"Why does this have to be a surprise?"
"Don't you like surprises?"
"Of course I do. Surprises are awesome. I'd just like to have a little idea about what to expect. So I can, um, dress appropriately." What a lame excuse.
Steve seemed to agree. "Does it really matter what you wear? I've already seen you in your underwear." His tone, though light, was edged with flirtation.
"Stop thinking about that, perv."
"What if I don't want to?"
If he wasn't careful about what he said, Darcy wouldn't be responsible for her actions. Since they hadn't even gone on their first real date yet, she didn't think he'd appreciate her pouncing on him the next time she saw him. It was going to be so hard not to, though. "Watch it, buddy, I know how to box."
He laughed. "I bet you've got a taser, too."
"That's just for backup, in case I can't talk you into giving up. Why don't you tell me what you're wearing so I'll have an idea? I don't want to show up in heels only to find out we're going rock-climbing or skydiving or something."
"I don't recommend heels. There actually might be a little tiny bit of rock-climbing."
Was he serious? "Are you serious?"
"Not the kind with ropes and things. More walking on rocks than climbing."
"That sounds far more acceptable. Not as acceptable as knowing exactly what we're going to do would be…"
"Just don't get your hopes up too much. I don't want you to be disappointed." He sounded worried.
"With you? Never."
Darcy heard a sigh from the other end, and when he said, "I'll be there at 6:30," she heard the relief and warmth in his voice.
This time Darcy was fully dressed when she opened the door. Steve held out a bouquet of bright flowers and looked bashful. She put the flowers in a plastic truck-stop souvenir mug, carefully locked and bolted the door, and stuck her arm through Steve's.
When they got to Central Park Steve seemed to get even more nervous. "Stop it," she ordered. "There's pretty much nothing that could happen that would disappoint me. Got it, Steven?"
"Yes, ma'am," he said obediently, relaxing somewhat.
Having said that, Darcy was a little disappointed when she saw Tony and Bruce sitting at the top of a large rock. Upon seeing them, Bruce nudged Tony. "Time to go."
Tony assumed a wounded air. "Already? I thought we were having a moment, Banner. Don't you love me anymore?"
The two men stood and vacated the rock. "All yours," Tony said, patting Steve on the shoulder. "Some hipster kids wanted to take it over, but the Other Guy said hi and they hit the road."
Bruce rolled his eyes. "Tony gave them some money and told them to go buy crappy beer and talk about bands no one's ever heard of somewhere else."
"You are a fun-ruiner." Tony smiled fondly at Darcy and the two men left, bickering over the definition of "fun." Steve took Darcy's hand and helped her up the gentle slope of the rock.
A blanket was spread out with a cooler and a wicker hamper on it. Darcy sat down as Steve opened the hamper and pulled out sandwiches, and drinks from the cooler. They talked about the park and the people passing by as they ate. After they'd finished, when the sun was going down over and between the skyscrapers, Steve produced two large Styrofoam cups and a pair of straws from the cooler.
"I didn't know what you'd want, so I got a chocolate malt and a strawberry milkshake."
She took the malt. "No fair using spies to plan dates."
"Fine. Next time you get to plan."
"What makes you think there'll be a next time?" Darcy raised one eyebrow and placed the straw between her lips, sucking up the malt (and making a mental note to find out where it came from).
He knelt in front of her, plucked the cup from her hands, and kissed her, threading his fingers through her hair like he'd been wanting to do for months. And she sighed and laid a hand on his bicep.
Maybe next time they could go to some vintage stores. Especially records; she was kind of into Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters lately. Record shopping would be great. She pulled away. "I have an idea—"
He cut her off. "Then I guess I'll have to try harder," he said, and did. Darcy grinned against his lips and threw her arms around his neck and let herself be shut up until their milkshakes melted.