Passionate Dreams

Summary: Pepper is heartbroken when Tony reverts back to his old ways not long after announcing that he is Iron Man. She decides to leave Stark Industries and Tony before she loses herself completely. Pepper/Tony. Romance. Movie-verse.

Author's Note: Whew! Sorry about the long waiting time, guys. I was trying to get this out before Iron Man 2, but it didn't happen. Not a very long chapter, but we are in for the home stretch! Thanks for being awesome readers and I appreciate every single one of you!

Chapter 7: Reconcilement

New York, NY

Pepper sighed as she waited for her name to be called by the stage manager. This was her third audition in two days. Despite her daily routine of yoga and running, she was not used to the demands of auditions. She started practicing as soon as she returned to New York, but she was older and out of practice compared to her competition.

She needed to find a coach.

Stepping out of the Equity building, Pepper turned onto Broadway to call a cab and an hour later she found herself sitting at the kitchen table with her mother.

"I don't even know what I was thinking. I'm completely out of shape and practice."

Elizabeth gave her daughter an encouraging smile. "Ginny, you'll get there. Maybe you should do something else in the meantime?"

Pepper nodded, "Like what?"

Pepper knew deep down that she wouldn't be able to just jump back into dancing and acting at the drop of a hat, but she had some how managed to ignore all rational thoughts for the past week. Hell, for the past few years.

"I don't know...Maybe something like your old job?" Elizabeth suggested meekly.

"...My old job..." Pepper breathed out, "God, I dunno..."

Pepper stood up to reach the wanted ads that sat on the counter.

An ad had been highlighted for her.

"I found one that might do." Elizabeth stated shyly as she peered over Pepper's shoulder.

"Howard & Cole?" Pepper paused, "Stock brokers?"

"Well, they need secretaries too, dear."

Pepper huffed indignantly, "Mother, I was way more than a secretary." Realizing what she just said she quickly added in, "I was more like an organizing, nagging, drill sergeant."

Elizabeth pulled back from behind her daughter, "I wouldn't know that now would I? You never said anything about it, so I have to go off what I know..."

"Mom...I just...don't want to talk about it, ok?" Pepper pleaded.

"About your job? Was it that bad?" Elizabeth asked intently.

Pepper jumped up from her chair.

"No, mom, about Tony. I don't want to talk about Tony!"

Pepper instantly regretted it when she saw her mother's face fall.

"Look, I'm sorry. I just...I just..." Pepper leaned back into the chair feeling guilty. "It's just a sore spot right now."

Virginia moved in front of her lovely daughter and pushed her fire-red bangs out of her eyes.

"I understand, Virginia. But let me just ask you this much: Can he fix it?"

Pepper swallowed hard and whispered, "I don't know."

Los Angeles, CA


Tony didn't stop at the sound of his name being called. Instead, he barreled into his own office.

"Mr. Stark?" The secretary jumped out of her desk chair. "Coffee!" He barked back.

Jeff was hot on his heels, naturally.

"Tony, what-uh...Why are you here?"

"What do you mean, Jeff? Is that not my last name on the sign?" Tony said as he slid into his office chair.

"I thought you were taking a leave of absence?" Jeff retorted. Apparently, Tony was not his usual joking mood.

"I did. I'm back." Tony was quickly typing away on his desktop. "Has the automotive lab finished the specs on the Formula 1?"

"They should be ready by next Monday."

"How about this afternoon?" Tony didn't even look up.

Jeff cut to the chase because he wasn't afraid of Tony like everyone else was.

"Tony, you know that isn't possible nor do you really give a damn about that race car."

"On the contrary, I plan on working on it myself. We are in the season opener and I want it ready. Understood?"

Jeff was starting to get pissed off. He could usually deal with Tony's antics fairly well, but he expected Tony to have gone after Pepper by now. Not sitting here worrying about some stupid race car.

"What about Pepper?" Jeff demanded.

Tony shrugged nonchalantly. "What about Pepper?"

Tony looked up at Jeff, as if to ensure his indifference. Jeff said nothing as he turned around and left. If he wanted to go harass the automotive department then he would have to do it himself.

Ellen met him at the door to Tony's office. She could tell that Jeff and Tony had just had a less that cordial meeting.

"Well?" She asked. She had been hoping that he would come back ready to ask her where Pepper went. Apparently, he wasn't going to. Not yet anyways.

Jeff sighed. "He's acting all indifferent now. I'd call him a stupid asshole, but unfortunately his IQ is to high for that title."

"Can we call him an unfeeling prick then?" Ellen replied smartly.

They walked down the hall together back toward their respective offices. Jeff stopped right before going into his officer. "Ellen, have you talked to her?"

"Yea, I did last night finally. She's fine...Job hunting actually."

Jeff nodded, "Maybe it's for the best. He doesn't deserve her."

New York, NY

Howard & Cole were a large stock brokerage firm on the Avenue of the Americas. The listing called for an upper level administrative assistant. After a quick phone call and after the secretary learned that it was Pepper Potts calling, she found out that the assistant was for Mr. Cole. Pepper managed to snag an appointment right after lunch, which had more to do with who she was rather than luck.

Pepper chuckled. Maybe her years with Stark Industries and dealing with Tony was a good thing after all.

However, just thinking of Tony changed that mindset.

'Why did you have to go ruin it all, Tony?'

But she couldn't think like that right now. She was going to get the job and do what she did best until something more artistic opened up. At least she would have the salary to fund her addiction to haute couture.

Pepper pulled out her new favorite suit for the interview. It was a charcoal grey slim fitted jacket and pencil skirt. She pared it with a emerald silk satin shell and her favorite Christian Louboutin patent pumps.

She wanted to look top notch and show that she, Virginia Potts, can conquer anything. Even Tony Stark.

What's up with Tony? Geez.

I have to say that I had already imagined Tony working on a F1 race car before Iron Man 2 came out. No kidding. Speaking of which...How did everyone like the movie?

Thanks for reading! Hugs!

-Kristina Leigh