Who: Steve Rogers & Tony Stark What: A little shopping When: Before the wedding Where: Private jeweler's Rating: Green
The wedding was over. Memories were still flooding in. Steve needed to take steps to lock down some happiness here. There were no excuses to fall back on, and any reasons Steve could come with he knew were just that. Excuses. But this sort of thing required a certain eye that he definitely did not have. He had reached out to the one person he knew who was good at this thing, and he was to meet with him now.
“Tony,” he said with a smile when the car pulled up. “Thanks for doing this.”
"Hey, it's not a problem," Tony said with a grin, holding up one hand to stop him right there. "You two deserve a happy ending as much as anyone else."
He knew this antique dealer and made a few calls about knocking off a zero or two from whatever Steve picked out, while he agreed to pay the difference. It was good to have connections, and Tony knew how to work them. Particularly in exchange for a brief appearance from Iron Man at a grandson's birthday party in October.
It was after regular business hours on purpose, to avoid a scene. The door was unlocked and opened to them both by a wizened old man with a kind smile, and they were welcomed in and multiple rings brought out as they stood by the counter, glittering against a background of black velvet.
Tony patted a hand down on Steve's shoulder and said, "Whatever you chose, she's gonna love it. I don't think you have much to worry about there."
Steve gave the proprietor a grateful smile, but he could already tell that he was way out of his depth with this place. He almost backed away with an apology on his lips then reminded himself that his reluctance was just another excuse. He trusted that with this Tony wouldn’t screw around. He knew Steve’s limitations. He took a deep breath then stepped inside. The door closing behind them sounded so final.
Once he laid his baby blues on the rings displayed before them, however, he felt his heart sink. There was no way he would be able to afford even the smallest of them. “Tony, I don’t think-”
“All of them come with a letter of authenticity, Mr. Rogers.” The proprietor had been well schooled on what to say by Mrs. Stark. “All estate pieces that were never claimed. Shame, really. No family left in the lines. Got them for a song, I did. It would almost be as if they would write their stories a-new, don’tcha think? So they’re priced accordingly. I only show them to customers I believe would give them a good home to start with.”
All of them were now in the hundreds of dollars range, rather than the thousands. Tony knew what the problem was too, that being that Steve grew up poor and spending that much money on a piece of jewelry was unimaginable for someone not used to inflation.
Ready to help get a sale finalized, Tony gave the proprietor, Mr. Smith, a discreet thumbs up when he was sure that Steve wasn't looking. Then it was right back to the serious face he was wearing to avoid suspicion.
Finding the right ring to pop the question with, let alone get married with, was the biggest part of the whole marriage shindig.
Tony leaned in and gave Steve a hint, "Do what I did. Imagine which one looks like it belongs on her hand. Trust me. The right one will spring out at you, pronto."
Steve gave Tony a dubious look before he sighed quietly then looked back to the rings. He didn’t believe for a moment that suggestion would work. Steve couldn’t see anything being good enough for Peggy...but then he was proven entirely wrong.
One ring seemed to stand out in Steve’s vision. He could see it on Peg’s hand, flashing out between strands of her dark hair as she propped up her head. Steve’s smile turned a bit misty.
Mr. Smith smiled. “An excellent choice, sir.” One wrinkled and slender finger lifted the ring from the display. “Circa 1930. Art Deco. .90 carat round old European-cut diamond with a VS1 clarity and J color, set in 18KT white gold shank with platinum prongs.”
Steve gently took the ring to look at it up close. It was beautiful, not that he was a good judge of jewelry but it looked pretty. Which meant… “How much?” he asked almost under his breath.
“Eight hundred and forty dollars, sir.” Mr. Smith smiled. “Plus tax. It comes with a matching ring box.”
Steve hesitated. It was within his price range. Pushed it to gasping, but he could manage it...even without tapping into whatever that bank account Tony had told him about.
"It's perfect," Tony reassured him in a very low voice, trying to look nonchalant. He was managing pretty well, without getting too antsy or impatient. "Don't you even start worrying. You got this. Novelties Deal, remember? You made one and you can afford the house with a pocket fence and a golden retriever."
And probably a whole lot more besides, but making a joke about two-point-five kids and a station wagon was pushing it too far, when Captain America was already looking like he might bolt.
It was perfect. Steve was almost there. Until Tony mentioned the money. That earned Tony a minor version of Steve’s glower. He really didn’t want to touch that money, let alone use it. Still, it was for Peggy. A nice house for them wouldn’t be awful. Right?
Steve looked back to the ring, sighed as his fingers curled over it then nodded to the proprietor. “I’ll take it. I have cash.”
Mr. Smith smiled with a nod. “Wouldn’t have it any other way, Mr. Rogers.”
"Now you just need to pop the question," Tony said, giving Steve a congratulatory pat on the back. He also gave Mr. Smith a sly wink since they knew the rest of that bill was settled. With the card on file. Because Mr. Smith knows he's good for it.
"When are you gonna ask her?" Tony asked Steve, eyebrows raised. "Need a dinner rez?"
Steve began peeling off 20s with a pit of angry butterflies taking form in his stomach. It wasn’t that he resented the purchase. He had just never spent so much money on a single item that wasn’t his rent.
“No,” he said with a hitch in his voice. He cleared his throat, handed the pile of 20s to Mr. Smith then gave Tony a nervous smile. “No. I got this. Thanks.”
"Yeah, you do," Tony reassured him with a smile that was full of confidence. It seemed like everyone was finding a little bit of happiness even though they were stuck in a...situation. One that he found himself more and more unwilling to lose. "You got this."