Title: Everyday Kind of Love
Author: Keira Marcos
Prompt: First Kiss (Fluff Bingo 2019)
Relationship: Evan “Buck” Buckley/Eddie Diaz
Warnings: Grammarly Beta’d – it went about like you’d expect.
Word Count: 5100
Summary: “Well, if you’re not terrible in bed…” Buck trailed off and grinned when Eddie glared at him. “And it’s not because of how pretty she thinks I am…then why did your very attractive and perfect girlfriend dump you?”
* * * *
Buck had been keeping his fucking cool for years. He had it down to a science. Contrary to popular belief, he had impulse control for days because he’d learned the hard way that acting without really thinking it through could cost him everything. He hadn’t given in to an impulse since Bobby had fired him over stealing a fire truck to get laid.
Yes, he’d made some less than stellar decisions along the way, but that wasn’t the point. He did think about things and consider consequences but sometimes the results mattered more to him. Buck took the lessons that life threw at him to heart. Being a firefighter wasn’t a job to him—it was a bone-deep calling. He loved it, needed it, and worked hard for it every single day. There were doubts in other areas of his life—a chasm of potential loneliness stretching out in front of him because he was stupidly in love with a man he couldn’t have. But he didn’t doubt the work he did or his ability to do it. He knew it was the right place for him to be.
Buck also knew when he was welcome, and he knew how he was welcome. He’d always known, and maybe that’s because he’d figured out heartbreakingly early that he wasn’t welcome in parent’s lives in any single way.
He knew he could show up at Bobby’s door any single minute of any single day—comfort, advice, and support was there on offer. Buck knew that Hen was there to talk, to listen, and to share things he really couldn’t bring himself to share with anyone else. Chimney was a rock-solid brother to Buck and had been even before Maddie had come into the picture. And he’s always known that Maddie would be there to fix whatever she could that hurt him.
There were other kinds of knowing, of course. He knew when he was welcome to touch, to kiss, to hold a bit too tightly, to fuck. Buck could stroll into any bar or club in LA and score some ass. He didn’t brag about it, though sometimes he had in the past just to fuck with Chim. He’d cooled it on that front after Abby. Well, he’d cooled the talking about it part, but Buck loved to fuck, so he hadn’t been living like a monk. He just hadn’t been crawling on top of the person he really wanted. He was dealing with it. He was motherfucking maintaining.
Then. Then. The people who dared consider him family just royally fucked him over. If Buck were going to be kind about it, and he isn’t, he’d probably admit they didn’t do it on purpose. Maybe he’d done too good of a job of being utterly indifferent to the whole subject of Eddie’s dumb girlfriend. Okay, she’s not dumb. She’s smart and gorgeous and thoughtful as hell. Buck hates her, which he doesn’t feel good about. He’d even had some therapy about it. The only consolation he has on that subject is that Christopher doesn’t like her, either.
Summer camp was the worst because it had led to this thing—adult events that left him nowhere to go. He couldn’t pretend to get distracted by one of the kids. He couldn’t loudly decide that the children’s table was his favorite place to eat because the other adults suck. He’d been doing it for months to avoid Ana Flores. He’s not proud of it, but he’s dedicated to it.
Now, he’s sitting at a table in a bar getting teased mercilessly about being the only single person on the team, and Chimney had actually suggested setting him up with someone. It was galling. Buck didn’t even have to work to get laid.
Buck sat back with his beer bottle and stared pointedly at Chimney. “Have you even looked at me?”
The conversation came to a halt, and mouths dropped all around the table. Maddie snorted.
“I see you,” Chimney said wryly. “Sitting there, single.”
“Because I want to be single,” Buck said.
“Whatever.” Chimney rolled his eyes.
Buck pulled out his phone. “Okay, let’s play a game. You can go through my Tinder profile and swipe right on my behalf.” He unlocked his phone and put it on the table between them. “Pick the hottest 10 people you can find.”
“Bet?” Chimney questioned.
“How about 20 that over half swipe right back within 15 minutes.”
“I’m in,” Chimney said with a smirk.
Ana Flores was frowning just a little.
Eddie just shook his head and took a sip of his beer as he relaxed in his chair.
“What’s the point?” Ana questioned.
“That being single is a valid choice, and I’m not sitting here alone for lack of options like Chim seems to think,” Buck said. “I haven’t let my relationship status define me since I was in high school.”
“True,” Maddie said with a laugh, and she nudged Buck a little.
Buck focused on Chim, who was staring at the phone in shock. “What?”
“Hmmm…” Chim huffed and put the phone down, and reached for his wallet. “Six dudes and four ladies—all await your response. They all swiped right in less than a freaking minute.”
Buck shrugged. He took the money and his phone.
“That doesn’t bother you?” Ana questioned.
“That he picked men as well as women?”
Buck couldn’t help but squint at her a little. “Nah, I’m pansexual.”
“Oh, I just didn’t know,” she said but smiled in a gracious way that Buck was sure was entirely sincere.
Too bad, he thought, because he figured Eddie would dump her if she was homophobic. He looked around the room, and the woman at the bar who’d been sending him looks since he arrived quirked an eyebrow and tilted her head toward the door. He just smiled and shook his head which earned him a pouty look before she turned her attention elsewhere.
“I wondered when you were going to tell her no,” Eddie said.
“Who?” Chimney asked.
“The incredibly hot blonde at the bar who’s been trying to get him to leave us since he sat down,” Karen interjected and laughed when Chimney turned around so he could look. “Anyone else missing their slut days?”
“I need more wine,” Athena announced and signaled their waitress. “And, no, I don’t miss my slut phase. I’m happily married.”
“At least she’s learned to keep her handcuff key handy,” Hen said, and Athena glared at her.
“We keep one the top drawer of the nightstand,” Bobby said, then flushed when Hen laughed.
“Is commitment a problem for you, Buck?” Ana questioned.
Buck considered that. “What an odd question to ask a first responder.” Eddie cleared his throat a little, and Buck considered apologizing briefly. “I’ve never had a problem committing to any single thing I’ve chosen to dedicate myself to. But you can’t do the job we do without the ability to commit to something bigger than yourself. Every time I put on my uniform, I acknowledge that I might be living my last day on Earth.” He picked up his empty beer bottle and passed it easily to the waitress, who set another down for him. “Thanks, Macy. How’d your midterms go?”
“Great,” the young woman said. “You were right—I just needed to slow down and focus. I get too easily wrapped up. My mom says I’ve been doing that since the first grade.” She pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. “I got a big tip to deliver this. Please put it in your pocket, at least.”
Buck took it and laughed. “I won’t even throw it away until I get home.”
“Thanks, you’re a rock star.”
She delivered Athena’s wine as Buck tucked the note into the front of his jeans.
“I don’t get it,” Ana announced and leaned forward. “You’re so pretty—why don’t you date?”
Buck flushed, and everyone started to laugh. “Wow.”
“I mean.” She huffed and set aside the beer she’d barely drank. “I’m sorry. I obviously shouldn’t drink ever.” She leaned into Eddie, who was still laughing.
“You want a real answer?” Buck asked her.
“First, you definitely should not drink if half a beer makes you say things you feel you shouldn’t.” He shrugged when she tried to glare at him but failed adorably to do so. “Second, dating is easy. Sex is easier. Love is hard. I have sex whenever I want. Which is, frankly, often. Several times a week if I’m in the mood for it.” He ignored the tut of disapproval that earned him from Athena. “But I’m not going to date to just to have someone in my life. If I’m going to invest myself in a person—they have to be the right one. There’s a difference between wanting someone right now and wanting someone every single day. I’ll wait until the everyday person comes along.”
“Then why say no to the hot blonde at the bar?” Ana questioned. “The really hot blonde at the bar. It doesn’t look like she wants a boyfriend.”
“I’ve been there, done that. Twice,” Buck said wryly. “The last time was in the ladies’ room of this actual bar.” He grinned when Maddie gasped in shock. “And you’re right—she doesn’t want a boyfriend.”
“I have a friend,” Ana announced. “He’s gorgeous and teaches…”
“No,” he told her firmly. “I don’t want to meet anyone’s very nice friends.” He shot Chim a look as well. “I mean it.”
Chim frowned at him. “If you don’t have a plus one for our wedding, Evan Buckley, we’re going to send your information to one of those bachelor shows.”
* * * *
“So, you hate Ana.”
Buck looked up from his phone and found Hen standing in front of him. “A lot.”
She dropped down on the couch beside him. “Yeah, clearly.”
“Do you think Eddie noticed?”
“If he didn’t—he’s an idiot,” Chimney muttered. “No wonder you’ve been sitting with the kids at every single party we’ve had for the last six months.” He sat down on the coffee table in front of Buck. “Did she say something to you? Do you know something we don’t?”
“No, and no.” Buck shrugged and returned his attention to his phone. He’d already rejected most of Chim’s picks, but there was one guy that was actually just really charming and perfect. If he weren’t dumb in love, he’d be all over it. Reluctantly, he told the guy he was not quite ready to date, apologized, and closed the conversation.
Eddie came up the stairs at that moment and frowned at him. Hen and Chim shot right up and left the area at a trot.
“Ana dumped me.”
“Weird,” Buck admitted. “Are you terrible in bed or something?”
“I’m fantastic in bed!” Eddie protested.
“Good to know, Diaz,” Bobby called out from his office. “I’ll put it in your file!”
Buck laughed as Eddie blushed furiously. “Is it because she thinks I’m pretty? Does she want to date me instead?”
“If she does, then she totally missed the part where you hate her guts,” Eddie said frankly. “And when did that happen? And why? She’s just a…really good person.”
Buck nodded. “I can’t argue with that.”
“You like everyone,” Eddie said in exasperation. “Like literally. You sent the ex-girlfriend that internationally ghosted you a wedding present!”
“I still think her china pattern was butt ugly,” Buck muttered. “Also? Her thank-you notes weren’t even handwritten.”
Eddie paused briefly then pointed his finger at Buck. “Christopher doesn’t want her around, either. Is that your fault?”
“That’s her fault,” Buck said with a scoff and focused his attention on his phone again.
“If you’re on Tinder—I swear to god,” Eddie muttered as he rubbed his head with both hands. “And you didn’t ask me why she dumped me!”
“Well, if you’re not terrible in bed…” Buck trailed off and grinned when Eddie glared at him. “And it’s not because of how pretty she thinks I am…then why did your very attractive and perfect girlfriend dump you?”
The alarm sounded; Buck jumped up and ran away.
* * * *
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”
“I’m…huh…bleeding all over the place.”
“How were you injured?”
“Sir, have you been attacked by a mountain lion?”
Maddie frowned. “You’ve been attacked by an African lion?”
“Yeah, like from the Lion King,” the man declared. “I’m on the corner of Wedgeworth and Ridge Park—the lion went down Shady Meadow.”
* * * *
Buck watched curiously as animal control carefully put the sedated lioness into their truck. He was glad they hadn’t had to kill her to contain her though he didn’t know if she would survive since she’d attacked someone. It wasn’t her fault some asshole had been keeping her as a pet, and she got out, so the whole situation was irritating and terrible.
“How’s the victim?” he asked as Eddie joined him.
“Stable.” Eddie crossed his arms. “Chatty.” He huffed. “And high as a kite. Apparently, he likes to snort cocaine before his morning run.”
Buck sighed. “Let’s go.”
In the truck, he leaned against the side and stared pointedly out the window to avoid conversation with anyone because he was starting to figure he was actually to blame for Ana dumping Eddie, and that was certainly a violation of the bro code. He should’ve tried harder. He wasn’t even sure what had tipped everyone off, but Buck doubted he’d get through the day without someone letting him know.
A half-hour later, he was helping Bobby with lunch. The older man hadn’t said much, but Buck figured that wasn’t going to hold throughout the entire meal prep, even if they were preparing several pans of lasagna.
“So, you don’t like Ana.”
“Well, she dumped my best friend, who’s apparently fantastic in bed,” Buck said and shrugged when Bobby laughed. “What’s to like?”
Buck started grating parmesan over the lasagna he’d finished assembling. “For future reference, what gave me away?”
“You didn’t smile at her once all night,” Bobby said. “And that’s so out of character, it was actually uncomfortable to watch. Plus, you looked downright disappointed when she didn’t react badly to you telling her you were pansexual.”
“I mean, I wouldn’t want anyone to be a homophobe,” Buck said conversationally. “It’s just…well.” He shrugged. “Some intolerable flaw would’ve made it easier…to justify my epic dislike of a very nice, attractive woman who’s done nothing to me, ever.” He waved the block of cheese. “It wasn’t too much to ask.”
Bobby grinned at him. “I’m going to send you back to therapy.”
Buck huffed. “I’m gonna make a salad.”
* * * *
He braced one hand against the tile and let hot water beat down on his back. The alarm sounded, but he’d been off shift for 10 minutes, so he just stayed where he was as B shift went out to do their thing. He, very briefly, considered jerking off because he was wound up tight, and it would help him relax. But he tried not to do that at work, even when he was alone in the showers.
“You’ve been avoiding me.”
Buck turned his head and focused on Eddie, who was standing in the next stall. The only thing between them was a steel barrier that stopped at mid-chest level for him. “No, I haven’t.”
Eddie glared at him. “A good best friend would be consoling me right now—I got dumped.”
“You look real broken up about it,” Buck said wryly and started to shampoo his hair. “Did you want the consoling to start now, or can you wait until I’ve finished with my shower?”
Eddie’s mouth quirked slightly as if he were fighting a smile. “And if I wanted it to start now?”
“You’re a little overdressed to get consoled in a shower,” Buck said and turned to rinse his hair.
“Well, she was right about one thing—you’re really pretty,” Eddie said and stalked off. “Come to my house for lunch!”
“You mean come to your house and cook you lunch?” Buck shouted after him and laughed when Eddie just waved him off as he disappeared around the corner. “Right. Lunch.”
* * * *
He brought beer because he’s a great best friend and totally knows how to console. Buck’s probably better at consoling than anyone he knows. He’s had a lot of friends who were just really bad at relationships. He let himself into the house, pocketed his keys, and locked the door as he dropped his bag near where Eddie had abandoned his.
“You’d better not actually be trying to cook! I can’t be expected to battle food poisoning and your man pain at the same time.”
“I picked up food—Thai.” Eddie came to the doorway of the kitchen, a bottle of water in hand. He glanced Buck over. “Did you paint those jeans on?”
“Don’t police my clothes, Diaz,” Buck told him and wiggled the paper bag he had in his hand. “I brought beer, so let the consoling begin.”
Eddie huffed and walked into the kitchen. Buck followed him, pulled the beer from the bag, and set two on the counter before putting the rest in the fridge. Shortly, they were seated at the table, and Eddie was moodily drinking his beer and staring at his pad prig pao. Buck considered letting him just stew in his own angst for a bit, but his curiosity wasn’t going to allow it.
“So.” Buck opened his own food and made a pleased sound at the sight of his favorite. “Thanks.”
“I don’t know what Ana’s favorite Thai food is,” Eddie blurted out. “You always get the basil pork stir-fry. I could order food for you at like…50 different restaurants.”
Buck raised an eyebrow. “Okay. I mean—I’m sure I could do the same. Is that a big deal?”
“Apparently.” Eddie stabbed his food with his fork. “Last night, when I drove Ana home, she kept harping on and on about this guy she wanted to set you up with. I told her she needed to respect your choices, and it would be rude to try to ambush you.”
“Totally rude,” Buck agreed.
“She said it would be better if you were in a relationship because you took up too much of my time and attention. She said that Christopher would never warm up to her as long as you were around to…she accused you of basically putting up a buffer between the two of them.” Eddie waved his free hand and frowned. “She said it was your fault Chris doesn’t like her.”
“Well.” Buck pursed his lips and took a sip of beer. “I mean.” He winced and exhaled slowly. “So, here’s the deal. Chris doesn’t like to be coddled, as you know, and I’m sure you told Ana that she should wait until Chris asks for help, but she doesn’t. He said she treated him like he was an invalid, and it embarrassed him the one time she went to the park with him without you.”
“Embarrassed him?” Eddie questioned with a frown. “They were only there for about 30 minutes before I was able to meet with them.”
“And in that time, she basically treated him like he couldn’t do anything by himself. He said he felt ashamed and sad because she said that he couldn’t get on the swings because they didn’t have a handicapped one. He didn’t want you to know, and I should’ve told you, but he asked me to try to keep it a secret. I told him that I wouldn’t lie to you if you brought it up.”
“I…” Eddie rubbed the back of his neck. “I should’ve asked him, but I thought he was just being stubborn because of his mom.”
“Oh, I’m sure that played a part,” Buck assured. “He doesn’t want a stepmom, at all, ever. I told him he should talk to his therapist about that whole thing if he couldn’t talk to you about it. He said he couldn’t since it wouldn’t be fair to you.”
“You could have,” Eddie muttered but then held up a hand when Buck started to speak. “No, that’s not fair, either. I want him to be able to confide in you. Your friendship is very important to him.”
“So she dumped you because…”
“She kept harping on the set up for like the whole drive to her house, and finally I asked her why it was so damn important to her that you be dating someone.” He dropped his fork in his food and picked up his beer. “She didn’t come out and say that me having a pansexual best friend was a problem, but she did say that your sexual promiscuity made trusting me around you difficult.”
Buck laughed. “And you said?”
“I was…pissed, actually. I’ve never cheated. I didn’t even date or have sex with anyone after Shannon left. My marriage was basically over, and I still…well.” He flicked a hand. “So I asked her why the hell she was dating me if she didn’t trust me not to fuck my own best friend.”
Buck made a face. “Not the best choice you could’ve made there. Also, I feel slut-shamed.”
“The judgment was real,” Eddie muttered. “Anyway, she was just sitting there staring at me, and she said it would be best for our relationship if I stopped hanging out with you so much outside of work. I told her that if she was asking me to chose between you and her that she wouldn’t like the answer.” He shrugged. “Then she told me to have a nice life and to not bother to call her again.”
“Have a nice life?” Buck shook his head. “The last person that angry-dumped me told me to fuck off and die, so…you got off lucky.”
“Well, she did send me a few text messages today—telling me how disappointed she is in me as a person and as a man. Apparently, I’m giving up a good thing by being so unreasonable. So, now I’m too bitter to even be sad about her dumping me.”
“Great transition,” Buck praised, and Eddie just shook his head. “You could’ve just told her that you don’t find me attractive.”
“I’m not a liar, either,” Eddie said huffily.
“You think I’m hot?” Buck questioned with a grin.
“Yes, because unlike Chim, I have actually looked at you,” Eddie said tartly. “You’re…you.” He waved a hand and frowned at him.
“Stop looking at me like it’s a problem,” Buck told him. “I work my ass off for this body.”
“Great job,” Eddie muttered and proceeded to plow moodily through his food.
Buck briefly considered just leaving because he could be ignored in his own apartment, but that probably wouldn’t be all that comforting, and he was trying to feel bad about Ana dumping Eddie.
“Technically, you might have dumped her.”
Eddie frowned at him.
“By telling her that you’d choose me over her.”
“Of course I’d choose you. I barely know her, and you’ve been here this whole time, being my friend even when I didn’t deserve it. You love my son like you breathe, and it’s honestly the best thing to ever happen to me. Like I’d give that up for anyone, much less someone my son barely tolerates.” Eddie huffed and retreated from the table with his beer. “This is awful. You’re awful.”
“I’m amazing,” Buck protested. “I’m a great firefighter, fit as hell, good looking, educated, open-minded, technologically savvy, and I can cook. I’m like damn-near perfect over here.” He waved his hands, and Eddie grinned at him.
“I’m fantastic in bed, too,” Buck continued. “I donate to charity, avoid fast fashion, thrift when I can, recycle, and I have a healthy 401k. I go to the doctor regularly, see a therapist at least twice a year to check myself before I wreck myself, and I change the oil in my Jeep on schedule.”
“Look at you adulting all over the place,” Eddie said wryly and laughed a little when Buck glared.
He stood from the table and walked around it to invade Eddie’s space as quickly as possible as he took a sip of his own beer. Buck put his beer down on the counter and caged his friend in. Eddie just relaxed against the counter and took another sip of beer as he stared at Buck.
“I’m strong, loyal, hardworking, and faithful,” he murmured as he leaned in close. “I do love your son like I breathe—I see no end and no beginning to it. I think I loved Christopher before he drew his first breath on this Earth, and I will love him long after I’ve drawn my last. I would fight for him, die for him, and live for him.”
“Why do you hate Ana?” Eddie questioned as his breath hitched.
“Because you put your hands on her,” Buck admitted. “Because you went to bed with her. Because you kissed her and held her and thought about building a life with her. You probably even imagined more children with her, and I hated that as much I would’ve certainly loved any baby you made with her. Because there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with that gorgeous woman, and I felt like the ground was giving way under my feet every single time I saw her. Even her issues with Christopher would’ve been resolved—she just hadn’t learned how to work with him. It would’ve come with time.”
“You don’t want me touching other people? You bragged in front of the whole team that you fuck several different strangers a week.”
Buck considered that then smiled. “I didn’t even bother to get the full name of the last person I had sex with.” He watched Eddie’s eyes widen in shock. “He was just a willing and warm body—who moaned so soft and sweet while I fucked his ass like I owned it.” Buck settled one hand on Eddie’s hip and watched his friend’s eyes darken. “He was a few years older than me, dark hair and dark eyes. He told me to call him in Alejandro, but I don’t think that was real. I didn’t care either. I put him on his knees the first chance I got and kept him there for hours while he begged for my cock in Spanish.”
Eddie cleared his throat. “When was this?”
“Last Friday night—when you canceled movie night to go out with Ana and didn’t even let me hang out with Chris.”
“He was invited to a slumber party,” Eddie protested. “I wasn’t keeping you from him on purpose.” He stroked his fingers along Buck’s cheek and took a deep breath. “I didn’t know I could have this. I feel stupid. Everyone knows, right?”
“Well, Abuela offered to sit you down and give you another sex talk since your parents clearly weren’t thorough. I declined on your behalf. You’re welcome.”
“I would’ve run away,” Eddie told him, and Buck laughed. “I’d be half-way to New York by now. You and Chris could follow along behind in the Jeep.”
Buck leaned in and pressed his mouth against Eddie’s jaw—just a little pressure, soft and undemanding. “I want you.”
“I’m tired of pretending that I don’t. I’m tired of working my frustrations out on strangers because I can’t have you, Eddie. I want to touch you, kiss you…love you. I want.” Buck closed his eyes briefly and exhaled. “I just want, and I have since I set eyes on you, and it really pissed me off.”
“Well, I did notice the part where you were pissed,” Eddie admitted.
“There you were—so fucking gorgeous, heroic, and clearly at the top of your game in every single way that matters on the job. Staying mad would’ve been easier, but then you had to go and smile at me. What was I supposed to do with that?”
Eddie cupped the back of his head suddenly and pressed their mouths together—recklessly and perfect. Buck clenched his hands on Eddie’s hips, moved in close, and just fucking surrendered because he was done denying himself. He deepened the kiss, and Eddie groaned into his mouth. Buck felt like he’d been dropped into an alternate universe where he got everything he wanted and nothing hurt. The thought shook him, so he pulled free and let his forehead rest gently on Eddie’s.
“What are we doing?”
“Something that’s been coming for a long time,” Eddie admitted. “Buck, I want, too. I tried so hard to keep this to myself because your friendship means more than I can say. It was so hard not to have you in my life during that lawsuit. I never want to know a single day like that again. So I tried hard to get over you, but it’s not working. And last night, watching you sit there and tell everyone you wanted an everyday kind of love and you were willing to wait for it—it broke something wide open in me. And maybe I did pick a fight with Ana because the idea of her trying to find that for you when I’m right here wanting that life with you was infuriating. I felt like such a bastard. I never should’ve asked her out.”
Buck’s hand clenched on Eddie’s jeans—it wasn’t easy. “These jeans are too tight.”
“These jeans make my ass look great,” Eddie told him and laughed when Buck sighed dramatically. “And you know it.”
“Everything makes your ass look great,” Buck muttered. “Should I apologize for not liking Ana?”
“I would’ve loathed anyone you got serious about,” Eddie told him seriously. “We should stop inflicting ourselves on other people, obviously.”
“Let’s take this whole consoling thing to the couch,” Buck murmured. “We’ll make out like teenagers and watch a movie.”
“I’m not going to Netflix and Chill with you,” Eddie told him.
“Sure you are.” Buck pressed Eddie fully against the counter and kissed him again.