Steve was beginning to regret moving in with Bucky more and more. The shared help was nice, the company was better, and having a little money after the whole month had passed served for things he couldn't otherwise have.
But the three flights of stairs between the ground floor and their little apartment, that was a problem. And having just dropped all the groceries between sweaty, shaking hands, that didn't help.
There was the dull, heavy thud of boot on tile, and he heard someone make an excited noise, swoop down and pick up something from the floor. Steve tried to gather things as quickly as possible before the booted person rounded the corner, picking up things as he went.
Before Steve could say anything he looked up - she, looked up, because no man's features were ever so delicious. She had a little nose, and full pink cheeks, with blue eyes set by impossibly dark, long lashes. She was in some kind of tinsmith gear, smudged in grease and oil and soot, with high waist grey trousers tucked into her boots, long sleeved shirt unbuttoned at the top to reveal a pronounced collarbone, a full bust, and yet more dark smudges.
"Bad day?" she said, and a bright grin cracked from behind all the muck.
"It's shaping up that way." he wheezed, and picked himself up off the floor.
"Well, good news is I wasn't gonna take a bite outta anything until I got home." she went up the final few stairs, tipped the wares into his paper bag. "Bad news is, I'm off nine hours from the shop and my hands are probably ten kinds of nasty. Sorry."
"No, no, it's not a problem." he said, and hugged the bag to his chest on one side, trying to hike up his backpack on the other. The bag tipped, but her hand came out to catch whatever fell out, whip quick, using her elbow to balance it back against his chest. "Thanks. Again."
"That's okay." Her hair was black - or that could've been grease, he wasn't sure - but it was in flyaways mostly tucked under her cap. He guessed from the tail at the back it was long. "You live around here?"
"Just there." he nodded towards the door to his apartment, 3F, and swallowed back a mouthful of heavy breathing. She wasn't breathing nearly half as hard, it wasn't fair.
"I'll give you a hand then." she looked back at the stairwell. "Them's a lot of stairs."
"Yeah." he exhaled a laugh that was more cough than anything, but if she noticed, she didn't comment. He managed to open the door without dropping anything, nearly succeeding when he shoved the squeaky hinge with his hip and shoulder. She handed him the things without breaching the doorway, eyes focused on the door.
"Huh." she said, and tapped them, reaching into her pocket to draw out a screwdriver. In ten seconds, she was done, and tested the door by swinging it open and shut. It made less noise, certainly, but it still didn't quite line up with the frame. "Say, if you wanted this fixed, I've got some time to kill."
She didn't appear any kind of impolite, just brash, straight forward. Steve was reminded a lot of Bucky. With the grin and the dark hair, it was almost like looking at Bucky's little sister.
"If you fix my door," he said (between panting, because he was still a little breathless after three flights of stairs,) "I'm going to have to insist on making you a cup of tea."
The grin was even brighter, when she turned it back to him, digging around in the belt that hugged her hips.
"Well, I won't say no to that. I ran out a couple days ago and haven't had the chance to go get my own."
"Work. Started off a few of the boys got real sick, one moved states for better work, then another has just got herself pregnant and resigned yesterday." she pulled out a hammer, chisel, screwdriver, and unscrewed the rest of the hinge with the rest of the tools shoved in the front of her overalls, before swapping them and knocking the door loose from the hinge. It took her a few minutes to catch the door and lay it out, bring a ruler out of her back pocket to get an idea of how far off it should sit.
Steve boiled the kettle, watching her while he got the only two matching cups they owned out of the cupboard.
"It's a fairly busy business, what with the war. Mind, I like making things, I'm -" she grunted upon lifting the door, but shoved her boot under the jam and tilted it without listening to him offering his help. "-pretty good with my hands, my daddy was in woodwork and he thought I should at least be able to handle a few things 'fore he left. He's in the 107th, somewhere, fightin' Nazis, sends me home a coupla things he makes along the way, sometimes."
"Do you need help?" he said weakly.
"Nah. Thanks, but -" she whacked it into place, and screwed the initial hinges to the frame, before the door. "-see, I get along pretty swell with the rest of the boys and there ain't many girls, cuz of the heavy lifting and the bullet making and - well, it ain't pretty work, but I mean, everything helps, right?"
"Right." he said, and inwardly deflated, because he couldn't help the war effort, but she could.
She lifted the thing on the top of her boot, then leveled it out, and fixed it, stepping back a minute, to see if it'd work. When she swung it, there was no painful, hair raising shriek. When she stepped into the apartment and closed it, it clicked into the lock neatly.
"Wow." Steve said. "That was quick."
"Pretty simple, when you got a handybelt full of things it needs." she eyed the chain and lock, which now wouldn't reach, as it had been set while the door had been terrifyingly off center. She stretched out the chain as far as it would go, but it couldn't quite fit the groove of the lock. "Aw, hell. I can get that."
Steve thought she might be selectively deaf, because she didn't listen when he said he could do it, just made about prying the lock from the wall and fixing it back into place before he'd even made the tea.
"There." she tugged on the lock to make sure it was secure, then opened the door, only to see Bucky standing there with his hand out for the handle.
"Company, Steve?" he cocked both eyebrows, gave her a long once over.
"She fixed our door." Steve said in his defense. "This is my roommate Bucky. Bucky, this is, uh-... Sorry, I don't know your name."
"Oh yeah. Darcy." she stuck out her hand to Bucky, who was similarly smudged and grotty, only his was more saw dust and sweat than oil or grease. He had a fine sand in his hair, making it appear lighter, all pushed back from his face but a wayward lock that hung over his brow. "Friends call me Moxie."
"Moxie, huh?" Bucky's grin matched hers. "Well, sure is nice to meet you. I'm Bucky. That's Steve."
"Hi." he said, and lifted the sugar bag, nearly empty. "How many?"
"None, thanks." she said, gratefully stepping back into the apartment. She stuck her hand out to Steve too. "Darcy, Moxie, whatever you like."
"Steve." he said, and found her hand rough, the grip careful against his own. He didn't know many dames who weren't in retail or maybe even desk jobs to help the effort, but then again, he didn't know many dames. Her hands were warm, and he liked that. "Thanks again, for the, uh, door, Darcy. Would've got around to it at some stage."
"I've no doubt." she didn't even use the handle to the cup, just picked it up around the rim and sipped it, sighing and leaning her hip against the counter. "That's a good cup of tea, by the way."
He ducked his head.
"Thanks." he said, and wondered if his mouth had anything better to offer.
Bucky just quietly closed the door, making suggestive faces at him over her shoulder. Steve was next to mortified - it was just a favor, he hand't invited her back here with ill intentions - he hadn't actually invited her back there at all.
"So you study?" she nodded to his bag, taking a big draw from her cup.
"Yeah." he turned back to making his own tea, with milk and sugar. "Buck, you wanna cup?"
"Nope, just gonna-" he stuck his head around the door, gave Steve a pointed look. "-take a nap, you know, long day. You two behave yourselves."
Steve was staring at him, wondering why he'd be so obvious, when Darcy said:
"I'll try my damnedest, but no guarantees."
Bucky just snickered and retreated to his room, the door clicking shut, because at least that one worked.
From there, Steve had a decent conversation with the girl - she seemed genuinely interested in his art degree, interested to know what kind of art he could do, be it architectural or still life, painting or drawing. Steve had a particular knack for abstract art; mostly animals doing human things, wearing clothes or sitting at an office.
She had no mind for that, but could draw up mechanical designs in a heart beat. Structure, neat lines, angles. That was something he couldn't quite get in his architecture, the elusive neatness that was dragging down his grade.
"Well, of course, you're welcome to help," she said, and Steve could feel the coil of warmth in his belly all but wilt. She thought him needy. Why wouldn't she? "I mean, I'd like to be able to draw something nice, for once, so... If you can show me how to draw something nice, I'd be glad to show you how to get those lines down on paper."
That made it better, somehow, made it feel less like help, more like a swap, and equality. He liked the sound of it, and agreed, sticking out his hand so he had an excuse to touch hers again. She drained whatever was in her cup, and made the deal, beaming at him.
"Listen, it's gettin' kinda late, I should go. I have Sunday off, if you wanna meet up?"
"Yeah, me too." he blinked. "I- have Sunday off. I'd like to meet you. If you want. For drawing."
"Yeah, of course," she didn't laugh at him, and that was nice. "I'll - probably be done my chores and errands and things by about twelve. Meet you downstairs around lunch? Maybe twelve thirty. We'll say twelve thirty, that gives us a little room to wiggle."
"Wiggle room is good." he said, and shut his eyes, shaking his head. "That - I didn't mean - I wanted to wiggle with you. Not that I wouldn't-"
"Steve." she said, and cocked her brows, smile on her mouth.
"Twelve thirty sounds great, I'll see you then, Darcy."
She smiled, and put her cup in the sink, before she exited with a sound tap on the hinges, just double checking.