Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel or its characters; this is strictly for my own amusement.
Author's Notes: This is the end, guys! *sniffles* In this final chapter, Peggy and Steve finally go out on a date, Thor and Jane take a big step and later, Steve's lessons in this area may pay off or they may not. I can't believe it's over! Wow, talk about a learning process with this one. Marvel was completely foreign to me, but then I saw Captain America and Thor! and my Muse was completely hooked. What can I say? I love my superheroes and their 'angsty' love affairs. And I cannot wait for the Avengers! I hope you enjoy this final chapter. Please read and review. Thanks, everyone! :D
Chapter 12: Taking That Leap
Steve and Peggy's apartment, a few days later:
Steve had told Peggy he would stay with her for several days while she recuperated from her injuries, but it was more like five days. Before she knew what had happened, a week had passed since her arrival to this century and their 'unofficial' date had finally arrived.
She had to wonder if he remembered their fateful talk just before his plane had crashed. Peggy was almost fully recovered from her injuries, only just a few minor twinges here and there, but she was so ready for their date.
She hadn't taken the time to investigate the neighborhood, but she would do that once they had more time together. She was getting a bit bored, but Steve continued to pamper her as if she were the most special person in the entire world and she felt his love every day.
As she went through the closet hoping to find a nice dress to wear, she found a red dress very similar to the one she had worn that night when she had told Steve she was ready for a dance with the right partner, of course. She had never done anything like that in her life, throwing herself at a man, but he was so worth it. Smiling at the dress, she realized that Steve must have told Natasha about the dress.
"Peggy, I'm home," Steve announced as he came into their bedroom with flowers, and dressed in a suit and tie, looking so handsome, that Peggy had to smile at him. He looked so excited that he took her breath away.
"Well, look at you," she said and smiled. "You look fantastic, Steve." He handed her the roses and she closed her eyes and breathed in the lovely fragrance. "What's the occasion?" She asked with a flirtatious smile, and peaked out at him over the roses.
"You know what the occasion is, and don't pretend that you don't," he said and smiled at her look.
"I really have no idea," she said and waited for him to ask her out again.
"Oh, well, about our date, I have some bad news," he started.
"Oh, no, what is it?"
"The Stork Club no longer exists. It closed over forty years, ago," he told her feeling awful about the news.
Peggy should have been shocked, but she supposed it would have been a miracle it was still open after all this time. "Oh, I see," Peggy sadly replied.
Steve preferred not to talk too much about that time. It was a painful for them and now that the Club was gone, they would have to make new memories, so he abruptly changed the subject. "Oh, I see you found the dress." It was lying on the bed. "Do you like it?"
Peggy took the hint. "Yes, Steve, it's lovely, but I still want to go out and have a little fun. I've been cooped up here for days. Give me ten minutes and I'll be ready," Peggy said and went into the bathroom to change.
"Great! No rush, you know, we have a little time and there's something I wanted to show you before we head out for our date."
"Really? What is it!" Peggy called from the bathroom.
"Just a little surprise!" he replied.
She came out of the bathroom dressed and ready to go, putting on her earrings as she went. The dress fit perfectly. Her high-healed black evening pumps clicked with every step she took along the wooden floor, and her makeup was flawless. She went over to the dresser and checked her hair in the mirror. Steve came up behind her and watched her for a moment.
Her new hairstyle was swept up in a lovely coiffure with wisps of hair down the sides of her face. It was definitely a different look for her in this new century. "Do you like it? I've seen a few styles on the television and I like this one."
Steve was speechless as he found it hard to breathe. The dress hugged her curves to perfection and her perfume wafted to him stirring his senses to other things, driving him crazy. It had been almost two weeks since they had made love and he had been patient because of her injuries, but now.
Peggy glanced at him in the mirror and he wasn't listening and she knew why. Their gazes locked for a moment. "Now Steve," she began. "Our date?" She tried again.
He wasn't listening as his eyes roamed over her curves leaving a fire in their wake. Her breathing increased as she watched him look her over. He came closer, leaned down and kissed her throat close to her ear, then surprise and delight lit up her face as he turned her around, stared into her eyes and said, "Just one kiss, Peggy, just one," he barely got out and then he was kissing her and she kissed him back. He pulled back after a minute, "God, I've missed you, missed this," he murmured as he rained hot kisses down her throat.
The last thing she wanted was to push him away, but she found the strength. "What time is our reservation? What time is dinner?"
"Dinner?" He murmured trying to think, still kissing her throat.
She pulled his arm up and tapped his watch. "Our date, remember? What time is the reservation?"
He came up for air and tried to clear his head. "Eight o'clock," he finally replied.
It was almost seven now, and Peggy refused to let this time get away from them. "Are you ready to go?" She asked then, "But the Club is closed, so where are we going?"
Steve shook his head. "It's a surprise. I'm sure you'll love it," he replied being evasive, but then he pulled her to him again and kissed her quick and full on the lips. "We will finish this later," he told her firmly.
"I'm counting on it," she replied with a flirtatious smile.
Jane's hotel room earlier that same day:
Jane was beginning to panic. Thor would be arriving any minute to take her to the airport, and she would have to pretend that she wanted to leave him, but that was the last thing she wanted. Thinking back on the past several days, he hadn't mentioned his Father, whether he had gone to see him or not, and she was hesitant about bringing up the subject for fear he would tell her that he hadn't changed his mind about their two-year agreement. She dreaded their conversation.
But the past week with him had been a dream come true for her, well, except for her ending up in the hospital, but being here with him, talking to him whenever she wanted face-to-face was wonderful and she didn't want it to end. But it was over. She wanted to cry.
The knock at the door startled her. The last thing she wanted him to see was her face wet with tears. "I'll be there in a minute!" She yelled at the door then ran to the bathroom, wiped her face with a wet cloth and tried to look presentable.
She took a shuddering breath then opened the door. Seeing him standing there so tall and handsome, her heart rate increased like it always did when he was close. "Come in, come in, I'm almost done," she told him and turned quickly from him and tried to pull herself together.
Thor slowly closed the door, smiled at her retreating back and watched her finish packing for a moment. He could see how agitated she was by his being there, but it was probably more than that. He continued to watch her hurriedly come out of the bathroom with her toiletries in hand and wondered again how to tell her his news.
He'd been thinking about their future for days now, well, now that they had a future, and how to ask her to stay there in New York with him. It was big step and a lot to ask. Her work was there in New Mexico, but his work was here in New York. Long distance relationships just don't work and they had so much time to make up for and it didn't want to waste any more time.
He came forward and stopped her with a touch to her arm. "Jane, sit down for a minute, I have a few things to say."
"Alright," she replied, still worried, then closed her suitcase and put it in the corner. She sat down on the bed and watched him for a minute. Then she couldn't take not knowing anymore. "Does this have to do with your Father? Did you go to see him?"
"Yes, I did."
Closing her eyes for a moment, she braced herself for the bad news. "And what did he say?" She asked and held her breath and waited.
He finally let his smile answer for him.
His smile made her relax but only a little. "You're smiling? Does that mean ...?"
"Yes, my Father won't be interfering in my life … our life. We can be together … if we want," he tentatively said waited breathlessly for her answer.
Jane frowned refusing to get her hopes up again. They'd been burned before. "What's the catch?"
He sat down beside her and took her hand. "There's no catch, I promise," he told her.
Her heart began to pound with excitement, but it was hard to believe it was true. "Really?"
"Yes, really," he replied smiling and watched her eyes light up with the news.
"Oh, Thor, that's wonderful news!" she exclaimed, but then she began to worry again. "But my work is in New Mexico and your work is here in New York. How would we make this work?"
"Well, I've been thinking about that and … would you be willing to move here to New York?"
"Move here to New York?" She asked thrilled, but then chewed her bottom lip as if deep in thought. "But I like New Mexico."
"I know you do, but Jane we have a chance, a real chance to make this work. Tell me you want this as much as I do."
"You know I do, Thor," she quickly replied then touched his cheek. "I love you so much," she told him sweetly.
"I love you too," he told her. "Well, will you think about it?"
"Of course, I will. Give me a few days and I'll …" she began but he interrupted.
"You'll come back here to be with me, right?" He quickly finished for her before she had the chance to change her mind.
Jane smiled then looked into his eyes, her decision made ages ago. Second chances don't come around every day. She squeezed his hand again. "We will make this work, Thor. I'll be back in a few days and then we can begin our lives like we should have done so long ago."
He stood up then, took her into his arms holding her close. "You won't regret this, Jane. I promise. Everything is different now. You'll see," he told her firmly and then he kissed her sweetly at first then with more passion.
He picked her up in his arms startling her, so very happy to be with her from now until forever. His kisses became ever insistent and Jane couldn't help responding to him. "Ummm, give a minute to change my flight plans," she told him and smiled at his twinkling eyes.
The cab ride to Peggy and Steve's dinner destination:
The cabbie wouldn't stop talking. Apparently, he was a 'native' New Yorker. Then Steve felt that if they could talk about the Club, then the pain wouldn't be as bad and they could get past it, so he asked the driver for anything he could tell them about "The Stork Club." He turned to Peggy, squeezed her hand and whispered, "We have some time before reservation at 8:00."
Peggy nodded her head, took a deep breath and listened as the cabbie began his story.
The cabbie was only too happy to share his knowledge with the visiting couple.
"The Stork Club was the epitome of American glamour, sophistication and elegance from 1929 until 1965, when it closed. Located at 3 E. 53rd Street, it remained an icon of 20th century American culture until the building was demolished in 1965."
"Go on," Steve told him as he held onto Peggy's hand.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the best and brightest of American culture-makers gathered at the Stork Club; the list of regulars was endless, encompassing the czars of New York society, government figures, royalty, journalists, poets, actors, directors, songwriters and military men. Can you imagine J. Edgar Hoover rubbing elbows with Ernest Hemingway; the Harrimans and the Kennedys seated next to Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin; Carl Sandberg sharing a bottle with Jimmy Durante?"
"No, we can't imagine it," Steve replied, shaking his head. He put his arm around Peggy's shoulder.
It's been gone now for nearly fifty years. In its place is a privately-owned public space, Paley Park, financed by the William S. Paley Foundation and was named by Paley for his father, Samuel Paley. A plaque near the entrance reads: This Park is set aside in memory of Samuel Paley, 1875-1963, for the enjoyment of the public.
And it all began when Sherman Billingsley arrived in New York from Enid, Oklahoma, and started a little bar that became the world's most famous nightspot.(1)
"Here we are, folks," the cabbie announced with a florish.
Steve paid him with a generous tip and thanked him for the story, but before he drove off he asked him to do them a favor. He handed him his cell phone.
"Say cheese," the driver instructed as he took their photo right there in the park. "Enjoy your stay in our city," the cabbie said.
"Thank you, sir for the history lesson. We appreciate it," Steve told the cabbie then shook his hand. After the cabbie left, he watched Peggy for a moment. He came up behind her as they both looked at the park and wondered about the past and how things could have been so different.
It was a small public park, but beautifully decorated and it appeared to be manicured and well cared for, Peggy noted. A wheelchair ramp was positioned on either side of the four steps that lead into the park which was elevated from the sidewalk level. The park displayed a unique blend of synthetic materials, textures, colors and sounds. The wire mesh chairs and marble tables were light and didn't detract from the surroundings. The ground pavement featured rough-hewn stone tiles. The honey locust trees were planted at different intervals, Steve noted. The green of the ivy-covered wall contrasted with colorful flowers, and the white waterfall, cascading down the wall, created a sound barrier to the noise from the street.(2)
The park was lovely and the waterfall in the heart of the city made it feel surreal somehow, but the Club should be there. "I still can't believe it's really gone," Peggy said feeling sad.
"I can't believe it either," he said and took her hand and hoped to cheer her up a little. "Come on let's sit down for a moment. I wanted to give you something."
"Alright, what is it?" Peggy asked curious.
Steve was so nervous. He'd been thinking about this since the moment they had met, well, pretty much from that moment if he were being completely honest with himself. He took a deep breath and began his speech. "Do you remember when you came to me in the bar and, well, I didn't know it at the time, but that was the first time you showed me how much you really liked me, and you looked stunning in that red dress. And me being a complete idiot had no idea what you talking about."
She chuckled, "Don't remind me," she said but then she smiled remembering.
"Well, we've had our talks and I think we understand each other pretty well. That doesn't mean I don't want to continue learning all there is to know about you, Peggy Carter."
Peggy's heart began to pound then. "Steve … what are you getting at?"
He looked around the lovely park and they were at the Stork Club, well sort of; they had their dance, well a little; and he had found the right partner well, almost. He then got down on one knee, took her left hand in his, brought it to his lips and kissed it softly. "Peggy Carter, I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?" Steve asked her quietly then he pulled a ring from his pocket and showed it to her.
Peggy put her hand over her mouth as her eyes filled with tears, and then she nodded her head … and replied, "Yes."
Smiling, he put the ring on her finger, pulled her to her feet and kissed her right there in the park. A few passserby had witnessed the proposal then applauded the lovely scene.
Steve pulled back after a moment, looked at his watch and said, "8:00 o'clock on the dot."
Peggy smiled and pulled him in for another kiss.
Epilogue: A year later in New York City:
Steve and Peggy had just arrived at St. Patrick's Cathedral ready to start the christening ceremony for their two-month old son, Steve 'Bucky' Rogers, Jr. The entire Avengers team was there for this very special occasion, including Jane and Thor, who graciously consented to be the godparents.
Little 'Bucky' Rogers was the image of his father with blonde hair, a strong constitution and sparkling brown eyes. He was really the image of 'both' his parents. It was a lovely ceremony at the church, then they all returned to the 'bunker' to give Bucky a tour of the facility because it wouldn't be a surprise to anyone that one day Bucky would be taking orders from both his parents one day soon …
One day, real soon.
1-The Stork Club, Wiki.
2-Paley Park, Wiki.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed taking this journey with me. I so loved writing this story. It was fun but a challenge too. I always strive to write stories that will challenge me, but also a story that will make me laugh and cry. And this one was it. I hope you felt the same way. Thanks again to all who reviewed and 'chatted' with me over the past few months. I so enjoyed our talks. Please review this final chapter. Thank you all so much. Until next time, happy reading!
Oh, one more thing! My first shipper love is about to be put through the ringer again. "Clois"! My Superman Returns story has just begun. It's called "Embracing Destiny" and it's a continuation of "Now or Never"! Check it out.
Until next time, happy reading! Take care, everyone. Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!