6. Secret plans
I tried to sleep for a few more minutes, but there was no snooze button for the person knocking on my door. It was a rapid knock that was now repeated for the third time.
I got out of bed stretching my limbs and opened the door. There stood James. He saw me and felt sorry for disturbing my sleep.
“I didn’t mean to wake you, Dakota, sorry.”
“It’s okay, come in.”
Quickly I got washed and dressed in the bathroom. When I got back I saw James made breakfast.
I sat down in the small kitchen and was offered a bowl of fresh fruit salad. Silently I ate and looked at the man who was staring at a distant point in the room.
“Did you sleep well?” I asked.
“I sleep two hours a week,” he answered without changing his stare.
“You must feel desperate to catch up your sleep, James.”
Now he turned his head and smiled.
“Dakota, call me Bucky in private, please. You know, I did some research and discovered you can read minds.”
“No, only the emotions. You were eagerly to come in and ask me for a favor,” I explained, “then you saw I had just woken up and you felt slightly jealous.”
He seemed disappointed. Bucky took my finished bowl and put it in the dishwasher.
“I know you’re leaving soon for training, but maybe you could give me some tips to deal with some… very strong memories. Then maybe I could sleep better and perform better. Wanda couldn’t help me.”
These were uncommonly a lot of words he said. I had to think about them for a moment. Finally I said: “You can sleep in the same room with me.”
He looked at me in surprise.
“I have an aura that has a big influence on my environment. If I’ll sleep like a rose, you will sleep like a rose too.”
He laughed and shook his head.
“In the same room? What will people make of that?”
I flushed and tried to hide my cheeks by putting on my shoes.
“We will have to do it in secret,” I managed to bring out.
“Okay. I’ll come tonight.”
He held out my phone.
(Where the heck did he get that so quickly?)
“Deal. Let’s go to the lobby.”
“Nah, I don’t like Stark staring at me from his lab. I’m going to the gym. The others are playing ping pong. Want to join?”
He was unusually chatty around me, but I gave him a joyous smile that made him feel pleased and followed him to the staircase.
He didn’t like elevators. That we had in common. We went up six floors to reach the gym.
Already I could hear the ball bouncing in the hall. The smell of sweat reached my nostrils.
Sam, Steve and Clint were standing by the ping pong table.
“That’s not fair,” Sam shouted, “you cheated!”
“I didn’t,” Clint answered.
They stopped playing when they saw Bucky and I enter. Steve crossed his arms on his chest and gave his friend a look.
“You two made secret plans?”
Again, I blushed and let Bucky have the word.
“Yes, Dakota can help me with a little problem. Soon I’ll be sleeping like a rose.”
I wasn’t sure this saying was true, but it would do no harm. Also, with him being exposed in the same room I would have him off guard and find out more about him. My mission was going smooth already.
“How well can you play ping pong, Dakota?” Clint asked and he passed me his racket.
“I don’t stand a chance, but I’ll try.”
“You better will,” Sam challenged me.
So I hit the little ball and he slapped it back. The ball went forth and back a few times. Then Sam managed to let me miss.
Victoriously he raised his arms. After this little theatre he let Steve play. I lost again, because his reflexes were insane.
Now Bucky wanted to beat my ass. His metal arm stayed motionless by his side. His right arm handled the racket with ease. I lost again and sighed.
“It’s okay,” Sam said, “usually I’m the one who always loses. That’s why I don’t like cheaters.”
By this words being said I came up with a brilliant idea.
“Clint, your turn,” I boldly said, “I’m sure I can win from you.”
“Nobody wins from Hawkeye!” Steve declared. I raised my head proudly and made sign to Clint to fight me.
“Don’t start weeping when you lose,” Clint warned me full confidence.
He started playing soon after I made my move. Suddenly there were eight white balls instead of one coming back to Clint. He got confused and tried to hit all of them.
He was lucky and hit the real ball too.
Two more flying rackets helped me to smash all the balls back to the other side, multiplied by two the moment they hit the table.
This time Clint didn’t hit the real ball. All the illusions disappeared and one ball was left bouncing on the floor.
“Now you are cheating too!” Clint laughed, “but your cheating level is 100!”
Al of them were still progressing the event. Steve even had his hands in his hair and was laughing.
“It was all just an illusion, Clint. It’s your own mind playing tricks on you.”
“You trickster!” he yelled. He was not at all angry, but very amused. Even though he had a sharp eye I beat him in ping pong by magic.
“From now on I’m calling you Trickster!”
I giggled: “Is that my superhero name?”
“Yes, it suits you well, Trickster,” Bucky answered, “in short we’ll call you T.”
I blushed. Again.