Executive Order 911
By Elizabeth Bathory
The sun shone down brightly on the green grass of one of the most exclusive golf courses in Los Angeles on a Saturday afternoon. James Rhodes drove the golf cart up to the first tee and Tony Stark stepped out first, flipping his very faded Yankees hat on backwards as he put his sunglasses on and pulled his clubs from the back.
Rhodey stepped out of the cart and grabbed his own clubs as Tony was preparing to tee off.
"Not that I mind going out with you and no explosions are involved but I do have to admit that I have a few questions about all of this." Rhodey said.
"Fire at will then." Tony replied as he swung and sent the ball flying.
"First, when the hell did YOU start playing golf? Second, how did you get Pepper to let you off the hook from everything else to do this? And third, where is Pepper anyway?" Rhodey asked as he teed off.
Tony laughed as they got back in the cart to chase after their balls. "First, I have known how to play this damn game since I was thirteen. It was one bit of business training that my father actually did give me. He always said a gold course was a great place to discuss business because those you are talking with are usually thinking more on the game than the bottom line and you get a lot by them…unless you are beating them. Then, save it for the clubhouse afterwards when they are all drunk." Tony said with a laugh as Rhodey played through. "I just don't play much in front of people because I suck at this game. My father realized that and my lack of interest in it rather early on. Needless to say, more of my deals happened in a bar rather than on the links.
"Second, Pepper cleared my schedule since she was taking a chance to exercise some of her employee benefits."
"What sort of employee benefits?" Rhodey asked as he cleared out of the way to allow Tony to finish.
"After my sort of coming out party," Tony laughed as he sank his ball. "Her work load increased somewhat exponentially and she demanded that I renegotiate her contract with some new benefits if I didn't want her to quit on me or kill me. That brings up the answer to number three. Pepper is off at a spa. She had me add in that she is allowed at least one spa visit per month for as long as she wishes and whenever she wants, especially if she is on the edge of killing me out of frustration. The one condition is that I have to call it in for her. So, I think I pushed her buttons one too many times yesterday and she told me she was executing Executive order number 911. So I called the spa she loves in Palm Springs, gave them my credit card and told them she has Carte Blanche with it. She can get anything she wants for as long as she wants. I have to pick her up later on this evening. She said Happy could do it but I am going to surprise her."
"Do you actually think it is safe for you to surprise her when she was just on the verge of killing you?" Rhodey asked as they moved to the second hole.
"When she gets out of this after going through all that stuff, she is in a phenomenally good mood and looks like a million bucks…more so than usual. I also don't get yelled at for a few days when I forget things. If you think I am not going to take advantage of my lady being like that, you're blind and stupid." Tony exclaimed as he teed off.
"When did Pepper become your lady?"
"Well, it's not quite official yet." Tony mumbled. "I am still working on her. She's as stubborn as I am sometimes."
"That's why you two are perfect for each other," Rhodey mumbled under his breath as he teed off. "So what exactly did you do to piss her off?"
"Well…" Tony started as he putted his ball into the hole. "I was down in my workshop and my back hurt…"
When Tony awoke that morning, he was comforted by the sounds of stilettos clicking over his head. After coming back in the early dawn hours, Tony had fallen asleep at his desk after trying to repair his armor for a bit. He knew Pepper was not exactly thrilled with him for leaving but she wasn't mad enough to not make sure that he came home in one piece. He assumed the blanket that was over his shoulders when he woke up was a peace offering from Pepper.
As Tony moved from his sleeping position hunched over his desk, he heard his back crack loudly and pain surged down from his neck to his legs. He then realized how stupid it was to sleep at his desk when he had a perfectly good couch down there. It was then he was struck with an idea.
"Hey Pepper. I need your help down here." Tony called up through the intercom as he stripped off his shirt and stretched out on the couch.
"I am busy running your life right now, Tony." Pepper replied quickly through the intercom.
"I am not asking you to change my chest piece again."
"What do you want, Tony?" There was a hint of displeasure mixed with annoyance in Pepper's voice. Clearly, she was still a little unhappy about Iron Man's little jaunt to the Middle East last night.
"Well, I need you to gather up the massage oils and get down here." Tony stated tiredly. "I am thinking massage – of the Swedish variety for at least thirty seven minutes."
Pepper didn't respond at first. She was too taken back by it. "In addition to have to run everything that you put off and aside to play superhero, I have to give you a massage now too?"
"I heard a lot of words there but not one of them was yes or any other variation." Tony responded.
"Maybe later." Pepper responded curtly.
"Won't accept maybe because maybe means no with a woman. I have learned that from every woman I have been around – starting with my mother." Tony stated. "Now things I will accept are yes, si, certainly, of course, agreed, and things of that nature."
"How about no?" Pepper shot back.
"No means yes before maybe means yes." Tony came back with. "So that means you'll be right down to help your poor boss out of a really painful jam here?"
Pepper sighed and closed her laptop. "No, it means I am enacting Executive Order 911. Make the call, Tony."
Tony cringed when he heard that. One step too far. "When would you like it for?"
Happy drop me off there later tonight. I would like at least tonight
and all of tomorrow." Pepper said with a hint more happiness in her
voice. "Thank you, Tony."
"Your wish is my command, my lady." Tony said as he went from ordering to being ordered with very little complaint. He picked up his cell phone and dialed the number for the spa for the reservation.
"In addition to anything she wants, I want her to have a very large arrangement of flowers presented to her tomorrow afternoon. The driver will bring the card since I want to write it personally."
"Of course, Mr. Stark. We will make sure your assistant gets anything and everything she wants, including the flowers."
By the afternoon, Pepper was so relaxed she was like an overcooked noodle. After having a massage, facial, pedicure, manicure and many other treatments that the spa offered, she was feeling like a new woman and forgot about wanting to send Tony on a one way ticket to hell of her creation.
As she waited for her pedicure to dry, Pepper sat out on the shaded patio in a fluffy robe munching on a green salad with an iced green tea, taking in all the peace and serenity, one of the employees started walking towards her.
"Ms. Virginia Potts?" she inquired.
"A delivery has come for you."
Pepper was puzzled. How could a delivery come to her at the spa? "What is it?"
The girl set down a huge arrangement of flowers with so many different colors and varieties.
"Who are these from?" Pepper asked as she looked for a card.
"A very charming gentleman who said you should have nothing but the best. He even insisted on writing the card himself."
Pepper thanked the girl and let her leave as she opened the card. She instantly recognized Tony's messy handwriting.
Please accept these as my way for apologizing for being an ass. The house is too empty without you here. I miss my better half.
Pepper smiled as the card seriously touched her. Tony had actually done something nice for her on his own and he deserved to be rewarded for it.
When Pepper walked out of the spa that night at seven, revived and refreshed, she fully expected to see Happy there with the Rolls instead of what she saw. Instead, Tony was waiting for her with the Audi. He was leaning up against the car as she came out. He took her overnight bag and the flowers as she approached and put it in the back as he held the door open for her. Pepper looked at Tony and wondered what had gotten into him.
"Is something wrong?" Tony asked her as they started to drive off. "You're looking at me funny."
"Nothing's wrong at all. I am just surprised." Pepper replied.
"I gave Happy the night off so I just couldn't leave you here." Tony answered quickly, playing a little dumb that he didn't know what she was talking about.
Pepper smiled at Tony's act and leaned in and kissed him on the cheek softly.
When she kissed him, Tony looked at her briefly with a little surprise and smiled. "That was nice…very nice in fact. What did I do to deserve that?"
"Thank you." Pepper said.
"For what? I must have done something really good."
"For letting the soft squishy center that I know is under all the metal come out. I loved it…all of it."
"You're welcome." Tony said, so wishing that he wasn't driving at the moment so he could have taken full advantage of this and given her a proper kiss. "Does this mean I get my massage now?"
"Only if you go back to the spa and pay for it?"
"Only if you join me. A massage in pairs can be fun."