Pepper got to work at Stark Industries and the first thing she did was go to the security offices to pull the tapes from the last week. She watched them in detail while the security officers stood outside to give her privacy.
Nothing suspicious hmmmm.
“Have you seen this guy?” she asked the security officers as she opened the door to the office.
“No Miss Potts l have not” one of them said.
“Please notify me immediately if you see him anywhere on the property. These orders are coming from Mr. Stark directly” Pepper said as she decided to do a walk through every department to see if anyone knew anything about this guy.
“Will do” they said as they ushered her out.
It’s been a week since Tony asked Jarvis to track Pepper and he was ready to read the report. He was going to get to the bottom of her secrecy.
“Jarvis bring up that report on Miss Potts” he said while she was out doing an errand for him.
A moment later the report popped up and Tony scanned through the one he had on her car. He looked through it multiple times to make sure he didn’t miss anything. It showed all the usual stops. Back and forth from her house to his and to the office and home and to any errands that he sent her on. Nothing unusual. Next he scanned through her emails and there were a few to her family but most were work related. Nothing suspicious. Then he brought up her phone log which he was sure was going to have the answers he was seeking. He looked through and it was all calls to himself, to Rhodes, a few to the office, Happy, and a few numbers to some female friends of hers.
What are you up to Potts? And how are you staying one step ahead of me?
Tony thought about this long and hard. He was going to have to gather more clues. He was going to have to catch her in a lie or trip her up on her words. Potts was better at this than he thought. After years of working for him she knew his game too well. He underestimated her. He was going to have to change it up. He was deep in thought when the sound of her heels clicking down the stairs snapped him out of it.
“Keep surveying and keep it quiet until I ask” Tony said as he swiped away all the holograms.
“I got everything you asked for” Pepper said handing him the Burger King bag.
“Thank you Miss Potts” he said as he pulled his burgers out of the bag.
He unwrapped one and inhaled it in about four seconds.
“Did you get something for yourself?” he asked.
“No I brought my lunch today and I ate an hour ago,” she said as she also placed a stack of papers next to him on his work station.
“When you’re done I need signatures on all of these,” she said as she slipped right back into her work.
Tony was listening to the news and they were talking about this new entrepreneur named Christian Palmer who invented a food shopping app.
“Have you heard about this guy? He invented the food buddy app. That’s lame. That’s what AI’s are for” Tony exclaimed breaking Pepper’s concentration on her work.
“Tony you can't do anything without help. And not everyone has an AI and an assistant that does everything for them” Pepper snapped and she surprised herself.
Tony looked at her and looked hurt.
“I’m sorry. I didn't mean to snap I just-
“I’m just saying I could have invented that app when I was twelve. I built my first engine when I was seven years old. And they’re comparing him to me. They’re calling him the next Tony Stark and saying how rich and good looking he is. They said he’s me without the playboy aspect because there is a secret special lady in his life. Who cares? I built the iron man suit. I successfully privatized world peace. Why is there a comparison being made?” Tony exclaimed angrily.
Pepper felt her face get hot. She didn’t want him to see her blush. She reached for her water bottle and guzzled a bunch so he couldn’t see how flushed she was.
I’m the secret special lady. He said he would keep things quiet she thought.
“Tony it’s not that serious. He’s another young tech guy and in a month they’ll be talking about someone else” she said.
“I don’t think you guys are anything alike”
“I’m going to call in to this broadcast because this is bullshit Pepper” Tony said as he looked up at her and then stopped.
“Why are you all flustered?” he asked as he noticed her cheeks for the first time.
Why is Potts so flustered? he thought.
“It’s very hot today Tony. I was just out driving around doing your errands” she said as she lied quickly.
“Are you sure?” he asked as he lifted an eyebrow.
“Yes Tony. You didn’t see me guzzling water a few minutes ago?” she asked and then she looked away.
“Did you see that guy I asked you to check out?” he asked suddenly. He was alarmed that he had forgotten about him for the week. He was too caught up in Pepper.
“He wasn’t there today. I literally walked through all the departments and ran the security tapes from the labs” she said.
Who was this guy? he thought.
“ Just keep your eyes peeled” he said.
Tony just stared at her. She sat down and scrolled through her blackberry. He loved watching her. He was staring at her so intently that he forgot about the rest of the food waiting for him, he forgot about the blueprints for his design for his next suit he had drawn up.
Tony continued to stare and Pepper could feel it. She broke away from her phone and turned to see him gazing at her. His gaze was so intense that she nearly fell over.
“Tony?” she asked.
Tony continued to keep his eyes locked on hers while he answered.
“Yes Miss Potts?” he asked.
“You were staring at me so I thought you wanted to ask me something” she said quietly.
“No just checking you out ”
“I have work to do and you have papers to sign. I’m going upstairs” Pepper said ignoring him.
She was with Christian for the time being and she needed to get this weirdness with Tony out of her mind. It was nagging her and messing everything up.
“You look great Potts. You doing anything different? What is it juicing? Pilates?” Tony asked beating around the bush.
He wanted to see if she would reveal anything to him.
“Just getting work done earlier so I have more time to relax,” she said as she gathered her things.
“And more fun?” he asked with an eyebrow shot up at her.
“Tony why are you prying so much into my private life?” Pepper asked as she stood up and got extremely close to him.
Tony felt uncomfortable this time. But he wasn’t going to back down.
“Because Pep you’ve worked for me for over ten years and I don’t know anything about you” Tony confessed.
“Because you’ve never cared about that stuff. Besides you’re my boss you shouldn’t know all that stuff” Pepper said as she hurried to the door.
“What if I care about them now?” he asked.
Pepper was caught off guard. She fumbled for words and didn’t know what to say.
“I don’t have time for this now. I have to get back to work” she said as she headed upstairs.
She fumbled because of me. I should have kissed her that night. Damn it, he thought.