Author: Dr. Breifs Cat PM
Pepper takes Tony on a surprise outing. Movie-verse.Rated: Fiction K - English - V. Potts/Pepper & A. E. Stark/Tony - Words: 1,589 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 4 - Published: 06-30-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8272371
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"This is what you want to do today?" Tony asks skeptically, pulling a face behind his sunglasses.
Pepper just smiles as she exits the passenger side of his silver Audi. The motions of her long, bare limbs are fluid and sure. Pepper bumps the car door shut with a shimmy of her hips. Tony can't argue with that sight. She's a vision of innocence when she smiles so sweetly at him, and her white sundress just serves to enhance the angelic illusion. Pepper is purely happy to be here with him. This outing is beginning to sound like a very good idea. When she says "Yes," Tony is long since convinced.
The Farmer's Market is the last place in the world Tony would have picked for a day out with Pepper. His idea of a date runs more along the theme of nightclubs, expensive restaurants and fast cars. Unfortunately, their dates rarely meet such lofty expectations as a night out on the town. Stark Industries keeps Pepper far too busy to spare much time for Tony, and his own responsibilities to national security and the company keep him similarly occupied. Typically, dinner at home is all they can accommodate; sometimes, not even that.
It has been weeks since the last time they were able to crack open the champagne and treat themselves to good time. The Chitauri invasion, followed by much needed renovations and remodeling to Stark Tower, has kept them both busy in their respective fields. Pepper is a visionary. She refuses to let an opportunity for growth to slip past uncontested. In addition to his Avengers Tower project, she also has the company bidding on contracts to rebuild other areas of the city damaged in the melee. A handful of self-sustaining buildings seems like a trifle compared to several self-sustaining city blocks in Midtown Manhattan. He's impressed with the work she does in his name, but it does mean that Stark - the man, not the company - does not often enjoy her full attention.
However, this morning Tony woke up to a beautiful Sunday in California. The sun was bright in the sky. He had the body of a demurely sexy redhead tangled in his sheets. The single, mercifully clear day on his schedule aligned with Pepper's for the first time in months. He had ideas on how to spend it - ideas prominently featuring wine and locked doors. She had plans as well - a surprise, she told him over breakfast. He didn't protest. Pepper had been wearing a shirt of his that featured a cut out for the arc reactor. It had a certain charm the way she wore it, the sort of charm that makes a billionaire agree to visit a mystery destination that requires he bring small bills.
He hates handling paper money.
It is roughly eleven AM when Tony slides out of the car after her. He isn't dressed well for the occasion, in soft slacks and a dress shirt. It is difficult to dress appropriately for a surprise. Though his shoes offset the formality of the ensemble, he had erred towards business-casual. For once in their lives, she walks ahead of him and he follows. One arm extends behind her, tethering them together by loosely grasped hands. Pepper maneuvers through the aisles gracefully. The floor of the outdoor market is a generous layer of straw and corn husks. Pepper doesn't seem to mind as her sandals crunch the organic carpet. Bits of straw stick to his sneakers.
Tony revises his opinion. Overall, he's not impressed.
The first table near the entrance is devoted to nothing but strawberries. She pays them no mind. This strikes him as unfair. It is nearly a criminal offense for him to bring strawberries into the building, but she simply avoids them when the Farmer's Market pollutes its air with their luscious poison. He misses strawberries, such versatile tools of seduction.
Pepper stops three aisles away from the strawberries, at a table covered in baskets and rows of peaches. She inhales. "I love peaches," Pepper says breathlessly. Tony frowns. He didn't know that.
"Get a bushel," is his response. The bushel is the largest, and therefore most expensive, of the the allotted measurements of peaches.
"We could never eat an entire bushel before they went bad," she says. "We'll get half a peck."
The half-peck is still a fairly large bucket. After a lengthy examination of the half-peck assortments, Pepper selects one and hands it directly to him. Looking at it, Tony doubts they could eat even this much smaller number of peaches before they began to rot. He likes peaches just fine, but they don't stir up the same reaction in him that Pepper is displaying.
From there, they head to the vegetables, but only briefly. Pepper picks through the lettuce and cabbage, but doesn't select a head. She gazes longingly at the fresh ears of corn before shaking her head and moving on. She doesn't do much cooking and her favorite vegetables are not ready to eat.
Most of what they end up carrying to the cashier is fruit. The half-peck of peaches. A pineapple. A sack of ten large oranges. Three jars of preserves - two blackberry and one grape. The majority was selected by Pepper, but Tony snags a small cardboard container of blueberries as they pass the table featuring several assortments of berries.
"You like blueberries," she muses when she notices them nestled in the crook of his elbow. "I forgot."
He's not sure whether he should be insulted or grateful that she has forgotten some small bit of trivia about him. On the one hand, he feels a certain degree of satisfaction that her normally impeccable memory has failed. She often catches him in mistakes. He likes to harp on hers - they are much smaller in number and he feels they warrant frequent reminders. On the other hand, he eats blueberries all the time. It's a bit galling that she could forget, that his habits are beneath her notice.
"Wait," Pepper tells the cashier as he rings up the order. "Let's get another carton of blueberries," Pepper suggests to Tony. "You'll have that one eaten before we get home."
Their total comes to less than thirty dollars, even with an extra two cartons of blueberries. "Small bills," Pepper chides under her breath when Tony pulls a fifty out of his wallet.
The cashier produces a twenty and small pile of wrinkled singles from the old register. He's counting coins when Tony holds up a palm to stop him. "Keep the change," he says. The money appears filthy; he doesn't want to touch it, much less take it from the man's hands. "Consider it a tip," Tony adds when the cashier looks confused. "The farmers of America need our support."
Tony flounders, trying to find some way to halt the awkward deluge that pours from his mouth. He generally doesn't do his own shopping and reacts to the cashier's mounting confusion with growing amounts of verbosity. Pepper quietly lifts their purchases from the counter. "Thank you," she says, stemming the flow of Tony's diatribe, "very much." He turns, impressed. Thanking the man, who contributed essentially nothing to their trip and is likely not personally responsible for any of the produce, never occurred to him.
It seems to be all the cashier himself was expecting though, for he nods and returns Pepper's pleasantries with a simple, "You're welcome, ma'am. You enjoy."
It is a short walk to the parking lot, where Pepper deposits their purchases in the backseat of the car.
"Any other plans?" Tony asks as he steers the car out onto the road.
"No," Pepper answers. "I just wanted to get here early. My afternoon is free." After a moment, she adds, "And all yours."
"In that case," Tony hums, "I've got a few plans of my own."
"Do they involve a juicer?" Pepper asks.
"Entirely juicer incompatible," he replies. The corners of his mouth raise, teasing her. "I thought you said you were all mine."
"I am," she affirms. "But your plans tend to involve getting me drunk -"
"- You're fun drunk."
"Yes," she says, flustered, "well. I bought oranges for fresh squeezed mimosas."
"Technically, I think I bought them," Tony corrects her. "But, sure, I can dig up a juicer and a bottle of champagne for that."
"Don't go to any trouble on my account," she says, grinning.
"No trouble at all," Tony replies. Futilely, he reaches an arm behind the driver's seat. His arms don't bend at the correct angle to fish out any blueberries.
When they stop at a red light, Pepper unbuckles just long enough to turn around and retrieve a sought after carton.
True to her prediction, by the time Tony pulls the car into the garage, the first container of berries is entirely eaten. It's a joint effort and there are plenty more.
Note #1: For It's Always Been's 13th challenge, Revenge of the Bingo. Vertical bingo on column 3 achieved: Enemy, New York, Blueberries, Reconstruction.
Note #2: The Cornucopia Foundation sponsors a Farmer's Market in Malibu. The Farmer's Market our heroes attend is not said market, but a fictional one baring a closer resemblance to other markets that I have been to.