Thanks to Katy for RNLI
Thanks to Phyllis for her usual sterling work.
"More Jumbo Shrimp, Buck?"
"Don't mind if I do, Miss..."
"It's Sharon," she smiled.
"Sharon," he grinned back.
From his concession stand at the village fair to raise funds for the RNLI, JD rolled his eyes toward Vin at the next stand, who chuckled as JD mouthed 'it's Sharon', batting his eyelashes and pulling faces to accompany the words.
"Ow!" JD turned at the flip to the back of his head. "Buck!"
"I saw you roll those eyes, matey!"
The youth rubbed the sore spot, more from disgruntlement than pain, his expression changing. "Seen Inez?" JD asked, suppressing a smirk.
Buck ducked, looking around. "Why? Is she here?" he whispered, hoping she hadn't seen him chatting up Sharon.
"I heard she was selling kisses," JD grinned.
Buck's eyes widened. Inez had refused to tell him what she would be doing today now he could see why. He grinned, patting his pockets, to eventually pull out his wallet and extract a £20 note. Buck looked up, hands together as if in prayer as he moved to locate her stall.
"Thank you, God!"
JD kept a close eye on the booth as Buck made his way down the line, smiling as Buck's grin grew wider the closer he got to the sign that said '£1 a kiss' and the beautiful woman offering them.
Inez smiled at Buck as he put the £20 down on the table. Reaching for change, Buck gently took her wrist.
"No change, darlin'," he winked.
"Gracias, most generous," she smiled and kissed him on the cheek. "Next!"
Buck's face dropped, but he moved on, quietly.
"That was a fast twenty quid," JD commented, frowning as Buck just kept walking. He glanced across at Vin, grateful to see Chris with him and looking JD's way. With a pat to the Welshman's arm, Chris walked over to JD.
JD swallowed the lump in his throat. "I mentioned something to Buck and I think it's ended up upsetting him."
Nodding to a relief crewman to take over from JD, Chris gestured back toward the pub. "Talk to me." They both headed off.
By the time they reached the Lifeboat Inn, it was noon and through the window they could see Buck setting up for the day's trading. The publican looked up from the bar as his two friends entered.
"Good timing, boys lots to do."
"Buck " JD looked down as Chris squeezed his arm.
"Go do what needs to be done," Chris winked.
With a nod and a last glance at Buck, JD left. Chris settled on a barstool and leaned on the bar. "Want to talk about it?"
Buck barely glanced at him. "Talk about what?"
"Inez. JD's all churned up that he may have upset you."
Moving closer, Buck looked confused. "Why?"
Chris shrugged, "I didn't really understand either, but apparently he sent you over to Inez "
Walking around and taking a stool, Buck laughed softly, casting an affectionate glance in the direction JD had just gone. "Stupid kid I'd've ended up there, anyway."
"Like I said want to talk?"
Buck sighed and paused for a moment, also leaning his arms on the bar.
"Do you love her, Buck?"
"That obvious, huh?"
"Not to a blind man but, yeah, I think anyone close to you knows all the elaborate theatrics between you two is a hell of a lot more than just that."
Looking down at his clasped hands, Buck smiled, his voice just above a whisper. "There's just something about her, you know? When she looks at me I catch my breath just for a moment. She makes me smile even before she speaks usually to bend my ear over something "
Both men laughed. Buck continued.
"It's not just about sex, Chris hell, if it was I'd have given up long ago. And it's not any deep desire to settle down, it's it's just knowing she's close, wanting to take care of her talking to her every day. I've never wanted that from a woman before." He stopped, his face reflecting his inner turmoil Chris sensed a 'but'.
Buck looked at his oldest friend. "But despite all the sexual innuendo and signals, I can't get close. I just want to show her I'll be there for her."
"She knows that, Buck."
Buck sighed. "Yeah, I know. I love what we have I don't want to lose it. And since JD's been here, the three of us well let's just say I haven't been this happy in a long time. JD sees Inez as a big sister she dotes on him, but "
"You see her as so much more."
Buck nodded. "Today at the kissing booth was just a bit of fun, yet I felt disappointed."
"Have you ever thought about talking to her about it?" Chris asked.
"Thought about it, yes acted on it no. Like I said, I like what we have her, JD, me you guys life is good."
"But you wouldn't kick her out of bed?"
"And that's the problem," Chris pointed out. "I think she believes that, once you get what you want "
"I would never not to her."
"Maybe it's time to tell her, Buck. Clear the air. A good woman's hard to find even if she's just a really good friend." He paused for a moment as his own memories flashed by. Chris rallied. "And for Christ's sake, go talk to JD. I can't handle those eyes of his when he thinks he's done something wrong."
Laughing, they clasped hands and continued with the preparations.
While squatting down to fill the lower bar shelves with bottles of fruit juice, JD jerked as a hand landed on his shoulder. He looked up, smiling.
"I heard you thought you'd upset me."
JD stood. "Mmmm."
Smiling, Buck punched JD lightly on the arm. "Idiot. We all set, here?"
JD grinned widely. "All set. Inez is back and has started cooking."
"I'll go see if she needs a hand." With a ruffle to the ducking teenager's hair and a deep chuckle, Buck headed for the kitchen.
"Just the man," Inez said as Buck joined her. "I need to go over the contents of the pantry for next week's menu." Wiping her hands in a dish cloth, Inez headed for the large walk-in larder with Buck following.
Once inside, Buck started looking over the shelves, surprised when the door closed. He looked at Inez as the pretty Spanish woman spoke.
"Now as I understand it I short-changed you this morning." She moved close. "Nineteen pounds buys a lot of kisses, so, I was wondering what sort of kiss would I get for that much money?"
Buck's heart thudded in his chest as he moved in as close as he dared. He spoke in a low soft voice.
"Well," he raised his hand to touch her face and push back her hair, bringing about a soft sigh from her. "I'd need to brush back your hair like this...so I could see this beautiful face."
"Mm hmm and then?" she breathed back, staring into his eyes.
His arms encircled her. "Then I'd hold you real close like this bring my head down like this " Their eyes remained locked as their lips got closer together, Buck's eyes finally resting on Inez's mouth. He leaned in.
"Then I'd do this "
Their lips met and at first, the kiss was soft and tender; Inez bringing her arms up to drape around Buck's neck, then deepened as their bodies melted into each other. The pair became totally lost in the moment as time blurred into what seemed like infinity. They eventually and reluctantly parted, both a little breathless as they stayed close, Buck's chin resting on the top of her head.
"Was that what you had in mind?" he whispered.
"Si," she replied, her hand now resting on his chest, covering his heart. "Worth every penny." She looked up at him. "Buck I "
He took her hand, clasping it tightly. "Shh " He smiled. "What we have is special, lady. What say we take this a day at a time?"
Stretching up to kiss him quickly on the lips, Inez smiled, widely. "I'd like that." She pulled back, slapping his arm. "Now what sort of a landlord is it that forgets to buy potatoes?"
Chuckling, Buck opened the pantry door. "Then I guess I'd better go get some, hadn't I?"
"JD said you could be sharp sometimes. "
Laughing harder, Buck exited the room, then the kitchen.
Taking an opportunity to leave the kitchen while Inez chose items from the food store, JD smiled. He'd come in looking for Buck, when the pantry door had opened, ducking into a corner until Buck left. He loved to see his surrogate 'big brother' happy and Inez always seemed to make Buck smile. As he moved to return to the bar, JD wondered where things would go from here. He saw the brunet snatch up his keys.
"Going somewhere?" JD asked.
"Just to the grocer's to get some potatoes."
"I could go, if you'd like."
Gesturing for Chris to take the bar and receiving a nod from the blond, Buck put his arm around JD's shoulders as he approached.
"How about we both go?"
"Okay." He couldn't help wondering why it needed both of them, shrugging as he passed Chris who laughed at JD's question to Buck as they left.
"Buck just how many potatoes do we need?"
It wasn't until they were heading back that Buck stopped the car at a favorite spot at the top of the cliff road and turned to the boy he considered family.
"Me and Inez " he began, pausing to compose himself. " We've come to an understanding. "
JD swallowed, unable to speak for a moment as he battled with his happiness for Buck and his own nagging concerns. "Do you need me to move out?" he said, finally. He'd assumed if the pair ever got serious, he'd need a new place to live.
Buck looked alarmed. "What? No! Why would you think that?"
"Well, if you two are "
"Wait," Buck interrupted, "it's not like that, kid. Yeah, we've talked, but we've agreed we like what we have too much to rush things. Nothing much will change "
" you just won't be fooling yourselves any more?" JD finished.
Buck smiled. "Something like that, yeah. Me and you we're solid, son. Nothing will ever change that, unless you say otherwise."
JD's dark hair moved as he shook his head. "No I love sharing your home being around you and Inez. I don't want to change anything."
"Good, that's settled, then.. Okay we'd best get these spuds back to her Highness or she'll have my guts for garters!" He started the car.
JD laughed. "I thought she already had."
"Oh, I've come close," Buck chuckled. They headed back to the pub.
The rest of Crew Seven were there when they arrived. Inez called out.
"Finally! Where did you go for them Ireland? "
Buck laughed, hoisting the small sack up onto his shoulder and moving toward the kitchen. "Something like that. JD! Move your arse, squirt and open that door."
"Sir, yes sir!" JD teased, ducking as he squeezed past the bulky sack.
Buck suppressed a smile. "Damn right, boy! Inez would you get the boys a drink on the house, while I do this?"
"My pleasure, master," she said, flashing him a scathing look that Buck was glad was not for real this time.
Chris watched the little scene, smiling to himself. He wasn't sure what had happened, but clearly, something had.
And it seemed to be a good thing.
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