There are very few things you can keep hidden from Tony Stark. Pepper met someone and she was going to try her hardest to keep him and all knowledge of him away from Tony. Because Tony was known for invading her privacy many times in the past and intimidating her dates into not continuing dating her. First thing Pepper did was take his business card. She told him that she would call him. She went to a store and got a prepaid phone that she would keep separate from any numbers that Tony Stark knew. She also took public transportation to his house and would leave her car at home so that Tony couldn’t track her car. In the early stages of their relationship it was easy but It had been two months and it was getting harder. Tony was getting increasingly suspicious when she had plans and suspicious about her unusually good moods now that she was having sex regularly. And her random lies and excuses that seemed very unlike Pepper and some with loose ends she couldn’t back up.
Tony was going to see what Miss Potts was up to by his own surveillance plan. There were things he knew he couldn’t do and he had to tread very carefully. He couldn’t track her car or phone with Jarvis. He couldn’t spy on emails and he couldn’t go through her purse and he couldn’t have Happy follow her or break into her house and snoop around. He could actually do these things but she’d mention something about an invasion of privacy and how lame it is and she’d be pissed so he was going to try and beat her at her own game. He was going to keep Pepper really busy these next few weeks to see if he could get her to crack. Or maybe have an accidental explosion in her apartment making it unable to live in and bring her temporarily to him. He was thinking it through.
Pepper was laying in bed with Christian Palmer a young entrepreneur that invented a new app that knows the food you have in your home and reminds you of what you need when you’re out shopping. It’s called Food Buddy. Pepper bumped into him one night at the bar after a business conference. They were there for different things and they chatted while Tony was off getting drunk and entertaining girls in the hot tub in his hotel room. He was smitten with her right away. He wasn’t even the slightest bit concerned about Tony Stark being her boss and he also wanted to keep things discreet and private and gave her his business card and said he would wait for her call and now it’s been two months. They lay their tangled up and her face was flushing a bright red color after the orgasm she just had. He was twenty six years old and he didn’t care that she was thirty six. She wasn’t sure where this was going or if she felt anything just yet. But she enjoyed the company and the sex was great so she was going to continue things just as they were.
Pepper’s phone rang and it was Tony. She hit ignore at first and leaned down to kiss Christian.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?”he said.
“Tony can wait,” she said.
“You are planning on telling him about us eventually right?” he said as he nibbled on her neck.
“Yeah” Pepper said even though she was unsure.
She felt that this was something that Tony might not need to know. She wasn’t sure where this was going with Christian. Was it worth telling Tony if she didn’t think it would last? And there was something else in the back of her mind nagging her about the situation and she was avoiding it. The night they danced and went out on the balcony and she almost kissed him. It was weird. She was super embarrassed about it and she never brought it up again and neither had Tony. But that was a fluke. Tony didn’t really get personal with any girls.They were dancing and drinking and got caught up in a moment. It couldn’t have been a real moment between them. She was in denial.
Her phone continued to ring and she put her finger on Christians lips to silence him and she picked up.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“Hello to you too” Tony said with annoyance in his voice as he sat back on his couch.
“Well it’s eleven o’clock p.m. Tony” she said as she leaned into Christian more.
“Is it? I hadn’t noticed. Anyway, I need you to come over” he said waiting for her reply.
“Now?” she asked.
She was ready to explode.
“Yes now. You’re not doing anything. Your car is home” he said.
Pepper was very careful with her next words. She didn’t want Tony knowing she was using public transportation to evade him.
“What is so important that you need me at eleven o'clock? Since you know my cars home you must have also noticed my lights are all off” she said.
“Just get over here” he said as he clicked off the phone.
Pepper took a deep breath.
“I’m so sorry Christian. Mr. Stark needs me. And now I have to go back to my car first and then drive to his house” Pepper said.
“It’s late. Let me drive you to your house” he said getting up and getting dressed.
“Drop me around the corner though please. I can’t trust Tony” she said.
“Didn’t you tell me you’re the only person he trusts and you don’t trust him? You should just tell him and we won’t have to sneak around” Christian said.
“I will soon. I promise” she said as she got dressed.
Pepper pulled up to the Stark Mansion and used her code to get into the house. She was greeted by a dark living room. She was headed towards his workshop when Jarvis informed her he was waiting in his bedroom for her.
Oh lord. I can only imagine. She thought.
Pepper took the stairs up to Tony’s room and she stopped dead in her tracks. Tony was dressed up in a tuxedo and staring at her intensely.
“What’s so important that you needed me here at eleven thirty?” she asked exasperatedly.
“I called you at 11 and it only takes 10 minutes to get here. I ensured that when I got the condo for you. So even if you took time to change that’s 20 minutes and now it’s eleven thirty so where were you Potts?”he asked.
“Are you kidding me?” she said raising her voice.
“What are you hiding?” he asked.
“What I do off the clock is none of your business. Now why am I here? And why are you dressed up in a tuxedo? Are you going out?” she asked.
Seeing him in a tuxedo reminded her of the night on the balcony and she tried pushing it out of her mind.
“Maybe. Why are you jealous?” he asked trying to read her eyes.
And he noticed how flushed her cheeks were even more than usual.
“Tony if you don’t tell me why I’m here I’m going to leave,”she said.
“I’m going to that charity event next month and I need help deciding what to wear or if I need a new tux?” he said simply smiling at her.
Pepper felt panic wash over her.
Why is he going to the benefit? she thought.
She was planning on going and Christian would be there too.
“You made me leave my house to come here at eleven o’clock at night to pick out your suit for something a month away. This is something we could have done on Face Time” she said trying to keep her composure.
“Were you really home though?” he asked.
“OK so I’m assuming what you’re wearing is one choice. What’s the other option?” she asked ignoring his question and trying to avoid the fact that he looked amazing in a tux.
Tony took off the jacket first and then started unbuttoning his shirt right in front of her.
“Would you like me to give you some privacy?” she asked as she tried not check him out.
“It’s nothing you haven’t seen before. Why am I making you flustered?” he asked with that smug look.
“No I just thought maybe for once in your life you’d show some modesty,” she said.
“Not my style” he said as he dropped his pants.
Pepper looked away and pretended to look at her phone.
“Will you be in attendance?” he asked her.
“Yes of course” she said avoiding his eyes.
“Maybe you’ll let me dance with you again. What do you think?” he said as he got closer to her.
“Maybe” she said finally meeting his eyes and he was buttoning up a new shirt.
Once Tony was all dressed up he looked at her waiting for her response.
“I like this one better. I think it’s tailored more for you” she said quietly.
Why did Tony have to do this tonight? Why would he bring this up after all this time? She had finally put it out of her mind.
“You know Potts if I want to find something out I will,” he said.
Pepper knew what he was talking about and avoided him as she started to head down the stairs.
“What’s his name?” he asked from behind her.
“What makes you think this is about a guy?” she said turning to face him.
“You’re different. You’re in a better mood and less stressed” he said.
“Tony my private life is my private life. There has to be boundaries” she said as she reached the bottom step.
“Is there though? We’re friends Pep. I need to keep you safe. And after everything with Obadiah ...,” he trailed off.
Tony shuddered at the thought of it and the thought that he almost lost Pepper. Ever since he returned from captivity things were different. She meant more to him than anything and with each day that passed he had less and less interest in one night stands.
“I’m grateful for what you did. You saved my life but the threat is gone. I don’t need you hovering over me like that” she said as she headed to the door.
“Wait” he called after her.
She stopped and turned her around.
“I need you for something more serious,” Tony said.
“What is it?” she asked.
“You know this guy?” he asked showing a picture of someone on the screen.
“I’ve never seen him” she said quietly.
“I don’t trust him. I saw him peeking around in the lab. He was claiming he was looking for the bathroom. I think he’s a plant from the press or a new enemy or something. Can you look into him? And also be nice to him and maybe get him to open up and see what he’s all about” Tony asked.
“Sure. Goodnight Tony” she said as she grabbed the door to leave.
Once Pepper’s car pulled out Tony spoke up.
“Jarvis I need you to track Miss Potts phone and car and email and keep it quiet unless I ask for information ok” he asked.
“Of course sir. Beginning tracking now” he said.
Pepper was going to be pissed but he needed to keep her safe and she had forced his hand.
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.
Later that night Pepper locked up her apartment and made sure to leave the lights on so it looked like she was home. She headed down the street around the corner until she saw Christians car. She hopped in and gave him a quick kiss.
“Let’s go babe. I can’t wait to eat” Pepper said as she leaned back in the seat.
Pepper’s mind went back to a half hour ago when Tony had asked her to stay for dinner. He said he was going to stop tinkering and just wanted to eat and turn in early because he was really tired after three days of little to no sleep and too distracted with his work that he forgot about the threat to his security. She told him no because she had some personal things of her mother’s to take care of and she also wanted to turn in early. He seemed so deflated but he didn’t argue. His eyes seemed sad and it hurt her especially since she lied. Then she thought about their conversation when he said he wanted to know things about her and it really through her for a loop.
Why Tony? Why now? Why do you care all of a sudden? she thought.
She was so deep in her own thoughts that she didn’t even realize that Christian was talking to her.
“Pepper?” he asked again.
“Huh?” she asked.
“Did you see the news?” he asked grinning from ear to ear.
“Sorry it’s been a stressful day at work. Yes I did see it. In fact I was sitting next to Tony when I saw it and he was not happy about you being compared to him” she said reliving Tony’s anger.
It was bringing on some extra anxiety.
How is he going to react when he finds out that I’ve been seeing Christian? I need to rip off the bandaid. But where and when?
“I don’t care about Tony Stark. Did you hear the part about me having a special lady?” he asked as he grinned from ear to ear.
“I did,” she said with a smile.
They arrived at the restaurant and got a seat by the water and it was a perfect night. There was a light breeze and it really cooled off the evening air.
Pepper had on a two piece set. She wore an emerald green long flowing pair of palazzo pants that looked like it could be a skirt and a matching long sleeved midriff top and with a v neck cut. She wore her hair loose and wild and completed her makeup with a brown smokey eye and red lipstick. She knew people might want to get a glimpse of Christian Palmer and his date and she didn’t want to be recognized. She chose this place for the privacy but she still had to be careful.
Tony was about to go upstairs and go to bed when he saw one of Pepper’s papers on his kitchen counter. It was a form pertaining to Pepper’s mother’s social security.
Shit. I’m going to run this over to her.
Pepper was on her way back from the bathroom when she smacked right into a gentleman at the bar who was turning around. It was an accident and when she looked up it was Colonel James Rhodes.
“Pepper?” Rhodes asked.
He wasn’t sure if it was her he was really looking at under the dim of the bar lights.
“Yes it’s me. What are you doing here?” she asked nervously.
“I’m here with some of the air force guys. What about you? You look fantastic. I was going to hit on you and then I realized it was you” Rhodes said.
“Gee thanks” she said as she felt a flush come to her cheeks.
“It’s not you Pepper you’re beautiful but you’re Tony’s girl. He would kill me” Rhodes said.
“I’m not Tony’s girl” she stated matter of factly.
“I know but he’s my best friend And he’s made it clear you’re off limits” Rhodes said.
Pepper just rolled her eyes.
Of course he did she thought.
“So what are you doing here? Tony didn’t try and keep you there all night?”
“He asked me to stay for dinner but I had plans and I told him that I had some personal stuff to take care of,” she said.
“So you’re here alone? Or trying to pick someone up?” Rhodes asked.
“No” she said.
“Who are you here with?” he asked.
And she was saved by one of the Air Force guys.
“Hey Rhodes are you coming back or what?” he asked as he joined them and nodded to Pepper.
“This is Ryan Marks from the base. Ryan this is Pepper Potts” Rhodes said.
“Tony’s girl, I remember,” he said.
“Not Tony’s girl. I’m his PA” she said adamantly.
“But you’re basically Tony’s girl. I know lots of guys that wanted to ask you out but they’re too scared of Tony” he said.
I'm really going to kill him this time she thought.
This Tony’s girl stigma had to stop.
Tony parked his car in front of Pepper’s house and went up to the front door. He knocked on it rapidly for a few minutes and then he rang the bell. He thought she might be in the bathtub. He knocked some more and he climbed up to peer into her bedroom window. Now he was worried something had happened to her. He took out his phone and called her.
Pepper was standing there with Rhodes and his friend when Christian approached them.
“The food is here. Are you coming back?” he asked.
“Yeah I just ran into my friend Lt. Colonel James Rhodes. This is Christian Palmer” Pepper said feeling anxiety wash over her.
Can I trust Rhodey and his friend to keep this to himself? It’s only a matter of time before Tony finds out. Why does that bother me so much?
“Nice to meet you Colonel” Christian said extending his hand for a shake.
They shook hands and Rhodes could sense her uneasiness. Then her phone rang and it was Tony. Her face went white.
Oh no. Did Rhodes already text Tony? Did someone see me with Christian? she thought.
“I need to go somewhere quiet to answer this. It’s Tony. Can I have the keys to the car? I’ll be right back” she asked Christian.
Christian handed her the keys and she bolted out the door. She got into the car and swiped her phone to answer it.
“Hi” Pepper said trying to calm her voice since her heart wouldn’t stop stammering.
“Where are you? What are you doing?” he asked trying to keep his anger in check.
“I’m home. I told you I had some personal paperwork to do. Why are you checking up on me?” she asked.
Wow Pepper must be hiding something pretty big if she would lie to me like that he thought.
“Because I’ve been sitting at your apartment for the last fifteen minutes. Your lights are on and your car is here but you’re not. I even peeked into your bathroom and bedroom windows to make sure you didn’t pass out or slip and hurt yourself. I came by to deliver you a piece of paper you left in my kitchen. It’s a form for your mother’s social security” he said.
Pepper felt the guilt wash over her.
Did he really come all that way to deliver a piece of paper? she thought.
“ I’m out with some friends” she said quietly.
“Why did you lie to me?” he asked.
Pepper was at a loss for words. She had no good reason to give Tony.
“I’ll put the paper in the mail slot. Don’t worry about it” he said as he clicked off the phone.
Shit. He did something really nice for me and my secrecy blew up in my face she thought.
Pepper got back out of the car and her mood was ruined. She trudged back inside and Christian was at the table waiting for her. As she passed by she had to talk to Rhodes.
“You ok Pepper?” he asked as she approached his table.
“Please don’t tell Tony about this” she whispered with a look of pain on her face.
“I’m not going to just spill the beans but if he asks me any questions where you come up I’m not going to lie,” Rhodes said.
“Thanks Rhodey” she said as she hurried back to Christian.
“I’m so so sorry” Pepper said apologizing to her date profusely.
“Does he always call you after work hours?” Christian asked getting annoyed.
“Sometimes. I mean technically when I signed up for this job I was told I need to be available twenty-four seven if Mr. Stark should need something. He hasn’t really taken advantage of it too much. Tonight was my fault. I left a form for my mother’s social security at his house and he dropped it off and I wasn’t home” Pepper said.
She picked at her food and she couldn’t even enjoy it because she was so upset by the way Tony hung up on her. Tomorrow she would have to have some kind of peace offering.
Tony laid in bed and pondered what just happened with Pepper.
I could get her location from Jarvis right now and go and spy on her. Why would she lie to me? This has to be about a guy. I need to know what I’m up against but she does have a right to her privacy. But then again her safety is in constant jeopardy because of who I am. I should have kissed her that night. Then none of this would be happening. I need to keep Pepper safe at all costs and that’s what I intend to do he thought.
Neither Christian nor Pepper noticed the car with blacked out windows across the street watching them as he kissed her by the car and walked her up to her apartment. He needed something Tony Stark had and his assistant would be the one to give it to him.
Pepper got up extra early to stop at Randy’s donuts. They were Tony’s favorite donuts. She knew she was going to have to apologize profusely and succumb to whatever torture he might put her through. When she got to the Stark Mansion Happy was eyeing them closely and she insisted that Tony get first pick at them. She walked through the door and Tony was in the kitchen having his coffee. Pepper didn’t say a word. She put the box of donuts on the kitchen counter and put her head down.
“What’s this? Do we have a meeting or something?” he asked.
“No they’re for you” Pepper said quietly.
Tony didn’t say thank you or anything he just opened the box and took out a chocolate one and bit into it hastily.
“Hogan” he said showing the open box to Happy who stood there awkwardly.
“Thanks boss” Happy said as he took one.
Pepper booted up her laptop and didn’t know what to say. She knew she had to apologize but she couldn’t without an explanation. She didn’t like Tony being mad at her especially when he had a valid reason.
He finished his doughnut and went downstairs bringing the box with him.
Pepper wasn’t even sure Tony knew where she was and who she was with last night. She was frustrated and she couldn’t even text Christian.
Pepper threw herself into work by answering emails and making calls to everyone and everything that needed Tony’s attention. And there was the conference in Germany coming up and she really didn’t want to go just her and Tony with this hanging over their heads. She was going to have to go downstairs and gravel.
Pepper made her way down the stairs and used her code to get into Tony’s workshop and he was under the car as she suspected. Black Sabbath was blasting throughout the room. She turned it down enough so that he could hear her.
“Tony” she called.
He slid out from under the car.
“Please don’t turn down my music” he said in annoyance.
“I only turned it down enough so you could hear me. Can we talk?” she said.
Tony was fixated on her high heels and he was momentarily distracted. He pushed himself up and looked at her.
“Tony I’m sorry I lied to you” Pepper said trying to focus over his music that was still loud.
“I know you’re sorry. I can see how miserable you are. I just can’t figure out why you did it” he said.
Pepper squeezed her eyes shut for a moment.
“You’ve been known in the past to invade my privacy and I just wanted a night out to myself without you showing up. Every time I’ve had plans you somehow show up or call me and everything is-
“Ruined?” he finished.
“No it’s not that. It’s just-
“I get it. I’m a buzzkill. You’ve just never lied to me before. You know I was tempted to track where you were by the call but I didn’t. I didn’t even look” Tony said.
“I would have deserved that if you did” she said quietly.
“Pepper you don’t have to tell me who you’re with or what you’re doing but if I don’t know where you are I can’t protect you” he stressed.
“Tony Obadiah is dead. You don’t need to hover. I appreciate the concern” she said.
“Obadiah might be dead to you but he is alive and well in my nightmares. I can’t stop dreaming about things turning out the other way. What if he had gotten to you before I got there?” Tony said not even wanting to think about it.
Pepper felt a warmth in her heart. This was the most emotion Tony has ever shown her. It was a very personal moment.
“But he didn’t. You saved me. He’s dead. The threat is gone” she stressed taking his hands in hers.
They locked eyes for a moment and it was a very personal and sincere moment.
“I need to go over to the base to help Rhodey with something. I’ll be back in a little while” he said dropping it.
“Tony are we OK? I don’t want to go to Germany like this” she said quietly.
“Yeah Pep were OK” he said as he smiled at her.
“I’m going to go to the office for a bit. I’ll see you later” she said.
Tony arrived at the base and he found Rhodey with a bunch of his air force buddies.
“What’s going on with the suit? Show me” he said to Rhodey.
Rhodey brought him over to where it was laid out on a table and he looked it over. The inside was pretty damaged. It needed new wiring and a new motherboard.
“I’m going to have to take it with me. It needs some work” he said.
“Tony they’re not going to let you walk out of here with it. I’ll have to bring it over when I can” Rhodes said.
“Pepper’s been acting strange lately” Tony said completely changing the subject.
“How so?” Rhodes said trying to keep his promise to Pepper.
“I feel like she’s hiding something and it can only be one of three things. She’s looking for a new job because things got weird between us, she’s sick or dying God forbid or she has a boyfriend” Tony said.
“Did you ask her?” Rhodey said.
“She’s denying she’s hiding something,” he said.
“We saw Pepper last night at Nobu and Damn did she look good. Sorry I was just eavesdropping” Ryan Marks said as he joined their conversation.
“Really Rhodey? When were you going to tell me?” Tony asked.
“I thought you knew” he lied.
“She was with a really good looking guy. He looked like a big shot businessman. She seemed nervous” Ryan blurted out.
“Must have been just that. There is no way Pepper would ever go on a date with a guy who wanted to take her to Nobu” Tony said rolling his eyes.
There is no way. Pepper is too classy for Nobu. I wonder what she was wearing. I’m not going to ask though he thought.
Tony felt a mix of anxiety, fear and jealousy wash over him. Anxiety if it was a job interview, fear that it was a Doctor telling her she was dying and jealousy if it was a date. The nervousness he felt could apply to all three situations.
“I have to get going” Tony said.
He got into the car and he had Jarvis run his report. And Ryan hadn’t been lying. The gps on her phone when she answered the call last night was from Nobu. But there was nothing else to be seen in any of his surveillance. He clenched his fist and slammed the steering wheel.
How are you doing it Pep? he thought.
Pepper returned to Stark mansion after Tony with cheeseburgers. She still felt the need to apologize.
“Tony?” she called as she came in smiling with the bag.
Tony didn’t answer he just stood there with a glass of bourbon and swirled it around until she noticed him.
“Huh” she gasped when she saw him out of the corner of her eye and nearly dropped the bag.
“So Nobu huh?” Tony asked.
Pepper’s face was a mix of panic and anger.
“It’s none of your business Tony. Are you spying on me? I thought you said you didn’t run a trace on the call?” she asked suspiciously.
“I didn’t. I went over to the base to see Rhodey and his friend told me they ran into you last night and you were with some good looking guy. Not that that matters I’m sure I’m better looking” he stated.
“It’s none of your business. You don’t own me Tony. After I leave for the day my time is my own and I can do whatever I want and I don’t have to tell you anything. I got these for you if you don’t want them then throw them out. I don’t care. I have work to do” she said slamming the bag with the burgers on the table and storming out of the room.
“I need to scan you for something I’m working on before you leave” he called after her.
Tony grabbed the bag of burgers and went down to his workshop to put the final touches on his new improved suit that allows him to breath underwater for long periods of time. He sat there and ate his cheeseburger and he wanted to know what Pepper was up to. But she was right he had no right to know. He just couldn’t shake what happened with Obadiah and he needed to protect her above anything else. He heard her heels clicking down the stairs and he looked up.
“This is the ocean prototype. It’s a suit that can be used underwater and I need to scan you for access in case I ever need you to open it” he said.
Pepper looked at it curiously.
“It contains technology my father was working on a long time ago for the navy and the technology didn’t exist for him to finish it. So I took that technology and put it into the iron man suit” he said proudly.
“Who else knows about it?” she asked.
“Just you Pep” he said quietly.
She turned to look at him and those gorgeous brown eyes were melting her. Tony took her hand and placed it on the scanner. Her hand in his made her heart jump.
“Thank you Miss Potts” he said as he let go of her hand.
“I’m going to head out now and I’m really going home and staying home tonight,” she said.
“Hey get home safe Pep” he said.
Pepper got into her car and put on some music. She didn’t lie to Tony. She was going to go home and relax tonight. No work and no Christian. She was thinking about a hot bath with some candles and an audio book. She pulled up to her condo and she didn’t notice the unusual car parked across the street. She typed in her security code which had a second method of authentication by her prints in case someone else had the code. Tony insisted on installing this totally insane security system after what happened with Obadiah. No one had ever tripped the alarm since he built it so she didn’t even know what it would do if it went off.
Once inside Pepper put her purse down and she headed into the bathroom and began to run the water. She went into the bedroom and clipped her hair up and undressed quickly. She grabbed her iPad speakers and put on her audio book while she lit one of the fancy diptyque candles she got in the Stark Industries secret Santa. She was about to slip into the tub and realized that she forgot her phones. She went back to her purse and grabbed both of her phones and poured herself a glass of wine. She put them on the sink and slipped into the tub.
She let the days stresses melt away. She didn’t even care that Tony knew she was at Nobu with a guy. She didn’t care that Christian was pestering her to go public. All she cared about was the amazing feeling of the hot water on her aching back and the divine smell of the candle and the audio book voice hypnotizing her. She continued to soak and then she heard a loud ringing and a grinding sound. Someone tripped the alarm and Pepper could see steel coming down covering every window and doorway in the house. And then her phone went off.
Tony was in his workshop when Jarvis notified him that Pepper’s security system was compromised.
That was Tony’s only thought as he hurried into his suit and took off immediately trying to get Pepper on the line. Pepper grabbed her phone and picked up.
“Pepper?” he asked while silently praying she was OK. She unplugged her audio book so she could hear him better.
“Tony I’m OK but I don’t know what’s going on,” she whispered.
“Tell me what happened. I’m on my way” he said.
“I was taking a bath and then the alarm started going off and the steel doors started coming down the windows and doorways,” she said.
“Someone tripped your alarm. Jarvis please scan Miss Potts home for heat signatures” he said.
Jarvis scanned through the steel doors and all around the apartment.
“No one there sir” he said.
Tony breathed a sigh of relief as he picked up speed towards Pepper’s condo.
Tony landed down in front of Pepper’s apartment and looked at the security pad. The glass was shattered and the wires were ripped out of the back.
“Pep I’m here. The outside security pad is busted. I’ll be in in a minute. Jarvis override the protocols” he said.
A moment later the steel doors were rising and he went inside and went directly to the bathroom.
Pepper was still naked in the tub. She had her knees to her chest when Tony got there. Tony immediately leaned over the tub and grabbed her arm.
“Are you OK?” he asked.
Pepper met his eyes and she could see the fear and unrest in his eyes.
“I’m fine. I just want to get out of this tub” she said trying to calm her breathing.
“Of course” Tony said getting up and handing her a large bath towel.
He turned around to give her privacy while she wrapped herself up. She unplugged the tub to let it drain and blew out the candles. She was still shaking. Tony finally turned around and he steadied Pepper.
“Hey you’re OK” he said.
He wanted to hug her but he didn’t know how she’d respond. They stood their awkwardly and then Pepper reached out to hug him.
“I’m going to go over security footage. You’re going to pack a bag of everything you need until we get back from Germany and I can fix all this. I need indestructible glass this time” he said trying to think now that he knew Pepper was safe.
Pepper got dressed and tried to keep herself from crying. She was really shaken up. She grabbed business outfits and underwear and makeup. She was kind of aimlessly throwing things into her overnight bag.
“There were two guys out front and they both had on ski masks and gloves so no prints” Tony said as he walked into Pepper’s bedroom while she was packing the last of her stuff.
“I just need my phone and we can go. I left it in the bathroom” she said forgetting that she had taken out both of her phones.
Tony walked into the bathroom and saw two phones on the counter. And it all clicked in his head.
That’s how she’s doing it he thought.
“Did you want me to grab both of your phones?” he asked.
Pepper couldn’t believe she made a rookie mistake like that. She was so shaken up she forgot about the phones.
“Oh yeah. That’s my friend Mary’s phone. She forgot it at Nobu last night. We were supposed to meet up today for her to pick it up but she was busy. I put it out next to my phone so I’d remember to bring it to her” Pepper lied pretty convincingly.
Tony went into the bathroom to grab the two phones and the second phone had a suggestive text splayed across the screen.
“Well someone really wants Mary to sit on their face,” he said with a perturbed look on his face as he handed the phones to Pepper.
This better not be Pepper’s phone. And she better not be sitting on anyone’s face unless it’s mine he thought.
Pepper willed herself not to turn red. She didn’t want Tony to know she was lying again.
“I’ll have to let her know” Pepper said keeping a straight face.
She couldn’t let Tony know the truth.
“Come on, let's go. You’re my roommate until we get back from Germany” Tony said putting his arm around her.
When they got back to the house Tony undressed down to boxers and a tank and checked to see if Pepper was OK and she was still pretty shaken. She was curled up in bed in the spare room and she wouldn’t stop shaking.
“Hey you want to sleep with me?” he said as he realized how it sounded.
“I mean just sleep. You’re still shaking” he said as he sat on the edge of the bed.
“I’m not doing anything on that mattress of sins” she said trying to make a joke and calm her nerves.
“I’ll climb in here with you. No sins were committed in the guest room” he said putting his hands up.
“OK” was all she could manage.
“Umm let me just put something on” he said awkwardly.
He didn’t want her to feel funny with him in his underwear.
“Tony what you have on is fine” she said patting the bed next to her.
Tony slid into the bed and tried his hardest not to touch and caress her the way he wanted. These feelings were new to him and she felt weird about it and he didn’t want to mess it up for any reason. He was leaving the ball in her court but he was terrified to lose her. He watched her curl up and she was still shaking.
“Pep it’s OK. I’m not going to let anything happen to you” he said quietly as he reached for her hand.
Pepper slid over to him and buried her face in his chest allowing him to wrap his arms around her until they fell asleep.
Pepper was stuck living with Tony now until he fixed her security system which he wasn’t going to have any time to do until after the conference in Germany. It was making it increasingly hard to see Christian or even talk to him. She had to hide “Mary’s” phone when she talked or texted and she wouldn’t be able to have a date night unless she had a full on cover story. Tony was extra vigilant after what happened to her.
Pepper used her second phone to call a taxi and had to find a way to get passed Happy and out the door. She was going to meet Christian for lunch at his place. She got to the ground floor and she could see Happy hanging around with the other security guys. Pepper saw one of the female interns and decided to make her move.
“Pssst” she said waving her over.
The intern looked around to make sure Pepper was indeed talking to her and then scampered over.
“How would you like to make a hundred dollar bonus for a few minutes of your time?” Pepper asked her.
“Are you serious?” the intern asked.
“Yes. You see that guy over there” Pepper said pointing to Happy.
“Yeah I know him” she said.
“I need you to tell him you saw someone looking around that you didn’t recognize and walk him over away from here so I can sneak past him and don’t tell anyone that I asked you to do this or that we even spoke. He’s not good at keeping secrets and I’m going to get a present for Mr. Stark and I just can’t trust him” Pepper explained.
“How do I know you’re really going to give me the money?” she asked.
“I have it right here, ” she said producing a one hundred dollar bill.
“Ok I can do that,” she said.
Pepper waited until the girl had Happy turn his back away from Pepper’s direction and she made a break for it. And then she shut off her real phone so Tony couldn’t track her.
Pepper hurried up to Christians penthouse. Once inside he greeted her with a kiss.
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with you all morning,” he said.
“I know I’m sorry. We’re going to have to cool it for about a week or so. There was an incident last night” she said quietly.
“What do you mean cool it? And what incident? ” he asked.
“Last night someone tried to break into my condo. I was ok and nothing happened because Tony built a state of the art security system and installed it. These steel plates came down on every window frame and doorway once the alarm was tripped. He came to check it out. It was two guys with a ski mask. So I’m temporarily staying with him until we get back from Germany and he has a chance to fix it” Pepper explained.
“Why didn’t you call me? Because I’m not iron man. And you should be staying with me not Tony” he said.
He was getting increasingly annoyed with this boss of hers. He had nothing against him personally he didn’t know the guy, it was just that he seemed to take all of Pepper’s time and attention. Anytime she mentioned Tony she had this nervousness and he couldn’t quite figure out what was going on.
“I didn’t call Tony. He called me after the alarm was tripped. And I have to stay with him. After what happened last year with someone trying to kill him and me he’s not going to let it go. He is going to protect me. I had to do a lot to sneak out just to see you for lunch. So do you want to sit here and argue or do you want to do what you sent in the text that night?” Pepper said eyeing him up.
“I want you Pepper but we need to finish this talk first. Why don’t you just tell Stark about us so you can stay with me? And why is he so close to you? Don't you think it’s weird?” he said.
“Christian I said I would tell him when the time is right and I will. And he would never allow me to stay with you because he doesn’t know you. And yes he and I have become close. He’s my best friend” she said.
“What do you mean Stark would never allow you to stay. I thought you were a grown woman” Christian asked.
“I am and I mostly tell him what to do but he doesn’t have anyone but me. He has no one else and this is one battle I would never win. You don’t know him like I do” she stressed.
“Because you’ve never introduced us let alone let him know about us,” Christian said.
“Why is he so obsessed with you? I thought he was self-entitled and selfish and always taking women to bed. Why does he care what you do? Is he into you or something?” Christian asked.
Pepper felt her cheeks burn. The thought of Tony and her was ridiculous and exciting all at once.
“Tony into me? Definitely not” she said with a laugh trying to convince herself.
Tony would never be into me. That’s ridiculous. Right?
“I will tell him I promise. Let me get through this week and go to Germany and get back into my apartment first. Ok?” she said.
Christian looked at her defeated.
“Get over here. I was serious about what I texted you last night you know” he said.
Pepper returned to Stark Industries and Happy was in her face.
“Where were you? Do you know how mad the boss is at me right now?” Happy said giving her an earful.
“I’ll take care of Tony” she said as she headed to the elevators.
Pepper turned her phone back on and there was nothing but missed calls and texts from Tony and Happy. Pepper just sighed. This double life was hard to maintain. She glanced at herself in the mirror quickly and she was extremely flushed.
I went to a gym class. That’s a lie that should suffice for now she thought.
Pepper stepped inside Tony’s office and he was on a call. He made an excuse quickly and hung up.
“Where were you? You just disappeared. I was so worried about you. How could you do that to me after last night? I almost fired Happy,” he yelled.
“Tony keep your voice down. And Happy is not my keeper. I’m a grown woman and I can come and go as I please” she said challenging him.
“Wait, why are you so flushed?” he asked, eyeing her suspiciously.
“Because I went to an exercise class if you must know,” she said.
“Why didn’t you just tell me PEPPER?” he stressed.
“Because I don’t want you knowing where I work out. You know too much. You violate my privacy and you’re my boss. It’s too much” she said.
“It’s only because I need to know that you’re protected and I can’t do that if I don’t know where you are. Why won’t you let me protect you?” he asked.
“Tony this madness has to stop. I will be fine. I carry pepper spray. You’ve armed my apartment. You can’t be with me 24/7. Whatever is meant to happen will happen” she stressed.
Tony put his head down and Pepper knew instantly that she hurt him.
She doesn’t understand. She doesn’t believe I’m serious. She doesn’t understand that I need her to survive. She’s in every one of my thoughts at all times.
Tony wanted to pull her to him and kiss her and tell her how much he cared for her but his mind kept going back to the night on the balcony where she went for the kiss and stopped because she thought it was weird and he didn’t want to bring it up again and risk upsetting her. He couldn’t lose her as his friend either.
“Pepper don’t ever say that to me again. Your safety is the MOST important thing to me” he said quietly.
Pepper went over to grab his hands.
“You’re doing everything to protect me. I’m going to be okay” she said, putting her hand on his face.
“I need to know who tried to break in and what they wanted from you” he said.
“Tony it was probably random” Pepper said as she let go of his hand.
“When we get to Germany whatever you want Is on me. Anything you name it. You deserve it Potts”
Pepper just smiled and nodded.
That night they returned to the Stark Mansion and Pepper took her shoes off immediately and her blazer. She was so looking forward to taking a shower and then she remembered that Jarvis records everything in the house.
“ Jarvis please can you stop recording in this room and the bathroom until I’m finished?” she asked.
“Recording off” the A.I. responded.
Pepper enjoyed a nice long bath. It was so long that Tony was looking for her.
“Are you ok there Potts?” he asked.
“I’m great. That bath was glorious” she said as she opened the door wearing one of the spare bath robes.
“Did you use the jets to get off?” he teased.
“Tony that’s inappropriate and no I did not. And what are you doing up here anyway? I thought you’d be downstairs tinkering” she asked as she brushed past him to find her clothes.
“I was checking on you” he said.
“You could have asked Jarvis” she said.
“I tried and Jarvis told me you disabled video” he said.
“Because Tony you record everything in this house and it’s a good thing I asked him to disable it because I was taking a bath and you’d have gotten an eye full otherwise. Am I going to be able to get dressed and undressed without disabling the recording every time?” she asked as she went back into the bathroom and closed the door to get dressed.
Tony was hurt.
“I would never invade your privacy like that. I’m not a monster besides then what fun would my imagination be. Feel free to take a shower and you can ask Jarvis to alert you if I’ve violated your privacy while showering and then the footage can be deleted immediately” he said.
Pepper softened for a moment maybe she was a bit harsh.
“Im sorry Tony” she said as she opened the door wearing black & white polka dots pajama shorts, a black spaghetti strap tank top and an off the shoulder grey sweatshirt on top.
Tony was staring at her and his imagination was going wild. She looked so delicious and her long legs looked super soft.
“Is that why you think it’s weird? Because you think I’m some kind of pervert?” he said.
Pepper stopped in her tracks. She didn’t really think it was weird at all. She felt such a chemistry with Tony and an attraction she couldn’t shake. The problem was that it was highly inappropriate and the stigma she would receive for sleeping with or dating her boss. Her credibility would be shattered.
“No Tony. I never said you were a pervert. It’s just inappropriate. Everyone knows how you are with girls and then I’m your assistant and it would ruin my credibility”
“You know I haven’t been with anyone since before Afghanistan” he reminded her.
“No that’s not true. You went off into the hot tub with those girls at the business conference two months ago” she said remembering the night she met Christian.
“So who’s keeping tabs on who” he said.
“You got drunk and left me alone. Are you going to do that in Germany?” she said.
“I did go into the hot tub with those girls but nothing happened. I didn’t touch them and no I’m not leaving you alone for a second in Germany. If I leave you alone do you know how many guys would be jumping at the chance to be on your arm?” he asked.
Pepper was relieved that he hadn’t slept with those girls.
“You mean like all the guys from the base that want to ask me out but they’re too scared because I’m known as Tony’s girl? Where did they get that idea?” she asked.
Tony felt embarrassed and didn’t know how to wiggle his way around that.
“Did it ever occur to you that you’re not the center of my universe? That maybe I want to date and try and meet a nice, normal guy and get married one day. Or maybe I just want to have sex with someone”
Tony felt hurt and jealousy inside that he never knew he could. He didn’t want to imagine some jerk with his hands all over Pepper.
“Of course Pepper. And you deserve everything you want in life if that’s what makes you happy. But just know I was protecting you. Those guys at the base are jerks and Rhodey can confirm it. They’re not good enough for you” he said.
“ Any guy is good enough for a night in the sack. I don’t need to know anything about them if I just want to get laid even if I get laid exclusively by him and him only if it’s just sex who cares. And any guy is fine just for dinner. I enjoy going out and getting taken to a nice dinner for one night jerk or not. I barely have time as it is. I’m a workaholic and it feels nice to have an excuse to get all dressed up for the night and not be at a work function and just enjoy the company of a man that isn’t you. No offense but I see you all day long and sometimes on weekends. Do you know what I mean Tony?” she said.
Pepper looked at him and she saw how sad he looked. But she just wasn’t convinced that this wasn’t some phase he was in. He just likes the attention and when she doesn’t give it to him and gives it to another man he gets jealous.
“I didn’t think casual sex was your thing” he said quietly.
“It never was but I don’t care anymore. What I’m looking for either doesn’t exist or is too much work that I don't have the time to put in. So I’ve decided to look at it from a fresh perspective. Over the years the guys I’ve been interested in have either had amazing personalities and qualities I look for and I haven’t been attracted to them at all or they’ve been extremely handsome and either been dull or self entitled jerks. So why not just go for the sex? It seems to be working for you. You don’t get attached to anyone” Pepper said.
This was her way of softening the blow before she told him about Christian. She knew he’d be jealous either way because he needs constant attention like a child but at least he wouldn’t be shocked.
“Pepper it’s not that great. That’s why I stopped doing it. I think you’ll only end up being miserable. You deserve so much more than giving your body to some- someone like me. He gets to have you in a physical way and what do you get? I’m not lecturing or judging. I just think you deserve to love and be loved. And it can be much more dangerous for a woman. You meet these random men and what if they drug you or hurt you or force you to do something you said no to? Not that you’re not a strong woman but you can’t overpower a man. And Pepper so help me God if anyone touches you inappropriately without your consent or does any physical harm to you I would kill them with my bare hands” he said.
“Tony you’re doing it again. I will be fine. I would be careful about where I meet men and I’d try to find one to sleep with exclusively” she said.
“You know Pep I think I’m just going to turn in. That should make you happy. It’s only ten o’clock” he said desperately wanting to change the subject.
Pepper was stunned. Tony never went to bed before two except for very rare occasions.
“Are you ok? Do you need anything from me?” she asked as she looked at his dark eyes.
“No. Goodnight ” he said as he went off to his bedroom.
Tony laid down on the bed and his head was pounding. He didn’t know what was happening to him. He couldn’t handle the idea of Pepper being intimate with someone and he didn’t know why he suddenly cared. He never cared before. The only thing he could think of was that if she met someone then he would lose his assistant and his friend. He’d lose all the moments they shared after work as well. She’d be smiling with some other man and he’d be all alone with his robots. That was his story and he was going to stick with it. There was no other explanation to the hurt and jealousy he kept experiencing. He’d never even thought about the fact that Pepper might move on someday and the thought terrified him. He closed his eyes and fell into a fitful sleep.
“Look I planned this perfectly. It’s 4:00 and check in was 3:00 so our room should be ready no problem” Pepper said as they headed towards the desk at the hotel after a twelve hour flight.
“Are you feeling jet lagged? I am” he said.
“A little bit. I want to go upstairs and unwind” she said.
Pepper checked them in and they took the elevator up to their suite. It was quite spectacular. It had a view of the city. A kitchen, a living room, two bedrooms and they each had their own personal bathrooms with jacuzzi jet tubs.
“Ladies choice for the bedroom,” he said as the man put their luggage down.
“This one” she said pointing to the room next to her.
Tony carried her bags into the room and put them on her bed. He came back out and they stood their awkwardly.
“Are you hungry? I was thinking of taking a shower to give me a pick me up and then we can order some food” he suggested.
“Sure” she said. “That sounds nice”
Tony went off to shower and Pepper changed into leggings and a button down. She took off her makeup and washed her face. She reached into her travel bag and found a couple of her sheet masks and put one on her face and laid back on the bed. Tony got out of the shower and changed into some casual clothes. He went out into the living room and kitchen looking for Pepper and he noticed the door to her room was open so he peeked his head in and he saw her lying on the bed with her eyes closed and a mask on her face.
“You got one of those for me?” he teased causing her to sit up abruptly.
“Tony” she said embarrassed.
Tony couldn’t see her flushing because of the mask.
“Tony don’t be silly. Since when do you care about that stuff” she said.
“I’m going to tell you something and you can’t tell a soul,” he said.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Look right here” Tony said pointing to his head and leaning closer to Pepper.
“Is that a grey hair?” she teased.
“I don’t know how manly these are but I have this Kiehl’s mask” she said handing it to him.
Tony ripped it open and put it on his face and laid down on the bed next to her.
Pepper giggled at the site of him.
“I don’t want to look old Potts. Maybe you could help me find some stuff I should use for my skin. Like a whole routine. But you can’t tell anyone” he said as he turned to face her.
“Are you really going to use it?” she teased.
“So what should we get to eat?” he asked.
“I’ll get the room service menu,” she said.
They flipped through it and Tony placed their orders and he of course ordered a cheeseburger imported from the US.
Tony hung up the phone.
“Forty-five minutes to an hour,” he said.
Pepper sighed and pulled her sheet mask off and grabbed for her jade roller to roll the rest of the moisture into her face and neck.
“Do me next” he said.
Pepper took his sheet mask off and rolled the rest of the moisture into Tony’s face.
“Thank you Miss Potts” he said as he smirked at her.
“You’re welcome Mr. Stark”
They sat there in silence and after five minutes they both fell asleep. They had been asleep for nearly an hour when a knock at the door startled them. They awoke tangled in each other. Pepper had slid down and fell asleep with her face on Tony’s chest and her hand resting on his thigh. Tony had his arm around her and his head down almost on top of her head.
Pepper was panicking and trying to untangle herself from Tony. When he stopped her.
“Hold on” he said stopping her.
He cupped her face with his hands and brushed his thumb over her cheekbone.
“You had an eyelash” he said as he got up to answer the door for the room service.
Pepper sat there blinking. Tony really did have the most beautiful eyes she’s ever seen.
What? Pepper no. Don’t think that she thought.
Tony tipped the room service guy handsomely and waited for Pepper to join him. She came out and sat on the couch.
“Tonight is the gala honoring Dr. Arlinghaus right?” Pepper asked.
“Yes and hopefully you’ll dance with me”
“Sure” she said imagining him in a tux.
“You know Pepper you really are very pretty. I’ve never told you that before. I’m looking at you without makeup and it’s not that I didn’t notice before how pretty you are but I never appreciated it I guess. Lucky me I get to look at you nearly everyday” Tony said.
Pepper felt the heat from the blush spread across her cheeks.
“That’s very nice of you to say. But I know your attention span. You’ll see some gorgeous woman and you’ll be off running after her” she said.
“Pepper I’m right where I want to be. You’re the one I have to worry about. You’re the one sneaking around trying to find a friend with benefits”
“I said I was considering it. And my point was that whether or not I was having one night stands or dating someone none of it is your business” she said.
Tony sighed defeated. He knew he didn’t have a chance in winning this one. She was right. It wasn’t his business. He went to sit on the couch and put on the tv.
She had a sudden realization that she hadn’t checked her phone or talked to Christian all day. She got up and went into her room and shut the door behind her. She grabbed her phone and there were a few missed calls on the viper app. They were from Christian. She opened the door again and peaked out and Tony was watching tv. She closed it again and put her tv on and went out into her terrace. She hoped Tony wouldn’t hear her conversation. She dialed Christians number and he was giving her an earful about why she hadn’t called and he was worried.
“I’m sorry. I’m just really tired and really jet lagged. I’m trying to acclimate the time change. I took a nap and just had some dinner. We have the gala tonight but I miss you”
Do I miss him? I miss the sex. But do I miss him? And why does Tony look so good lately?
Pepper was zoning out while Christian was talking and he was a little annoyed when he lost her attention.
“I’m sorry babe. I’m tired. I didn’t mean to zone out. I have to go. I have to get ready” she said.
Pepper hung up and looked in her room and Tony was standing there causing her to jump. She grabbed her phone and tucked it into her leggings and hoped that Tony didn’t see her real regular phone in her purse.
He pulled open the sliding door.
“Who were you talking too?” he asked.
“My friend Christine” she lied quickly.
“Do I know Christine?” he asked.
“No I work out with her” she said.
“We gotta get ready Pep” he reminded her and she nodded.
Pepper arrived at the gala and her eyes searched the crowd for Tony. She continued to stand there awkwardly and slowly stepped over to the side of the entrance to let people through.
Tony was at a bar in the back having a scotch and chatting with an old astrophysicist friend of his when he spotted Pepper. He completely zoned out of his conversation while he stared at her. She had on an emerald green gown with a halter neck. It was made of silk and reached her ankles. Her red hair was swept to one side and came cascading down her neck.
“Tony?” the man said.
“Huh?” he asked.
“Your thoughts on the new technology?”
Pepper was about to order a drink when a tall handsome man came over to her.
“You don’t have a drink or a date and I think I can help you with both” he said slyly.
“I would love a vodka martini dry with extra olives and I’m here for work. I’m here with my boss” she said.
“So you can’t have a date because you’re working?” he asked as he handed her her drink.
“Thank you” she said as she sipped it quietly.
Where is Tony? she thought. He told me he wouldn’t leave me. I bet he’s off with some busty blonde right now not that I care. I have a boyfriend anyway. ...sort of.
“I’m John Schulz. I work for Siemens. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’m one of the lead engineers” he said.
Pepper glanced around for Tony again while she continued with polite conversation.
“I’m Pepper Potts. I work for-
“The personal assistant to Tony Stark. I didn’t recognize you. You’re much more beautiful in person” he said getting close to her.
Tony saw this man flirting with Pepper and he could see that she was uninterested and her eyes kept searching the room for him. He was desperately trying to break away from these physicists.
“I’m so sorry. I see my assistant has arrived. I’ll have her put something in the books. I have to go” Tony said as he headed towards Pepper. She locked eyes with him and he saw the look of relief on her face and he felt much better.
“Hey Pep” he said.
“There you are. I was just chatting with John Schulz here. He works for Siemens” she said as she finished her drink.
“Your assistant is a very smart and very beautiful woman. It’s not wise to leave her unattended” the man said.
“Thanks for the tip” Tony said sarcastically as he took Pepper’s hand and lead her to the dance floor.
Once they found a spot he pulled her close for a dance. She didn’t argue.
“Was he inappropriate with you? Did he bother you?” Tony asked.
“He was flirting but he didn’t cross the line or anything. Where were you? You told me you wouldn’t leave me. Was she a blonde or brunette this time?”
“Actually when I got here I got dragged away by these physicists and then I saw this smoking hot redhead that needed rescuing” he said with a smirk.
“Thank you for that by the way. But don’t feel obligated to hang with me because I’m here. There are plenty of ladies here and I don’t want to hold you back. You’re allowed to have fun Tony”
“Pepper I told you that’s not my scene anymore. I haven’t been with anyone since before Afghanistan. Why don’t you believe me?” he said as he pulled her closer.
“Because that was six months ago. And no sex for six months is like six years for you. I would know. You get extremely cranky after like two days. You always complain about wanting to go out to find someone” she said.
“When is the last time you heard me complain about that? And you smell amazing by the way. It has me totally distracted. What is it?”
“It’s Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria and you haven’t complained at all which surprises me. That’s all”
The song ended and he brought her over to the side bar and got her another drink.
“I can take care of things myself when I have too. It’s not my preference but it does the job”
“Ok that’s enough of that. But I still think you’re setting yourself up for failure. You don’t do relationships and so if you’re not into one night stands anymore then you’re not going to have sex anymore?” she asked.
“Pepper why all this sudden interest in my sex life?” he asked.
“Oh you don’t like it when people pry into your business” she teased.
“Pep I’m an open book with you. I just don’t get this sudden interest. You usually don’t want any details” he said.
“I don’t. You’re just so different since Afghanistan and you’re a little overbearing. I think maybe you need a distraction. You need to get laid”
“Are you calling me annoying?” he teased her back.
“Yes. I pray everyday that you’ll find a female to grab your attention so that you will leave me alone” she said as she smirked at him.
“Yet every time I do you always seem to end up needing me to rescue you”
“I would have survived,” she said.
They were staring at each other intently when John Schulz was back.
“Would you like to dance?” he asked Pepper in a slurred tone.
Tony looked at Pepper to see what she wanted before responding. She looked very uncomfortable.
“Look your drunk and she’s not interested so why don’t you just get lost ok” Tony said trying to be polite.
“Let her speak for herself. What do you say beautiful? Wanna dance?” he asked as he got closer to her.
“Did you hear what I said? You’re making her uncomfortable. Get lost” Tony said with a hint of venom in his voice.
The man grabbed for Pepper and Tony watched as she recoiled. Out of instinct he pulled the man off of her and he pushed Tony back like a rag doll causing him to stumble. Tony underestimated the man's strength but it didn’t stop him from going after him. Tony pulled him off of Pepper and punched him in the face. The man stumbled a bit and then grabbed Tony by his collar and punched him in the face causing his nose to bleed and then he flung him against the bar where Pepper could hear the crack of Tony’s head as it slammed against it.
“TONY” she said as she ran to him and bent down to make sure he was okay while security escorted John out of the ballroom.
She turned Tony over and he was bleeding from his head and from his nose.
“Tony are you ok?” Pepper said frantically trying to get him in a sitting position.
“Did he touch you Pep? Are you ok?” Tony asked as he wiped at the blood coming off his head.
“I’m fine. Come on. Let’s go back to the room. Can you get up?” she asked.
Tony nodded as Pepper helped him up.
Once inside the room Pepper wet a wash rag and put a tiny bit of soap and cleaned Tony’s wound carefully. She bandaged him up from the first aid kit that she always packed for Tony since he became Iron Man. And made sure he didn’t have a concussion.
“I’m going to change into pajamas and I’ll be right back” she said.
She shed her dress and put on a bra and her pajama shorts and tank top. She didn’t normally wear a bra to bed but she didn’t want Tony to see her that way. When she returned he was laying back with a towel full of ice on the bump forming on his head.
“Stand up. I need to make sure you’re not bruised anywhere else because I know you won’t tell me the truth”
He did as she said as she slid his jacket off and his tie. She started unbuttoning his shirt and he smirked at her.
“This is hot Pep” he teased.
“Do you ever quit? I swear everything turns into a sexual joke. I swear it’s all you think about” she teased him again.
“Well I told you how long it’s been. You don’t think I miss it and think about it” he said.
Pepper pulled his shirt off and checked his chest, back and shoulders for any bruises.
“What do you want to wear to sleep? And I’m not going to undo your pants” she said.
“I usually sleep nude but if you’re going to join me I’ll wear whatever you want,” he said as he struggled with his belt since his hand was so cramped from hitting that guy.
Pepper saw him struggling and she felt bad.
“This is a one time thing and only because you’re injured” she said grabbing for his belt and pulling it out of his pants.
“Then I’m going to enjoy every second of it” he said following up with a giant grin as Pepper undid his button and zipper and pulled his pants off.
“You can get excited all you want but I’m immune to this Tony. You know how many times I’ve had to dress and undress you in the last ten years. And how many times I’ve found you naked in horrendous positions?” she said even though this time was different.
Pepper was trying to distract herself from her racing heart by folding his tuxedo so it wouldn’t wrinkle.
“And what did you think?” he asked.
“Of what?” she asked trying to busy herself with clean up.
Tony loved seeing Pepper squirm. He loved teasing her and getting a rise out of her.
“Like I said Tony I’m immune to it” she said hiding her true desire.
“That’s because you seen me after the party was waaaay over. You should see me when the party's first getting started” he said with a wink.
“I don’t need to see it anytime to be honest. Now get in bed” she said.
“So bossy. I like it” he said as he got under the covers.
Pepper went into her room and came back with her blanket from her bed.
“You’re not even going to share covers with me?” he whined.
“I’m only here to make sure you don’t get a concussion or start bleeding again or something because I know you won’t tell me”
Tony sighed as Pepper climbed onto the bed and covered herself with her blanket. She grabbed the ice pack and placed it on Tony’s head and brushed his sweaty hair back off his forehead. She noticed he kept wincing and squeezing his hand.
“Let me see” she said taking it gently and gently massaging tiny circles into his knuckles and palm feeling the callous beneath.
“How’s that?” she asked as she looked up at him and he was extremely close to her face.
“Better thank you” he said.
Neither of them moved for a minute and then Tony grabbed her face gently and pulled it towards him as he went for a kiss. He didn’t care anymore he had to try. Pepper was too important to him. She didn’t push him away and it surprised him.
Pepper what are you doing? Tony is your boss and you have a boyfriendish. But those lips of his god those lips she thought as she continued to kiss him.
She felt him try and slip her some tongue and that’s when she pushed him away.
“Tony we can’t do this. I can’t do this”
“But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to” he said going in for another kiss and this time she couldn’t resist.
She wrapped her arms around him and continued to kiss him back as every part of her body felt like it was melting away.
Tony pulled her shirt off and she let him with no resistance. He pulled her bra strap down and kissed the skin where it had been and all along her collarbone and shoulder. With his free hand he unsnapped her bra and started to pull it down gently when his emergency alarm on his phone went off.
He slammed his fist into the bed next to her out of anger and frustration at the timing as he broke away.
“That’s my emergency alarm” he said reaching for his phone.
“Oh no Tony what’s happening?” she asked as she snapped her bra back on and put her shirt back on figuring they were not going to continue what they were doing.
“Jarvis show me what’s happened” he said as he brought up a hologram.
There were two men in ski masks that somehow damaged his front gates and got into the front and they were peering through all his windows.
“Jarvis go into lockdown mode” he said.
He continued to watch and he could see Happy driving up to his house. He must have heard the commotion and decided to check it out.
“Hey I don’t think you guys are supposed to be here” Happy said.
One of them turned around and said with a sinister tone “We’re not”.
And then Tony and Pepper watched in horror as he took out a gun and shot Happy.
“Jarvis call 911 immediately. Pep we have to go” he said but she was already packing their things and calling for the jet.
This is all my fault Tony thought. I always bring Happy on my trips. But I wanted to be alone with Pepper so bad I went against his insistence.
“They had ski masks Pepper. I told you this wasn’t random. I need to figure out who’s doing this and what they want. But most importantly I need to keep you safe”
Pepper was converting the Divan seats into a bed on the jet.
“Tony I know you’re worried. I’m worried too. You called Rhodes and he will give you an update if anything has changed. Right now they have Happy in surgery and there is nothing else we can do. You should try and get some sleep” Pepper said as she put a pillow and blanket down for him.
“How could I sleep? This is my fault. I didn’t bring him with me” Tony said.
“How could you have known this would happen? It’s not your fault. Tony you need sleep” she urged.
“Are you going to join me?” he asked as he looked at her.
“Sure but just for sleep. I think we need to talk about what almost happened” she said as she got under the covers.
“You mean when we were going to have sex” he said as he also went under the covers.
“Tony I’m sorry if I lead you on. It was a mistake. I had too much to drink and I was emotional. You were hurt and I got caught up in the moment” she said not meeting his eyes.
Her insides were yearning for him but she could not let this happen.
“Bullshit Pepper. Maybe the first kiss but the second kiss you let me take your bra off. You wanted it” he said.
“You’re right. I did. But it’s not you. I’m trying this new birth control as a study because it helps with my migraines but there are side effects and random waves of desire comes over me sometimes and alcohol increases the effect. You can even ask Jarvis since you won’t believe me. You have access to my medical files. So I’m sorry if I gave you mixed signals. I was not expecting to be in that situation with you”
“What’s the name of the birth control?” he asked.
“Neurowave” she said. “It’s an experimental drug”
“Why did you drink while taking them?” he asked.
“I couldn’t find you Tony and I was on edge. That guy got my drink and I was trying to be polite and I wasn’t expecting my boss to kiss me” she said as she watched Tony researching her birth control pills.
“God this is so embarrassing and now you’re looking it up right in front of me,” she said.
“I want to make sure it’s safe Pep”
“So tell me about these waves of desire,” he said.
“It’s like I’m a teenager. I feel this rush of hormones to my….. and it doesn’t matter who’s in front of me I just wanna do it”
“How do you know when it's hormones and how do you know when it’s real?” he asked.
“Because If it happens frequently then I know it’s me and if it happens only once then I know it’s hormones,” she said.
“So this is the first time this has happened with me?” he asked.
“It’s like when you first get turned on as a teen. I remember the first time I got a boner when I was awake. I was thirteen and we went to the Adirondacks and Obadiah was there with his daughter Whitney. She was two years older than me and a well developed blonde and when she came outside in a two piece it shot right up without warning” Tony confessed.
“It makes sense now. That’s why you have a thing for busty blondes. It all goes back to Whitney Stane”
“My type has changed significantly. I’m more into the fiery redheads with legs for days” he said.
“We’re supposed to be getting some sleep,” she said.
“ I promise I’ll try if you tell the first time you got sexually turned on” he said staring at her gorgeous blue eyes.
“I was thirteen. We went up to Big Bear every summer with my cousins. My cousin Josh had a friend named Hunter Wood and he totally blossomed. I saw him and I felt this rush between my legs and a bit of throbbing and I was wet” she said.
“Damn we could have been getting it on together when we were thirteen” he teased.
“You would never have wanted me at thirteen. There’s no pictures of me from that year for a reason” she said.
“I’m sure you were beautiful”
“Goodnight Tony” she said.
“Goodnight Pep” he said.
Pepper woke up and Tony was still sound asleep. She looked at his soft face and he looked so young and rested. She looked at the clock and they would touch down in 30 minutes so she nudged him gently to give him a chance to wake up before they landed.
“Tony wake up” Pepper said softly.
Tony opened his eyes and he had a smirk on his face.
“I was dreaming about you” he said quietly.
“I don’t even want to know” she teased.
“We were thirteen and horny” he said.
“That’s enough of that” she said cutting him off.
“I woke you up because we land in thirty minutes”
Tony and Pepper arrived at Malibu Hospital where they found out Happy was in stable condition. Pepper sat next to his bed and held his hand while Tony slipped out into the lobby to call Rhodes.
“Your gate is all busted up. And I found the shell casing out front. It’s from one of your weapons and I reviewed the tapes. It was two guys with gloves and ski masks. A couple of your windows are smashed in but it doesn’t look like anything inside was disturbed. Maybe Jarvis’s protocols scared them away” Rhodes explained.
“Before we left for Germany two guys with ski masks tripped the alarm at Pepper’s apartment. I think the two are related and I’m going to head over to her place now to check it out. Her place has been vulnerable. I didn’t have time to fix her alarm before we left for Germany. One of the men spoke to Happy see if Jarvis can run a voice recognition and tell me what you find” Tony said.
“You got it” Rhodes said as he hung up.
Pepper was about to call Christian when Tony came into the room. She dropped her phone back in her bag quickly.
“Whoever that was destroyed the gate and broke some windows. I really think this could be related so I’m going to check out your apartment and then I’m coming back to get you” Tony said.
“Tony your house isn’t safe anymore. I have a friend I can stay with” she said.
“No way. I want you with me” he explained.
“No Tony both your house and my apartment were hit in the same week. I have a safe place I can stay that no one knows” she said.
“Where? And with who? I need to know” he insisted.
“I can’t tell you. That would be more dangerous. If anyone knows they will be compromised. Look Tony whether you agree or not you know I’m going to go anyway”
“I want daily check ins Pepper. I mean it” he said.
“You will see me at work. That’s my check in” she said.
He was about to argue when Happy stirred. Tony jumped up to call for the nurse.
“Hey Happy” Pepper said squeezing his hand.
“Did they get into the house?” he asked.
“No they just busted the gate and a few windows. How are you feeling?”
“I feel like I got shot” he said.
Tony returned to the room and sat next to Pepper.
“I need to get you a bulletproof vest or something especially if you’re going to start investigating break ins. Happy what were you thinking?”
“Tony please he’s been through enough” Pepper said.
“I have to go. I have to figure out what’s going on and take a look at your apartment. Hogan I’m glad to see you’re awake. Try not to run into any bullets” Tony said as he shook his hand.
Pepper excused herself after Tony left and went into the lobby to call Christian.
“Tony’s house was attacked while we were in Germany and Happy was shot. I’m with him at Malibu hospital right now. Are you allowed guests at the hotel? I mean I know you have the penthouse level but I wasn’t sure of the hotel rules. I need a place to stay” she said.
Christian was ecstatic and couldn’t wait for Pepper to join him. She was about to go back in and see Happy when her other phone was ringing.
“That’s the boss. I have to go. I’m going to need to get my clothes anyway and I’ll text you when I’m on my way”
Tony was horrified when he entered Pepper’s apartment. It was totally ransacked. Every draw was opened and turned upside down. The couch cushions were pulled out and strewn about and the bedroom had clothes everywhere and the contents of the nightstands were emptied onto the floor.
“Jarvis I need you to bring up the surveillance video from the week and get me Miss Potts on the line”
He waited a few moments until Pepper picked up.
“Your apartment is completely ransacked. I need you here to tell me if anything important is missing”
“Ok I’m going to say goodbye to Happy and then I’ll be right over”
“Hurry” Tony said and then he clicked off the line.
Pepper went back inside to see Happy who was sitting up comfortably.
“Happy I need to go. There was another break in at my apartment and Tony needs me there now. But please if you need anything let me know. If you want some decent food or more crosswords or just a friendly face there is nothing too important at Stark that I can’t carve out some time for you” she said quietly.
“Thanks Pepper” he said.
She bent down to kiss his forehead and she left.
Tony was still searching the apartment when Pepper walked in the door.
“Oh my God. I wonder what they were looking for. I don’t have anything” Pepper said as she put her couch cushions back.
“Look what I found” Tony said as he held his hand out and their were tiny recording devices.
“Are those cameras?” she asked.
“Mostly audio but I bet there is a camera in here somewhere”
“I probably shouldn’t use my car either. It’s probably not safe” she said as she went into her bedroom and began putting items into her overnight bag.
“I had Jarvis bring up the surveillance footage and they had masks and gloves so I can’t get a print or anything. They didn’t say anything either. You’re right, you should leave the car” he said.
“My friend is renting at the Malibu Inn ok. That’s where I’ll be staying but I’m not telling with who or what room. I need to keep you safe too and it’s safer if you don’t know” she said.
“Thank you for telling me that. Look Pep I’m going to be here working to get your alarm reinstated so I can get you back into your apartment as soon as possible. I’m going to stay here in case they show up again” Tony said.
“That will be fine. There’s plenty of food in my fridge and plenty of menus in the draw. Please only call me if it’s really important” she said.
“Sure but can you at least let me drive you to the Malibu Inn. I won’t pry and come inside but I want to drive you so I know you got there safely” he said.
Tony pulled into a space at the hotel and helped Pepper with her bags.
“Did you bring your pepper spray?”
She nodded with a smile.
“Tony you don’t need to worry this is a public hotel and no one knows who I’m staying with” she said quietly.
“Give me a hug” he said as he pulled her in and he smelled that amazing scent again.
“Endless Euphoria am I going to be smelling that all night in your bed? You’re trying to kill me, I think” he teased.
“Maybe a little on my pillow. I haven’t had a chance to wash my sheets since I’ve been rooming with you. You can always change the pillowcase” she suggested.
“I don’t want to keep you. Have a goodnight Miss Potts”
“Goodnight Tony” she said as she walked towards the hotel.
Christian was beaming when he opened the door.
“God you’re gorgeous” he said as he pulled her in for a kiss.
It did feel nice to kiss him and spend time with him again. She was going to keep her one small indiscretion with Tony to herself. There was no point in bringing up a silly kiss that meant nothing.
“I didn’t know if you had a chance to eat so I saved you some dinner” he said.
“That looks great. I will pick on some shrimp and I’d love a glass of wine” she said.
Christian was off getting her wine and she was admiring his long lean physique and boyish good looks. He was HOT and she couldn’t believe he wanted her.
“Here you go” he said handing her a glass of wine.
“I really missed you and I know you’ve been through hell the last couple of weeks and I’m so sorry about your friend Happy. How is he doing?”
“He pulled through the surgery. They are probably going to have to keep him for another day or two”
“I’m glad to hear he’s ok” he said as he began to rub the knots out of her shoulders and neck.
“Mmmm” she moaned as she let her head drop down.
He leaned his face down to kiss her neck and behind her ear and on her lobe. She felt his hot breath in her ear and it sent a shiver down her. He knew how to turn her on in an instant.
“I think we should get you out of these clothes and get into the jacuzzi and let the jets relax you and then I’m going to carry you to the bed and give you the best oral pleasure you’ve ever had,” he said as he began unbuttoning her shirt.
“God Christian you make me so hot. You really do give the best oral pleasure. I’ve never been with anyone as talented as you” she confessed.
Just the thought of it made her clitoris throb.
“Then why are your clothes still on?”
Tony laid in Pepper’s bed and he couldn’t stop thinking about the kiss. He remembered everything about it. The feeling of her lips, the taste of her lips, the way they moved together like magnets and the softness of her skin, the way her body reacted to his touch. It was all swirling around his mind. Even the way she cared for him was so soft and gentle. No one had ever shown him caring like that. She hadn’t been lying about the birth control and the weird side effects but he couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t just the birth control. It felt so real. It wasn’t just passion driven it was very caring. Tony needed Pepper and he needed to figure out how he was going to get her.
Pepper walked into Stark Industries and she was in a great mood. She was glowing from having amazing sex with Christian. She thought about how hard it was going to be to give up the sex when the time came because she knew they wouldn’t last forever no matter how much she enjoyed her time with him.
“Good morning Mr. Stark” she said as she walked into his office with a smile on her face.
“You’re in a good mood” he said noticing her big smile.
“I am. I slept better than I have in awhile and I just feel so relaxed and refreshed” she said.
“Well I hate to be the one to ruin your good mood but we got a hit on the voice recognition I had Jarvis run and the guy that shot Happy is the guy in the photo I asked you to look into only he changed his appearance with facial prosthetics. His name is Samuel West. I can’t make a connection as to what he wants with you or I. He has a clean record” Tony said showing her the photo.
“Did you call the police?” she asked feeling worried for the first time.
“I did but I’m going to find him myself,” Tony said.
“Tony that’s not safe. These men have guns” she said feeling a panic start to build up.
She wanted Tony safe as much as he wanted her safe.
“I don’t care. I’m going after him. He shot Happy with one of my weapons. So obviously his accomplice must work here. If I can get him I can capture him and question him” Tony said.
“Tony please let the police handle it. I can’t go through this again. I can’t lose you” she begged him.
Tony felt guilt building up in his chest but Pepper’s safety will always come before his own.
“Pepper I’m sorry but I have to do this” he said.
Pepper looked at him with pleading eyes.
“What about keeping you safe?” she said as she took his hands and he felt them begin to tingle.
“I’ll be fine Pep I promise besides Rhodey is coming with me,” he said as he pulled her in for a hug.
“Will you text me to tell me you’re alright?” she asked.
She only felt slightly better about Rhodes joining him.
“Of course,” he said brushing the hair off of her face.
She felt her cheek burning where his fingers had been. They both stopped for a second and she noticed his eyes again and she felt a butterflies.
What was that Pepper? she asked herself in her head. You have a hot boyfriend who gives you amazing oral sex.
The glow she had when she walked in all but disappeared.
“I’m sorry Pep. Your glow is gone. I didn’t mean to
ruin your good mood”
“It’s fine Tony. This is good news now we at least have a name” she said trying to change the subject.
“I want a cheeseburger” Tony said.
“Tony it’s 8:00 a.m.” Pepper said with a laugh.
“Well as soon as they start serving them I need you to get me one with extra bacon”
“I know they’re your favorite and I’ll get it for you but you can’t just eat cheeseburgers all the time” she teased.
“So have dinner with me tonight and I’ll eat whatever you tell me” he said trying again to get Pepper to have a date with him.
“I would but I have plans” she said quietly not looking at him.
She felt bad but she needed to focus on her relationship and not Tony even though he had the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen and he had changed so much. He was becoming a much better man.
“A date?” he asked.
She thought about it for a second. The charity ball was coming up in a few days and there was no way she could avoid the Christian situation anymore since him and Tony would both be there. She was looking at his curious eyes and she just couldn’t bear to tell the truth.
“Nope. It’s just a girls night at the hotel. I promise I will be safe” she lied.
“Ok” he said quietly.
She could see the disappointment in his face.
Pepper entered Tony’s workshop as he was getting into his iron man suit.
“Pep what are you doing here?” Tony said putting his helmet down.
He wasn’t expecting her and he was surprised to see her.
“I came to see you off. I’m worried Tony. I didn’t get to say goodbye before Afghanistan” she said fighting back an unexpected tear.
“Hey don’t cry. I’m going to be fine” he said.
“I’m sorry. This is silly. I can’t believe I’m crying” she said.
“I know you think it’s weird and terrible but you should give me a kiss for luck” he said wiggling his eyebrows at her in his devilishly charming manor.
Pepper didn’t know what came over her but she grabbed his face and pressed her lips to his. She could feel the shock from him in his kiss while her body was yearning for more and she knew it wasn’t the birth control. She knew it wasn’t the birth control the first time either but she would never admit it to herself or him. She pulled away and smiled.
“I did kiss you even though it’s weird so you better come back unharmed,” she said.
“Well then let me walk you out and make sure you’re safely on your way to the Malibu Inn and I’ll take off out front,” he said.
“You’re such a gentlemen” she teased.
Pepper watched Tony take off just as her lyft arrived.
Pepper you need to chill out with this Tony, thing she thought. What is happening to you? Tony Stark is your boss and he is off limits period.
Tony was flying towards the Agoura Hills which in his suit should only take him about five minutes. He was trying to match up with Rhodes who was driving.
“Jarvis scan the perimeter and tell me how many men are at the residence” Tony instructed his A.I.
“There are 8 men in total” the A.I. replied.
“And where is Colonel Rhodes?” he asked getting impatient.
“He has arrived around the corner from the residence as instructed”
Tony saw Rhodey’s car come into view and he landed down beside it.
Rhodey was so used to Tony’s surprise landings it didn’t even make him flinch anymore.
“There are eight of them,” Tony said.
“We need to find a safe place to observe” Rhodey said as he buckled his vest on and grabbed for his weapons.
“ I want to bring him back and question him. I want to know the accomplice. They used Stark weapons. It has to be someone from the inside or someone dealing under the table”
“Tony you need to take it easy and we need to canvas the area and access our odds. We are outnumbered and you don’t have the kind of experience with this stuff” Rhodey warmed him.
Tony made a face but agreed to try it Rhodes way first.
“First thing is to see if there’s a way on the roof. We neutralize those guys and then work our way down”
“I’m in a flying suit. I can handle the guys on the roof. There is only two of them” Tony said.
“Wait” Rhodes said putting his hand up.
He was eyeing a patch of trees they can hide behind. He kept his eye on the guard until he changed position and motioned for Tony to follow him. They were now facing the side of the lush home.
“Ok you go up and neutralize the guards on the roof and do it quietly and I will peer inside and see what I can find” Rhodes said.
“I can’t do it quietly from here. They will hear the jets. I’m going to have to climb up somehow” Tony said as he crouched lower under the window.
“Let’s go find a way up and I’ll give you a boost” Rhodes said as he lead Tony around the other side of the house.
They found a ladder going into a second floor bedroom. It was a couple of feet lower than the roof.
“This is going to have to be good enough” Rhodes said.
“Ok you go first and tell me if the bedroom is clear” Rhodes said from behind him on the ladder.
“Jarvis can you show me inside?” Tony asked.
“There is only a woman in the adjoining bathroom”
“Just one chick in the bathroom” Tony said to Rhodes as he reached the top of the ladder and he pulled himself up enough to peer into the roof which was currently not occupied on this side.
He pulled himself up quickly and swung onto the roof. He stayed low to the ground as he scanned for the two guarded men when one of them rounded the corner on him and out of instinct he stunned him with an electrical blast. The man fell pretty hard with a thud and his curious partner came to check it out and he was met with the same fate. But he was much bigger and required a second shot.
“I stunned them for now. Did you find West?” Tony asked Rhodes.
“I don’t know where anybody is. Ask Jarvis to check. I’m flying blind over here” Rhodes said.
Tony got visual from Jarvis.
“He’s headed back upstairs” Tony said in his ear.
Shit Rhodes thought.
He hurried back into the room he entered inside from and he heard the water from the shower go off and he panicked. He opened the closet and ducked inside just a moment before she opened the door.
“Rhodes these guys aren’t going to stay down for long. What’s going on down there?”
Rhodes put his phone on silent and text Tony.
I can’t talk out loud. There’s a naked girl in the room and Samuel West just walked in. I’m hiding.
“Naked girl? Damn is she hot?” Tony asked.
Rhodes typed. She is very hot. Definitely like an adult Whitney Stane. And she’s about to go down on West.
“Are you serious? I’m up here trying to hold these guys off and you’re watching a live porno”
Rhodes typed again.
What do you want me to do Tony? I thought we weren’t killing anybody just detaining them.
“Who’s got a bigger gun?” he asked.
It’s not about guns Tony if I make a move he will have his guys on me in a second, Rhodey typed.
“So I will come down there and help you. When you jump out of the closet I will bust through the window” Tony exclaimed.
I’m not sure if we have any other options Rhodes typed.
“Great. Say when. Preferably before these guys wake up” Tony said nervously.
Rhodes stood up and opened the door so quietly. He crouched back down and peered over the nightstand and he could see that Samuel West had his eyes closed and his head back while the girl continued to give him pleasure. Rhodes came up from the side of the bed and clicked the gun against his head.
“You’re coming with me,” he said.
The frightened girl jumped up and ran into the bathroom to hide.
“Stark’s sidekick how cute” he said.
Rhodey slapped him with the pistol.
“I mean it. Now get dressed” he scolded.
Samuel West got dressed quickly after Rhodey took the gun from his pants. Rhodes held the gun to his head as he lead him down the ladder.
“I got him Tony. We’re coming down the ladder” Rhodey said.
“Ah Stark you think you won huh? My partner has plans for your girl but is she really your girlfriend though?” he said egging Tony on.
“If you or anyone harms her in anyway I will kill you” he said once Rhodey got to the bottom of the ladder where he was waiting.
They scurried along the property to the car Rhodes parked around the corner and Tony sat in the back with him to keep him an eye on him.
“Where are you taking me?” he asked.
“Don’t talk” Tony said angrily.
“How’s your friend? He didn’t die did he?” he asked with a laugh.
Tony’s temper was through the roof and he grabbed him by the hair and smashed his head against the window.
“You’re going to lose Iron Man. You and the red head” he said in that same sinister tone and it sent a chill to Tony’s core that he couldn’t shake.
Pepper was pacing back and forth and she didn’t even realize it. It was 9:00 p.m. and she still hadn’t heard from Tony. She called him four times and she knew he or someone else sent her to voicemail.
“Pepper you’ve been pacing for the last ten minutes. I’m sure Tony will call you back. You know how busy he is. You told me yourself how he loses all track of time when he works on his projects. Or maybe he has a girl there. I wouldn’t answer the phone if we were having sex” Christian said trying to comfort her.
“He doesn’t do that anymore. Not since he came back from captivity” she said feeling defensive of him.
“Pepper that was like six months ago. Men need sex. You’re crazy if you think he hasn’t-
“I know for a fact he hasn’t and the fact that he hasn’t called me back means something is up. I’m calling Colonel Rhodes” she said.
Tony and Rhodes were in Tony’s workshop which had all the suits covered and all his designs hidden on his private server. He had Jarvis receiving all his messages and asked not to be interrupted. He prepared the place before they brought Samuel West down there and tied him to a chair for his interrogation. Tony asked the questions and when he didn’t answer Rhodes inflicted the punishment by punching him in the face. Or sometimes in the stomach. He was not being helpful or giving them any information.
“Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” Tony asked again as his blood pressure was rising.
And they were interrupted by Rhodes cell phone ringing.
“It’s Pepper. Do you want me to answer it?” he asked.
“Shit. I forgot to text her. I promised I would. Yeah answer it and tell her I’m fine and everything is fine” Tony said.
Pepper was holding in her breath and then Rhodes came on the line and she let it out all at once.
“We’re fine Pep. Tony is fine. I promise. He said he’s sorry. We got caught up in the middle of something and he’s kind of busy at the moment”
Rhodes had to pull the phone away from his ear when she began to yell.
“She is demanding I put you on the phone,” he said, holding out the phone to Tony.
Tony winced as he put the phone to his ear.
“Hey Pep” he said quietly.
Pepper was pacing back and forth yelling into the phone and Christian was a little scared to approach her or try and calm her down.
“Do you think this is some kind of joke Tony? I barely slept the three months you were gone. And no matter how many times they told me you were dead I refused to believe it. Imagine if I was gone and how that would make you feel? Are you trying to crush my heart? All I could think about was them getting the jump on you and you being injured or dead” she said as her yell turned into a sob.
“Pep I’m sorry. Please-
She yelled into the phone some more and he heard another voice in the background. It was a strong male voice telling her to calm down.
“Who is that? Are you with a guy?” Tony suddenly asked as he headed upstairs with Rhodey’s phone for some privacy.
“So he doesn’t know about Pepper’s boyfriend. I think I’ll keep quiet about it. The disappointment will be better if it comes from her” Samuel said with a satisfied smirk on his face.
“You talk when we ask you to talk” Rhodes said waiting for Tony to return.
“Pepper are you with a guy?” he repeated.
“Hold on Tony. Can you give me some privacy?” Pepper asked Christian.
Christian grabbed his wallet and headed down to the bar.
“That is none of your business sTony `` she said.
“I heard a man’s voice,” he said.
“Just relax Tony ok. It’s my friends cousin. He stopped by to visit her too while she’s in town. But you need to remember boundaries” she said.
Tony returned to his workshop.
“I’m sorry I really am” he said.
And just then Samuel started yelling and screaming and Rhodey hit him with the gun to knock him out.
“What’s happening over there?” Pepper said.
“Erm nothing uh” Tony faltered.
“I’m coming over,” she said.
“No Pepper don’t” Tony pleaded but he was too late she hung up.
Pepper was on her way down to the lobby and she bumped into Christian.
“Where are you going?” he asked as he grabbed her arm.
“I’m going to Tony’s” she said.
“Let me drive you” he said.
“No” she said as she ordered a Lyft on her phone.
“What do you mean no?” he asked taken aback.
“Because this is dangerous and I don’t want you involved” she said as she continued to walk ahead.
“Do you think I want you involved in something dangerous?”
“I’ll be ok. But the more people that get involved in this the more people are at risk” she said.
“You know if we get serious you can’t always shut me out like this,” he said.
“Christian I’ve told you as much as I could possibly tell you about this. But this is Tony’s business and there are certain secrets I have to keep especially now that the world knows he’s Iron Man. He trusts me and I won’t betray him” she said quietly.
“Will you be back?” he asked.
“I’m going to try”
Tony was informed by Jarvis that Pepper had arrived and he got up and went upstairs to intercept her.
“Tony what’s going on?” she asked.
“We got him but he isn’t giving us any answers,” Tony said.
“You brought him here?” she freaked.
“Where else was I going to bring him?” Tony said.
“Tony I need you down here” Rhodes said over the intercom.
Tony and Pepper hurried down the stairs.
“I’ll talk but only to her and no using the A.I. to spy” he said with a smirk.
“No way I’m not leaving you alone in here with a madman” Tony said.
“You will if you want information,” he said with a smirk.
Tony could feel his blood boiling.
“We don’t need the information. He can’t do anything if he’s here anyway. Forget it Pep” Tony said.
“No it’s ok. I’ll talk to him. I have my pepper spray” she said.
“We will be upstairs and if he tries anything you yell and we will be down here in a second. Jarvis stop recording” Tony said.
“I got it” she said.
Tony and Rhodey went upstairs and Pepper spun around to face Samuel West.
“I see why he’s in love with you,” he said.
“Why who’s in love with me?” she asked.
“Many are in love with you,” he said.
“Were not here for that. I’m supposed to ask you questions” she said.
“Not until we talk about this” he said defiantly.
“Fine. Finish what you need to say” she said.
“Well let’s start with Christian. The young techie with a bright future desperate to impress you. Desperate for an intelligent woman on his level but unable to find one his age. And then there’s poor Tony Stark who doesn’t know about Christian. He’s going to be crushed when he finds out. He’s hopelessly in love with you. The eccentric, genius, billionaire that only shows his other side to a select few being you, the chauffeur and the Colonel. But your true admirer is my accomplice. He’s someone you used to work with, someone still carrying a torch for you. But that has nothing to do with me. I need access to Stark’s prototypes. I only agreed to help him get you because I feel bad for the guy”
Pepper sat down to digest what he just said to her.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked again.
“How do you know about Christian? And how do you know so much about Tony?” she asked.
She was quite alarmed this crazy man knew so much.
“A magician never reveals his tricks”
“What do you want with the prototypes? And who is your accomplice?” she asked ignoring the fact that he said both Tony and Christian were in love with her.
“I have a mission from my boss and don’t worry you’ll meet my accomplice soon,” he said as he smiled at her.
“So why break into my apartment? I don’t have the prototypes” she said.
“But you have access to them. Stark trusts you with his life. And my accomplice he had other plans for you” he said quietly.
“Who’s your accomplice?” she asked again.
“You don’t get to ask all the questions. I have some questions” he said.
Tony was pacing nervously.
“I’m going down there. It’s been like a half hour”
“Tony it’s been ten minutes and you need to relax. Pepper is more capable than you think” Rhodes said.
“I want to smash this guys face in” Tony said.
“I know and we will deal with that later”
Pepper looked him in the eye and she was suddenly hyper aware of how dangerous this guy could be. He knew about Christian and he knew too much about her and Tony’s relationship. He knew who Tony’s close knit circle was. And he shot Happy.
“I think we have enough information. That will be all”
“Do you shave your pussy or go full bush? Asking for a friend” he said with a laugh.
Pepper scowled at him angrily and punched her code in to open the door. She marched up the stairs angrily.
“I’m done with him” she said angrily.
“What did he do?” Tony said clenching his fists.
“He just asked me an inappropriate question that’s all. I'm done. All I got out of him is that he needs your prototype and he knew a lot of personal things about me. He knows about some of my friends and he knows about you and the small close knit circle you keep. And he mentioned something about someone from the past that worked for Stark Industries still carrying a torch for me and that he’s his accomplice” she said.
“I’m going to go in there and break every one of his fingers until he gives me names” Tony said again.
“Did he say what he wanted with the prototypes?” Rhodey asked.
“He said we will find out when he gets them and that it was a mission from his boss”
“I don’t know what to do Rhodes. We may have bit off more than we can chew. We can’t just leave him there. We either have to kill him or let him go” Tony said as he felt the anxiety building up inside of him.
“And you need to leave here. You need to get safe” Tony said turning back to her.
“Is it crazy to let him escape? Maybe we can put a tracker on him somehow and he can lead us to the other guy” Rhodey suggested.
“Pepper will have to do it. He won’t suspect her”
“What if we give him bathroom privileges and when I untie him I slip a tracker on him and you guys can conveniently leave the bottom of the garage open or something,” she said.
“God you’re so smart and beautiful” Tony said beaming at her.
“Let me just get one of my tracking chips” he said.
Tony was back not a moment later with a tiny tracking chip in his hand. He handed it to Pepper.
“Be careful. I’ll be watching” he said.
Pepper entered Tony’s workshop and Sam was smiling at her.
“Did you come back to answer my question?” he said with a gross smirk on his face.
“No you’re getting bathroom privileges. I’m going to untie you and if you try anything you’re a dead man” she said as she assessed the knot his hands were tied in.
She began to work on it slowly as she looked for a spot to place the tracker that would go unnoticed. The knot was starting to come undone and she still hadn’t found the perfect spot so she placed it inside the sleeve of his jacket gently so he wouldn’t know.
“You have soft hands. My accomplice imagines what they feel like when he masturbates thinking of you” he said with a laugh.
“Let’s go” she said pulling him out of the chair ignoring him.
“Oh so you’re a dom not a sub. He will love that”
Pepper ignored his crude remarks once again and lead him to the bathroom.
Tony hurried downstairs to unlock his garage and leave just a sliver of light poking through so he could find his mistake. He hurried back just in time for Pepper to bring him back downstairs.
Pepper pushed him down into the chair forcefully enough that it slid a little to the right facing the garage door. She tied the ropes and pretending to pull tightly but she knew he could wiggle his way out as planned and she went back upstairs.
“Now we wait” she said once inside the living room.
“No now I wait. Rhodes is going to drive you back” Tony said.
Pepper smiled at him.
“Will that be all Mr. Stark?” she asked.
“Yes. That will be all Miss Potts” Tony said as he squeezed her hand.
“So is Christian really your boyfriend?” Rhodey asked as he pulled out of Tony’s driveway.
“Sort of. I don’t really know what we are. I’m just having fun right now” she said.
“You have to tell Tony you know”
“I’m going to introduce them this weekend at the charity ball” Pepper said calmly even though it made her feel anything but calm.
“West knew about him Pepper. Are you sure where you’re staying is safe? Because you could always stay at my place” he offered.
“It’s fine James but thank you so much for the offer,” she said.
Tony watched on his screen as Samuel West took the bait and he lifted the garage door and slipped underneath it. He continued on the edge of his property. He watched the tracker for about fifteen minutes and then it was stopped in place and Tony knew that he had found it and ditched it.
Damn it Tony thought.
“Is Tony in love with me? Don’t bullshit me” Pepper asked breaking the silence.
“He’s never said those exact words but he cares about you Pepper a LOT” Rhodes emphasized.
“West said he was. He knows Tony and I are close. I care for Tony but the thought of him and I together like that….
“Would be the best thing that’s ever happened to him,” Rhodes said.
“Is ridiculous” Pepper finished her thought.
“Be safe ok” Rhodes said as he pulled up.
“Goodnight Colonel” she said as she got out of the car trying to shake off the roller coaster of thoughts in her mind.
Tony could be in love with her, Christian could be in love with her and some psycho out there is in love with her and Samuel West was a dangerous man and he was running free and Tony, herself, Christian and Rhodes were in danger.
Samuel finally got someplace off the grid and his accomplice Daniel Scott was awaiting his arrival.
“Stark doesn’t know about her boyfriend” Samuel said.
“Then we take her on Friday after the charity ball. Stark will be upset when she shows up with another man and he won’t be watching her” Daniel said.
“Friday” West nodded and headed up to his room.
Friday arrived quicker than Pepper wanted. Tony had finished up her new alarm system two days ago and she was happy to be back in her apartment. She took a half day of work to have a manicure and get her hair done. She was sitting in the nail salon and she couldn’t shake the terrible feeling that something was going to go terribly wrong. And the thought of Tony and Christian meeting gave her anxiety. She felt that Christian was already jealous and he had a problem with Tony and Tony was definitely going to be jealous. She switched her hand for her manicurist Denise who was talking incessantly about all of her Tinder dates. Pepper would nod politely every few minutes but she found herself daydreaming about how hot and soft Tony’s lips were. She imagined what his lips would feel like on her neck or enveloped around her nipple or her clit and then Denise was bringing her back to earth and she felt herself flushing.
“Are you ok Pepper? You’re all flushed” she said.
“Yeah I’m fine” she said trying desperately not to picture the look on Tony’s face and his gorgeous eyes when he leaned in to kiss her.
She knew how good he looked in a tux and she was going to have to find some self control. She couldn’t ogle him in front of Christian and everyone she worked with. She was going to have a boozy night for sure. It brought back the memory of that night that they danced and she almost kissed him. The night she humiliated herself. He didn’t lean in to meet her and she knew she had to stop herself and she said the first thing that came into her mind and that was “this is weird” and then he went to get her a drink and he never came back. And she felt deeply rejected and hurt and then Christian popped into her life at the right time. He gave her confidence back. He was a rocket in the bedroom and an all around nice guy. Pepper wasn’t kidding herself she knew her and Christian were not meant to last. He was twenty six years old and she was thirty six. He wasn’t going to want her forever as aging is always more forgiving to men than women and he was taking off in the tech world and with her already crazy schedule working for Tony she just decided to have fun and not get too attached.
“Is your boss going to be there? Last year when the pics came out of you two dancing you were so perfect together” Denise gushed as she began applying the topcoat to her nails.
“He is but we won’t be dancing. I’m bringing a date this year” she said.
“You are? Who is he? Details please” she said.
“Just a guy I’ve been seeing for a few months. He’s in the tech field. No one knows but after tonight it’ll be on the front page I’m sure” Pepper said.
“What’s he look like?”
“He’s gorgeous. Way out of my league. He’s tall and lean with green eyes and blonde hair. He’s got the California tan and a gorgeous smile” Pepper said picturing what he might look like in a tux.
“That’s the complete opposite of Tony” Denise pointed out.
“Denise you’ve been doing my nails for about six years and I know you think Tony and I should get together but he is my boss and that makes him completely off limits. People already think I got the job as his PA by sleeping my way to the top when in reality it’s all just harmless flirting. Tony respects me and knows the boundaries. Plus I’ve seen Tony naked a lot during the years and I’m completely desensitized by it” she added.
“Are you sure? I just think you and Tony are so good together” she said sadly.
“We work great together and were completely platonic and that’s what makes us great” Pepper said reassuring her.
“As much as I love to chat about your glamorous life you gotta go because my next client is here,” she said with a smile.
Pepper left her a generous tip and paid for her service. She looked at the clock and it was nearing five o’clock. She still had to get into her dress and get her makeup on.
Tony looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. He had his dress shirt tucked into his pants and he screwed his buttons all up and his hair was disheveled. He took a quick photo and sent it to Pepper.
I’m a mess without you he typed and hit send.
He was finished unbuttoning his shirt when he got a response back.
You’re a big boy Mr. Stark. I have faith that you can successfully pull yourself together. And even if you show up with messy buttons and disheveled hair the girls will still swarm you the minute you hit the door she typed back.
Tony was sad that Pepper still saw him as a playboy. Even his celibacy hasn’t changed her opinion of him.
What are you wearing? A backless dress? Send a pic he typed.
Tony grabbed a tie and started fussing with it when his phone pinged again.
Don’t eyebrow wiggle at me Tony I know you are. You will see my dress when I get there she typed.
Tease he typed back.
Pepper arrived at the charity ball separate from Christian. He had an important meeting before that was going to overlap the beginning of the event and he said he would meet her there.
She walked in and decided to mingle around with some co-workers. She caught Tony in the corner of her eye and she excused herself and headed to the bar. She needed a drink before talking to him.
“Vodka martini dry with extra olives,” she said.
She didn’t see that Tony was slowly approaching behind her. She grabbed her drink and downed it in one shot and slid the olives off the tooth pick and into her mouth quickly. And she turned around and Tony was standing right next to her with his jaw dropped.
“You look stunning Pepper. You stopped me in my tracks” he said admiring her dress.
It was long and pearl colored with tiny straps which reminded him of the night he kissed that skin from under her bra straps.
“You pulled yourself together quite nicely as well” she said trying to stop blushing.
“Shall we dance?”
“Won’t the women be jealous? ” Pepper said.
“All the more reason” he said as he pulled her to the dance floor.
Pepper felt her heart beating fast. She didn’t know what time it was but she needed Christian to get here before she started ogling Tony. Tony pulled her as close as the professional distance would allow.
Pepper could feel the heat coming off of Tony and she had to look away while they danced. She spotted a beautiful girl in the corner looking at Tony with a glint in her eye.
“See the girl dressed in red? She’s staring at you. You should maybe go and dance with her” Pepper suggested.
“I only have eyes for you” he said not even bothering to look at the girl in red.
“But I’m your PA and I’m off limits and you know that so why deny yourself a little fun,” she said.
“I think we’re more than employer and employee Pep. You don’t feel that heat and the chemistry between us?” he asked as he brushed a tendril behind her ear.
Christian Palmer walked into the ballroom at the absolute worst moment. He watched Tony Stark tuck a lock of his girlfriend’s hair behind her ear and he saw her blush immediately. He was angry and he started heading towards them. But he was going to try and keep his cool and not embarrass Pepper.
“Hi excuse me I’m cutting in” he said as he tried wedging his way in between Tony and Pepper.
Pepper was stunned and didn’t know what to say.
“Excuse me?” Tony said angrily trying to pry Pepper away.
Pepper knew she needed to speak up to stop this and the words formed in her head but they never came out of her mouth.
“No you get her every day. You monopolize all of her time and then when she’s off the clock you call her at ridiculous hours to run ridiculous errands for you and you put her in dangerous situations. Now you’re invading her personal space. She’s my girlfriend and tonight you’re not going to talk to her and you’re not going to touch her” Christian said firmly getting into Tony’s face.
Tony felt like someone punched him in the stomach. He felt like the air in his lungs was evaporating and leaving them to shrivel up. He didn’t know how he was going to get around this hurdle. Boyfriends and husbands were never a problem for him when he wanted a woman but this was Pepper and he couldn’t mess it up. He had questions for Pepper but he needed to say something to this twenty year old prick that got in his face for no reason.
Pepper looked at Tony and she could see his blood was boiling.
“Christian I was going to introduce you but you didn’t give me a chance,”she said, still avoiding Tony’s eyes as she forced herself between them before one of them started a fight.
“Come on Pepper let's go” Christian said extending his hand to her.
“I’d like to talk to Tony alone for a minute. Can you wait for me over by the bar?” she said still avoiding Tony’s eyes.
“Sure but that’s it. If I have to fight for your attention all night then I’m leaving” he said as he left them alone.
“How long Pepper?” Tony asked in a mixture of a sad and angry tone.
“Three months” she said quietly.
“How come you didn’t tell me?” Tony asked angrily.
Pepper finally looked up to meet his eyes and the pain in them devastated her to the core. She knew Tony would be jealous but she never anticipated hurting him like this.
“Because at first I didn’t think it was worth mentioning because it wasn’t anything serious. I was just having fun. I never thought it would last three months and you have jealous tendencies I thought it would be better if you didn’t know”
“How old is he like twenty?” Tony asked.
“He’s twenty six”
“He’s the food buddy guy isn’t he? He’s that jerk that they compared me to on television. That’s why you were being so weird that day” Tony said angrily.
“Tony I wanted to tell you”
“He’s the one you’ve been sneaking around with. That’s why you had two phones. He wanted you to sit on his face” Tony said angrily as he remembered that night.
Pepper blushed and looked away.
“So that must be why you’re with a twenty six year old guy. You’re in it for the sex. That explains the good moods and you showing up to work flushed”
“Well he seems like a great guy. He doesn’t seem possessive at all” Tony said sarcastically.
“Tony that’s not fair. He walked in at the wrong moment”
“Don’t worry I won’t tell him about how you kissed me three times”
“Tony he really is a nice person. I’d like you to give him a chance”
“I don’t want you to keep him waiting anymore. Have a good night ” Tony said as he disappeared into the crowd.
Pepper felt like her heart was breaking. She was trying to blink back inevitable tears but she was having no such luck. She took a deep breath and wiped them away. She made her way over to the bar and she found Christian. He kissed her cheek softly and she pulled away.
“Why didn’t you just let me introduce you? Tony is upset with me and I’m the one that has to work with him as if he isn’t already difficult enough” she said angrily.
“I’m sorry Pepper I saw him touching you and I lost it”
“He wasn’t hurting me or making me uncomfortable or anything” she said quietly.
“That’s the problem Pepper you guys are too comfortable with touches like that,” he said as he took a swig of his whiskey.
Pepper felt herself flush again.
“He just brushed my hair away. It was no big deal”
“Will you dance with me?” he asked leaning in close to her.
“Yes” Pepper said forcing a smile. She wanted to try and salvage the rest of the evening.
She looked around at her co-workers and put on the happy smile she had to keep the facade going. They continued to dance to the next three songs and he finally managed to get a real smile and laugh out of her.
Tony was on his third whiskey while he watched from the shadows.
I never had a chance. All this time I’ve been changing for someone who doesn’t even care. What for? he thought.
And then the girl in the red dress was approaching him. They said hello and had a quick conversation and then they were in the coat room and he was fucking her. He had her bent over and he was ramming into her. He was pulling her hair back and reaching and groping for her breasts and she was loving it.
This is what Pepper wanted. She has been trying to push me to another woman for months. That was her way of telling me she wasn’t interested. How could you have been so stupid Stark? he thought.
Pepper and Christian were dancing again and he pulled her close.
“I have something to tell you,” he said.
Pepper smiled. “What is it?”
“I’m in love with you” he said not removing his eyes from hers.
Pepper felt panicked. She didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t sure if she loved Christian and she didn’t want to say it if it wasn’t true.
“Christian I care for you a lot. I’m just-
“You don’t have to say it back. I just wanted you to know that I’m in love with you. You’re the only woman smart enough to understand me. All the girls my age are superficial and they just want my money. But you’re different. You’re special Pepper”
“Can we talk a walk in the courtyard and get some air?” she asked.
“Yeah come on” he said taking her hand by lacing his fingers in hers.
They walked outside to the courtyard and she kept having the feeling someone was watching her. She kept looking back but no one was there. And then it happened two men with black ski masks approached.
“Give me the girl and no one gets hurt” one of them said.
Pepper reached into her purse from behind Christian and dialed Tony’s number and left the phone on so it would at least record a voicemail.
“Look we can talk about this. I have money lots of it. Whatever you want” Christian said keeping Pepper behind him at all times.
Tony felt his phone vibrating in his pocket while he continued to hammer the girl in the red dress whose name he already forgot. No one called him this late at night. He looked at the screen and it was Pepper’s face. He was about to hit ignore and he heard her scream. It was Pepper’s scream and it made his blood go cold. He pulled himself out and put himself away and ran as fast as he could, following the screams.
“We don’t want your money. Now step aside and give us the girl” one of them warned.
“You will have to go through me,” Christian said.
One of the men attacked Christian and Pepper screamed. He got up and tried to throw a punch at him when they threw him against the bench. He got up a third time and this time he sent an electric shock much like a stun gun from his watch to get him to stay down.
Tony was running through the courtyard now just as the man in the ski mask stunned Christian and he watched as they grabbed Pepper and dragged her into their van.
“PEPPER” he yelled.
“TONY HELP ME” she yelled before they closed the door to the van and sped off.
“FUCK” Tony yelled.
He was pacing back and forth and panicking. He needed to get Pepper and he was too drunk to drive and he knew he should probably help her stupid boyfriend even though it would be wasting time but Pepper would never forgive him if she left him there.
Tony bent down to check on Christian and he had a pulse.
“Hey buddy can you get up?” Tony said shaking him.
He stirred for a moment.
“Where’s Pepper?” he said suddenly sitting up.
“They took her. Now are you going to help me get her back or what?” Tony asked.
“Can you drive? I’ve had too many drinks. We need to get back to my lab. I can patch you up and get my suit” Tony said helping him to his feet.
“We don’t really have a choice now do we” Christian said.
Pepper was fighting and kicking the whole time. She was blindfolded and her hands were tied. She tried to visualize where they might be going by the left and right turns they were making but she lost track after awhile.
“The boss will be very pleased,” one of them said.
“Just remember not a single mark on her. Those were his direct orders”
Tony will come for me. I know he will Pepper thought to herself.
It was the only hope she had.
Tony was pressuring Christian to go faster on the highway even though he was already doing ninety.
“These curves are dangerous. Pepper needs us alive in order to rescue her” he snapped to Tony.
Tony just glared at him.
“Make this right, ” he said as the turn off to his road came into view.
Christian pulled up in front of the mansion and Tony quickly hurried out. Christian shut the door behind him and followed Tony into his house.
“Jarvis I need you to locate Miss Potts pronto” he said as he hurried downstairs motioning for Christian to follow him.
Christian followed him dumbly. He didn’t know if he should say something or not. Once inside the workshop Tony turned to face him.
“Sit here and Jarvis will scan your vitals and the bots will patch up your wounds” Tony said as he finalized a few last minute upgrades on his suit.
“Vitals are normal. Just a few minor contusions and abrasions” the a.i. said.
“Dum-e patch him up” Tony said.
“I’m fine” Christian said defiantly shaking free from the bots.
“I’m not doing this for you. Do you really want to show up to rescue Pepper bleeding?” Tony asked.
Christian just sighed and sat down reluctantly to let the bots finish.
“I need a location on Miss Potts” Tony said again more aggressively.
“Working on it sir”
“Work faster” Tony said snapping at his A.I.
“So what’s the plan?” Christian asked.
“I will come up with a plan when I get a location” Tony said snapping at him.
“You’re not the law you know. The police would be much faster” Christian said taking a dig at Tony.
“Where do you get off criticizing me? What’s a guy like you doing with Pepper anyway? You’re a child” Tony said.
“You should know. She’s amazing. She’s smart and beautiful and caring. She’s great in bed. She’s trustworthy and honest. I love her. You should ask yourself what she’s doing with me?” Christian said.
Tony felt rage wash over him.
“It’s obviously sex. You guys can’t have anything else in common. You might be young but I have experience and trust me if I were ever to bed Pepper you’d be ancient history. But I don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Pepper is different. I care about her immensely and if you hurt her in any way you will live to regret it,” Tony said trying to push back his oncoming anxiety.
What if Pepper is in love with this jerk? What am I going to do? Do I fight or love her enough to let her go and be happy? he thought.
“I don’t need you threatening me. Pepper and I are doing just fine. Trust me she’s satisfied or she wouldn’t be running back to work so flustered” Christian said back.
Tony clenched his fists and he was about to respond when Jarvis chimed in.
“I’ve got a location on Miss Potts” the a.i. responded interrupting them.
“Where is she?”
“A warehouse in Inglewood. 818 wilcrest way”
After hearing the address Christians face went white. That was his Uncle Jeff’s warehouse. That’s where he stored all of his underwater scavenging gear. He grabbed his phone immediately and text his Uncle.
WHAT DID YOU DO? You promised me Pepper would not be harmed and involved in this. The break in was to bug her house and I get that but why did you have your guy kidnap her? I supported your plan to destroy Tony to get him out of the way of Pepper and you promised me Pepper wouldn’t be involved. I’ve kept my word he sent.
“Let’s go lover boy. You take the car and I’ll take the suit. See who gets there first” Tony said arrogantly.
Christian was ready to explode while he followed Tony outside. His uncle had lied to him.
Christian got into his car just as Tony took off. His Uncle text him back.
I didn’t have anything to do with that. My guy brought in some crazy guy that’s obsessed with your girlfriend and they took her.
Christian was fuming. He started the car and sped down the freeway hoping Pepper wouldn’t find out that the man that was vowing to destroy Tony was his Uncle.
Pepper could feel that her hands were tied behind her and there was some sort of cold pole between her hands and her back. It smelled dark and dank and her blindfold was still on. She was really hoping that Christian was ok and that Tony would find her.
“Is this any way to treat our guest?” A man said.
The voice was familiar to Pepper and she couldn’t place it. She could feel him getting closer and she froze up while he took her blindfold off.
“Hi Pepper. Long time no see” he said happily as he grabbed for the ropes at her wrists.
“Where do I know you from?” she asked trying to force down the panic spreading through her. She knew the voice and not the face.
He re tied her hands but not to the pole and lead her into the light and put her down in a chair.
“You know my voice right? But not the face. I had reconstructive surgery so I could watch you without you recognizing me” he said.
That sent a chill down her spine.
“It’s been difficult. Tony has been quite a thorn in my side. You’re still pure right? You haven’t been soiled by him yet have you?” he asked.
“Who are you?” Pepper asked fearfully.
“Answer my question Pepper did you FUCK Tony?” he yelled angrily grabbing her jaw in his hand and pulling her face up.
“No I swear” she said hoping this would make him happy. She wanted him to keep talking so she could focus more on the voice.
“That’s good baby. I wouldn’t want our special night ruined because you got yourself soiled by Tony Stark. That would make me very angry and I don’t like to get angry. You want to know what happens when I get angry?”
Pepper nodded. She was too afraid to speak.
“I lose control and I become unstable. That’s what my therapist said. He gave me medication but I don’t take it, it ruins the fun”
Daniel took his thumb and brushed it over Pepper’s lip.
“I like to masturbate to the thought of you. Will you watch me?” he asked as he reached for his zipper and slid his hands down his pants.
He gripped himself tightly and began to stroke himself while he made sure Pepper was watching him.
Pepper was too scared to look away. She did what he wanted while she tried to figure out who he was. It wasn’t long until he finished.
“I did that for you. I don’t want to finish too quickly on our special night together” he said and then it hit her. She figured out who he was.
“Daniel Scott “ she said not realizing she said it out loud.
“I’m impressed Pepper. You really do pay attention to detail”
“You know how long it took me to get the nerve to ask you out. After years of watching you and getting information on what you liked and coaching on what not to say. I finally asked and you said yes and I let one little thing slip and you were polite enough to keep our date going. I was going to redeem myself and then Tony Stark had to show up on our special day”
“Daniel you told me you liked my blue pajamas and there is no way you could have known about them unless you were watching me in my bedroom. You were never going to have the chance to redeem yourself. I decided for myself. Tony had nothing to do with it” Pepper said.
“Tony has everything to do with it. Not to mention after our date he fired me. He gave me some bullshit excuse about stalking and harassment and I was humiliated. I had to go underground. And that’s when Samuel found me. He needed Tony and I needed you and he was in the way. Then I find out about your little boyfriend. Did you know the man who hired Samuel to steal Tony’s prototypes is your boyfriend’s uncle?” he asked.
“That’s impossible” Pepper said refusing to believe Christian would be involved in something like this.
“It’s true” Samuel said as he came over.
Pepper was trying to process exactly what they were saying. She felt really stupid.
“This building is owned by Jeff Palmer,” Daniel said.
“What business is he in? What could he possibly want from Tony?” Pepper asked.
“The ocean prototype. Don’t you recall Tony looking for this guy?” Samuel said bringing up a picture on his phone.
It was the man that he caught in the lab.
“For a genius he’s pretty stupid. He was working on something at Stark Industries after hours and he didn’t swipe out of all his screens. He started swiping them away and he got a call from you and he disappeared into another room for a moment and that’s when I went inside to see what he was working on. But I was unable to access it and that’s when he came out and confronted me and I told him I was looking for the bathroom. So I have you to thank for all of this. Your phone call distracted him” Samuel explained.
“But what does Christian’s uncle want with the ocean prototype?” she asked still confused.
“Many of my scavenging expeditions are in shark infested waters. Our weapons don’t seem to be enough. I lost three men last time. Plus we need more time underwater much more than a scuba suit gives. There’s a lot of treasures in shipwrecks” said a tall handsome man with blond hair in his fifties.
Pepper assumed that he was Christians uncle.
“He’s never going to give it to you” Pepper said defiantly.
“We haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Jeff Palmer” he said as he nodded to her since her hands were tied.
“Tony will come for me and you’ll all be sorry,” she said.
“I hope he does. I can’t wait to see his face when he has to watch us make love” Daniel said as he caressed Pepper’s skin.
Pepper shivered and changed the subject quickly.
“Excuse me Jeff was Christian a part of this?” she asked.
“He didn’t know much. All he knew was that I was after Tony and he didn’t mind because he wanted you all to himself. He made me promise you wouldn’t get hurt or be involved. And I didn’t ask them to do this. This was all their own doing. He knew nothing about our plans. He’s totally smitten with you” Jeff said.
“He won’t be a problem anymore right Pepper?” Daniel asked as he traced his finger along her shoulders.
Daniel bent down and tied Pepper’s feet together and her hands and pulled her to her feet.
“I’m sorry I have to do this” he said putting a ball gag in her mouth and dragging her along with him until they reached a ladder where he pulled her up to the top and he dragged her behind him and positioned a rope around her waist.
“You’re going to stand here and not move and stay quiet or I will kill you” he said as he left Pepper standing on the edge of the ledge going around the ceiling.
Tony touched down and waited for Christian to park his car out of site and join him.
“What’s the plan?” Christian asked again.
“Jarvis how many are inside?” Tony asked.
“Sixteen including Miss Potts” he responded.
“We’re not doing anything until Rhodey gets here”
And just as if his ears were ringing Rhodey touched down.
“I’m still malfunctioning a bit,” he said.
“Can you manage? There’s fifteen men inside” Tony said.
“I malfunction when I fly too much,” he said.
“We don't need to fly. Do the weapons work?”
“Great let’s go” Tony said heading towards the building.
“What about me?” Christian asked panicked.
Rhodes handed him a hand gun.
“Shoot to kill” Rhodey said.
“Were going to blast a hole into the wall and you’re going to find another way inside and find Pepper and stay hidden. We can’t fight these guys and protect Pepper. Can you handle that?” Tony said.
He nodded nervously and went off to try and find a way inside.
Tony and Rhodes looked at each for a moment before closing their face plates.
“Game on” they said.
Pepper was standing there silently praying Tony would arrive soon. And she couldn’t believe Christian knew about this the whole time and had no problem with what his uncle was planning. She couldn’t believe it. He was such a nice guy. She had a few words for him for when she got out of this, if she got out of this. She could feel Daniel close behind her and it made her skin crawl in her mind but at the same time the wave of desire was hitting her from the birth control. She felt her body heating up and her body was telling her she wanted Daniel to do what he promised but her mind was disgusted and terrified.
She squeezed her eyes shut trying to let it pass and get back to normal when a huge blast went off and after the smoke cleared Tony and Rhodes came walking in and they had their hands up. She felt her heart skip a beat but she was hidden in the shadows and Tony couldn’t see her. She took a deep breath in through the nose to calm herself. She really hated the ball gag.
“We can talk about whatever it is you want from me but Pepper goes free right now. Where is she?” Tony demanded.
She could see he was at his boiling point.
“All I need is the ocean prototype and I will take my men and get out of here. Pepper is not my prisoner” Jeff Palmer said coming out of the shadows.
“Who’s prisoner is she?” he asked losing his patience.
Jeff made a motion with his hand and suddenly a spotlight was cast on Pepper.
Tony could see her on a ledge close to the ceiling with a tear streaked face, messed up hair, her mouth gagged and her hands and feet tied and a rope around her waist.
Christian found a back door and peered in the window and it was desolate. He used the gun to smash in the window and reached in to unlock the door. He opened it and closed it behind him quietly. He heard lots of commotion coming from his left. He followed the sounds down a series of hallways until he got to the main storage area. He saw a spotlight on Pepper and started making his way to her from the shadows.
“Tony Stark just the man I’ve been waiting for” Daniel Scott said coming into the light as he clapped his hands together.
Tony looked confused.
“It took Pepper awhile to figure out how she knew me too. You won’t recognize my face because I changed it to go unnoticed but you will recognize my voice” he said.
“Look I’m not here to play games. I don’t care who you are. Let Pepper go now” Tony said getting angry.
His dark eyes burned with fury as he couldn’t take his eyes off Pepper being restrained that way with her tear streaked face. She was also very flushed and he could see that she was shaking.
“I’m angry now. I’m very angry. Pepper tell him what happens when I get angry” Daniel said ungagging her.
“He loses control and becomes unstable. It’s Daniel Scott he changed his face-
Daniel turned and slapped Pepper across the face and Tony looked murderous. He went to make a move but Rhodey put his hand up.
“Just wait a second ok” he whispered to Tony.
“He just hit Pepper” Tony growled.
“Yes I know but we have thirteen men with guns on us right now. We need a plan” Rhodey said trying to be sensible.
“Did I say you could reveal my identity?” he screamed at Pepper.
She shook her head no. She was shaking.
“You’re about to find out what happens when I get angry” Tony said closing his plate.
“One last chance for the protocol” Jeff Palmer said as he motioned his men to point their guns at Tony and Rhodey.
“You’re not getting anything from me until Pepper is away from here and safe” Tony said.
Jeff motioned for his men to fire and Rhodey and Tony were ready to fire back as bullets were showered upon them.
Christian found the ladder leading up to the ledge where Pepper was being kept and he started to climb it quietly. He reached the top and hid behind some crates until he was able to find a way to get to Pepper safely.
“This is exciting. Tony will be too weak to save you by the time they’re done with him and then i can finally be with you and he will have to watch ” he whispered in her ear and the heat spread desire down her body and the flush spread down her neck but the thought revolted her. She was so disgusted. The waves of desire that the pills gave her were becoming more and more frequent.
Pepper watched as the fight continued and she had her eyes on Tony the whole time silently praying he wouldn’t get hit. She decided she wasn’t going to be a victim and started trying to wiggle one of her feet free. She wiggled some more and finally one of her feet got out. She was about to start working on her hands when she spotted someone out of the corner of her eye and it was Christian. She was relieved to see he was ok but the relief quickly turned to anger. She hadn’t forgotten his involvement in all of this.
Tony and Rhodey we’re almost finished taking out Jeff Palmer’s men when Christian appeared out of nowhere and hit Daniel over the head with the gun. He quickly grabbed at the ropes around Pepper’s wrist and pulled the rope that was around her waist over her head.
“Come on, let’s go. We need to get you to safety” Christian said grabbing for her hand.
Pepper pulled her hand out of his grip quickly.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” she said.
“What? Why not?” he asked looking confused.
“Did you think I wouldn’t find out that you’re Uncle was behind this? And that you were perfectly fine with what they were planning. You were going to let them destroy Tony and you had no regard for the fact that he is my best friend and my boss. I would be devastated if something happened to Tony. You know how much I care for him. Did you even care that if the company tanked I’d be out of a job? Also your Uncle’s men shot Happy. What if he died? This behavior is inexcusable and we’re done” she said.
Tony could see a confrontation going on between Pepper and Christian and he was distracted. He was almost hit and Rhodey blasted them away at the last moment.
“Tony keep your head in the game” Rhodey said.
Pepper and Christian were still arguing and didn’t see Daniel who had a long plank of wood and he smashed Christian in the back of the head.
Pepper gasped and backed up too far and she slipped off the edge and she was falling. Tony saw this out of the corner of his eye and he shot back up into the air and caught Pepper. He could feel her clinging to him tightly as he shielded her from the bullets.
Daniel decided to abandon his plan and make a break for it. He went back into the shadows and down the ladder quickly. He was headed to the hallway Christian came in from when Rhodes landed down and blocked his path.
“Leaving so soon?” he asked as he pointed one of them weapons at him.
Tony landed down by the hole he blasted and put Pepper down.
“Get somewhere safe and call the police,” he said as he turned to get back to the fight.
“We got them all except these two” Rhodes said.
“Where’s Christian?” Jeff said putting his gun down and his hands up as he came out.
“What do you care? ” Tony asked.
“He’s my nephew. Please tell me he’s ok. He wasn’t supposed to be involved in this” Jeff said as he fell to his knees.
“Wait a second he’s your nephew?” Tony asked angrily.
“He knew about this but he had no part in it. He made me promise Pepper wouldn’t get hurt. That other guy kidnapped her. It wasn’t me I swear. It was him” Jeff said.
“We just wanted the ocean suit for my underwater scavenging business”
“Rhodes go check on him” Tony said grabbing a hold of Daniel and pushing him down next to Jeff.
Rhodes flew up to get Christian who’s vitals were stable. He opened his eyes and looked at Rhodes.
“Can you walk?” Rhodes asked.
Christian nodded and got up.
The police arrived and arrested both Daniel and Jeff and that’s when Tony decided to confront Christian.
“How dare you get Pepper involved in something like this? You put her in extreme danger” Tony said angrily getting in his face. He was near punching him.
“Pepper was not supposed to be involved. I swear. I’m in love with her” Christian said.
“I don’t care. And normally I would step aside if Pepper was happy and I don’t know if she’s in love with you or not and to be honest I don’t care. I would never hurt her and if she is in love with you then she can be mad at me for this. I don’t overstep when it comes to things like this but you and her are done. You’re going to disappear because you’re not good enough for her” Tony threatened.
Tony didn’t realize that Pepper was listening to their conversation from outside.
“And you are?” Christian asked.
“No and I never will be. But Pepper is special. She deserves the world and neither you nor I are it” he said as he walked away.
Pepper pretended to look at her phone when Tony came back outside.
“Hey are you ok?” he asked as he came up to her.
“I’m sorry I lied to you for months about Christian. Obviously you found out what happened with his uncle so we broke up”
“It’s ok. I understand why you did it. I was a jealous and controlling jerk. All that matters is that you’re safe” he said pulling her to him tightly for a hug.
“That looks like it’s going to bruise pretty badly. Make sure the medics look at you” Tony said as he gently brushed over Pepper’s cheek where Daniel hit her.
Pepper felt tingling where Tony’s fingers had been. This was not from the birth control. This was the real thing. They spent a minute staring at each other and Tony was dying to kiss her but he was still hurt by Pepper lying to him for months and he didn’t know if she was upset about her breakup and he didn’t want to be the rebound guy. He decided to hold off for now at least but his quest to make Pepper his girlfriend was far from over.
“I just want to go home and get out of this dress. I want to take a nice hot shower and curl up in my bed and sleep in and put this whole nightmare behind me” she said.
“You deserve it Miss Potts. And feel free to take a vacation day Monday too if you like” Tony said trying not to picture her in the shower.
“I just might take you up on that Mr. Stark” she said as she walked away.
“Miss Potts one more thing” Tony said.
She turned around again.
“After you showed up with Christian and I found out you lied I was hurt and I had too many drinks and I guess I wanted to hurt you in some way. Which is stupid because you don’t deserve it and because what I did wouldn’t hurt you anyway because you’ve been trying to get me to have fun for months” he started rambling.
“Tony What is it? Spit it out” she said.
“I slept with the girl in the red dress from the charity ball. I took her in the coat room and we were going at it and then I heard you scream and I ran to you. We never finished but I just don’t want you to be disappointed in me” he said and then he dropped his head down so he didn’t have to see the disappointment in her eyes.
Pepper thought about his words for a moment and she honestly wasn’t mad. She was the one who had lied to him and she was telling him to go and find a girl. It was honestly what she deserved.
“Well you didn’t finish so I would say that really doesn’t count and how could I be disappointed in the one man that’s still capable of surprising me. Tony you saved my life again. I’m proud of you and the changes you’ve made. Now go get some sleep” she said as she walked away.
Tony was beaming. There were so many things he wanted to say as he watched her walk away but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Pepper breaking up with Christian didn’t change the fact that she wasn’t interested in him the way he was her. It hurt his heart so badly but Pepper was happy and that’s all that mattered to him.
It was Sunday and Tony was down in his workshop looking through his prototypes. He couldn’t stop thinking about Pepper. He wanted to call her and see if she wanted to have dinner with him but he decided against it. He was still hurt that she had lied to him for months and he wasn’t going to let her off that easy. He hadn’t even bothered to get dressed or take a shower since he hadn’t really been able to sleep. He woke up at two a.m.and he was still in his boxers and a tank top. His hair was sticking up all over and it was messy. He was exhausted but his mind wouldn’t rest. Pepper lying to him really hurt. She was the person he trusted most in the world and she betrayed his trust. Friday nights events really took a toll on him physically and mentally. He put AC/DC on until it would be near deafening to any normal person and he was elbow deep in wires and electricity.
Pepper took a deep breath before entering her boss’ home. She felt a fluttering inside and she didn’t know how to make it stop. She couldn’t wait any longer to see Tony even though she vowed not to see him until Tuesday. She was worried about him but also mostly missing him which was a new feeling for her. She entered the residence and JARVIS informed her that he was in his workshop. She went downstairs and found a completely disheveled Tony hard at work on something. He was twisting something with a screwdriver and then he got shocked by something. Her ears were ringing and she asked JARVIS to turn it down.
“Rhodey whatever it is you’re here to lecture me about I’m not in the mood” he said with his back still turned.
Pepper approached him and gently put a hand on his arm causing him to jump a bit. He turned around and he was surprised to see Pepper.
“Pepper what are you doing here? It’s Sunday. Did I forget to sign some paperwork or something?” he asked casually.
“Nope I was just wondering what you were up to” she said feeling herself blush.
“You didn’t have to come all the way here for that. You could have called me” he said.
He was being a little short with her.
Suddenly the reason she had come over felt silly and she felt completely stupid.
“I’m sorry I bothered you. I’m going to go” she said.
“No no don’t go. I’m just- I uh. If I knew you were coming I would have showered” he said feeling self conscious which is not an emotion Tony Stark felt.
“So go shower. I can wait” she said sitting on the couch with a smirk on her face.
“What are you up to Miss Potts?” he asked as he raised an eyebrow at her.
“Go shower and you’ll find out,” she teased.
Tony dropped what he was doing and hurried upstairs. He took the fastest shower of his life and he was back down in the workshop in a record ten minutes.
“So what’s up?” he asked.
“Come sit next to me and I’ll tell you” she said patting a space on the couch next to her.
Tony walked over and sat on the couch and looked at Pepper.
“I haven’t been completely honest with you” she said quietly.
“Ok?” Tony asked.
“When you came back from Afghanistan everything did change” she said looking him directly in the eye for the first time.
“Yeah I’ve noticed” he said, his eyes willing her to continue.
“And I noticed how much you’ve changed and this thing between us that we kept ignoring” she said.
“Yeah go on” he said.
“It scared me. It scared me to talk about. Your history with women scared me and I was convinced this whole thing and the way you were acting was a phase and that you’d get bored” she said quietly.
“I can understand why you’d think that but that’s not the case,” he said.
“And I panicked and I said the first thing that came to mind”
“This is weird” he said repeating her words from that night.
Pepper nodded and got to her feet.
“But the truth is it’s not weird, not even a little bit or at all really,” she said as she straddled herself on his lap and faced him while wrapping her arms around his neck.
She pressed her lips to his and kissed him forcefully. But it was only for a moment and Tony was pushing her away.
“You think you can lie to me for months and then just come in here and kiss me? Ship has sailed” he said
Tony watched as the color drained from her face and instantly knew his mistake. He regretted those words the minute they left his lips. She went from relaxed in their kiss to stiff in his arms. She stood up and she felt rigid and wretched. She needed air. Her lungs felt empty and dry.
“Look that was a bit extreme. The ship hasn’t sailed yet but you hurt me Pep. What I’m trying to say is that it’s not going to be as easy as seducing me on my couch” he said.
“I don’t know what to say Tony. I apologized for lying to you and you accepted my apology when I was kidnapped but now that that nightmare is over you’re hurt. What about me? You didn’t lean in to meet me for the kiss. And then you left me on the roof and never came back. I never felt so hurt and rejected in my life”
“Pepper I wasn’t sure what you were doing. I sure as hell didn’t think you would try and kiss me. And I told you how much I regret not coming back to you” he said.
“Maybe we need to rethink this whole thing. I’m going home. I’ll see you Tuesday” she said as she stormed up the stairs.
Tony was running after her.
“Pep please wait. What I said came out wrong” he called but he was too late. She was already in her car.
Fuck, Tony thought.
He didn’t mean for any of that to come out the way it did.
Tuesday morning came way too quickly. Tony had tried calling Pepper several times since she stormed out on Sunday. She had taken his words to the extreme. He wanted to have dinner with her so they could talk about things but she ignored him. He was already dressed and ready when she arrived at the mansion and Happy was ready to drive them to the office. Pepper didn’t say a word to him or even look at him. She slid into the limo and pretended to busy herself on her phone.
Tony was watching her and she looked beautiful. He loved just watching her. He would study her expressions and the way they would go from intense to soft or curious to angry. She was the most loyal, honest and trustworthy person on the planet but could also burn you down with one look.
“I take it you spent the weekend thinking about what we talked about in our last conversation” he asked quietly breaching the subject.
“I spent the weekend trying to prepare notes for you for all your meetings, picking up your dry cleaning and making sure the food is ordered for the luncheon next week and the Stark Industries softball game” Pepper said still not meeting his eyes.
“I know you work really hard for me and I appreciate that but I meant in addition to the work you do. You said you wanted to rethink the whole thing and so I was wondering what you thought”
All Pepper could smell was the delectable scent of Tony’s Hugo Boss cologne and she imagined how gorgeous he looked. She finally had the courage to look up at him.
He looked so handsome and mature. He looked like a real CEO and then she fixated on his lips. They were calling to her. She would never forget how soft they were.
“I did and we should just go back to the way things were before Afghanistan” she said looking him in the eye and then quickly going back to her phone.
“We can’t” he said challenging Pepper.
“Why not?” she asked angrily.
“Because there’s this unresolved thing between us and it’s not going to go away until we really address it” Tony insisted as he slid a little closer to her in the back of the limo.
“You said the ship had sailed and it wasn’t going to be that easy and you’re absolutely right Tony. It’s not going to be that easy ” she said as the limo stopped.
Happy opened the door for them and Pepper nearly knocked him over as she pushed her way out.
“Pepper I wasn’t thinking. How many times have I said stupid things? I’d have to be an idiot to say that” Tony said as he followed her out of the car.
“I thought we were on the same page and I offered myself to you and you declined my offer. How humiliating to be the only woman turned down by the world’s biggest playboy? And turned down for sex no less. So now guess what? You’re right I’m not going to make it easy for you either”
“Pepper I’m one thousand percent sure of what I want. I didn’t mean for that to come out. I want to be with you. I was just hurt and I reacted” Tony said quietly.
“And I want you. But before we jump into bed together we should give this a try and see if it’s actually going to work between us so things aren’t weird if they don’t. You say you’re changing and you have in some ways and then in other ways you’re back to the same old Tony ” Pepper said.
“It’s going to work because I know in my heart it will” he said quietly.
“We’ll see” Pepper said.
“I’ll do whatever it takes. Tell me what to do to make this right”
“Take me on a real date on Saturday night and we will see how it goes from there” she ordered him.
“Yes ma’am” he said as he followed her inside.
“So I was thinking about the Stark Industries company softball game,” he said.
“What about it?” she asked as they stepped into the elevator.
“When I throw out the first pitch I can’t decide between me doing it or Iron Man doing it. On one hand the world is crazy about Iron Man but if I throw out the first pitch in the iron man suit then you can’t get a good look at my ass so I have a solution” he whispered to Pepper even though the whole elevator could hear him.
“Oh?” she asked as she rolled her eyes.
“I’m going to fly in as Iron Man and then take the suit off and I’ll be in the Stark baseball uniform and then I’ll throw out the first pitch so everyone can admire my ass” he said quietly.
The elevator pinged and the door opened for their stop. Pepper stepped out and headed to Tony’s office quickly.
“You do have an amazing ass” she said once they were behind closed doors.
“Feel free to grab it anytime you want” he said getting closer to her.
“Tony don’t we’re at work” she said pushing him away.
“Come on just one kiss. It’ll motivate me to actually do some work, besides I saved your life and you kind of owe me” he said giving her that charming smirk of his.
Pepper walked over to Tony and leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his cheek.
“That’s not what I had in mind Pepper”
“Well that’s all you’re going to get. Now go get some work done” she said shooing him away.
Tony sighed reluctantly. He was about to walk away and then he spun around.
“Come over tonight and have dinner with me. And it doesn’t have to be a date yet. I just want to hang out with you. It’s been awhile since we ordered take out and watched Netflix. We’ve had so much going on I just want to spend time with you not at work while no one is trying to kill us for the moment” he said.
“Okay” she said as she smiled at him and the thought of some much needed alone time with Tony.
Pepper really wanted to go home and change into comfy clothes and shoes before going to Tony’s house but her stomach was growling so badly she just couldn’t wait to eat. She headed to the mansion and she suddenly felt nervous. Now it was all out in the open. They both had feelings for each other but will it work. Could they really be a couple? Only time will tell. She pulled up and tried to shake off the jitters she was feeling.
It’s just dinner and maybe a Netflix movie and then I’m going home. No longing glances into Mr. Stark’s eyes when you know you want to jump him. Because god damn he’s sexy and he smells good and those lips of his are to die for. His kisses literally melt me into a puddle and his touch makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Just dinner and a movie between friends she thought.
She walked through the door and Tony was waiting there with their take out. They ordered lots of tai food.
“Hi” Pepper said as she kicked her heels off and went to join Tony in the living room.
“Hello Miss Potts. Perfect timing. The food just got here” he said putting some of it onto a plate for her.
“I’m starving” she said digging in immediately.
They sat there for a few minutes eating in silence and then they started laughing.
“It’s not often that we have nothing to talk about” Tony noticed.
“I’m just not talking because I’m so hungry. I missed my lunch because there was a crisis in the lab. There was a small fire but everything is fine” she said.
“Yes I heard but by the time I heard about it, it was under control. I didn’t know you were the one who handled it. I’m sorry you missed lunch”
“You want some wine?” he asked, forgetting the fact that her experimental birth control reacts with alcohol.
“I would love a glass” she said.
She figured since she wasn’t having any waves of desire at the moment what harm could a glass of wine cause.
Pepper’s shoulders felt so tense and her feet hurt so bad. The kidnapping ordeal took a toll on her but she had only slept it off. She should have probably gone to a doctor but she didn’t want to. For once in her life she understood why Tony never wanted to go to the hospital. She had just wanted a shower and her bed that night.
Pepper took the glass from Tony and they headed over to the couch and Pepper was trying to get comfortable she kept shifting her legs which felt restricted in her pencil skirt. She regretted not going home to change. Tony took notice of this and spoke up.
“Would you like a pair of my MIT sweatpants and a t-shirt? You’d be more comfortable” he said.
“That sounds amazing. I wanted to stop home to change but I was starving” she said.
“I’ll be right back,” he said.
Pepper hurried into the bathroom to change when Tony returned with his clothes. She was anxious to get the movie started.
“Much better” she said returning to the living room and getting comfortable on the couch with a safe distance from Tony.
“You like horror movies?” Tony asked.
“No” Pepper said.
“Ok so The Nun it is” Tony said hitting play on the remote.
“Oh my God Tony no I’ll never sleep,” she said.
“I’ll protect you” he said.
Pepper pulled a blanket over herself and covered herself right up to under her eyes so she could cover them quickly if need be. Tony laughed at her and she nudged him playfully and when she did that it caused a shooting pain up her neck. She winced hoping Tony wouldn’t notice but he did.
“Hey are you ok?” Tony asked as he felt the side of her neck.
“Pepper you’re full of knots,” he said as he gently began to massage her neck.
“Mmmm” Pepper moaned and relaxed into his touch.
She didn’t fight him. It felt so good to have the tension released.
Tony made his way down to her shoulders and pressed into the knots to release the tension.
“Mmm Tony. That feels so good” she said.
“There’s a lot I can do with these hands. You have no idea” he whispered into her ear.
Pepper felt the warmth spread through her and her pulse starting racing. She was having another wave. This birth control was putting a damper on her social life. She couldn’t even enjoy an adult beverage without the risk of ended up naked or in bed with someone. Even someone she detested.
“Don’t you get any ideas mister” she said as she melted further into his touch.
“Too late for that. Pep I’ve been forming ideas on the things I could do to you if given the chance since the day you became my assistant” he confessed.
Pepper turned to look at him.
“I doubt that” she said.
“I’m dead serious. You’re the one I couldn’t have so I wondered about you the most. I never thought about you when I was with another woman but always when I-
“That’s enough of that” she said cutting him off.
The thought of Tony masturbating to the thought of her was enough to send her over the edge. And she just couldn’t hear him say it. The wave was intensifying.
“I don’t mean to disrespect you. I’m just trying to be honest. I’ve always found you attractive” he said as he placed a kiss on her shoulder.
Pepper felt a jolt go down her body when he did that. She turned to him and smiled.
“I’ve always thought you were very handsome” she said, placing a hand on his cheek.
“More wine?” he asked.
“No I think I’m ok” she said hoping the wave would pass before something catastrophic happened.
She lay back on the pillow and put her feet on Tony’s lap while they continued with the movie.
Tony grabbed Pepper’s foot and began to rub it and release the tension.
“Oh my. This is fabulous. Do you rub all your dates feet?” she asked.
“Not a chance. We don’t waste time with that stuff. We get right to business. You’re special. I enjoy doing this for you. Your moaning is very sexy. I can’t say I’m not super turned on right now looking at you in my clothes” Tony said.
And just then a scary part of the movie happened and Pepper jumped.
“Come here” Tony said pulling her close to him.
Pepper got a whiff of his intoxicating scent and she pressed herself against him. Tony was looking down at her seductively. She was doing what she swore she wouldn’t. She was having a longing glance into his gorgeous chocolate eyes. She pulled herself away and tried to calm herself down when what she really wanted to do was rip his clothes off.
“I have a feeling something scary will happen here,” he said.
Pepper was starting to feel a little lightheaded from the wine and the wave. The desire continued to wash over her like a tidal wave and her whole body was starting to heat up. Her willpower was starting to break. She looked up at Tony and he was so relaxed. It amazed her. She was smiling up at Tony. She reached up and stroked his face gently.
“What babe?” he asked as he looked down at her.
“I can’t believe after all these years of working for you, you're still capable of surprising me. That’s one of the things I love most about you”
“What did I do to surprise you?” he asked shooting an eyebrow at her.
“I don’t know. I just can’t believe you’re so relaxed. I’m here with you watching this scary movie and drinking wine and you look so handsome. I can’t really relax even with you massaging me” Pepper confessed.
“I’m always relaxed around you Pep unless you have a date or you’re in danger. Being with you like this feels right” he said staring down at her.
Pepper sat up again and ran her hand over Tony’s hair.
“I love when you do that,” Tony confessed this time.
Pepper felt the full effects of the wine and her birth control taking over now. She sat up all the way until she was facing him and she started to lean in slowly.
“I’m never going to make that mistake again” Tony said as he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.
Pepper moaned into his mouth. They were kissing intensely and Tony laid her back on the couch and he was on top of her. Pepper was tingly all over. Her body felt red hot. She wanted Tony so bad and she was losing all sense of reason while they were making out. He was kissing her neck like that night in Germany and she felt herself melt into the couch. He kissed her lips again and she couldn’t break away. There was nothing she loved more than his lips.
She finally pulled away to speak. She was now in that nothing that comes out of my mouth is going to make sense/I’m making brutally honest confessions stage of being tipsy and turned on.
“What would you do if I flashed you right now?” she blurted out as she looked at him seductively.
“I’d have a really hard time controlling myself” Tony said as he felt himself getting excited just from the thought of it.
Pepper sat up reached under her shirt and unsnapped and pulled her bra off and tossed it at Tony.
“I’m going to do it. I’m going to flash you” she said as she reached for the bottom of her shirt and slowly started to pull it up and Tony was tantalized until he saw the glazed look in her eyes and he realized something wasn’t right and he couldn’t take advantage of her that way.
“Pep” he said grabbing her by the wrists and pulling her hands off of her shirt.
“You’re eyes are all glazed over and you’re like a furnace right now. Something isn’t right and I don’t want to take advantage of you like this” he said quietly.
“It’s not. I've been having one of those waves and then I had wine and well it’s not a good mix” she said seriously and firmly.
“Oh GOD no. I’m so sorry Pepper. I forgot. I wasn’t thinking. I should never have offered you wine”
Idiot he thought.
“Tony I’m a big girl. I accepted the wine. I wasn’t having the wave when I started drinking the wine. I thought I would be ok” she said.
“Jarvis please run a scan on Miss Potts” he said suddenly panicking.
“It appears the alcohol she consumed is reacting with the Neurowave birth control” he said.
“How long will it last?” Tony asked.
“The effects are minimal and they shouldn’t last more than an hour. Keeping her hydrated should help”
“Come on Pep lets get some water” he said bringing her into the kitchen.
Pepper sat on the stool and she yearned for Tony. Her body was on fire. She didn’t want water she wanted him.
Tony filled up a glass of filtered water from the fridge and when he turned around Pepper was nearly naked. She had taken her top completely off and shed the sweatpants. She only had on a blue lacy thong and she was holding her shirt against her chest to cover up. He felt his body respond to Pepper’s sudden surprise and he nearly dropped the glass of water.
He placed it down on the counter and started grabbing for the pants on the floor.
“I’m sorry Tony. My body is on fire. Feel it” she said coming closer to him.
Her skin was getting beat red and felt extremely warm.
“Pep I need you to get dressed. This is not how I want this to go down between us,” he said as he carried the clothes and led her back into the living room.
“But Tony my body feels like it’s on fire. It’s too hot for clothes” she said with desperation as her eyes bore into his.
“You’ll feel better soon. You need to drink some water” he said going back for the glass of water.
Pepper took it reluctantly and ended up gulping down the whole thing. Tony refilled it and she drank the second one more slowly.
“Why don’t you go and lay down in the bedroom?” Tony suggested.
“It’s too hot. If I get in that bed I’ll have to get completely naked” she said
“That’s fine sweetheart as long as you’re up there and I’m down here at least until this wave passes” Tony said.
Pepper frowned and headed upstairs. But she appreciated that Tony was being a gentlemen.
Tony was deeply disturbed and he needed to find an alternative birth control and help for her migraines so she could come off this experimental drug. He didn’t like it one bit. He needed to know where it came from and who started it and what was in it.
Pepper woke up and felt sick to her stomach. She didn’t even care that she was naked. She went to the toilet immediately and began to vomit. It was the side effects of drinking on the birth control pill. At first it was great because the migraines disappeared but now she was feeling unstoppable waves of desire for people she was attracted to, people she wasn’t attracted too and even complete strangers and these effects were amplified by alcohol. And the waves were happening more frequently. It’s hard for someone who drinks a glass of wine nearly every night to remember not to drink. Of course it was probably not a good idea to drink around Tony but she forgot. She was too distracted by Tony’s lips.
“Pepper I need to know everything about this pill you’re taking and when you started taking it and you need to get to a doctor as soon as possible,” Tony said coming into the bathroom and stopping short because he wasn’t expecting Pepper to be naked.
“I’m sorry. I thought you’d be dressed” he said stepping back out of the bathroom.
“I woke up and I had to vomit” she said as she exited the bathroom in Tony’s robe.
“You need to come off this pill. It’s making you sick. I was up all night reading the side effects of prolonged use and it’s not safe. I promise we will figure something else out for your migraines”
“I can’t just stop taking birth control-
“I’ll wear a condom. It’s not my preference but I’ll do it when the time comes”
“No you don’t understand. I can only come off of this one as directed by a doctor. There’s warnings on the package. There are terrible side effects for coming off of it. I could have violent vomiting and diarrhea, sweats and chills, hives and even a fever”
“Pepper why would you sign up for an experimental drug trial so dangerous?” he asked.
“Because Tony my migraines were debilitating and I was missing too much work and I tried everything. I was at my wits end. I was desperate” she said as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Pep why didn’t you tell me it had gotten that bad? I could have helped you. I’m not a chemist but I know enough about it to figure something out for you not to mention I can call Bruce” Tony said annoyed that he didn’t think of calling Bruce sooner.
“Ok call him but I’m not going to stop the pills until Bruce has a plan but I need to go to the office” she said trying to gather her clothes.
“No you’re on a leave of absence effective immediately,” he said.
“No way. There’s too much to do” she said.
“Nancy is going to take care of some of it and I will do the rest,” he said.
“What about the softball game? I was looking forward to playing” she said.
“Fine you’re taking a personal day. You go back to the office and then after the game on Friday you’re on leave” he suggested.
“Thank you” she said, placing her hand on his chest.
“Come here” he said pulling her in for a hug.
Pepper put her head against his chest and hugged him deeply. She should have told Tony about the migraines but she didn’t want to bother him with her trivial problems.
“Now get dressed before I get ideas involving you in my robe” he said as he gave her an eyebrow wiggle.
“Tony don’t be fresh” Pepper teased.
“Fresh? I’m being good. You don’t know what it took for me to calm myself down last night. You got me so hot I jerked off twice” he confessed.
“Well I’m sorry. I don’t know why I can’t remember that I can’t drink when I get those waves. I’m sorry about last night. I want to do this right” she said.
“I can’t say I’m sorry because I got to see you naked. Don’t worry about us. There is nothing in the world that would make me change my mind about my feelings for you. Just worry about getting better” he said as he kissed her forehead and headed down to call Bruce.
Bruce arrived at Tony’s place and they were waiting for him in the kitchen.
“Thanks for coming. This means a lot to me” Tony said.
“Hi Pepper” Bruce said as she shook his hand.
“It’s good to see you. Thank you for coming. I told Tony it wasn’t necessary but he insisted”
“So what are you taking?” Bruce asked.
“It’s an experimental drug Neurowave” Pepper said.
“No wonder why Tony was in such a panic. Experimental drugs are illegal for Doctors to prescribe. How did you get signed up for a trial?” Bruce asked.
“After I left the gynecologist office one day I was approached by a woman and she asked me if I suffered from migraines. I said yes and she said she had been out there all day asking people and she said there was an experimental drug trial for a birth control that helps with migraines. I took the flyer. Then after a few days I called the number and went to the facility. A doctor looked at me and gave me a pack of the pills and then they got sent to me every month” she explained.
“And you didn’t think that was shady?” Tony asked.
“Well a little but it’s experimental so I figured they were still getting it off the ground”
“How long have you been on them?” Bruce asked.
“About four months” Pepper said.
“I’m going to need to know everything in your system before I can figure out a replacement or antidote” Bruce said.
“Jarvis can do it. We just have to take blood” Tony said.
Pepper’s face paled and Tony noticed it immediately.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Needles make me faint” she said.
“It’s gonna be okay Pep. I will hold you. You won’t faint” Tony said rubbing her back gently.
Bruce prepared Pepper for her test and Tony turned her to look at him.
“Just look at me the whole time babe” Tony said as Bruce was drawing Pepper’s blood.
And then he was finished and Pepper never fainted.
“Got it” Bruce said.
“See honey you did great”
“Honey? Babe? Are you guys an item?” Bruce asked.
“Yes” Tony said at the same time Pepper said No.
She turned to look at him.
“Tony we haven’t even been on a date yet. We are still figuring this out” Pepper insisted.
“Pepper I want you to be my girlfriend. I know it’s going to work out, so what’s the harm in telling my good friend Bruce. It’s not like I announced it at a press conference” he said using the chocolate puppy eyes to wear her down.
“How do you know it’s going to work out?” she asked.
“Because I’m not going to stop until you agree to be my girlfriend” he said giving her his signature eyebrow wiggle.
“We will see how Saturday night goes,” she said.
“It’s going to be great,” Tony said.
He was already making lots of preparations to knock Pepper’s socks off.
“Jarvis run Pepper’s blood test” Tony added.
“I need a minute to go over all my data” Bruce said.
“Take all the time you need. Thanks again” Pepper said.
“Let’s give Bruce some space and go in the kitchen. I want to talk to you about something” Tony said.
Pepper followed Tony to the kitchen and turned to face him.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“I want to talk to you about last night” he said not meeting her eyes.
He was afraid of her reaction.
“Tony that was very embarrassing for me. I don’t normally do that sort of thing. I told you when the wave hits me I can’t stop sometimes and I had three glasses of wine and-
“I know Pepper. I understand but what if when you come off these pills you don’t want to kiss me anymore. What if it’s all the pills?” he asked revealing his worst fear out loud.
“That won’t happen,” she said.
“ How can you be sure?” he asked.
“Because Tony I told you I wanted to kiss that night back on the roof and I panicked and that was two months before I started the pills. That hasn’t changed. I still want to kiss you sometimes when you’re not driving me crazy”
“How about right now?” he asked getting closer to her.
“No I think we did enough kissing last night. No more until our date and then I will reevaluate” she said with a smirk.
“What do you mean by reevaluate exactly?”
“I have the results of Miss Potts blood work” Jarvis interrupted.
Tony hurried back into the living room.
“Jarvis has the results” Tony said to Bruce.
“Can you bring it up for me?” Bruce asked and then stretched out the hologram.
Bruce and Tony scanned through the results.
“Your levels of everything are completely out of whack,” Tony said.
“Here’s what we need to do” Bruce said.
Pepper turned to Bruce.
“You need to come off this immediately. You’re going to have a bunch of crazy side effects. It may take weeks to level you out. I need to think on this some more and take these results to my lab. I may be able to come up with a serum to stop the withdrawal symptoms sooner. And then you can go to your doctor and get a new birth control if you want to” he said.
“But my migraines will come back. They are debilitating” she said.
“I figured out migraines years ago. I can give you something for that” Bruce said.
“Now see Pepper if you had just told me how bad it was you could have gotten help for it years ago,” Tony said.
“Now I need to know who's behind this. Can you take me to this facility?” Tony asked.
“Tony What are you going to do?” Pepper asked.
“They need to be shut down” he said angrily.
“We can drive by later after lunch” she said reluctantly.
Tony was going to go with Pepper but he planned on going back without Pepper as well.
Tony went back to the facility after hours once everyone had gone home for the night. When they went by earlier in the day and asked to speak to the Doctor in charge they were given the run around and no one seemed to have a straight answer for them. He didn’t want Pepper getting all bent out of shape so he decided he was going to get to the bottom of this on his own. He was going to break in and get into their computers. Tony landed down and had Jarvis disable all security cameras and alarms and he used one of the lock picks he added to his suit on its last upgrade to unlock a back door.
Once inside he had Jarvis scan the area for any security guards there might be and there was one on each floor. The building has four floors and the office he needed was on the fourth floor so Tony decided he was going to take this one floor at a time using Jarvis to help him sneak around the security guards. They were after all just doing their jobs. Tony walked quietly along until he found the stairwell and he went up slowly and quietly. He was almost to the third floor when he heard voices outside the door. He went dead still and crouched out of sight.
“The cameras are down and so is the alarm” one of the guys said to the other.
And Tony could hear them running down to the security office. He continued upstairs a little more quickly this time and he finally reached the fourth floor.
“Is the coast clear Jarvis?” he asked as he prepared to open the door.
“It will take approximately two minutes before the guard crosses your destination”
“And how long to get to the office plus time to pick the lock” he asked.
“Three minutes” the A.I. replied.
Damn. I need an extra minute.
“Is there a way inside from an outside window? What are my options?” he asked as he knew the guard would be passing by soon.
Pepper was sitting up in her bed when her doorbell rang. She looked at the clock and it was nine thirty p.m..
Who could that be? she thought.
She tied her robe on and headed to the door. She looked out the peephole and it was Christian.
Pepper unlocked the door but kept the deadbolt on.
“What do you want?” she asked as her lips formed an unfriendly line.
“Look I just want to talk. I only need five minutes. Can I come inside?” he asked.
“There’s nothing that you can say that I’m going to have any interest in” she said as she was about to shut the door.
“Wait please” he begged and she reluctantly let him in.
Tony opened the stairwell door to go back inside quietly. He grabbed the guard and put him in a sleeper hold and put him down gently. He didn’t want to hurt anyone but he needed to detain him so he could get to this office.
Tony found the office and picked the lock he needed to. He turned on the light and put a flash drive onto the computer.
“Jarvis copy everything” Tony said as he waited.
Tony let his thoughts drift to Pepper. He reminisced how it felt to kiss her lips and the feeling of her hands on him and his hands on her soft skin. And then he thought about how she stripped down to that lacy thong and his heart was racing.
How lucky am I that Pepper still wants to give me a chance after what I said? Ship has sailed. What an idiot I am. What a dick move. Pepper was going to sleep me just like that. And Pepper isn’t like that but she wanted me enough to do it right then and there. The courage she must have had to come over to my house and try and seduce me and I humiliated her. And then she FORGAVE me. I can’t screw this up. Now she has her reservations because I can’t keep my stupid mouth shut. Any other woman would probably have hauled off and slapped me. God Pepper is just incredible.
“Any day now Jarvis” Tony said exasperatedly.
He debated calling Pepper but he decided he was going to surprise her with flowers on the way home. He didn’t care that they haven’t been on their date yet or that she hadn’t agreed to be his girlfriend he was going to treat her like she was anyway.
“Your time is ticking, spit it out” Pepper said to Christian.
“I came to apologize. And to see if you’re ok. It must have been traumatizing for you. I know you hate me but for what it’s worth I really did fall for you and you were not supposed to be involved. In the beginning I didn’t care about your relationship with Tony and then you kept avoiding introducing me and you were always running to him and I got jealous. I wasn’t thinking straight. When my Uncle told me about his plans I didn’t think about all the repercussions. I just thought if Tony wasn’t so involved in your life then you might fall in love with me. I just- I’m not a bad person. I just did something really stupid and hurtful and I can’t apologize enough” he said.
“You did hurt me and I’m angry. Do I think you’re a bad person deep down? No. And honestly I’m not completely blameless in our relationship. I have feelings for Tony no matter how hard I tried to push them away. All these years I worked for him I was unaffected by his charms and then after he got kidnapped and the thought that I never got to say goodbye I realized how much I cared for him” he nodded that he understood.
“Look Christian I accept your apology but it’s time for you to go home,” she said firmly.
“Wait I have one last important thing to tell you. I have a friend that works in the courthouse and he said that Daniel made bail. I don’t know how that’s possible because he was stalking you and kidnapped you but I wanted to make sure you’re safe” he said.
Tony landed down in front of Pepper’s apartment and when he saw that the door was unlocked he panicked. He walked up and pushed the door open.
“Pepper?” he asked as he walked inside.
“Tony? What are you doing here?” she asked as she met him by the door.
“I decided to go out for a quick flight and I saw these on my way home and decided to stop by to give them to you” he said producing a bouquet of flowers from behind his back.
“Tony they’re beautiful. That’s so sweet” she said bringing them into the kitchen.
Tony followed her and that’s when he saw Christian in the living room.
“What the hell is he doing here?” he yelled.
“I thought I told you to get lost” Tony said angrily marching towards him.
“Tony stop it” Pepper said putting herself between them.
“I told him to stay away from you” he said with daggers in his voice.
“He’s just trying to help”
“Help what? put more people in the hospital?” he snarled.
“Tony look at me”
Tony couldn’t. He was seething with anger so Pepper did the only thing she could think of to calm him down. She grabbed his face and pulled him down to kiss him gently. She pressed her lips to his softly and she could feel his heartbeat slowing down. She pulled away and he was staring at her intensely. It’s like her eyes and her smile could melt his anger away.
“Look I only came here to warn Pepper that Daniel made bail” Christian said getting up from the couch.
“How is that possible?” Tony asked as his anger came flooding back.
“I have no idea. I just have a friend who works at the courthouse and he told me. Have a good evening” Christian said walking away.
“Wait” Tony said.
Christian stopped and turned back around.
“You want to do a small service to partially make up for what you did?” Tony asked.
“You find out who at the courthouse Daniel has in his pocket” Tony said.
“Ok I will” he said as he walked out.
“Pepper you need to be more careful with who you let in your apartment and you need to lock up behind you. It’s dangerous. Especially with Daniel out there. Not to mention the hours and sweat I put into fixing your security system” Tony said brushing her hair off her face.
“Christian is not a threat to me. He’s in love with me and I promise I will lock my door” she said as she leaned on Tony and he wrapped his arms around her.
“Are you ok? Do you want me to stay?” he asked.
He would have loved to spend the night snuggled up with Pepper but he really wanted to go through everything on the flash drive so he was hoping she was going to say no.
“Tony I think I’ll be ok” she said quietly.
“I’m going to double check the locks on all your windows and scan the perimeter before I go” he said as he started checking the mechanisms he put on all her windows.
Pepper smiled as she watched him work.
“If you change your mind call me and I’ll be here in a blink” he said.
“Thank you Tony. I appreciate it” she said.
“How about a kiss goodnight?” he asked raising his eyebrows.
“Only because you’re so sweet and you brought me flowers” she said smirking at him.
Tony leaned in and pressed his lips to hers and started kissing her softly and then slowly he put more passion behind the kiss and Pepper pulled away suddenly.
“Goodnight Tony” she said as she was trying to calm her racing heart.
“You know there’s an unlimited supply of this if you’d agree to be my girlfriend”
“Of what exactly?”
“Flowers, surprise visits, kisses like that among other things we haven’t done yet that I’d really love to do. I’m fully prepared to spoil you Potts” he said.
“You think you can just come over here with flowers and kiss me. Ship has sailed. It’s not going to be that easy” she said with the corners of her mouth turning slightly into a grin.
“Ouch. I deserved that ” he said.
“Goodnight Tony. I will see you tomorrow”
He hung his head defeated and headed back home. Pepper wasn’t kidding when she said it wasn’t going to be that easy.
Idiot he thought to himself as he headed home.
Author’s Note: Sorry for the long wait. I celebrated my birthday and it set me back a little bit. Not too much action in this chapter until the end. But stick around the next chapter is the day of their date.
Tony spent most of the night pouring over those encrypted files from the flash drive. He was still asleep when Pepper arrived at nine a.m.. She hadn’t heard from Tony so she decided to take a drive over hoping he was awake. The office was closed for the Stark Industries triple header softball game against Hammer Tech. It’s something that Pepper organized for the company last year and everyone loved it so they decided to do it again this year only this time they invited Hammer Tech to be their opponents. And Dodgers stadium was nice enough to host them.
Pepper let herself in and Tony’s bed hadn’t been slept in. She hurried down to the workshop and there he was asleep on his couch in only his boxer briefs and Pepper needed a minute to take a breath and appreciate his beauty.
“Tony” she said shaking him.
He grumbled and turned over and his perfectly sculpted backside only being covered by the thin fabric of his boxer briefs tempted her in a way like never before. She took another deep breath.
“Tony wake up the first game is in an hour” she yelled at him.
He sat up suddenly.
“Shit” he said.
“Come on get in the shower now. Start washing and I will have your clothes and coffee ready when you get out” she said.
“Are you still going to do this for me when we’re married?” he asked as he miserably dragged himself into the shower in his workshop with a grin on his face. He loved pushing Pepper’s buttons.
“What would you like for breakfast Mr. Stark?” she asked ignoring his question.
“Whatever you’d like to feed me Mrs. Stark” he replied.
Pepper just rolled her eyes at him and he was smiling at her.
Pepper went upstairs and grabbed Tony a towel and she dug out a clean pair of underwear and his Stark baseball uniform and cleats. She also grabbed his coffee and the rest of the leftover quiche she had made for him.
She carried everything down the stairs and just as she entered the workshop Tony opened the shower door and walked out naked.
“Oh my God Tony” Pepper said nearly dropping everything and turning around to give him privacy. She felt her face flushing so hard.
“You don’t have to turn around. I’m not embarrassed. Besides, I kind of owe you one after your topless stunt the other night” he said as he walked towards her and slid his arms around her to grab the towel out of her hands with a smile creeping up his face.
He grabbed it and rustled his hair quickly with it and wrapped it around his waist.
“You can look now” he said.
Pepper turned around and Tony’s perfectly sculpted abs and shoulders were invading her pupils and she felt weak in the knees.
“You are throwing out the first pitch at 10:00 a.m. on the dot. I need to head over there to talk to the team and speak with the vendors and make sure everything is going ok. Do you want me to have a car pick you up or are you taking the suit?” Pepper was rattling off to him.
Tony gave her a big smile and started laughing.
“Is something funny about this?” she said with the tone.
It was the tone she used when he knew he was in trouble.
“Yes. First off you’re adorable especially in that uniform. And second you’re the only woman to ever see me naked and have no reaction other than to yell at me about something unrelated” he said as he finished his quiche.
“Anthony Stark this is my thing. I organized this and if you’re late I swear I will strangle you” she said poking him in the chest.
“You just had to touch me huh. You just couldn’t help yourself. I don’t blame you honestly look at me” he teased knowing she was gonna be really mad at him.
“DON'T BE LATE or I will cancel our date tomorrow” she threatened.
“God I wanna kiss you right now” he said getting closer to her.
“Tony it’s 9:15 I have to go” Pepper said dodging his advances and heading out the door.
“Damn” Tony said.
When Pepper was satisfied that everything was ready to go, she made her way down to the dugout to join Happy who she asked to help coach since he was tired of being cooped up at home to recover from his gunshot and needed some fresh air and sunlight. She looked at the clock it was 9:57 a.m. and she was waiting for Tony.
“Don’t worry he’ll be here” Happy said reassuringly.
“He better be”
She looked at her watch and it was 9:58. She looked at Happy once more and then the unmistakable sound of rocket boosters came over the field and everyone was out of their seats cheering. Tony came flying in in the Iron Man suit like he promised and dropped down on the mound. He gave everyone a wave before exiting the suit.
He got out and put his sunglasses on and then Pepper began to step out onto the field and bring Tony his team baseball cap, a ball and glove and a microphone.
She handed them to him and smiled.
“Thank you Miss Potts”
She started to head back and he stopped her.
“Hold on a sec Potts. Can you hold these for me for a second? I need Jarvis” he said handing her the glove and microphone while he plopped the baseball hat on his head sloppily.
“What do you need Jarvis for?”
“You’ll see” he said while Pepper stood there and the crowd was still cheering.
“You need to say something to them,” she said.
Tony tapped his ear piece.
“Jarvis I need to nail this. Can you please calculate the angle and speed I need to let go of the ball?”
“Calculating” he said.
“That’s lame Tony. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not like you can have Jarvis help you the whole game” she said.
He reached his hand out for the microphone. Pepper sighed and handed it to him.
“Welcome to the second annual Stark Industries triple header softball game,” he said.
He paused a moment and then continued.
“I’d like to thank Pepper for putting this whole thing together. Isn’t she wonderful?” he said smiling at her and putting his arm around her.
“She has a few words she’d like to say” he said handing her the mic.
She shut it off quickly and turned to him.
“You know I hate this. Why do you always do that?” she said under her breath.
“I have those calculations you requested sir” Jarvis said.
Tony just shrugged at her.
Pepper turned the mic back on and smiled.
“I want to thank everyone for coming today. As you know all the money from the tickets goes to the St. Jude’s foundation. And I’d like to give a special thank you to Justin Hammer for being a good sport. I know Tony and him have had their differences and they decided to bury the hatchet. Justin why don’t you come join us on the mound and say a few words?” Pepper asked as she waved him out.
She shut the mic off and looked at Tony and he was glaring at her.
“Why would you do that to me? I hate Hammer more than anyone you know that”
“Because you put me on the spot again” she said glaring back at him.
Justin Hammer reached the mound and him and Tony were forced to pose for a photo and Tony insisted Pepper be in it and be in the middle.
Justin went off to say a few words and Tony leaned over to whisper to Pepper.
“I have some important things to discuss with you when we get back to the dugout so don’t disappear on me,” he said.
Pepper looked up at him.
“It’s time now for Tony to throw out the first pitch. God bless Iron Man God bless America” Justin Hammer said as he handed the mic to Pepper.
Pepper and Justin took a few steps back and Tony nailed the pitch. Pepper shook her head but smiled at him. Tony waved goodbye and put his arm around Pepper’s shoulder as they walked back into the dugout.
“We need to talk Potts” he said.
“I can’t. We’re the home team so I need to get on the field. I’m playing shortstop,” she said.
“Well here take this so I can talk to you” he said putting an earpiece in her ear and purposely brushing her cheek went he pulled away.
“Tony I need to pay attention to the game”
“This is important Pep” he whispered to her.
She smiled. She honestly felt that Tony’s charms were wearing her down more and more each day. What she really wanted to do was pull him down to her lips and make out with him. After seeing him naked this morning she was useless. All she could think about was getting it on with Tony.
Pepper took her position on the field.
“Ok Tony What was so important that I need this earpiece ?”
“First thing is I doubled up on all security to keep you safe. Daniel is still out there and I’m not letting you out of my site”
“That’s very sweet and-
Pepper stopped suddenly to catch a pop up and she made the out.
“Show off” Tony said as he watched her.
“Look Tony you have hundreds of employees to rotate in. Can’t this conversation wait until the top of the second when I have a free inning” she said.
“Sure Pep. Anything for you” he said.
It was the top of the second and Pepper was free to talk to Tony.
“What’s up boss?” she teased him.
“Come on, let's go find a quiet office” Tony said leading her through the dugout into a hallway and he found a small office.
“First off, how are you feeling?” he asked once they were behind closed doors.
“I feel fine” she said as she smiled at Tony not knowing that’d she’d be speaking too soon.
“So I broke into the facility last night and I copied everything from the computer onto a flash drive. I started going through it last night. I haven’t found anything yet. But I still have a lot to go through. That’s why I fell asleep on the couch” he said quietly.
“Tony I need you to be careful. What if you got caught?”
“Iron Man doesn’t get caught” he said cockily.
“I still want you to be careful” she said as she hugged him.
He pulled her into him tightly and rubbed his hands over her back. He looked down at her and kissed her and she didn’t fight him.
“I must confess you look very sexy in this uniform” she said as she pulled away from him.
“I told you Pep you can have this anytime you want,” he said as he leaned in to kiss her again.
They kissed for a minute and Pepper didn’t want it to get too heavy or she wasn’t going to be able to stop so she refrained from using tongue. She pulled Tony’s bottom lip between her lips to suck gently when suddenly she didn’t feel good. She felt freezing cold and started shivering. She pulled away and she felt bile rising.
“I’m going to be sick,” she said as she leaned over the garbage can and began to violently vomit and then to her horror it came out the other end at the same time. She was having horrible diarrhea.
She couldn’t do anything but empty her body for the next two minutes and when she stopped she was shaking. She hadn’t realized that Tony was kneeling next to her and holding her hair back and rubbing her back. Then the mortification set in that she went to the bathroom in her pants.
“Pepper it’s going to be ok. Come on let’s get you home and cleaned up and in bed” he said.
Pepper looked up at him and she was grateful that he didn’t bring up her accident. It was humiliating enough.
“It's withdrawals from the birth control. I need to clean up. Take me to the bathroom” she said as she was shivering.
Tony helped her down the hallway and into the bathroom. She went into a stall and braced herself for the worst. She pulled her pants down and breathed a sigh of relief that it didn’t go through to her pants. She pulled her cleats off and then her pants and took her underwear off. She cleaned herself up and pulled her pants back up.
“You ok Pep?” Tony asked as he knocked on the stall door.
“Thankfully it didn’t go through to my pants. I just need some paper towels” she said.
Tony hurried over to get some towels and reached under the stall to hand them to her.
Pepper wrapped her spiked underwear in the paper towels and opened the stall door. She steadied herself on Tony and threw her underwear in the trash.
Tony took off his baseball jersey which left him in a tight white tank top. He wrapped it around a shivering Pepper and lead her to her car out the back door away from the crowds.
“Tony what am I going to do about the game?”
“Where’s your clipboard? I’ll give it to Happy” he suggested.
“I left it on the bench,” she said.
“That’s very naughty Potts. Leaving your responsibilities to sneak in here and makeout with me”
“Tony I shit my pants I’m not in the mood for jokes” she said sternly and he got the hint.
“Come on get in” he said once they reached the car.
Pepper sat in the passenger seat and tried to calm herself down.
“If you feel sick just let me know and I’ll pull over” he said as he reached over and squeezed her hand.
Pepper was now sweating and turned the ac up and hung over it. These withdrawals were too much for her to handle.
“Jarvis get Happy on the line” Tony said as he headed out onto the freeway.
He waited for Happy to pick up.
“Happy you’re in charge. Pepper is sick and we are out of the game” he said.
Happy started to protest and Tony interrupted him.
“I gotta go Hogan. Make us proud” Tony said as he hung up.
Tony pulled into his driveway and the second he parked Pepper bolted from the car and vomited in the driveway and the spasm caused more diarrhea. He walked around the car to help her up.
“Tony I don’t have a change of clothes,” she said as she tried to steady herself.
“I have plenty of clothes. You can wear mine”
“Tony I need underwear”
“You can wear my underwear too. I promise they are clean” he said as they walked inside.
Pepper just sighed. She was headed towards the bathroom.
“Tony it’s coming from both ends. I need a bucket and I need an Imodium and Gatorade or smart water whatever you have with electrolytes” she said as she shut the door.
Tony snapped into action and hurriedly found a bucket and ran down to his fridge in the workshop to get a Gatorade. Now he had to find Imodium. He went into the cabinet he kept with over the counter medications and he found an open pack that only had a few left.
“Hey Pep, I have that stuff for you. How are you doing?” he asked from behind the door.
“I need you to bring it in here,” she said.
Tony braced himself and opened the door. The smell was putrid and Pepper looked terrible. Her baseball pants were in a pile on the floor and he didn’t have the courage to look at them. She was covering herself with her baseball jersey and she was sweating and shivering.
He opened the Imodium and the Gatorade and handed that to her for her to take first and then the bucket. Then he went to reach for her discarded pants and she stopped him.
“Tony I’ll take care of it when I’m better” she said.
“No Pep I can handle it” he said reaching for it.
“Tony you seriously don’t have too. It’s one thing for me to do it for you I’m your assistant but you shouldn’t do that for me”
“What if I want to. I want to show you I’m a responsible adult and I can take care of you and be a good boyfriend” he said.
Pepper looked at him lovingly.
“You’re not going to be grossed out? You’re still going to want me after this?”
“Pepper it’s shit. Of course I’m grossed out. It doesn’t matter who did it but that doesn’t change what I feel about you and feel about us. I’m going to clean these for you and call Bruce to see if he came up with that serum to end these symptoms”
“Tony just put them in a plastic bag and throw them in the garbage outside. I will order new baseball pants next year” she ordered.
“Got it” he nodded.
He was a mature adult and he was going to prove to Pepper that he could take care of her and that he could be a good boyfriend.
Daniel sat up and stretched his arms above his head. He was absolutely elated. He was finally finished with his prototype. He admired it one more time before going up to get a drink.
“I think I’ll call you SPYDER the Camantula” he said picking it up.
It was a camera hidden inside a tiny robotic spider that looked convincingly real.
“Tony might be smart enough to see the difference but Pepper will run from a spider and by the time she comes back with something to kill you you’ll be hidden out of view if she even notices you” he said to his prototype and formed a grin that reached ear to ear.
He reached for his whiskey and took a swig. He admired it one more time.
“You’re going to have your moment tomorrow and make me proud. And then when the time is right
I will claim Pepper and Tony will watch”
He gave his creation one last look before closing the door behind him and leaving for the night. He was afraid he was going to need a new place to stay soon. He didn’t want Tony or anyone in his circle to find him.
Authors NOTE: sorry it has taken me so long to update. I’m a huge baseball fan and with the playoffs on I have been watching it four hours a night and now sadly my team is knocked out so I had more time to focus on this story. Also I’m going on vacation in four days so I wanted to be able to give you guys an update before I leave so you most likely will not have another update until I return. Which won’t be more than a week.
Tony opened his eyes and looked at the clock. It was two a.m.. He wanted to check on Pepper. Bruce had given her somewhat of an antidote he created to rid her body of the withdrawals. She had another round of sickness that seemed to completely empty her body and then she had a high fever. Everything Bruce said would happen seemed to happen. He said she should be rid of the symptoms by the time she woke up. Sure she still had a few hours till morning but he wouldn’t be able to fully rest until he at least went to check on her.
Tony got out of bed and walked quietly over to the spare room where Pepper was sleeping. He opened the door and slipped in next to her bed. He bent down and felt her forehead and it was cool to the touch but soaked with sweat. She stirred for a moment but didn’t get up. Tony was relieved to see that it appeared that her fever had broken and that the worst of it was over. He went back to his bedroom and tried to contain his excitement over their date as he drifted off to sleep.
When they awoke Pepper went home to shower and tend to her apartment in which Tony insisted he check out for her. He triple checked his alarm system and all the window traps. He insisted he would keep doing this until Daniel was actually in jail or she agreed to be his girlfriend and move in with him. It was nearing four thirty and Tony couldn’t sit still. He still had two and a half hours until his date with Pepper. He couldn’t wait. His kinetic energy was about to go off any second. He was already dressed in his date clothes and then he realized what time it was and he would end up ruining it so he changed back into casual clothes.
Pepper got out of the shower and was combing her wet hair. She put on her robe and sat at her vanity to blow dry her hair straight for her date with Tony. She was nervous and excited. She really hoped that it would go well and that Tony could behave like a mature adult. He has come so far and she didn’t want him to go backwards. She shut off the dryer when she was finished and headed into her bedroom when she heard a noise she couldn’t place. It sounded like it was coming from outside. She looked in the peep hole in her front door and didn’t see anything. She peered out her side windows and even looked out on her balcony and nothing was there. Then she scurried back into her room and checked out those windows as well. There was nothing there but she felt a presence as if someone was watching her. She tried to shake the feeling away but her hair was standing on end. She grabbed her phone and text Tony as she put on a pair of jeans and a soft linen button down with a pair of flats. Her date outfit was going to have to wait until later.
Tony was about to call Pepper when a text popped up on his screen.
I know you checked my whole apartment but I heard a noise outside and I don’t see anyone. I’m really creeped out. Can you pick me up early? I’ll just hang out with you and get ready for our date at your house.
Tony was already in his car on the way before he had Jarvis respond back.
Pack a bag sweetheart. I’m on my way. Be there in ten.
He was a nervous wreck when he got there. He canvassed the perimeter and brought up the security video on his Stark tablet and he couldn’t see anything. But he wasn’t convinced since there were a few blind spots the video didn’t cover. He knocked on her door and she answered quickly.
“Thank God you’re here” she said throwing her arms around him.
He hugged her tightly and then pulled away.
“I’m going to check the whole place. Do you have any hidden crawl spaces or anything I should know about?” he asked.
“None that I know of” she said, shaking her head.
Tony did a full sweep of her apartment. He checked in closets and under beds until he was satisfied the place was clear.
“Do you have all your things? I’d feel a lot better if you spent the night. I don’t want to bring you home at night”
“Let me just grab a couple more things” she said from the office.
Pepper was throwing some more things into a bag when her phone went off.
You should wear the white dress you tried on earlier at Fred Segal.
Pepper went white.
Who is this? How did you get my number?
Daniel Scott sat behind his computer screen smiling while he watched Pepper panicking. He had outsmarted Tony Stark and this time he was going to win. He just sighed and typed into his phone.
Don’t be shy. You’re gorgeous. White really shows off your figure.
“TONY” Pepper yelled.
He came hurrying into the room.
“Are you ok? What’s wrong?” he asked with a look of concern on his face.
“Look” she said handing him the phone.
Pepper watched and the anger spread across Tony’s face. He began typing furiously into the phone.
I’m going to tell you this one time. Stay the hell away from Pepper or you’ll regret it.
“Come on. Once I get home I can check Jarvis records. I kinda sorta had him track your phone and car and emails when I thought you were hiding something from me. And then with everything that happened I forgot to ask him to stop” Tony confessed.
“Normally I’d be mad at you but I guess this is a good thing for once” she said grabbing her things and following him into the car.
Her phone pinged again.
Go ahead and run. For every plan that doesn’t work out I have a contingency plan. I’m not afraid of you Tony Stark. In fact I outsmarted you today. Wouldn’t you love to know how I evaded your security system to see inside Peppers apartment. You can’t protect her every second.
Tony’s knuckles went white and he clenched the steering wheel.
It’s a shame you didn’t like the birth control. I thought for sure you’d be a perfect candidate. How are you feeling these days Pepper?
Tony was seething. He couldn’t wait to get a trace. Then he remembered he had his tablet.
“Jarvis I need that report of the tracking you did for Miss Potts phone” Tony said.
“It’s Daniel. It has to be. He’s out on bail. He’s been stalking me for years apparently and he mentioned a contingency plan” Pepper said.
“That’s it. You’re staying with me” he exclaimed.
“Tony you triple checked my apartment and you fixed and installed my security system yourself. No one can get in. I’ll be ok” she insisted.
“Then I want someone from Happy’s team to stay outside your apartment every night you’re there,” Tony said.
“We’ll talk about it later. Let’s just get a trace on the number and go on our date” she said as she smiled at him.
“The number is from an unknown untraceable number” Jarvis said interrupting them.
“What’s the IP address?” Tony asked.
“I’m unable to retrieve that information” the A.I. replied.
Tony slammed his fists on the steering wheel after parking in front of the mansion.
“Hey it’s ok” Pepper said grabbing his arm to comfort him.
“The whole night is ruined. Now I’m not going to be able to rest until I get to the bottom of this. And I’m going to be worrying about you” he said.
“The whole night is not ruined. You owe me a date” she said.
“You really still want to go?”
“Of course I do. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. But I understand if you don’t” she said.
“No I definitely want to go. I just didn’t know if you were to shaken up to go. I’m glad you want to go” he said as he smiled at her.
“Come on, let's go inside. I need some time to get ready” she said smiling at him.
“Sure but there isn’t anything you can do to make yourself more beautiful than you already are” he said hurrying out of the car to get Pepper’s door for her.
“Such a gentlemen” she said.
“Pep I told you there will be an endless lifetime of this behavior if you’d stop torturing me and just agree to be my girlfriend”
“Tony get in the house” Pepper teased as she pushed him inside.
She was smiling stupidly and their date didn’t even start yet.
Tony pulled into the parking garage on Rodeo Dr. and handed the attendant his keys but he insisted on opening the door for Pepper himself. He reached for her hand and helped her out of the car. She smiled at him and tried to focus on having a good time.
“Do I get to know where you’re taking me yet?” she asked.
“Nope. You’ll find out when we get there” he said as he grabbed for her hand and laced his fingers in hers.
She felt a flutter and took a deep breath.
“Is this allowed?” he teased.
“Yes it’s very nice” she said staring at him dreamily.
They continued to walk until they reached Urasawa. It was one of Pepper’s favorite Japanese restaurants.
“Surprised?” he asked.
“Yes. This is the last place I thought you’d pick” she said.
“So I’m doing good?” he asked.
She nodded and smiled at him as they went inside. She was preparing herself for Tony’s big entrance like he normally does when he’s out on the town.
“Reservation under Potts” he said to the host.
“Just one moment” the man said.
“Thank you” Tony said sitting down in the waiting area leaving Pepper to do a double take at him.
“You made the reservation under my name? You didn’t call them on your way and demand a certain table and that everything will be ready when we get there?” she asked still in disbelief.
“I did that so they wouldn’t make a big deal when they saw my name. This is our night. I know you don’t like the whole flashy spectacle so I figured we’d have a nice quiet night” he said.
“Well I’m quite impressed Mr. Stark and I must say you look very handsome tonight,” she confessed.
“All this can be yours for the low price of… nothing. I’m already yours. You look as beautiful as ever. I was so excited I got dressed for our date at four o’clock,” he confessed back.
“Tony I don’t know what to say except that I’m glad you changed back because you would have made a mess of yourself before our date” she teased as she grabbed his hand.
He was about to respond when the host brought them to their table. Tony ordered sake but promised that would be his only drink and he wouldn’t get drunk.
“I want you to know that I’m committed to this. I want you to be my girlfriend” he said as he took her hand in his.
“I would like to be. I just can’t be with you right now Tony. I need to go on a new pill and make sure it works and I know that you want me and I-
“Pepper I know this has been a hormonal nightmare for you. I’m not expecting anything. I just want you with me everyday. And I know I’m jumping the gun but I hate letting you go ever. And if you decide that you do want to have sex then I will do whatever makes you comfortable. I can wear a condom. And I just thought you should know that I ordered a new mattress. The mattress of sins will be gone soon enough. So you can claim me on your own mattress when you’re ready” he said with a smirk.
Pepper made a face at his teasing and then got serious. Tony was trying to read her. He really hoped he didn’t screw up.
“You got a new mattress for me?” she asked.
“Of course. I would never want you to have to share that mattress with all the women I’ve-
“That’s enough. That’s really sweet. I have an appointment next week with the doctor by the way” she said.
Tony’s eyes lit up with excitement.
“You want me to come with you for support?” he asked.
“No the Gyno is not exactly a place you want to bring a date,” she said.
“So does this mean I get a second date?”
Pepper smiled and nodded. And Tony brought her knuckles up to his lips and kissed them gently.
“I’m in charge of the next date and you don’t get to know anything,” she said.
“That’s fine. But are you sure about a second date it’s only eight o’clock I may still put my foot in my mouth” he said.
“Tony I’ve known you for over ten years. I’m well aware of your flaws. If I was that concerned about you putting your foot in your mouth I would have quit a long time ago” she reassured him.
Their food arrived and they ate and chatted and kept making eyes at each other.
“I’m so glad you’re feeling better by the way. You scared me” he said quietly.
“Thanks to you saving the day again and saving me” she said.
“There’s an endless supply of that too, whether or not you agree to be my girlfriend. You will always come first” Tony emphasized.
“I appreciate that Tony and I won’t argue with you but if you want to be in a relationship with me then you need to take care of yourself too. You can’t go days with no sleep and hours without eating. It’s hard enough when you’re out on these missions, I don’t want to worry about you when you’re home” she said.
“Pepper I will do anything to make this work. It has to work because I don’t have anything else. You’re it for me. If I can’t have you I don’t want anyone else” Tony confessed.
“Tony we have plenty of time. There is no need to rush. We need to take time if we want this to work”
“We don’t have time. I wasted ten years using women for my pleasure while you were right in front of me the whole time” he said as he paid the check.
“Tony I’m not going anywhere. Just relax ok” she said as she stood up.
Tony just sighed. This was the worst form of torture. He couldn’t wait. He wanted Pepper as his girlfriend and he wanted her with him in his house everyday but he knew he was gonna send her running if he didn’t stop. But he couldn’t stop himself.
“Why are you doing this to me? Is this because of the ship has sailed comment? I think you’ve tortured me enough” he asked preparing himself for the blow.
“You know what Tony I think it’s time for us to go” Pepper said with a tone Tony knew all too well.
He knew he was in trouble.
“Pepper please. Look I’m sorry ok”
Pepper looked at him with hurt and anger in her eyes.
“Tony you humiliated me. I was going to give myself to you and you rejected me and now you’ve reminded me how that feels. I want you to take me home to my apartment” she said.
“Pepper if you want to end our date I will but you can’t go back there. It’s not safe”
“Then check me into a hotel” she said angrily.
“Look Pepper I said what I said out of pure selfishness. I just want to be with you and I want to be with you everyday. I want you here with me in my house all the time. I just really care about you. I’ve never done this before. You gotta cut me some slack”
“I’m sure you have good intentions but I still need some space for tonight” she said quietly.
Tony was panicking inside. He was afraid that he ruined his chances with Pepper for good.
“Pepper what I can do to fix this” he asked desperately.
“Tony just let me sleep on it ok” she said.
“Are we still having a second date?”
“We will talk about everything tomorrow” she said quietly.
“I’m taking you to my house where I know you’ll be safe with my safety protocols. I’ll go to a hotel” he said.
Pepper looked at him and she knew he was truly sorry but she was still angry at him and she needed him to understand that. But she still felt badly for him. This was his first time trying to date.
“You don’t need to go to a hotel Tony. Your house is big enough to give us space” she said.
“Don’t worry, I'm going to be in my workshop anyway. I have lots of work to do. Things that should have been done a week ago. I’m going to find out who's behind the birth control like I promised and I’m going to take care of this Daniel situation. I don’t want you worrying about anything” he said.
He was serious. He needed to finish going over that flash drive and he needed Jarvis to trace those texts. He didn’t want Pepper stressing about anything.
When they arrived at the mansion Pepper went upstairs to the spare bedroom she dubbed her bedroom and Tony retreated down to his workshop.
He opened up those computer files that Jarvis separated for him. He wanted to skip the majority of it and only read the ones that might be useful so he had Jarvis do most of the work.
Tony opened a file that contained emails. He opened it and he saw immediately that Daniel Scott was one of the names the email was addressed to. But it was the sender that nearly sent him out of his chair. Obediah Stane. The name still sent shivers down his spine. He scanned through the emails quickly and listened to recordings of phone calls and slowly he pieced it together.
It all started with a girl that Obediah had allegedly been inappropriate with who was pressing charges against him for sexual harassment. Obediah was angry and tired of being rejected and Daniel was still not dealing with the fact that Pepper didn’t want to date a stalker so they decided to make a birth control pill that would guarantee to make women horny all the time, regardless of physical attraction. They wanted women that would sleep with them all the time. They didn’t want to be told no and they thought this miracle pill would be the answer but the formula was faulty and Obediah died before he had the chance to perfect it. Daniel decided to give it a try anyway and he knew under the guise of it helping with migraines there was a chance he could get Pepper.
Tony felt white hot anger spreading through him. He wanted to hit something.
“Jarvis is there anything in these files that could help me find out where Daniel is staying?” Tony asked.
“I’m afraid not sir” the A.I. replied.
“Can you run another trace please on the number that was texting Pepper?” Tony asked.
“It seems that I am locked out sir. I’ve been working on it for days”
Fuck Tony thought.
“What am I supposed to do? I promised Pepper I would take care of this and that she’d be safe?” he said aloud to no one in particular.
“I can keep trying to break in”
“Yes keep trying and let me know if anything changes,” Tony said.
Pepper was lying in bed and her phone buzzed. She half expected it to be Tony trying to apologize. But she was surprised to see Christians name across the screen.
Hey I have the information Tony asked for. Can we meet for breakfast? it said.
Tony would be happy to know who let Daniel out on bail.
Sure she typed back.
Marmalade Cafe nine a.m.? It read.
Sure she typed back.
Pepper set her alarm and flipped the light off and fell into a dreamless sleep.
Tony finished triple checking all the files and he put his hands in his hair. He didn’t know what to do.
Think Stark think he thought.
He knew what he had to do. He was going to go back to Peppers apartment and get all the footage and see if he missed anything. He looked at the clock and it was 3:00 a.m.
Pepper wants me to take better care of myself if we’re going to be together. If that’s even still on the table he thought.
Tony sighed and tried to get comfortable on the couch in his workshop. He really wanted his bed but he didn’t want to risk crossing paths with Pepper while she asked for space. He was going to surprise her in the morning with breakfast. He wanted to start off on the right foot.
Pepper was up early and dressed. She went downstairs and Tony wasn’t on the ground floor and since his bed hadn’t been slept in she assumed he was in his workshop.
“Jarvis show me Tony”
Jarvis brought up the view of Tony in his workshop. He was sleeping on the couch and Pepper did not want to disturb him.
“Let him rest Jarvis” she said as she walked out the door and headed to the gate just as her cab arrived.
“Where to?” her cabbie asked.
“Marmalade Cafe” she said as she scrolled through her phone.
Work seemed so far away. She had that episode at Tony’s house, then Bruce came to test her blood, then the softball game and the horrible withdrawals. Saturday was her date with Tony and now it’s Sunday and her work is piling up.
She sighed and wondered when this nightmare was going to be over. She was stressed and tired and horny. She was even more horny since she was having her period. She needed a spa day and some sex.
God I miss sex. I need sex soon or I’m going to explode. Maybe I’ll have Christian take me to my apartment and I’ll grab my toy and then he can drive me back to Tony’s. It’s better than nothing. Who am I kidding? I need to have sex with Tony. But I can’t. I’m not on the pill yet plus it takes a week to cycle through my system. He offered to wear a condom but I don’t want that. I want to feel everything. My appointment is Tuesday, which is two days away plus add a week. That’s nine days. Nine days until I can jump him.
“Miss this is your stop” the cabbie said snapping her out of her daydreaming.
“Yes thank you” she said handing him the money and headed inside to meet Christian.
She went inside and found Christian at a corner table. He got up and pulled the chair out for her. She smiled at him awkwardly and sat down.
“You look great Pepper” he said.
“Thank you. How are you?” she asked.
“I miss you. But we can talk about that later. So I have the name of the judge that Daniel bribed. It’s Judge Dylan Matthews” he said quietly.
“Thank you for finding that information out for me. I hope it didn’t get you or your friend into trouble” she said.
“No trouble at all” he said quietly.
Tony woke up and stretched. He looked at the clock and it was nine thirty. He decided to call in his order for breakfast and take a shower this way it would be ready when he got there to pick it up. He used the shower in his workshop so he wouldn’t disturb Pepper. He wanted to surprise her in bed. He needed to get back into her good graces.
“I wanted to let you know that I paid for your friend Happy’s medical bills and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make up for what I did. I want your forgiveness. I want a second chance with you” he said quietly as he places his hand on top of hers gently.
Pepper locked eyes with him and softened a bit.
“Christian I really appreciate you doing that for Happy and I do forgive you but there will be no second chances for us,” she said gently pulling her hand away.
“Because of Tony? Is he your boyfriend?” Christian asked.
“We’re seeing each other” she said quietly.
Tony headed upstairs with breakfast from Pepper’s favorite breakfast place and he opened the door to her bedroom.
“Breakfast is served” Tony said and then he stopped suddenly when he saw that her bed was made and she was not there.
“Pep?” Tony asked as he placed the tray of food down and looked around.
“Miss Potts is not at the residence” Jarvis said.
“Where the hell is she?” Tony asked angrily.
“She didn’t say. She left the residence about forty five minutes ago” he said.
“Did someone pick her up?” she asked.
“There is a call to a car service” Jarvis offered.
“Get her on the line please”
Pepper and Christian we’re finishing up and paying the bill when her phone rang. It was Tony.
“Where are you? Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving? In case you’ve forgotten the man who stalked you is out on the loose and I can’t trace his number. Why didn’t you wake me if you needed to go somewhere?” he said.
“Tony I’m fine. And I’ll be home soon and we’ll talk about it then” she said as she hung up the phone.
Tony was angry but trying to contain it. He grabbed the tray and brought it back down to the kitchen.
“Jarvis alert me the minute Miss Potts pulls up” he said.
Christian walked Pepper outside.
“You need a ride back?” he asked.
“That would be great. But if it’s not too much trouble can we stop by my apartment? I need to pick up a couple of things” she asked.
“Of course. Anything for you” he said.
Christian pulled up in front of Pepper’s apartment and they went inside together.
“So you’re staying with Tony now?” Christian asked as Pepper headed towards her room.
“Yeah just until the Daniel situation gets resolved. He sent me some creepy texts. Tony is trying to figure out how he was able to get passed the security system he made me” she explained.
“Well you should let me take a look around first” Christian said as he pushed past her.
He checked the rooms and nodded to Pepper when he was sure it was safe.
“I’ll just be a minute. I need to get something from the bedroom” she said as she went into her nightstand drawer and shuffled through her lingerie.
She found her vibrator and stashed it at the bottom of her bag and then she shuffled through her lingerie until she found a blue lacy teddy with a snap at the crotch and stuffed that in her bag as well. It was a “just in case” for Tony. Just because I have my period doesn’t mean that Tony and I can’t fool around especially if I’m wearing my menstrual cup. She really wanted to wait until she was back on the pill but her willpower was starting to falter. She choose blue because Tony really loves her in that color and she was pretty sure he’d be into the snap crotch and she didn’t think it was right to wear something she wore for Christian.
“You got everything you need?” he asked as he appeared in the doorway nearly scaring her to death.
“Yes thank you. We can go now” she said thinking about how badly she wanted to surprise Tony and ravage him on the couch downstairs. She imagined him ripping the snaps open and burying himself inside of her. She felt herself flush as she went into the living room.
“I miss that flush. The one you used to get after we’d have amazing sex. Tell me you don’t miss the sex” he said staring at her.
Pepper felt herself flush even more and looked away.
“I always knew just how to satisfy you. What about Tony is he taking care of you in the sack?” Christian asked.
“We haven’t …..yet” she said quietly.
“Are you kidding me? A guy like Tony hasn’t tried to bang you yet? Is there something wrong with him?”
“No it’s me. I’ve had some health issues and I just need to get back to normal. I want to wait” she said quietly.
“So that’s why you look so stressed. You’re frustrated because you miss having sex with me. I think I can fix that ” he said with a wink and Pepper blushed hard. Even though things between them were over it was the best sex she’s ever had and not having it anymore was hard to get used to.
Pepper tried to avoid his gaze and he turned her back around forcing her to face him. He pressed his lips against hers forcefully and pushed her back on the bed. Pepper was too shocked to move at first. Then she felt his lips on her neck and his hand running over the fabric of her leggings between her legs and she let out a whimper. It felt so good and Christian knew just how to touch her but it wasn’t right. She wanted Tony not Christian.
“Christian stop. I’m not doing this” she said suddenly sitting up.
“Pepper I miss you a lot. I think we should try again. We were great together and no offense but I don’t think
Tony is the right guy for you” he said.
“Excuse me? He might not be but it won’t change what I feel for him and you’ve got a lot of nerve to judge him” she said.
“I’m sorry. I just really want another chance. I love you Pepper. I’ll do anything” he said as he turned to look at her.
“I’m sorry Christian but I can’t. I need to figure this thing between Tony and I out. If not I’ll regret it the rest of my life” she said.
“You really want to be with someone who could die at any time? He’s got a dangerous job. You really want to be with someone who’s gonna keep you worrying every night?” he asked.
“You know Christian I really thought you were changing for the better. Please just take me home” Pepper said turning to look out the window.
“I’m sorry Pepper. I’m desperate. I will do anything to get you back”
“I’m sorry Christian I just can’t”
The ride to the Stark mansion was in complete silence. Just when he pulled up to the house Tony came sprinting out of the house.
“What is this?” Tony asked and he could feel his blood boiling at the site of Christian.
“I had breakfast with Christian. He got the name of the judge that Daniel bribed. It’s Judge Dylan Mathews” she said.
“That information was for me not for you” Tony said angrily.
“I told him to get lost”
“Tony you’re overreacting” Pepper said calmly.
“Am I? Pepper you left the house without telling me while your stalker is on the loose. I went out and got breakfast. I was going to surprise you with breakfast. Imagine my surprise when I went upstairs and the room was empty and then I called you and you were being all secretive. So was this a date? Is this because of last night?” Tony asked.
“I think you need to watch the way you’re talking to her” Christian said getting in Tony’s face.
“I’m sorry was I talking to you?” Tony asked him angrily.
Pepper stepped between them.
“Christian thank you for breakfast and for the ride home but I think you need to leave now” she said pushing him away from Tony.
“Are you going to be ok? he asked.
“Yes just go please” she said.
“Call me if you need me for anything” he said as he wrapped his arms around her tightly for a hug while staring Tony down.
Tony clenched his fists and his knuckles were white. He told himself he was going to hold back for Pepper.
Once Christian drove away Pepper turned to face Tony.
“Was that a date?” he asked her again.
“No. It was just breakfast” Pepper said seeing the hurt in his eyes.
Tony couldn’t hide the hurt in his eyes. He turned to go inside and Pepper was quick to follow.
“You know what I don’t get Pep? The way you snuck around and tried to hide this from me while I went out to surprise you with breakfast because I know I messed up last night. It’s from Caffe Luxxe your favorite. Although you’re probably not hungry and it’s probably cold now so just throw it out. I don’t care what you do with it” he said as he headed down the stairs.
“Tony wait we need to talk about this” Pepper said following him down the stairs to his workshop.
“Why Pepper? You’ve made it clear that I'm not boyfriend material. I have work to do. While you were out running around with wonder boy I have been trying to find Daniel so he doesn’t hurt you. And that’s the other thing. You left here without telling me you were even leaving. I was worried sick about you. What if something happened to you?” he said.
“I was with Christian. Nothing was going to happen to me” she said quietly.
“Do you have feelings for him still?” Tony asked.
“No Tony. He told me he wanted to get back together and I told him no because of you” Pepper said placing a hand on his shoulder gently.
“Why did you sneak around then? Why didn’t you tell me where you were going and why didn’t you tell me when I called?” Tony asked.
“This morning when I got up I asked Jarvis to show me where you were and you looked so peaceful that I didn’t want to wake you. And I didn’t want to tell you on the phone because I was afraid of this reaction. I didn’t think you’d even see Christian” she said running a hand down his back.
Tony shook himself from Pepper’s embrace.
“I have to go. I have to follow this lead on Judge Mathews” Tony said as he got suited up.
Pepper felt sad. She didn’t want to leave things between her and Tony like this.
“Tony wait. I don’t want to leave things like this” Pepper said.
“I’ll be back later. You’ll be safe here and Happy will be keeping an eye while I’m gone” he said as he got on the launch pad ignoring Pepper’s request to stay and talk.
“Tony please” she begged but the sounds of the rocket boosters drowned her out and he took off.
Tony landed down outside the Judge’s house. He took his helmet off and rang the bell. He waited a moment and the judge opened the door and as soon as he saw that it was Tony he tried to close the door but Tony pushed his way inside.
“Daddy?” said a small girl in the living room.
“It’s ok sweetheart. Daddy and his friend are just going to have a chat” the judge said to his daughter.
“You’re friends with Iron Man. That is so cool” she said.
Tony smirked for a moment and then returned his attention to the Judge.
“Now about that chat ” Tony said.
“I don’t know anything” he said quickly.
“ Don’t bullshit me. I have the secretary of defense on the line and I can have you taken out in seconds. Now start talking. Where is Daniel?” Tony said angrily.
“He’s renting the basement at Senator Adams L.A. home” the Judge said fearfully.
“What’s the address?” Tony said angrily.
The judge was scrambling for a pen and paper and quickly scrawled it on the paper.
Tony ripped it out of his hand and hurried back outside.
He put his helmet back on and took off into the air.
The address was across the street from the Hotel Christian’s penthouse was in. .
“Jarvis I need you to find Christian Palmer’s number and call him now,” Tony said.
“Calling now” Jarvis said.
“Hello” he said.
“You want to help get this guy? So Pepper can rest easy”
“Tony?” he asked dumbly.
“Yes try and keep up” Tony said shaking his head.
“What is it? What do you need?”
“I know where Daniel is staying. He’s in the basement of Senator Stern’s house. It’s the blue one across from your building. I need you to ring the bell and stall him. I won’t make it in time if he decides to flee. I’m sure the Judge already tipped him off that I was on my way” Tony said.
“I can’t. I wasn’t working for him. I only dated Pepper. I’m not involved in this. But if you need me to go to your house and check on Pepper and keep her warm I’m available” he said.
“Listen to me you prick. Pepper is off limits and you need to go over there now before he leaves again so I can take care of the problem” Tony stressed.
“How will I stall him? Won’t he suspect something?”
“You’re a big boy. You can figure it out. Tell him you visited your Uncle in jail and his partner has a message for him” Tony said before clicking off.
He shook his head. He was leaving this situation in the hands of a pea brain.
Christian left his penthouse and hurried across the street to Senator Adam’s house. He took a deep breath and hurried around to the back door that lead to the basement. He was about to knock when Daniel opened the door.
“You shouldn’t have gotten involved in all of this,” Daniel said with his sinister tone.
“Wait please I’m just here to deliver a message from my uncle” he said frantically.
“You have exactly four seconds” Daniel said as he carried out some bags and boxes and began to load his car.
“It’s about Pepper” he said.
This made Daniel turn his expression right to Christian.
“Pepper is mine. I had her in my grasps and I’ll have her again”
“I talked to her this morning. Her and Tony aren’t an item yet. Ummm but I think they are headed that way. Obviously we both love her and Tony stands in the way for both of us. So my Uncle suggested that we work together you know until Tony is out of the picture” he said.
“I work alone and if you’re smart you’ll stay out of my way and stay away from Pepper” Daniel said in a menacing tone.
“But Tony has her under lock and key and she wants to be with him. I know a place we can bring her” Christian said as he started to panic.
Tony was going to be pissed if he couldn’t contain this situation.
“I can defeat Tony Stark on my own” he said getting into the car and taking off nearly running Christian over.
“Wait” Christian said chasing after him but it was useless.
And to make matters worse he sped away in a car with no license plates.
Tony landed down next to where Christian stood and flipped his helmet up.
“You fucked up didn’t you?” he yelled.
“He wouldn’t listen to me. I’m sorry I’m not a super hero. What did you expect me to do?”
“Come on. You’re coming with me” Tony said as he opened the door.
Christian followed behind him as they went down into the basement of Senator Adam’s home.
He popped a flash drive out of his suit and plugged it into the main computer.
“Jarvis copy everything”
“What am I looking for?” Christian asked Tony.
“Anything unusual” Tony said as he walked into the far part of the basement.
Christian looked down at the table and saw tiny claw like pieces of metal scattered on a work table.
“Hey Tony I found something” Christian said calling him over.
Tony walked over and picked up one of the claw like pieces of metal.
“Bag them. Hopefully it lines up with something I get from the computer” Tony said heading back up the stairs.
“What about that camera up there?” Christian said.
Tony looked straight at it and said, “I know what you’re up to and it’s only a matter of time before I catch you,” he said and then continued to walk back up the stairs.
Christian followed in silence.
“Pepper would be safer with me,” Christian said once they reached the driveway.
“Excuse me?” Tony said angrily.
“Daniel obviously got through your security system and besides Pepper would rather stay with me seeing how horny she is and all. She misses having me in the sac otherwise when I kissed her today she wouldn’t have taken so long to push me away. Just walk away and let us be happy” Christian said once again challenging Tony.
“You kissed Pepper?” he asked angrily.
“Yeah back at her apartment. It’s obvious she wanted it” he said.
“When did you go to her apartment?” he said getting angrier by the second.
“After breakfast. She asked me to swing by so she could pick up some stuff. She doesn’t know I saw her. But she put a vibrator and some lingerie in her bag. She wants it bad. She told me that you and her haven’t had sex yet. It’s because she can’t get over me. Believe me there isn’t a way I could touch her that wouldn’t make her cum. She gets real creamy and loves to sit on my face and my cock. I gave it to her good. She was an animal in bed. The fact that she hasn’t jumped you yet doesn’t look so good. I think she’d prefer someone younger than her rather someone older. Someone with stamina” he said as he continued to taunt Tony.
“Pepper and I are an item and if you put your hands on her or talk about her like this again I will eliminate you and make sure no one ever finds you” Tony said feeling white hot anger.
“I asked Pepper if you were her boyfriend and she said no so obviously I’m the reason she’s holding back”
“I’m warning you. Stay away from her” Tony said as he blasted into the air.
He was so angry he had to set the course to go straight to Pepper’s place or he wasn’t going to be able to finish what he was doing. He typed in the code and entered her apartment. He went straight to the cameras and downloaded the footage. He locked up the place up and took off. He let Jarvis basically take him home. The jealousy and anger burning in his chest was getting too hard to swallow down. He closed his eyes and all he could see was Pepper’s gorgeous face.
“We’re approaching the mansion sir. Where would you like to land?” Jarvis said interrupting his thoughts.
“The garage. I’d prefer it if Miss Potts didn’t know I was home” he said as Jarvis touched down.
Tony got out of his suit and asked Jarvis to show him Pepper. She was in the kitchen and she seemed hard at work on something.
“Is she ok? Did anything happen while I wasn’t at home?”
“Everything is as it should be. No incident” the A.I. responded.
Tony uploaded everything he retrieved from Daniel’s computer and Pepper’s security system and started to dive in. He needed a distraction. He couldn’t stop thinking about Christians hands and lips all over his Pepper.
Pepper was upstairs hard at work on preparing a fillet mignon the way Tony liked with baked potatoes, his loaded of course and some roasted asparagus. She looked at the clock and saw it was nearing six thirty when she finished.
“Jarvis did Mr. Stark say when he would be returning?” she asked.
“Mr. Stark returned home three hours ago”
“Why didn’t he tell me?” she asked.
“Because I had some work to finish up. I’m getting closer to catching Daniel” he said quietly.
“Well I made this dinner for us. I wanted to make it up to you for leaving without telling you and for not getting to have breakfast with you when you were so sweet to surprise me. This is my way of saying thank you and I’m sorry” she said lifting the lid over the dish to reveal his dinner.
Tony was caught off guard. Now Pepper wanted to apologize to him.
“This is great, thank you” he said as he sat down.
Pepper placed a glass of wine in front of him and he smiled at her.
“So Daniel is behind the birth control. I found out the whole story last night. It’s something Obadiah started. They made a pill that made women horny so that they wouldn’t say no to sex. But there were flaws and Obadiah died before he could fix it. Daniel went with it anyway and used the migraine thing to get you to fall for it” Tony said.
“That’s so disgusting” Pepper said as she stopped eating for a moment.
“It is and that’s one of the reasons I’m trying so hard to stop him”
“I hope he hasn’t hurt other women” she said quietly.
“So far it doesn’t look that way. And then I found out where he was staying after he left of course and I went there and I found these tiny claws and when I went over everything on his computer and the footage from your cameras at your apartment I found a prototype for a Spyder Camantula. It’s basically a camera small enough to fit into an electronic spider and that’s how he’s been able to watch you” Tony said.
Pepper felt her skin crawl.
“Well it’s a good thing you found it. I can feel my skin crawling” she said.
“I told you I would take care of all of this. I don’t want you to worry about anything. But Pepper I need to know where you are. You can’t just up and leave when your stalker is out there. It’s not safe and if anything were to happen to you I don’t know what I would do”
“I know. I realize that and I’m sorry. I’m sorry for worrying you” she said as she came around to his side of the table and snaked her arms around him from behind.
Tony grabbed at her hand and squeezed it gently.
“I was thinking” Pepper said as she kissed him down his neck gently.
“I like thinking” Tony responded by leaning to give her better access to his neck.
“ We should open a bottle of champagne and go into the hot tub and when we come out I could give you a nice massage in a little sexy outfit. What do you say?” she asked.
Tony looked at her suspiciously for a moment. Maybe Christian was right.
“That sounds like a plan. I’m going to get my suit” he said leaping out of the chair.
Pepper went upstairs as well but she didn’t have a suit so she was going in, in that body suit she brought and somehow she didn’t think Tony would object. She rinsed and reinserted her menstrual cup even though her period was almost over. She didn’t want to bleed into Tony’s hot tub water. She covered herself with one of her robes and went downstairs to bring the champagne outside by the hot tub. She left the door open because she couldn’t close with her hands full and what she didn’t know was that a family of Daniel’s camera spiders were making their way inside the house rapidly. They scattered to different rooms and found places to make themselves invisible. Daniel made more of them after his conversation with Christian earlier and he positioned them near the outside of Tony’s home waiting for one of them to open the door so they could get inside. That’s what he needed to get inside and he’d never be able to without Tony’s security codes.
Tony closed the door and went over to the hot tub to meet Pepper.
“Come here gorgeous” he said as he pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply.
“Mmmm” she moaned into his mouth.
“I’m supposed to be mad at you, ya know. It’s funny how quickly I can get over it” he said trying to pry her robe off.
“Take it easy you” she said as she pulled away to pour them champagne.
She handed him a glass and sipped from one herself. She needed to calm her nerves because she was horny.
“Are you coming in or what?” Tony asked from inside the hot tub.
“I don’t have a suit so I found something that’s going to have to suffice” she said as she opened her robe to reveal the blue bodysuit with lace that was her “just in case” outfit.
Pepper watched as Tony took in every detail. First the snap opening at the crotch, then his eyes wandered slowly upward just a bit to the lacy parts that revealed some parts of her pubic hair peeking through and then his eyes continued upward and he could see two perfectly erect nipples poking through the flimsy fabric attempting to cover them. And then his eyes caught hers and she felt herself blushing hard. She was feeling so self conscious that she thought maybe a bra and a pair of shorts would be better. She looked away from Tony but her feet wouldn’t move. All she wanted to do was run. She’d never felt this exposed in front of Tony before.
“Hey are you coming in? Or are you just standing there looking like a goddess to torture me?” he asked putting his arms around her.
“I was thinking I should probably change” she said avoiding his stare.
“WHAT? NO. WHY? You look incredibly sexy and I was promised a massage in a sexy outfit” Tony said with a pout.
“You’re right I did promise” she said as she slid the robe off and followed him into the hottub.
The minute she hit the water Tony was on her. He pressed his lips to hers and she kissed him back and then kept drinking champagne to fight her desires while he began kissing her neck everywhere. It felt so good. She missed being intimate and having someone touch and kiss all her hotspots and Tony was damn near about to make her explode and she felt his hand on her breast and she was shocked at first. He was squeezing it and massaging and then he got her nipple between his fingers before she could protest. It felt so good and she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want to lead him on and let him think they were going all the way but she couldn't bring herself to stop him.
“I want to take care of you Pep. I want to make you feel good” he said as he unsnapped the suit and began to rub her with his fingers.
“Tony” she shouted.
“It feels good I know. Just wait to see what I have in store for you” he said as he continued to rub her.
“Tony stop” she said pushing him away.
“What? Why? I know this is what you want” he asked.
“No Tony this isn’t what I want” she said.
“I don’t understand. The hot tub, the outfit, the way you were kissing me….”
“Just because I’m wearing a sexy outfit doesn’t mean that I want to have sex with you. I wanted to do something nice for you to make up for this morning. And I couldn’t think of another way to get your attention”
“First off you always have my attention. Don’t you know you’re in all of my waking thoughts. Everything I have been doing for weeks has been for you. It’s all to keep you safe. And you made me a wonderful dinner that was enough. And as much as I was loving this you don’t need to do this to make it up to me. You being here with me is enough. I’ve been trying to tell you this for months. I want you here with me always. Nothing like hearing that the object of your affection doesn’t want to have sex with you to give you a reality check” he said getting up and heading for the door.
“Tony wait. Where are you going?” Pepper said grabbing her robe and pulling it on to cover herself and she followed after him.
“I’m going down to my workshop to keep trying to figure out this whole Daniel thing. I just got friendzoned Pep. I’ve tried everything to not fuck this up and I can’t seem to do anything right including finding Daniel. He’s always one step ahead. I’m going to build something. Because right now I really don’t want to fail at anything else” he said as he headed down the stairs.
“Tony would you wait? Please listen to me” she said.
He stopped and turned around.
“Hey I didn’t mean that I didn’t want to have sex with you ever, I just meant I didn’t want to tonight. Tony I want you more than anything. I’ve wanted you for years, but I’m really trying to wait until I get on the pill again. I know there are other things we could do, but Tony if we start that I might not be able to stop. You’re not friendzoned. It’s my turn to pick the next date remember? Or are you cancelling on me?” she asked with her hands on her hips.
“God you’re adorable. You’re the only person I think is adorable even when I’m mad at them” Tony confessed.
“You’re mad at me? I thought you forgave me for this morning” she said.
“This isn’t about this morning. Christian told me all about your little trip to your apartment and how you picked up your vibrator and he kissed you or whatever and you debated pushing him away. And he was bragging about how much you loved the sex with him. And how you love to sit on his face and his prick and I couldn’t even defend myself against him. I had no comeback because we haven’t….yet. And it makes me mad because I know I’m better at everything than him and I can’t even say anything. And he told me that you miss him and everything so if that’s true then you should go be with him” Tony said quietly.
He sounded so defeated.
Pepper felt so bad. She hoped Tony would believe her now.
“Tony I got the vibrator because I’m horny for you and yes I won’t lie Christian was good, but I don’t miss him specifically. I miss being intimate with anyone. I told him it was over between us for good. I’m sorry he said those things to you. Tony I even picked out this outfit specifically because it's the one I haven’t worn for him and I know you love me in blue”
“Really? You picked this out for me?” he asked.
“Yes” she said getting close to him and brushing his hair off his face.
“I like it. You know me so well” he said with a smirk.
She kissed him softly and he just relished in the feeling.
“I’m sorry I touched you in a way you didn’t want to be touched. It will never happen again and I promise to keep my hands to myself until you’re ready” he said.
“Well ok then Mr. Stark I do believe I owe you a massage” she said taking his hand and pulling him behind her.
“You should keep that suit unsnapped” he said.
“Tony” she said in a warning tone.
“Ok ok” he said throwing his hands up in surrender.
Pepper opened her eyes and looked at the clock it was 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. She could feel Tony happily pressed against her and his arm was wrapped around her waist. She carefully and quietly started to try and wriggle free from him without waking him.
“Hey where are you going?” he mumbled.
“Tony I need to go into the office and I have a doctor’s appointment. And little Tony needs to relax because nothing is going to happen”
“Sorry about little Tony. I was having a sexy dream about you and he has a mind of his own.
And no work for you missy. You’re on leave” he said pulling her back into him and nuzzling his face into her neck and leaving soft kisses there.
“I’m not sick anymore. I need to go back to work” she said again.
“You have a psycho stalker on the loose. You’re not leaving my site” he exclaimed.
“Well I still need to go to the gynecologist so I suppose you’ll want to take me?” she asked.
“I would love to” he replied.
“Ok my appointment is for nine thirty so we should leave at nine” she said quietly.
“In the meantime we should keep cuddling. Have I told you how much I love this? You sleeping with me like this, purely innocent no inappropriate touches” he said.
“No you haven’t but I’m glad you enjoy it. I enjoy it too. I always feel so safe with you” she said as she turned to face him and pressed herself against him.
“Damnit Pepper then be my girlfriend. What are you waiting for?” he asked with clear frustration in his voice.
His chocolate puppy eyes were staring at hers. And she felt herself melting from his stare.
“Tony I told you I have to be one hundred percent sure”
she said as she was walking her fingers down his chest.
“We have a professional relationship and if we get romantically involved and it goes south it could affect your company. And that is what you pay me to do. Keep you on task so you don’t destroy the company” she reminded him as she pressed a kiss to his lips.
“What if I don’t care about the company anymore and I I just want you?” he asked as he brushed her soft ginger hair back and got lost in her gorgeous blue eyes.
“And maybe there’s a way you can have both. One more date and I’ll let you know” she said quietly as she pressed her lips to his again.
“You know you keep claiming that you need to make sure it’s going to work between us and yet eighty percent of the amount of times we’ve kissed so far have been initiated by you. So id say you’re failing miserably”
Pepper felt herself blush. She knew he was right and she was going to give in and be his girlfriend but somehow she couldn’t give herself to him so easily. Especially not after he rejected her and humiliated her.
“Tony just know that it’s not actually you. It’s your powers of persuasion. They make my brain fuzzy ” she teased as she snuggled closer to him.
“Mmmm hmmm yeah sure ok” he teased back as he kissed her again.
Daniel stared at his computer screen angrily. The fact that Pepper is even considering dating Tony made his blood boil. Stupid whore. He thought to himself. He continued to watch them cuddling and kissing and when he could no longer take it he looked over the cameras in the other spiders to see if there was anything interesting. He sent a signal to one of them to find a hiding place in the bathroom hoping to catch Pepper in the shower.
“Tony I need to take a shower and so do you, so we’re not late” Pepper said pushing him away.
“Come on it’s not even seven thirty” he whined as he pulled her back.
“Fine but eight o’clock we’re moving from this bed,” she said.
Pepper was laying back on the gynecologist table with her feet in the stirrups. She couldn’t wait to get her birth control and get the hell out of here. She left Tony in the waiting room. She was stressed enough about the date she had planned for them that evening. She hoped Tony wouldn’t be disappointed. She felt she knew him pretty well and felt that she could put together a date he would love.
“Everything looks ok but we will have the results of your pap in a few days and I will write you a script for birth control” the doctor said as she took off her gloves and threw them away.
“Great. Just to confirm it’ll take a week before they’ve cycled through and I’m protected from pregnancy?” she asked.
“That depends. How many days into your period are you?” The doctor asked.
“Four” Pepper said as she sat up.
“Well if you take it within five days of the start of your period you’ll be protected immediately so that means you need to take it today or tomorrow,” the doctor said.
Pepper felt herself blush just thinking about the fact that she could have sex with Tony whenever she wanted. She was going to take the pill today but wait until tomorrow for the sex since just to be sure her period stops.
Pepper thanked the doctor and started to get dressed once she left. She was so happy but she wasn’t going to tell Tony that she’d be protected from pregnancy instantly. She wanted to surprise him and claim him on his new mattress as he put it. She came out into the waiting area and he was sitting on one of the couches and she wanted to jump him right then and there. His jeans fit him so well and the leather jacket and single strand of hair falling into his forehead was driving her wild. She took a deep breath as he stood up to meet her.
“Everything good?” he asked.
“Yup” she said as she took his hand.
“We should go get some breakfast” he suggested.
“I’d like that” she said trying to block the feeling of little Tony pressed against her in bed that morning from creeping into her mind.
They arrived back to the house both feeling full and tired and they collapsed on the couch. They put the tv on and kept searching through the channels trying to find something of interest when the doorbell rang.
“Jarvis who is it?” he asked.
“It appears to be a delivery man” he said.
“Must be our new mattress” he said getting up to answer the door for the men who were carrying it in.
“Upstairs third room on the right” he directed as he followed them up the stairs.
Pepper followed after Tony and watched as the mattress of sins was being removed. Tony looked at Pepper who couldn’t contain her smile.
“So I did good? I did something right?” Tony asked with a smile.
“Yes very good” she said as she slipped her hand in his.
“Pepper I promise you that you will be the first and last person to share this bed with me” Tony said sincerely while looking her directly in the eye.
Pepper felt herself blushing and she felt momentarily speechless.
“Tony I- I don’t know what to say”
“Pepper I want to take care of you now and spoil you. I’m a hot mess I know this, and I’m most certainly going to screw up a lot but I want to try to be a good boyfriend and start paying you back for all you’ve done for me the last decade. For everything you’ve sacrificed”
“I know Tony. I can see how sincere you are. I believe you and I want to be with you more than you know but I still just think we should go on another date. I picked this one and it’s only fair I get my chance to dazzle you before any decisions are made”
“Pepper you’ve always dazzled me” he confessed.
Pepper felt butterflies in her chest and felt her cheeks burning. She looked at Tony and she couldn’t find her words.
“I have always been amazed by your mind” she let slip out.
“Just my mind? What about my body? And this handsome face? Come on, you know I’m sexy” he teased.
“I have some laundry to do. Be ready for seven thirty. You can dress business casual” she said as she walked out of the room ignoring his little joke because she knew it drove him crazy.
Pepper put the final touches on her outfit. She had on her favorite pair of Calvin Klein jeans and a tight leather vest with no bra. She had on black stiletto boots and a choker. She pulled her hair half up with a few messy strands escaping and grabbed her black clutch. Tony was waiting for her in the living room. He had his back turned and was having a drink at his bar when she approached him quietly. She wrapped her arms around him from behind.
“You ready handsome?” she whispered quietly in his ear.
Tony was relishing in how good it felt to have her arms around him and pressed against him.
“Yes and the suspense of where we are going is killing me,” he said as he spun around to face her.
He was mesmerized by her the shape of her lips enhanced by her red lipstick.
“Wow you look….HOT” Tony said for lack of a better word.
“Glad you like now come on let’s go” she said pulling him outside.
“I love your ass in jeans and I love that vest. You should dress like this at the office” he stated.
Pepper smiled at him.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
“Just wait and see,” she said.
Pepper piled into the back of the car. She gave Happy an extra bonus for driving them on his night off.
“Happy where are you taking us?” he asked again.
“Tony you’ll see in a few minutes,” she said.
“So in the meantime I think we should make out if you don’t want me looking out the windows and asking a million questions I need something to occupy my time” he said.
Pepper slid closer to him and obliged. She pulled him in and pressed her lips to his forcefully.
“Mmmm this is much better.” he mumbled in between kisses.
The car finally stopped and Happy opened the door for them and they were escorted through the back entrance of a building Tony was not familiar with. They were taken upstairs and brought out to the table on a balcony overlooking a theater.
“This isn’t the opera is it?” he asked suddenly afraid Pepper didn’t know him at all.
“Here” Pepper said handing him a flyer for the show.
“Black Sabbitch an all female Black Sabbath tribute band” he read aloud.
Pepper looked at him waiting for his reaction.
“This is amazing but are they good because Black Sabbath-
“They were voted the best Black Sabbath tribute band,” she said.
Pepper watched Tony as the show began. He was tapping his foot and humming along to the music. He really did seem to enjoy himself and he had two bourbons. She cut him off and had him start drinking water to prevent a hangover the next day. He reached across the table and squeezed her hand and it made her heart flutter.
Daniel had been working for hours when he finally had a breakthrough. He hit a button on his computer and watched the spyder camantula in front of him disappear. And then he hit another button and it reappeared.
“Stealth mode success” he said happily.
He hit the master command button which would turn all his spyder’s into stealth mode.
“Now if I can jam up his AI and apply this to my suit somehow I can get into the Stark Mansion and Pepper will be mine” he said to himself with another laugh.
Pepper and Tony got back to the mansion and they sat down on the couch and Pepper pulled off her boots.
“What a fun night. They were fantastic” Tony said.
“I had a great time too” Pepper said leaning towards him.
She was so horny she couldn’t help herself and she straddled him on the couch and began kissing him deeply and passionately.
“Mmmm Pepper please let me feel your tits” he mumbled in between kisses.
Pepper unzipped her vest and exposed herself to him.
Tony’s hands were on them immediately. He was caressing them and trapping her nipple between his fingers and knuckles making her squirm and whimper quietly. She felt Tony get hard beneath her and she reached for the button and zipper on his jeans to give him some relief. Tony shifted and laid Pepper down on the couch while he continued to nibble on her neck and caress her nipples. She reached her hand between his legs and grabbed ahold of him over his boxer briefs.
He gasped out of shock and kissed her harder. She continued to run her hands over him and he kissed his way down and he was about to suckle her nipple when she stopped suddenly.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” he asked with eyes full of concern.
“Nothing it’s just that we have to stop. It’s getting too hot and I don’t know if I can stop myself and we have to wait because of-
“Okay then we’ll stop” he said.
Pepper sat up to look at him.
“I’m sorry Tony. I should never have started that. I don’t know what came over me” she said.
“I’m irresistible I know” he teased.
“You’re not mad?” she asked.
“Why would I be mad? You’re right I think the situation could easily have escalated and neither of us would have an easy time stopping” he explained trying to ignore the throbbing from between his legs as he stood up.
“Where are you going?” she asked standing up as well fumbling for her zippers but her hands were shaking.
Tony came over and grabbed the vest and zipped it up gently while he admired her breasts one last time.
“I am going upstairs to jerk off or I’m never going to be able to sleep. But once we’ve both calmed down I’d love for you to join me in our bed for our first night sleeping on our mattress together” he said.
Pepper looked at him hesitantly.
“Don’t worry I will give little Tony a pep talk and I will be on my best behavior. I just want to cuddle and sleep. We can watch a movie and I’ll rub your head” he said putting his hands up to prove his intentions.
Pepper was biting her lip as she smiled.
“You’re impossible to say no to sometimes. I’ll go shower and get into pj’s. Come find me when you’re ready” she said smiling silly as she headed up to her room.
Pepper convinced Tony that she needed to go into work for a few hours and bring some things home that she needed to take care of under the guise that Tony had not checked the office for those little bug cameras and that all his valuable secrets could be at risk. And she promised him it would be worth his while later and he couldn’t say no.
Tony gathered the head of every department at SI into the grand conference room and Pepper sat down awkwardly next to him while looking at the confused faces of the men and women around her. Once everyone was inside and the door was closed Tony stood up.
“I’m sure you guys are wondering why you’re here,” he said and some of them nodded their heads.
“There has been a security breach at the home of one of our SI employees. For security measures I already have Jarvis scanning the building for any security blips, but just in case they somehow slipped through the cracks, this is what we’re looking for” he said opening a screen on his Stark tablet and stretching it out for all to see. It was the prototype plans of the Spyder Camantula and some photos of what it looks like.
“They are tiny cameras that look like spiders. I want every department to sweep the entire area to look for anything. Search in plants, clocks, bookshelves and basically everywhere. Especially the lab. I need everyone in the lab to triple check. This needs to begin immediately and all other work needs to halt. The search will go for the entire day except of course for lunch. If anyone finds anything I need it sent up to my office immediately. Thank you” Tony said as he motioned for Pepper to follow him.
Once they got to the hallway he tried to take her hand in his and she pulled it away quickly and gave him a look as they passed by one of the secretary's desk. She followed him into the office and once they shut the door she glared at him.
“What?” he asked completely clueless as to why she was upset.
“Tony you can’t hold my hand like that at work. I’m not ready to announce to the world that we’re seeing each other and I don’t want people to talk” she said.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know why it’s a big deal though. I don’t care what people say” he said.
“Well I do. I’m your assistant and if people find out anything happened between us they will diminish my qualifications and think I slept my way to the top”
“But we haven’t slept together yet. We haven’t even gotten to second base. All I did was feel your tits for like three seconds” he whined.
“That’s not the point Tony. Can we just keep it quiet until I’m ready?” she asked.
“Fine” he said mopily.
Mopey Tony was one of Pepper’s weaknesses. She went over to him and brushed the hair off of his forehead.
“Come here” she said pulling him close to her and pressing her lips against his.
He matched the forcefulness she kissed him with as he pulled her closer. She wrapped her arms around him when the door opened and Pam one of the secretaries burst in the room.
Pepper separated herself from Tony quickly and she was mortified. She didn’t even know what to say.
“Pam hi we were just-
“No it was me. I was being unprofessional and inappropriate with Pepper” Tony said taking the heat off her.
“No it’s ok. Look Pam you’ve worked here since the beginning and you’ve always kept quiet and kept things to yourself so I’m just going to come right out and say it. Tony and I are a couple. We’ve been dancing around this for a decade and after Tony was kidnapped we realized our feelings and we decided to give it a try and I’m asking you to please keep this to yourself until we’re ready to tell the world” Pepper said.
Tony was taken aback by her saying that he and Pepper were a couple. He just hoped she meant it and that she wasn’t just saying it for show.
“Oh how sweet. You two are the cutest. I’ve seen the way you two have looked at each other for years. I’m so thrilled and don’t worry your secret's safe with me” she said handing Pepper a fax she was waiting for and then heading back out to her desk.
“Thank you” Pepper said as she turned to face Tony.
“For what?” he asked.
“You were going to take the wrap for me and make it look like your fault,” she said.
“What about you? You said we were a couple. Is that true? Are you finally agreeing to be my girlfriend?” he asked.
Pepper nodded and hugged Tony tightly.
Tony and Pepper were finishing up dinner and he was staring at her intensely.
“I’m so glad the office wasn’t bugged by those creepy spider things” Pepper said trying to cut the intensity of his gaze.
“Yes that is a very good thing” he said still staring at her with that intensity.
“What’s the matter?” she asked suddenly.
“Nothing. I’m just really happy. You’re everything I never knew I needed. I can’t believe you’ve been right in front of me all this time and you’re finally mine. My only regret is not realizing it sooner” he said.
“Tony everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. If we tried this five years ago, it wouldn’t have been the right time” she said smiling at him.
“Well I’m still an idiot” he said as he stood up.
“I can’t argue with that,” she teased.
Tony began gathering the dishes to clear them away.
“Wait a second. Are you clearing the dishes yourself?” she asked taken aback.
Tony normally used Dum-E or You to clear and wash the dishes.
“Yes dear. I can’t use robots for everything. And I want to show you that I can do these things” he said as he headed into the kitchen.
Pepper grabbed the salt and pepper and the pitcher of water off the table and followed Tony into the kitchen. She put them down on the counter and she was watching him trying really hard to load the dishwasher and get it to close with all the pots and pans. She walked up behind him and placed a hand on his back.
“Here let me help you” Pepper said pushing him slightly away and rearranging a few pots. She placed the soap in the little pocket and closed the dishwasher.
“See this is why I need you. I can only function eighty percent and I need you for the rest” he said smiling at her.
“I think it’s more like sixty forty but ok” she said as she smiled back.
“I’m going to go downstairs and do some work. I need to find out more about these cameras and find Daniel. As much as I want to I know I can’t keep you under lock and key. This has gone far enough” he said as he headed towards his workshop.
“Tony wait” Pepper said as she grabbed his hand to turn him back to her.
“Yes honey” he said as he turned around.
“This is our first day together as a couple do you really want to spend it couped up in your workshop with Jarvis and the bots? We should put our pj’s on” she said, placing her hand on his chest and slowly running it over the arc reactor.
“What are we ninety? Pepper it’s 7:30”
Pepper wanted to have sex and she didn’t want to outright say it because she wanted to suprise Tony and she was frustrated that he wasn’t getting the hint.
“We can curl up and watch a movie” she said rubbing him again and pressing a kiss to his cheek.
“Ok one movie and then I need to come down here and work” he said as he gave her a quick peck on the lips.
Pepper just sighed. At least she was getting him in the bedroom. Hopefully she could make him forget about work and focus on what they’ve both been wanting for a very long time.
“I’m going to get into my pj’s and fuzzy robe and you can go through the movies and find the one you want to watch” she said disappearing behind the door.
Pepper stripped quickly and pulled out the matching bra and panties she choose for this night. They were a cobalt blue satin with a see through lacy area in the middle to expose her nipple and the panties were a thong. She pulled on her fuzzy robe over it and pulled it closed tightly.
When she opened the door she found Tony on the bed in a tank top and a pair of boxer briefs and she felt her heart flutter thinking about the day of the softball game when he came out of the shower naked.
“Did you find something?” she asked as she climbed into the bed next to him.
“Umm yeah Gerald’s Game. It’s a psychological thriller” he said.
“Sounds good” she said.
They put the movie on and Pepper cuddled up next to Tony who still had the lingering smell of Hugo Boss and his own unique scent. She nestled into him and started rubbing on his chest and she placed kisses on his neck and jawline. Tony adjusted his neck to give her access but he didn’t take his eyes away from the screen.
“Holy crap. Did you see that? The husband just died and she’s just handcuffed there. Pep that was crazy” he said turning to face her.
Pepper pushed him back down and straddled him and blocked his view. She pulled open her robe to reveal her lingerie and Tony was speechless but his body responded quickly. She leaned down to kiss him.
“You’re so dense sometimes. Did you really think I wanted to watch a movie at 7:30 at night?”
“I don’t know if I have a condom. I-
“We won’t need one. Apparently if you start a birth control pill up to five days after starting your period you’re protected instantly” she said.
Tony couldn’t contain his excitement. He pulled himself up and flipped Pepper over so she was under him. He started kissing her furiously and then he stopped.
“What? What is it?” she asked with a confused look on her face.
“It’s you. I just need to tell you something,” he said.
“Now? Is this really the time?” Pepper asked.
“It is. Pepper when I was in the cave and they were torturing me I-I could hear your voice and I knew in that moment how much you meant to me. I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again and I knew I had to come back to you. At first when I saw you on the tarmac when I returned my heart beat was wild and I just thought I was anxious and then it kept happening every time I saw you or heard your voice. And we got closer and that night we danced I knew. I finally figured out what it was” he said.
Pepper’s heart was fluttering in her chest.
“What is it Tony?” Pepper asked gently.
“I love you. It was that moment I knew I wanted you forever and that your life and your happiness would always come before mine” he said and he felt lighter the minute the words came out of his mouth.
Pepper’s eyes began to tear up a little even though she tried to fight them.
“Tony I love you so much,” she said as she smiled at him.
“So then why aren’t we making love?” he said softly as he brushed away her tears.
She smiled at him and pulled him in for a kiss as she slid his tank top over his head.
“I’ve dreamt about this for years,” he whispered as he kissed down her neck gently.
“Jarvis stop recording”
Tony kissed her some more and reached his hand around her back and unhooked her bra in one swoop while his other hand was caressing her cheek while he kissed her softly.
He pulled the bra off quickly and tossed it away from them. He kissed his way down her body and made sure to give her nipples extra attention. While he nibbled and licked and sucked she could feel herself throbbing desperate for Tony to keep moving south but she didn’t say anything. She lay back and let the warmth spread through her body and then her wish was answered. She could feel Tony’s lips enveloping her and she jolted a bit and let out a whimper. She looked down at him between her legs and watched him as he pulled her closer to him and locked her in tighter. He didn’t stop licking and sucking her the whole time. After a few minutes she could feel him slide his fingers inside while he continued licking her. She gasped in pleasure and Tony continued to pleasure her faster and harder and then it washed over her and she started moaning and pulling at the bed sheets while she was orgasming. Tony slowed down the pace as she was coming down and then he crawled up to meet her.
Pepper didn’t say anything she just reached into his boxer briefs and wrapped her hand around him and began to stroke him gently. He grunted in response and she started to go faster and tightened her grip a bit. After a vigorous ten minutes Tony grabbed her hand to stop her.
“No. I saved it for you” he said as he pulled Pepper into position under him and neared her entrance. He pressed gently into her and she was so wet for him he had no problem sliding in.
She moaned once he was completely inside of her and he began to thrust slowly at first and increased speed as they continued until Pepper climaxed and it was the most beautiful sound he ever heard. Then he was getting too hot and he paused to change positions. This time Pepper was on top of him and he let her set the pace. Once she had a rhythm she was comfortable with he began to thrust into her while running over her clit with his thumb making little circles and reaching up to caress her breasts. Tony was in such a state of pleasure and love he couldn’t think straight. He never felt a connection on this level when making love before and it was overwhelming him. He looked up at Pepper and they locked eyes for a moment and he reached for her hand and laced his fingers in hers.
“TONY” she yelled out and then he could feel her clenching around him and he let it all go.
“Ughhh oh my God Pepper ughhh” he said as he climaxed. The orgasm was so intense he couldn’t see for a couple of moments as he filled her up.
Once he came down he couldn’t move and he pulled Pepper down on top of him and buried his face in her neck and hair.
She pulled herself up and she was smiling. He had the same stupid smile on his face as well. They were both sweating and didn’t really mind. Tony reached into his nightstand for some body wipes he kept nearby for when he was entertaining. They cleaned themselves up and Tony pulled Pepper next to him and kissed her forehead and just kept stroking her hair and caressing her skin. They didn’t speak for awhile and Tony was first to break the silence.
“Pepper I’m not even sure what to say. That was way better than I could ever have imagined. You’re so amazing” he said as he kissed her forehead again.
“It was really amazing. You certainly live up to your reputation” she said as she squeezed him tighter.
“So I’m better than Christian?” he asked with a big grin on his face.
“There’s no contest” she said pressing her lips to his.
“Jarvis go back to recording again” Tony commanded.
They laid there cuddling and caressing for a long while and then they could hear Colonel Rhodes voice coming from the hallway.
“Don’t worry. It’s just Platypus” Tony said.
“Tony we need to talk. Oh Tony no. Not another one night stand after you’ve come this far” he said not realizing the girl in bed with Tony was Pepper.
“Hi James” Pepper said turning to face him.
“Oh. My. God. This is WOW. You guys finally …WOW. I’m happy for you but Tony I need to talk to you. I tried calling and leaving messages and-
“I muted Jarvis and all my calls. Give me a minute to get some clothes on and I’ll meet you downstairs” he said.
After Rhodes left the room Tony turned back to Pepper.
“And you my little sex nymph don’t you move an inch. I’m not done with you yet” he said as he kissed her.
Tony followed Rhodey down the stairs.
“Look I know you and Pepper are busy but I need your help on a mission tonight”
“No way Platypus. Pepper and I just had sex for the first time. I can’t leave her. I don’t want to leave her. I won’t leave her”
“I know. Believe me I KNOW but it’s important. There’s some kids in Texas trapped in a tunnel that collapsed. It’s a bus for a school trip and some are injured. The police are working to get them out but they said it could take hours and the kids could run out of air”
Tony stopped for a moment and he knew he couldn’t ignore the trapped kids but he was afraid to leave Pepper alone.
“Give me a minute” he said as he hurried down to his workshop.
“Jarvis I need a full scale security update pronto. And by pronto I mean no longer than five minutes. I need to know how safe it is to leave Miss Potts alone for the evening and some of the day tomorrow”
“The house reads one hundred percent safe”
“Thanks J. Look call Happy and tell him I need him to stay here with Pepper tonight and I need a team of his best guys guarding the premises round the clock. I want a guy on every side of the house”
“Will do sir”
Tony came back up the stairs and Pepper was in the living room with Rhodes with her arms crossed.
“Where are you going Tony? I can’t believe you’re going to leave me tonight of all nights” she said with a glare.
“There are kids trapped in a collapsed tunnel. Look you’ll be safe. I updated security and Happy is going to stay here with you and he’ll have a team of guys keeping watch outside”
“Tony no. Please don’t go. When are you going to get some sleep? It’s already ten o’ clock? It’s not safe”
“Pep I can put Jarvis on autopilot and sleep in the suit. Look I’m not under attack this is a rescue mission” he said reassuring her.
“Please be careful” she begged him and pleaded with her eyes.
“I will. I promise. Now come give me a kiss” he said.
Pepper looked up into Tony’s eyes as he pressed his lips to hers and he said all the sorry’s in the world with that kiss. They both closed their eyes and relieved their lovemaking for one last moment.
She followed them down into the workshop and watched as they took off from the launchpad.
Daniel worked all night on his stealth mode suit and something special for Jarvis too when the camera caught his eye and Pepper was making love to Tony. He watched it in real time and he couldn’t stop. He rewound and watched the recording of Tony and Pepper making love over and over again. Now she was tainted. He clenched his fists. Whore he thought. He grabbed his knife and sliced across all the pictures of Pepper on his wall.
“Pepper Potts is nothing but a whore and she’s going to pay for it. I can promise you that” he said as he flipped his table over angrily and stalked out of the room.
Pepper woke up and when she rolled over to reach for Tony and she remembered that he had to leave and she was sad. She looked at the clock and it was seven a.m.
She reached for her phone and there was a text message from Tony.
Still here. Love you lots my little sex nymph. I can’t wait for the encore.
Pepper smiled to herself and squeezed her eyes shut and all she could see were images of her and Tony’s lovemaking. It made her feel so warm inside. Pepper relished in the memories for a few more minutes before getting up and going downstairs to make coffee where she met Happy in the kitchen.
“Morning” she said happily as she turned on the coffee pot not being able to contain her smile.
“What’s got you so happy this morning?” Happy asked
Pepper smiled again and she was biting her lip.
“Tony didn’t tell you?” she asked.
“Tony didn’t tell me what? Oh OHHHHH you and him….” Happy said.
Pepper smiled and nodded.
“What about you Happy? How’s the love life?” Pepper asked.
“It’s going ok. I have a date on Sunday as long as Tony doesn’t need me” he said.
“I’ll make sure he doesn’t need you” Pepper assured him.
“Jarvis can you put on the news?” she asked as she was walking into the living room.
The TV came on and what Pepper saw on the screen caused her to gasp and drop her coffee to the floor. She felt white hot fear wash over her. There on the screen was her and Tony making love last night. And the words Pepper Potts is a WHORE across the screen. She turned the channels and it was on every channel. She fell to her knees and tried to control her breathing. Her private intimate moments with Tony were now broadcast worldwide.
“Pepper what happened?” Happy said coming inside quickly.
Pepper could hear Happy’s voice but she couldn’t speak. She just kept clicking the channels and it was everywhere. She felt herself turning bright red when she realized Happy could see all of this.
“Jarvis how did this get recorded?” Pepper asked feeling faint.
“I do not have the answer,” Jarvis said.
“ Happy put Tony on the line please as a 911 call” Pepper said collapsing to the floor.
Tony was busy moving more smashed up cars out of the way to get more people out of the tunnel. The tunnel collapse was much worse than they thought and there were a lot more people than just the kids trapped. He was blasting away some rock when Jarvis informed him of a 911 call from Pepper.
Tony felt panic wash over him and quickly pulled himself out of the tunnel.
“Rhodey I need to take this. I have a 911 call from Pepper” he said.
“Go ahead man. I hope she’s alright”
“Pepper what is it ? Are you ok?” he asked suddenly.
“Tony it’s Happy-
“What happened to Pepper? Is she ok?” he asked frantically.
His heart was beating in his chest so rapidly and his mind went over the worse scenarios.
He could hear her sobbing and trying to get herself together on the other end.
“Tony someone made a video of you and Pepper making love last night and it’s on every channel. And the words Pepper Potts is a whore is written across the screen on the bottom” Happy said trying to break it to him gently.
Tony took a deep breath and tried to remain calm.
“Jarvis bring up the video please” Tony asked.
Jarvis displayed it across the screen and Tony who never cared before when videos of him naked or in sexual situations had leaked in the internet but this was different. This was him and Pepper. They shared their feelings and established their relationship and every private moment was now on display for the world to see. He was angry that someone had violated Pepper that way.
“How many countries are seeing this?” Tony asked.
“All 195 sir” the A.I. responded.
“Happy put Pepper on please” Tony asked.
“Tony” she said in between tears.
“Pepper I know this is a terrible thing but I need you to remain calm. I’m going to fix this. I need a minute to think” he said trying to keep her calm.
“Please Tony. I can never show my face again at work, let alone leave the house again. No one even knows we’re together. I wasn’t ready to go public and now everyone knows. Everyone has seen my vagina” she yelled starting to sound hysterical.
“I know Pep. Believe me you have no idea how enraged I get knowing all the men in the world have seen you naked. I told Jarvis to stop recording before we did anything so I don’t know how this happened. Jarvis how did this recording happen? Especially if you weren’t recording” Tony said.
“I don’t know sir because I was not recording when the incident happened”
“I’m going to upload you into one of the news vans live feed. I need you to search and destroy every copy of this video everywhere” Tony said to Jarvis.
“How will you get passed the mob of reporters heading this way?” Jarvis asked.
“Tony? Are you there?” Pepper asked.
“They have the whole thing on tape. You with your face between my legs, me on top, everything you said to me about being in the cave and hearing my voice. They played back everything. Those were our private moments. There are news vans pulling up outside waiting for me to leave the house” Pepper said hysterically
“I know honey. I’m trying to get them off the air as soon as possible and finish up with these kids so I can get home to you. I’m so sorry this happened but I promise I will figure it out and I will take care of the backlash”
A chill went down Pepper’s spine as a creepy thought popped into her mind.
“Tony what if it was one of those spider camera things?”
It hadn’t occurred to Tony until just now.
“That’s it. That has to be it. I’m going to kill this guy when I catch him. Pepper just stay inside and lay low and I’ll be home as soon as I can”
“I love you. Be safe” she said.
“I love you Pep. Goodbye” he said as he clicked off the phone.
Tony pushed his way through the mob of reporters and opened up the news van door and shut and locked it behind him.
“Excuse me sir but you can’t be in here” one of the technicians said.
Tony flipped his mask open.
“Just get out of my way” he said angrily.
Tony rearranged some wires that could put Jarvis into the news feed.
“Jarvis I need you to search and destroy all copies of that video on all channels” Tony said.
“You may want to keep one copy for yourself to shop it around. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I watched the film. It was raw and real. Smoking hot chick and she was so into it. You did her proper. I bet you get offers for a sex tape deal” one of the technicians said.
Tony lost his patience immediately.
“Do I look like I’m playing games here? The woman I love is home crying her eyes out because our first time making love was recorded without our knowledge and broadcast to the entire world. I want it destroyed” he said.
“Wait you actually meant all that love stuff and stuff about the cave? I thought you were just pulling a line to get her in bed” one of them said.
“You’re really starting to irritate me,” Tony said.
“Sir I’ve only completed one channel. The other stations are not allowing me access” Jarvis said interrupting.
“I’m going to give you access now” Tony said typing furiously on his Stark tablet.
Tony popped up to the front seat of the van where there was no mob of reporters and slipped out the front window and onto the roof of the van where he took off into the air.
Daniel put his suit on stealth mode and walked through the crowd of reporters and security at the Stark Mansion with the ease of invisibility. He got to the guard shack and to his surprise the guard was doing his lap of his section of the perimeter. Daniel took his chip and uploaded a special present for Jarvis into the security clearance section of Tony’s files and walked around to the back of the Stark Mansion that was free of reporters and used Tony’s code to get access inside the garage which lead to the workshop.
Tony was pulling out the last person from the tunnel when Jarvis alerted him that there was a security breach and that part of Tony’s protocols were being overridden. Tony felt the panic again.
“Rhodes I have to go. There’s a security breach at home. Pepper and Happy are alone there” he said taking off and clicking the line off.
“I won’t be too far behind you,” Rhodes said.
Pepper and Happy were in the living room when they heard movement downstairs.
“It can’t be Tony. He wouldn’t be back from Texas that quickly” Pepper said.
“It’s probably a raccoon or something. Maybe one snuck in when Tony left last night. I’ll check it out. You wait here and I mean it Pepper” Happy said.
Daniel heard what was going on and positioned himself near the garage wall and Tony’s back door. He was going to take care of him first and then he’d be all alone with an unsuspecting Pepper.
Happy used his code to get into Tony’s workshop and he looked around cautiously and quietly and then Daniel appeared by the door and Happy caught his eye.
“You’re not supposed to be here” he said heading towards Daniel who opened the backdoor and took off running.
Happy chased after him and then all of a sudden he lost sight of him. Happy looked at the thick brush around him and he couldn’t see anybody. He took a few more steps towards the end of the cliff to see if he was hiding anywhere and that’s when Daniel slipped out of his hiding spot in stealth mode and pushed Happy hard off the cliff and watched him tumble a pretty far way down. He waited a minute to be sure he wasn’t getting up and then turned to get back into the house.
“Well that was easy. Now to get Pepper” he said as he continued to roll out his plan.
Tony was going at maximum speed to try and get to Pepper as fast as possible. It was a 51 minute trip and he didn’t know if he’d make it to Pepper on time.
The first call he made was to someone he really didn’t want to talk to.
“Hello” said the familiar annoying voice.
“Where are you?” Tony asked.
“I’m at home. Why? Are you going to ask me for another favor? By the way that was quite a lovely film you made” Christian said as he rolled his eyes.
“ Look you dipshit Pepper could be in real trouble. There was a security breach at my place and I’m still forty-five minutes away and I have no one else right now”
“You know what Tony I’m sick of doing your errands and getting nothing out of it. You and Pepper are like two chipmunks in love. I’m going to sit this one out. She’s your girlfriend to protect now” Christian said as he was about to hang up.
“Someone broke into the house. I don’t have any other choice. You need to listen to me”
“Why don’t you just act like a normal person and call the police?” Christian said and then he hung up.
Tony was angry and he had Jarvis connect him with Pepper.
“Hi Tony. Are you on your way?” she asked.
“I’m thirty eight minutes away. What’s going on over there? Where’s Happy? Is everything ok?” he asked calmly not wanting to freak Pepper out.
“We heard something downstairs and Happy went to check it out. He thought it was a raccoon or something. He’s actually been down there awhile. I should go check on him” she said.
“No Pepper don’t. Listen to me. I don’t mean to alarm you but Jarvis alerted me to a security breach. Bring up all the cameras and see if you can find Happy” Tony said.
Pepper felt her heart starting to pound harder and faster and she brought up Tony’s security cameras and she couldn’t see Happy anywhere.
“Tony I don’t see him anywhere” Pepper said fearfully.
“Ok listen to me Pepper I want you to keep your eye on the camera and grab something you can use as a weapon and find somewhere to hide” Tony said.
Pepper went into the kitchen slowly and quietly and grabbed a knife. She tiptoed up the stairs and snuck into one of the extra rooms walk in closets.
“How far away are you?” she asked anxiously.
“I’m twenty-six minutes out. I’ll be on the line with you the whole time until I get home”
Daniel just about finished setting up Tony’s workshop for the big finale of his plan. He opened the workshop doors and headed up the stairs.
“Hello Jarvis. Show me Pepper” Daniel said.
“You are not on the list of authorized users for Mr. Stark’s cameras. I cannot process your request” Jarvis said.
Daniel started looking around the rooms downstairs when the doorbell rang suddenly causing him to falter. He went into stealth mode and waited to see what would happen.
“Tony someone just rang the bell” Pepper said.
“Who is it?” he asked nervously.
He looked at his flight plan and he was fifteen minutes away.
“Jarvis show me the front camera” she said quietly.
“It’s Christian” she said.
Tony let out a sigh of relief. He knew that if nothing else he would do everything to protect Pepper.
“Don’t move your hiding space. I’m going to create an access code for him, send it to him” Tony said.
Pepper did as Tony asked and sent him the text with the access code information.
Christian typed in the code and entered the Stark Mansion.
“Pepper?” he called out.
“Ok he’s inside” Pepper whispered to Tony.
“Ok put your earpiece in and keep me on the line. I’m eleven minutes away babe. Go see what he wants but keep checking the cameras” Tony instructed her.
“Hey Pepper you’re ok. I saw the video this morning and I wanted to make sure you’re ok” Christian said.
What a lying prick? Tony thought. Of course he didn’t tell Pepper that I wanted him to go there because I was concerned.
“Ok Tony Christian is here so I’m going to go now” she said.
The line went dead and Tony saw that he was still eight minutes away.
Pepper hugged Christian and he could feel her shaking a bit.
“You’re shaking” he commented.
“There was a security breach at the house and I keep checking the cameras but I don’t see anyone here. Happy went to check it out but I don’t see him either” Pepper said.
“He must be doing a thorough investigation of the grounds” Christian suggested.
“Yeah that sounds like Happy” she said as she headed into the living room.
Daniel stepped out from hiding but stayed in stealth mode and grabbed Christian from behind and put him in a sleeper hold until he passed out. He dragged him over to the elevator and then he was going to go for Pepper.
Pepper sat down and realized that Christian was not behind her.
“Christian?” she asked as she got up and headed back to the foyer when she felt something she couldn’t see grab her.
She struggled for a few minutes and then she passed out.
Tony was nearing the mansion and he had Jarvis do a full scan of the surrounding area and that’s when Tony spotted the familiar black suit and shiny shoes.
Happy, Tony thought.
He dropped down next to his friend and put the iron man helmet onto Happy’s head.
“Jarvis read vitals” Tony said fearfully.
“Concussion, broken arm and some contusions. Medical attention is recommended” Jarvis said.
Tony removed the helmet and put it back on his head and called Rhodes.
“How far behind me are you?” he asked.
“Like twenty minutes” he said.
“It’s Happy he’s hurt. It looks like he fell down the cliff. Call an ambulance. I need to find Pepper” Tony said as he flew up into the air.
He wasn’t in the air more than a minute when Jarvis alerted him that his suit was losing power.
Shit shit shit shit shit Tony thought. He prepared himself for a crash landing on his launch pad and he fell hard. He released himself from the suit but kept Jarvis in his ear.
“Show me Pepper” Tony said as he scrambled to get to his feet and spread out his Stark tablet and have a look.
Tony was horrified at the screen in front of him. Pepper was naked and her hands and feet were tied to his workshop table. Daniel was surrounding her and running his fingertips all over her body and she was crying and thrashing to get out and off to the side Christian was tied to a chair with his mouth gagged. Tony looked around outside for anything he could use as a weapon but nothing was there. He was hoping he could find something in the garage. He slowly approached the garage and very quietly slipped inside. He looked around and was trying to think under pressure of what he could use as a weapon. Then Dum-E produced a wrench that was left out and Tony grabbed it and pocketed it.
“Good boy” he said.
He gave the room another once over and there was nothing else there. Everything he could use was in the workshop. Tony quietly entered the workshop and crouched down so no one could see him. Christian spotted him instantly and they locked eyes. They were in silent agreement that no matter what Pepper came first.
Tony continued his crawl towards the end of the shop where Pepper was tied down and he motioned for Butterfingers to cut Christians ropes quietly while he slowly made his way over to grab a pair of wire cutters to use to cut Pepper’s ropes. He finally got ahold of them and Pepper spotted him out of the corner of her eye and Tony put a finger to his lips to motion for her to be quiet. He managed to get to one side of his table he cut her left foot and arm free but left it in position so he wouldn’t notice it was cut and he bent down to hide until he had another chance.
“This is all going so wonderful. First I let the cameras into your house then into Tony’s when you left the door open to carry the champagne and I applied this stealth mode to them like I did to my suit. I had a friend blow up that tunnel in Texas to pull Tony away so you were alone and vulnerable. Then I released your sex tape so you were distracted. I uploaded a little present into Jarvis and I got inside the house easily and I took care of that other clown. He had an unfortunate fall off the cliff. Then I got you and you this idiot down here with a sleeper hold. I’m just sad Tony is not here to see my handy work. It's really a shame that it had to come to this. All I wanted was to show you and Tony that we belong together but now the plans have changed” he said.
“Wha-what are you going to do?” Pepper sputtered.
“ WHY DID YOU HAVE TO FUCK TONY? NOW YOU'RE SOILED AND I CAN'T BE WITH YOU” he screamed scaring Pepper.
“I-I’m sorry. We can still be together” she said fearfully.
“Nope, now I’m going to kill you. The question is how”
“Part of me wants to cut you up, part of me wants to strangle your pretty neck or maybe suffocate you or drown you. The possibilities” he said clasping his hands together jubilantly.
Tony was trying to sneak around to the other side and the wrench fell out of his pocket with a bang.
Daniel went to the other side and grabbed Tony by his shirt and they began to scuffle.
Butterfingers finally freed Christian and he jumped up to attack Daniel who was treating Tony like a punching bag.
“Nooo get Pepper out of here” Tony yelled.
Christian stopped what he was doing and freed Pepper’s right arm and foot and he looked for something to cover her up with. He grabbed a fire blanket and started to pull her along to the back door when a shot rang out hitting him square in the back and he fell to the ground. Pepper screamed and went to help Christian when she heard Tony yelling, telling her to run. She looked back and saw Daniel toss Tony like a rag doll across the room and he stalked after Pepper. Pepper reached the door and headed outside. She was running as fast as she could not caring that rocks outside were scraping and cutting her feet. Tony was scrambling to get up on his feet. He was buried under the contents of his shelf. He was headed past Christian who was paling quickly and didn’t look good. He took off his sweatshirt and told Christian to hold it down tightly against the bullet wound and he lifted him onto the table and instructed Dum-E and Butterfingers to access his medical needs and begin bullet extraction if necessary and for Jarvis to keep him informed. He couldn’t in good conscious let him bleed to death knowing he risked his life for Pepper’s. He took off outside and saw Pepper running in fear from Daniel who was pointing the gun at her. Tony continued to run towards Pepper.
“You whore” he said as he pointed his gun at her.
Tony jumped up quickly and tried to knock the gun from his grip. They wrestled for a few moments and Tony kicked him in the ribs repeatedly until he curled up. He kicked the gun from his reach and hurried to Pepper.
Daniel struggled to crawl his way to the gun while Tony tried to calm a hysterical Pepper. Daniel got the gun and pointed it at them.
“If I can’t have Pepper no one can” Daniel said as he fired a shot at Pepper.
It only took Tony seconds to realize what was happening and he instinctively pushed Pepper out of the way quickly as the bullet entered him and he could hear Pepper screaming before she herself hit the ground. He fell to the ground and everything seemed to be in slow motion.
Colonel Rhodes landed next to Daniel and knocked him out again and tied his wrists until the police showed up. Pepper was knocked out cold from the severity of the life saving shove Tony gave her. Rhodey walked over to Tony and knelt down.
“Pepper?” he managed to mutter.
“She’s safe Tony. She’s safe” he said as he squeezed his hand.
Tony stared at Rhodes for a moment and then the blackness set in.
Tony opened his eyes and blinked a few times to adjust to the lights overhead. He felt pain through his entire body when he suddenly remembered the last thing that happened.
“Pepper” he said suddenly.
“Hey it’s ok. I’m here. We’re safe” she said from directly next to him. She insisted on sleeping in the hospital bed with him to be there when he first woke up.
“Oh thank God” he said as he pulled Pepper into him tightly while wincing in pain and noticing some bandages on her head.
“What happened to your head?” he asked concerned.
“Just a bump. Remember when you saved my life and body checked me? Well you knocked me out” she said.
“What about everyone else? Happy? Christian?” Tony asked.
He was riddled with guilt that he put Pepper in front of everyone but he didn’t see any other option.
“Happy is fine. He had a mild concussion and a broken arm. And Christian is going to be ok. Dum-E got the bullet out but he lost a lot of blood. He’s going to be ok. Thanks for doing what you did for him” Pepper said.
“I didn’t know what else to do. I did what I thought was best but I had to go after you”
“I know Tony. I know. You did great” she said pulling his face to hers for a kiss.
Tony turned it from a loving kiss to quite a passionate one and he ran his hand along her hospital robe and Pepper pushed him away.
“TONY STARK we are in the hospital” she teased.
“Little Tony can’t help himself. He wants attention from you” he teased back.
“Not until you’re better” she said, placing her hand on his chest.
“I feel fine. I’m ready to go home” he said as he tried to move.
“I’m already working on getting you released but you need to follow everything the doctor says and take your medicines or little Tony will not be getting any attention any time soon,” she threatened even though she knew it was a lie because she couldn’t resist him.
“Before I got there. Did he hurt you? Did he touch you?” Tony said as he felt his jaw tighten.
“He touched me a little but I’m ok Tony. He’s in jail” she said reassuring him.
“I should have killed him,” Tony said.
“I love you” she said kissing him again when Rhodey appeared around the curtain.
“I can see you’re feeling better” Rhodey said.
“Hey Platypus thanks for backing me up but can’t you see I’m a little busy” Tony said.
“I’m going to let you boys catch up. I’ll be back” Pepper said as she got to her feet.
“ You promise?” Tony asked suddenly feeling very sad Pepper wouldn’t be in his arms.
“I promise” she said kissing him on the cheek and walking out the door.
“How bad is it? The media frenzy all this caused?” Tony asked.
“Well they’re still talking about your tape and you and Pepper being an item and whether or not this is one of your phases and this whole Daniel thing. Jarvis sorted out his own bug. He just needs you to do some authorizations” Rhodey said handing him his tablet.
“What happened after I blacked out?” Tony asked.
“Pepper regained consciousness pretty quickly and she was hysterical when she saw you bleeding. The ambulance that we called for Happy arrived and they took you instead since your injuries were more severe and they called for two more. Thanks to your mini medical lab Christian was able to survive long enough to get to the hospital where he got a blood transfusion. And then Happy got looked at. You were all really lucky. They found Daniel’s computer and my friend at the department gave me access and I was able to locate all those spider camera things that were in your house and Pepper’s place and I gathered them all for you. Daniel is in a maximum security prison with no bail this time” Rhodey said.
“Thanks for watching out for me. I mean it. I don’t have a lot of friends sour patch”
“Yeah yeah yeah and way to go with you and Pepper by the way” he said as he left Tony alone to rest.
The next day Tony was being discharged and Pepper was waiting for him with his bag all packed.
“There’s something I gotta do before I go” Tony said as he headed down the hallway to Christian’s room.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Christian said.
“I wanted to thank you for what you did for Pepper. And say that I’m sorry I couldn’t do more for you. I did what I thought was best but I had to go after Pepper” he said.
“I understand. I love her. I guess you’re the better man. After this I’m moving the company back to San Francisco. L.A. is not all it’s cracked up to be” he said.
“Good luck to you” he said as he shook his hand and Pepper appeared in the doorway.
She went over to Christians bed and kissed his forehead.
“Thanks so much for all you did for me. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for us. I hope you have a good life” Pepper said as she squeezed his hand.
He smiled weakly and didn’t say anything as he watched them walk away.
“Come on Pep. I scheduled a press conference to address the elephant in the room” he said as he took her hand.
“Tony I can’t do it. I’m humiliated” she said suddenly going white.
“You don’t have to say anything. All you need to do is hold my hand and stand next to me. The sooner we rip off the bandaid the better” he said rubbing her arm gently.
“I’m not dressed for a press conference” she said looking down at her jeans and a light sweater.
“Who cares? We just came from the hospital” he said.
The ride to the press conference was painstakingly slow and Pepper blood pressure was rising. They got there and Tony held her hand tightly.
“I promise. I will take the heat for this” he said as he brought her hand to his lips.
She squeezed his hand and they walked through the doors and the decipels in the room began to rise and the flashes from the cameras were blinding.
“I’m sure you all know that I’m here to address the elephant in the room. So let me start by saying that Pepper my new co-CEO and I are dating. We’ve been dating a few weeks and we wanted to keep it private and we were not aware that video of us was being taken let alone leaked to the public. The man responsible is in custody and that will be all” Tony said grabbing her hand and squeezing it as they walked away.
The questions being thrown their way were non stop.
“What do you mean co-CEO?” Pepper asked once she got through the doors and they were in the quiet.
“Don’t you think it’s time that you stopped being my assistant and started to run the company like you were always meant to?” he asked.
“Tony I don’t know what to say”
“Don’t say anything. Thank me privately later” he said with a wiggle of his eyebrows.
She hit him playfully.
“We should get cheeseburgers” he suggested.
She laughed and they walked back to the car hand in hand.