Like every other writer here. I saw Iron Man last week and can't get it out of my mind. I hope everyone enjoys.

5-12: I got home today and saw that I uploaded the pre-edited version. I'll try not doing that...

Disclaimer: I don't own Iron Man. I think I will go cry now...

Tony Stark is my employeer.

He is also my friend, but that is it. He is not my brother. He is not my crush. And he is most definitely not the man I love. Nope, nada, negative, no.

I do not love Tony Stark. I grind the heels of my palms into my eyes, tattooing the statement into my brain. Just keep saying it and it will be true. Like I always tell Tony, just stick to the cards and everything will be fine.

That is what I tell myself, every time that he would give me that sexy yet sweet lopsided smile of his. Every time he would look at me like I was Wonder Woman just because I left a handful of Tylenol and an orange juice by his bed after a "busy" night. Every time he would say something ridiculous or crazy and know that I would follow him to the ends of the world.

It's just gotten worse since he came back to me-I mean us-came back to us, you know the United States. I do not love Tony Stark.

I can't. It entails far too much, much more than I have to give. It means that not only will I have to deal with Tony and all of his faults. Faults like his constant drinking, his penchant for (slutty) women, and his uncontrollable itch to piss off everyone around him (often including myself). Not only would I have to deal with all that but I would have to deal with loving Iron Man. And that is what I can't do.

I would never tell him, ever. But he was right, if I was with him I would worry all the time. I would tear my hair out every time he would walk out the door. Whenever I would hear a siren my heart would clench and I would lose the ability to breathe, too worried to waste time with silly things like breathing. And I just can't live like that. I can't, I won't.

That's why I am not in love with Tony Stark.

Plus, I can say with fair certainty that Tony Stark isn't in love with me. I mean he is the Tony Stark, not a name that is exactly associated with monogamy. I know he is attracted to me, probably since the first day, but I am pretty sure that passed (not that he doesn't make the half-hearted pass at me every once in a while). I think he sees me more as a best friend, like Jarvis or Rhodes. That night on the roof was just a friendly encounter it was just me blowing everything out of proportion (yeah, right). It was just an example of my overworked, over-wrought mind playing tricks on me.

Even if we did advance our relationship to the next level, it would affectively ruin any hopes I would have for a serious relationship with him. I would become just like all his other assistants before me, notches on his bedpost. I know that right now the friend/working relationship is the closest he will probably ever let me get to him, emotionally.

That is why I have a plan. The ever organized Pepper Potts has her own patented plan for not falling in love with Tony Stark, all written down and stored in my trusty Blackberry. Step One: eat tons of Chocolate Chunk ice cream. A girl needs strength for the road ahead. Step Two: all contact with Tony Stark should and will be professional. Step Three: get a LIFE, something she hadn't had in the seven year she had worked for Tony. Step Four: be able to look into Tony Stark's eyes and not feel like you are drowning. If one should accomplish all these steps then they are no longer susceptible to falling for Tony Stark. She should start a company, it would make tons of money.

So that is why I am dialing the number on the napkin in my hand. I have already been fairly successful in steps one and two (step two being the hardest because I still call Tony, Tony in my mind) so now I am moving on to step three.

I had gotten the number a week ago at that party. The one where I was left breathing erratically and pulling nervously at my dress for almost an hour, waiting for Tony to return with my much needed drink. Well I eventually realized I had been ditched and I had returned to the bar and down two martinis in ten minutes. Around this time one of Stark Industries' young CEO's had approached me. He was handsome and polite, but the entire time I had been counting the reasons he was less of man compared to Tony. So I barely registered slipping his number into my purse.

I did, however, remember him when I was going through my purse five days later. He was perfect. I knew he was just the springboard I needed to get out of my funk. So I had pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number.

And that I where I am now. Staring at the call button on my cell phone and calculating the probability that Tony will find out about my date. The odds were highly in his favor.

I closed my eyes and stabbed the button. No one could ever say that Pepper Potts wasn't determined. The phone rang once, twice, three times. Each time I repeated in my head: I do not love Tony Stark, I do not love Tony Stark, I do not love Tony Stark.


I love Pepper Potts. Simple really, I suppose I am so used to thinking and re-thinking every possibility that the beautiful simplicity of falling in love alluded me. Well, not anymore.

I put down my stylus and the 3-D image of the Iron Man suit flickers and then shuts down. I grab a rag and wipe my hands even though they aren't dirty. I feel the unexplained need to keep my hands occupied but strangely couldn't concentrate on work. Finding a new invention distracted him and if anything was new to Tony Stark it was love.

Now having made this fantastic self-discovery, I can't help the need to pick apart and master every aspect of it. Of course, the first question that comes to my mind is, does she love me? I throw down the rag and brush my hand over the arc reactor, similarly brushing away the question. Of course she loves me and if she doesn't then she will, I'll make her fall in love with me.

She will have her objections, undoubtedly. She will worry about my nature; my drinking, my women, my lifestyles. But she has to know that I would give up everything to make her happy. I haven't even wanted that way of life since my time in Afghanistan. Well, the women are still somewhat appealing and I have been pretty lonely late at night but it's not faceless women and body parts that I dream about. It's red hair and soft blue eyes that fill with determination every time I want to skip a meeting or forget to come to some art opening or foundation party. That's all I want or need. Because I have no doubt that this is a need. And if I need it, I get it.

So I now have a plan, Tony Stark's patented plan for making Pepper Potts fall in love. Step One: no parties, limited drinking, and no women. She needs to know that I am not that guy anymore, that I want more. Step Two: be sweet. Women like that in a man, right? I can't remember that last time I had a real relationship, apparently it isn't like riding a bike. Step Three: A romantic getaway. Hopefully by this time she won't be too averse to going away with me. Step Four: be able to look into Pepper Potts's eyes and actually know how she is feeling, to know that she loves me. This plan will most definitely remain top secret; no one is going to be loved by Pepper but me.


"Yes, sir." The computer seems to be able to read my thoughts of love and I can detect a bit of mirth in his tone. I wonder if I was speaking out loud.

I grab a t-shirt and toss it on. "Where is Pepper right now?" Okay, maybe it's "morally" wrong to have put a tracking device on her cell phone but with my recent announcement it's better safe than sorry. She will never ever know, ever.

"Sir," Jarvis's voice brings me out of my moral re-compassing, "Ms. Potts is currently at home. Would you like me to get her on the line?"

"No…yes…no, no. I'll wait until I see her tomorrow. Thank you, Jarvis."

"Sir, if you have something important to say to Ms. Potts then you should tell her right away." There is definitely a hint of mirth in his voice now.

"Jarvis," I say with amazing calm, "I do not believe that I will wake Ms. Potts at," I glance over at the clock on the computer, "1:00 in the morning. Good Lord, is that the time? Jarvis it is far past the time that good little boys should be in bed, so…" I make a broad gesture, I can feel that Jarvis is in a mood and I know that retreat is really the only option at this point.

"Sir, I don't believe that I have to iterate the fact that you are in no way able to be considered a "good" boy."

"I am mis-understood. It happens to be very sexy. I am, however, a very tired boy, with a busy day tomorrow. So, if you would be so kind as to shut down all systems for the night I believe I will turn in."

"Of course sir."

"Thank you, Jarvis."

There is a long silence, but I can strangely tell that the computer has more to say. "Sir, I hope that all plans for tomorrow go well. They sound very important." The computer's voice is drenched with mirth. When did I install a smart ass program.?

However, I do smile wide. "Yes, tomorrow's plans are important. Top priority."

Please R and R!