of her with a moan of pleasure. He put his hands on her hips and could feel that she was still wearing panties. He looked up at her in surprise.“Crotchless.” she whispered, squirming a little bit to settle herself as he smiled a slow, seductive smile.

“You think of everything.” he said, sliding his hands up her body under the nighty. He pulled her lips down to his for a slow and thorough kiss as he flexed his hips to move in and out of her.

She moaned against his lips as this slow torture started to yield results. She rested her forehead against his chest and gripped him fiercely as she slowly dissolved around him. Steve pushed himself deep inside of her and held her still. She lay panting on his chest and he took a few minutes to get himself under control. Even Ginny contracting around him almost sent him over the edge.

When he could finally move again, he flipped them over so she was beneath him and grabbing both of her hands, held them over her head.

“Is this what those cords would be for?” he asked.

“Yes.” she whispered as he started to kiss and lick and nibble her face, neck and ears. At first she was a little giggly, but that didn’t last long. Soon she was panting and squirming beneath him and he started to move.

This time wasn’t slow or soft. He slammed himself into her and slowly drew himself out to do it again and again until she cried out and started to contract around him. Then he thrust himself home again and again until his orgasm shattered him and left him breathless and hypersensitive. Even Ginny stroking his back was over stimulating.

He finally was able to raise his head and look at Ginny. She was still lost to this world, eyes closed, breathing deeply. It took her a moment to crack one eye open and give him a little smile.

“No tears this time.” she whispered.

“No tears.” he said, stroking the hair back from her face.

“Now I’m hungry,” Ginny said, “for food. It smells good.”

Steve kissed her softly on the lips and then on the nose. “Come on, then. Let’s eat.” He grabbed the tissues.

Ginny still had her satin nighty on, so she picked her robe up off the floor and wrapped it around herself. She rubbed her arms to warm up. “Sexy, but not very warm.”

Steve looked in the closet and found two nice, warm bathrobes. He pulled one down and wrapped it around her. She pulled it around her and tied it. Steve put the other robe on and then wrapped his arms around her from behind. She turned in his arms, careful of his balance, and kissed him deeply.

They sat down to eat. All of the food was in hot boxes or cold bags. Steve and Ginny pulled out eggs and bacon and home fries and toast. There were two carafes: one with coffee and the other with hot water for tea. There was fruit and sliced tomatoes and juice in the cold bag.

“Wow!” Ginny said. “I forgot what staying at Casa Stark is like.”

Steve pulled one more thing out of the cold bag. A chilled bottle of French champagne.

“Ooh…mimosas!” Ginny said, when Steve raised an eyebrow at her excitement.

Ginny poured two half glasses of champagne and then filled them with orange juice and Steve took a tentative sip and then looked at the glass and nodded. “Interesting taste.” he said.

Ginny tasted hers and closed her eyes, savouring it. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had these and I’ve never had them with this quality of champagne. Usually, we just use cheap domestic bubbly.”

Steve took another sip and asked, “Should I ask?” He raised his eyebrows at her with a little smile.

She smiled knowingly back at him. “Troy didn’t go in for pansy drinks like this. Sylvie and I go on girls’ weekends sometimes and it’s our morning drink of choice.” She lifted her glass to him. “Why do you assume that every fun or romantic thing I’ve ever done was with Troy?”

He shrugged. “I guess his name came up too often when I first knew you. And it’s hard to compete with a ghost.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. You won.” she said, and started serving out the breakfast.

They made small talk as they ate and talked about their week to come.

“Today is Monday.” Ginny said. “At some point, I’m going to have to work.”

“Me, too.” Steve said, sipping his second coffee. “Just not yet. Did you see the bathtub?” He gave her a suggestive smile.

“I did. Bathtubs are supposed to be for getting clean, not getting dirty.” she said.

“Why can’t they be for both?” he asked, giving her an innocent look.

“Okay, then. Come on, husband. I’ll scrub your back for you.” she said, getting up.

“Is it husband? Or fiancé?” he asked, getting up to follow her. He didn’t have his crutches, so he hopped behind her.

“For the rest of the world, it’s fiancé,” she said, “but I think we know that this is permanent,” She turned to look at him, suddenly uncertain, “don’t we?”

He put his arms around her and held her tightly to him. “Yes, we do.” he said.

As they were filling the tub, Steve said, “So yesterday and the wedding are just formalities?”

She looked up at him. “I told you that marriage happens in the heart not in a church. And you are so married, dude!” she said, jokingly.

He gave her a look of wonder. “Yeah, I guess I am.” She smiled back at him, then stood up, threw off the robe and pulled down the spaghetti straps on her nighty and let it fall to the floor to be followed by the panties.

She posed for him with her arms up over her head. “And this is your prize!” she whispered before stepping into the hot water. She waited for him to slip in opposite before turning on the jets.

They sat for a few minutes letting the foaming water wash away their cares.

“Maybe we should do an underwater birth with Dot.” Ginny said.

“Do people do that?” Steve asked, surprised.

“Yeah. It’s supposed to be a soothing transition from the waters of the womb into the real world.” she said. They hadn’t talked at all about the birth, but now was as good a time as any.

“Sounds like you’ve been doing some research.” he said.

“A little bit. Enough to have an idea of what I want.” she said.

“Tell me.” he said.

“Well…we started this together and I don’t want to finish it alone, so you’d definitely have to take part.” she started.

He pulled a scared face, but said, “Okay. Don’t know how much help I’ll be.”

She smiled at him and said, “You’ll be fine. We’ll get a doula. She’ll help.”

“Doula? he said. “I’ve heard of a mid-wife.”

“Oh, we’ll have a mid-wife, too. But she takes care of the medical side. Getting the baby out safely.” Ginny said. “The doula is there more to help the parents though…she’s a birth coach. Most parents go through the process once or twice. A doula trains at and has usually assisted at dozens of births, so she’s a better judge of what’s normal and can help the parents with breathing techniques to ease the birth pains.”

Steve smiled a little shyly and looked up at Ginny. He’d been doing his research, too. Women didn’t die in childbirth as often as they did in his time, but it did still happen.

“Do you want a home birth?” he asked, a little apprehensively.

“I don’t know.” she answered, honestly. “Part of me does…totally natural appeals to me. But then I’ve watched a few live births and I’m not sure I won’t be begging for drugs by the end.” She looked up into his steady blue gaze.

“I’d prefer hospital.” he said. “We don’t know how the enhancement will pass on to the baby and I’d like you to be where you have medical help if you need it.” His voice was soft but firm.

She smiled at him. He was obviously scared and she didn’t blame him. She’d been trying to push her own fears out of sight, but they were there. She shifted in the tub so she was sitting between his legs and she could lean back against him and he could wrap her in his arms.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s scared.” she said, letting her hand float on the frothing water.

“No, you’re not the only one.” he said. “The thought that I could lose both you and Dot is haunting me.” His hand was resting on her belly and she covered it with hers.

“Then let’s talk about something more pleasant. Do you want a girl or a boy?” she asked.

“Definitely a boy.” he said. “Raising a girl seems really daunting.”

“But little girls adore their daddies. Boy tend to be more attached to their moms.” she observed.

“That’s okay. At least I’d know how to play with a boy. I’d be afraid to do or say the wrong thing with a girl and screw it all up.” he said.

“We still mystify you, don’t we?” she said, jokingly.

He laughed. “Definitely, and I’d rather not be outnumbered in my own home!”

She laughed, too. “I guess that’s something else we need to talk about. Living arrangements.” She sighed. “About the only thing I see working for us is me moving in with you at HQ. I’d still have to be in New York part of the time, but I should be able to do most of my work from there.”

“You’re right. I have to be there and if you can work it out to be there, too, most of the time, we could actually start to live our lives together.” he squeezed her tightly. “I’ll talk to them about putting kitchen facilities into my quarters. I still owe you a home-cooked meal!”

“I guess one of us should let our apartment in the city go, then.” she said. “Maybe both of us. I can stay with Papa or Tony and Pepper…” She let her voice trail off.

“You keep your apartment. We may need a refuge from Avenging and I’d like to have a little love nest where we don’t have to be with anyone else, or worry about people coming in to bring breakfast.” Steve was still disturbed by that.

“Yeah, that was weird.” Ginny agreed. “Okay, so we’re in agreement. I’ll move in with you; you’ll let your apartment go; I’ll schedule myself in New York for a couple days a week, probably around Thursday, so I can still work with the kids. Sound good?”

“Sounds great. Give me a couple of weeks to get the construction done at my place before you move up. I’ll probably have to move out while it’s being done. And I can give notice at my place this week before I go back.”

Steve leaned forward to kiss the back of Ginny’s neck. “It feels good to be moving forward.” he said, quietly.

Ginny was quiet for a moment.

“It’s kinda scary to me.” she said, after a few moments. “This has all happened so fast. I didn’t even know you in the summer, and it’s not even Thanksgiving, yet, and for all intents and purposes, we’re married and about to start a family. It’s a little…overwhelming.”

Steve paused for a moment. Was she having second thoughts?

“Not that I’d change anything…well, not most of it, anyway.” Ginny added.

“But you’d change some things…?” Steve asked.

“Yeah…I think I could have done without losing you for three days and I’m sure that you could have waited awhile to deal with my death issues.” she said.

Steve thought for a moment. “I’d rather not have had that breakdown and have to share my horror stories with you.” he said.

“I’d rather not have gotten pregnant quite so soon.” Ginny said, softly. “That’s probably the biggest thing that’s freaking me out. Sometimes I feel like I can barely take care of myself. Whose idea was it to put me in charge of another human being?”

Steve chuckled. “You won’t be alone in this.” he said. “But you’re right. I think we would be in a very different place if not for Dot.”

Ginny sighed. “Oh, well. No point crying over spilt milk, as they say. This is where all of it has led us and I’m not sorry. I just sometimes wish we were on the merry-go-round instead of the roller coaster.”

The water was getting cold, so Steve pushed the plug and they got out, both chilled and covered in goosebumps.

Once they were warmly wrapped in their robes again, they sat down on the edge of the tub and putting their arms around each other, sat quietly with their own thoughts.

Finally, Ginny got us and said, “Too many things to think about and I’m not getting anywhere.” She offered him her hand to get up. “I need you to make me forget.” Her voice was soft and seductive.

Steve took her hand to stand and kissed her. Ginny ran her hands down his back and with both hands on his behind, pressed him against her belly. He ran his hand up her side to cup her breast through the thick material of her robe.

“Come on.” Steve said, against her lips. “Let’s get into bed before I fall over.”

 

Half an hour later, Ginny had nothing on her mind except the warm feel of Steve’s body next to hers. She lifted her head a little bit and saw that it was almost noon. She didn’t have any meetings that day, but had to prep for a presentation the next day and another meeting with HR to see what they could tweak in the recruiting process to get candidates that were a better fit.

“I hate to leave you here, but I have to work.” she said, sadly. She propped herself up on one elbow to kiss him.

“Me, too.” he said, pulling a pouty face, then pulling her down for another kiss.

Ginny rolled out of bed and started hunting for clothes. Yoga pants and a sweatshirt would do fine; she was just going to be sitting at her computer.

Steve pulled on jeans and a sweater and went over to his desk to turn on his tablet. The desk was big enough for both of them to work and Ginny set her tablet up across from him.

They worked together quietly for half an hour, then Steve got up abruptly, grabbed his phone and headed for the door to talk where he wouldn’t disturb her work.

When he came back, he was agitated.

“I have to go. We’re pulling the team together here and upstate for a conference call.” She looked up at him, concerned.

“Bad news?” she asked, standing up.

“Yes, but at least it’s some news.” he said, gathering his phone and tablet. He leaned in to kiss her. “I shouldn’t be long. Tony wants us to have dinner with them tonight.”

She smiled at him. “Love you.” she said as she walked him to the door. He kissed her quickly at the door and headed down the hall.

Ginny watched him disappear around a corner before getting back to her presentation.

She worked away the afternoon, pausing occasionally to stretch out stiff muscles and when she was finally done and checked the time, it was almost 6 o’clock! She was a little worried that Steve hadn’t come back or texted her.

She sent him a quick text asking where dinner was. His response took a minute to come back.

 

Still in conference

Come to Tony’s office. We’ll eat here.

 

Wow, she thought. This couldn’t be good.

She put on something a little bit more presentable…jeans and a sweater…and went to find Steve.

Nick was there along with Tony and Steve, and they had the world council up on the screens.

Ginny peeked in and caught Steve’s eye and he motioned for her to come in. He got up and met her at the door, leaving Tony and Nick to deal with the five members of the council.

“Anything new?” she asked after Steve kissed her quickly in greeting.

“Yes and no.” he said, quietly. “Lots of chatter but still nothing concrete; nothing we can pinpoint. Nat and Clint are over there now trying to get us a clearer picture.”

Steve led her to the seat between his and Tony’s.

One of the council members stopped what she was saying and turned to Ginny.

“Hello.” she said.

“This is Geneviève St. Pierre, one of our agents.” Steve said in introduction. Then he introduced the members of the council. They all greeted her formally before moving on with their discussion.

Ginny didn’t understand most of their references, but she listened politely and a few minutes later, they were done and the screen disappeared.

They were all quiet for a moment, but Ginny noticed how worried they all looked.

There was a knock on the door and dinner was brought in. Pepper followed and pulled a chair between Tony and Ginny.

The dinner conversation was polite but strained. Steve kept touching her as though to convince himself she was there and safe. Tony was doing the same with Pepper. Ginny looked at Pepper and she looked concerned as well.

The main course was chicken and Steve mouthed, “Sorry.” to her. But no comment was made when she took more vegetables and salad and a small piece of chicken, which she pushed to the side of her plate.

As dessert and coffee were being brought in, Pepper held up a hand to the waiter and said, “I think Geneviève and I will take our dessert in the theatre and let these boys get back to work.” She looked at Ginny for confirmation and Ginny nodded. It was obvious they were an intrusion here.

Steve and Tony spoke over each other; “Are you sure, Pep?”, “You don’t have to leave.”

“Yes, we do.” Ginny said, standing up. “If we don’t leave you to your work, we’ll never see you home tonight.” She leaned down to kiss Steve.

As she and Pepper were walking towards the theatre, Pepper said, “I haven’t seen Tony like this in a long time. Have Steve told you what’s going on?”

“Only that the threat is in Europe and every lead they get seems to vapourize before they can make sense of it.” Ginny said.

“Most of what they do have seems to be pointing to France, but there’s enough chatter about Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy, too, not to be able to rule them out.” Pepper said. “Let’s hope they can make sense of it before something happens.”

They had reached the theatre and Pepper pushed open the door and held it for Ginny.

There was seating for 15 people in comfortable-looking, overstuffed armchairs with trays that could be pulled out for food and drink.

As they took the best seats in the house, their desserts and coffee arrived.

“I think we’ll have Port as well.” Pepper said. There had been no wine at dinner so the guys could keep their heads clear, but Pepper felt the need for a little blurring around the edges right now.

Pepper brought up the on-screen menu. “We’ve got the newest Bond film, a couple of rom-coms and some TV shows. Do you watch ‘Elementary’?” she asked Ginny.

“Actually, I do. But I haven’t had a chance to watch any of this season yet.” Ginny answered.

“It’s only a couple of episodes in. Do you want to catch it up?” Pepper asked.

“Sounds perfect.” Ginny said, accepting a glass of Port from the waiter.

So they watched Sherlock and Watson solve mysteries for the next couple of hours. By then it was getting late and Pepper had an early meeting.

“You can stay and watch if you want.” Pepper said, handing her the remote.

Ginny shook her head. “I should head for bed, too.”

“You may end up sleeping alone tonight.” Pepper warned her as they left the theatre.

Ginny sighed. “I get that.” she said, with a smile. “I know what I signed on for.”

Pepper smiled back at her. “If you ever need to talk, I’ve been dealing with this for a while.” and she gave her a hug before turning away to find her bed.

Ginny spent the next half hour repacking and then getting ready for bed.

She had just finished brushing her teeth when Steve came in. She met him near the bathroom door and he wrapped her in his arms and just held onto her.

After a moment, Ginny said, “What do you need, love?”

He pressed his lips against her hair and breathed her fresh scent deep into his lungs.

“I need to bury myself in you and leave today behind.” He pushed her back and cupped her cheek looking deeply into her eyes. Then he pressed his mouth against hers and kissed her deeply. “I just need you.” he said, breathlessly and kissed her again, starting to undress her.

The thought passed briefly through his head that she may not want this, but his need was too great and he pushed the thought away.

They were only half undressed when they fell onto the bed. After a few frenzied moments, the rest of their clothes were on the floor and Steve rolled on top of her and found his mark.

It bothered him to be such a brute with her. He tried to slow down, to make sure Ginny was with him, but she urged him deeper and when he didn’t respond, she bit his neck. He grunted in pain and slammed into her hard, making her cry out. Then he thrust himself home and home again until he emptied himself into her with a final groan that seemed torn from his throat.

It was exactly what he needed but he hated that this type of lovemaking satisfied him. He stilled and lay with his head beside hers until his breathing stopped coming in ragged gasps.

He didn’t want to look at her. “You bit me.” he said accusingly into her ear.

Ginny gently kissed the spot she had bitten. “Baby, there is a time for slow and sensual lovemaking and there is a time to fuck.” She was trying to turn her head so she could see him. He finally lifted his head to look at her.

She stroked her cheek. “You needed me.” she said, simply.

“It just feels…like I used you.” he said, quietly, stroking hair off of her face.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I needed you so badly, I didn’t stop to see what you wanted or needed.” he said.

“I showed you what I needed.” she said, kissing the bite mark again. “You have to trust me…I won’t let you use me. But if something makes you feel bad, don’t do it.”

“I tried to slow down, and you bit me!” he said, with a little smile.

“You didn’t need slow and neither did I. I’ve been worried and missing you since supper. I just wanted us to come together like a thunder clap…fast and furious. If I read that wrong, I’m sorry.” Ginny said.

Steve kissed her long and passionately; long enough to stir desire again.

This time, he was slow and careful; Steve used his mouth and hands to arouse her almost to the edge before quickening his pace to bring them both to a long and shattering climax.

They lay together for a long moment catching their breath.

“You weren’t wrong,” Steve said, “but I needed this, too.“ He raised his head and kissed her gently on the lips.

She smiled up at him and stroked his cheek. “I love you so much.” she whispered.

He kissed the tip of her nose and said, “I’ve kept you up. I think it’s time for sleep.” He reached for the tissues and they were soon curled up around each other, ready for sleep.

“Steve.” Ginny said quietly just as he was drifting off.

“Hmmm?” he responded.

“Are you still going to be able to make Sylvie’s wedding?” she asked.

It was a long time before he answered. “I don’t know.” He kissed the back of her neck. “It’s day by day right now. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“’Kay.” she said, drowsily, and closed her eyes.

 

In the morning, Steve was up and showered before Ginny even moved. He leaned over the bed to kiss her goodbye and said, “Come and find me before you go to work.” and then he was gone.

Ginny took her time getting ready and then went down to the kitchen for breakfast before asking Jarvis where Steve was. He was in the conference room with Nick and Tony in conference with the council.

She sent him a quick text.

 

I’m about to take off, but you’re busy.

I’ll see you tonight…?

 

Ginny headed back to their room to pack up and head to work. She was almost ready to go and she still hadn’t heard back from Steve.

When she turned to go, he was at the door.

She smiled at him. “I would have come to you.” she said.

“I know.” He came across the room and pulled her into a hug. “I have to go back.” he said and pulled back to see her face. “I leave in a couple of hours.”

She looked up at him with serious brown eyes and said, “I guess the honeymoon is over, eh?” She gave him a smile but it wasn’t very convincing.

His smile back was sad. He kissed her gently on the lips.

“I’m still hoping to be able to leave Thursday afternoon or evening. Tony’s chopper will be ready to bring you up on Thursday either way. If I can’t go, you can still take the jet up to Toronto.” he said, quickly.

He pulled her back in to his embrace and they stood together for a long time.

“I miss you already.” Ginny whispered.

“I was hoping for one more night,” Steve said, pressing his lips to the top of her head, “especially since I was so late last night.”

He pulled back and pressed his lips to hers for a long sweet kiss. He pulled back to look at her and shook his head. “I’ve got to go. I’m sorry.”

She reached up and stroked his cheek and said, “Go be commander-y. Call me later and we can catch up.” She smiled at him, more convincingly this time. “I love you.”

He kissed her quickly and said, “I love you, too. You’re not upset?”

She laughed. “I’m not happy, but I’m not upset. I love all of you, even Captain America.” she said. “We’ll talk later. I’m going to pack up so I can go home tonight.”

He nodded, then kissed her one more time before saying, “I’ll call you tonight.” and leaving.

Ginny took a few more minutes to gather her clothes and Steve’s and pack before heading out. She hoped he’d be okay with her packing for him.

 

The day passed quickly and Ginny sat down with Jess at the end of it to start to work on scheduling for her to spend more time upstate. The next couple of weeks looked challenging with meetings and interviews already set up, but beyond that, it seemed to be coming together. It looked like she could come back to the city Tuesday night and head back upstate either Thursday night or Friday morning. She still had to discuss it with her foundation team, but at least on paper, it worked.

She got a call from her dad seeing if she and Steve were available for dinner. When she told him Steve had gone back, but she’d love to come by, Claude was overjoyed to have her to himself.

Ginny stopped on the way to her dad’s for wine and dessert and was looking forward to an evening with her dad and uncle.

 

The evening was so much fun! Claude and Jean-Guy had been friends for so many years, they even finished each other’s jokes! Ginny laughed so hard, she cried! And to listen to, and speak, French again for the evening was such a joy.

It was getting late and she hadn’t heard from Steve yet, so she sent him a quick text.

 

Everything okay? I’m at Papa’s. I’ll call when I get home.

 

His answer was quick.

 

Still in meetings. I’ll break when you call. Love you.

 

She just sent back a heart (♥) and continued visiting with her dad and uncle.

It was almost midnight when she got home, but she said she’d call.

 

I’m home. Can you talk?

 

She texted him. It was a few minutes before her phone rang.

“Hi.” she said, shyly.

“Hi.” he said back, with a smile in his voice. “Did you have fun with your dad and your uncle?”

“I did!” she said, excitedly. “They are so funny together! And we spoke French all night…now my mouth and my face hurts from laughing and speaking French!”

He laughed. “Sorry I missed it.” he said.

“You sound more cheerful than I would have thought after the last few days.” she said.

“Well, we’re finally starting to get somewhere; at least it seems we are. Today wasn’t as frustrating as yesterday.”

“Good, ‘cause I’m not there to help you with that.” she said.

“Yes, I know, and I miss you already.” he said. “Thanks for packing for me. I definitely didn’t expect that.”

“Well, I was packing anyway…” she said, trailing off.

“It was a welcome surprise. I didn’t leave myself much time to pack, so I would have just thrown everything into my bag. This was much better!” Steve said.

“So Thursday looks like a go.” he said. “Let Tony know what time you’ll be at Stark Tower for the chopper and it’ll be waiting…and I’ll be waiting at this end.”

“Perfect.” she said. “I went over my schedule for the next couple of weeks with Jess and it looks like I’ll still just have weekends, but by December, we’ve got me scheduled for just Wednesday, Thursday with maybe a late Tuesday or early Friday commitment. Do you think your construction will be done by then?”

“I talked to Fury tomorrow and I’ll make sure it’s done by then!” Steve answered, enthusiastically. Then he paused for a long time.

Finally, Ginny said, “Babe, are you okay?”

He chuckled. “Guess I didn’t believe this would ever really happen.” he said.

She smiled. “Well, it hasn’t happened yet. Murphy’s Law is bound to cause us some problems.” she said.

“But we’re on our way.” he said, firmly.

Then Ginny shared the gossip and news from her dad and uncle, and Steve talked a little bit about the issues in Europe. It was after 1 am when they finally hung up.

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