Chapter 1: Midnight Storm
Maybe it was just a bad idea after all. She didn't tell him she was going to her parents and Tony didn't expect that.
She was born in San Diego, California but still, her parents were from England. After she had finished her studies and got the job at Stark Industries as Tony Stark's personal assistant, her parents moved back to England. Now they were living in London.
He never asked about her relatives in the past but now, from the lack of ideas he brought that subject into one boring discussion on a late Friday afternoon. Pepper finished her job at eight pm and decided it was enough for the week. She yawned and stretched her feet before closing her laptop and taking one last sip from the tea cup standing in front of her.
Anyway it was the last day of the working year for her and she was more than happy because next week she'll go to her parents and try to forget this year which was the worst of her life. First, Tony was kidnapped by some maniac terrorists in the Middle East and returned after three months with an arc reactor embed in his chest; the almost disastrous night at the Fireman's Benefit when she was too damn tempted to get one little kiss from the man she loved; the very prestigious 'I am Iron Man' press conference and the Christmas party which she prepared very carefully but Tony didn't show up because of an Iron Man mission.
As she said, it was a perfect year.
Looking at the stairs ascending to Tony's bedroom she couldn't help not to grin because a funny memory came into her mind.
It was a late summer night when a very horny Tony Stark entered his mansion followed by a tall brunette. She was maybe an inch taller than him. Pepper laughed at that small detail.
She was trying to get off Tony's tie but any hard she tried she couldn't. Tony groaned and tried to rip her blouse off while kissing her neck hard. After a few minutes they fumbled until they reached the stairs and the brunette didn't get off his tie yet. That earned her a small laugh from the assistant who was typing silently at her laptop. Tony glared through the dark room until his eyes saw who made that noise. He snorted and cleared his throat before addressing to his 'long suffering assistant'.
"Hey Potts! Gimme a hand will ya?"
She kept a straight face while taking his tie off and putting it in his hand. Not long after Pepper couldn't hear her own thoughts because of the sounds upstairs so she gathered her things and headed towards the door with a sigh.
After a moment her eyes went on her boss who was making his way into the large living room. Tony had a private party which he needed to attend and he came home at eight pm. That was strange for him. The party guy who was used to drink a lot and fuck women into oblivion until early in the morning was now standing in front of her more likely sober than drunk. This time she smiled because he wasn't accompanied by another brunette.
"Miss Potts." He greeted.
"Mr. Stark, is it everything all right? Do you need something?" She asked, hurrying herself.
He looked at her curious.
"What's with this hurry?" He asked.
"The work week is over since three hours ago and it was my last day of work this year." Pepper said, not looking at him.
"Oh." He sounded surprised though she told him this morning she was going to leave late and if he's at that party they won't be seeing each other till next year.
He looked away from her and sighed.
"Is something wrong Mr. Stark?"
He seemed to hesitate for a second but then he turned his gaze to meet hers.
"No, everything's alright."
"Okay. Well then, see you next year and I'll hope it's going to be a better one."
Pepper took her BlackBerry and then looked at him expecting some sort of response, even a sarcastic comment or anything but not a long awkward silence.
He really wanted to ask her if she had plans but he was in doubts, wondering if she'll reject him or make a witty remark about it. After a moment she lowered her gaze and leaned down to get her purse.
"I was thinking - "He started.
She raised an eyebrow and opened her BlackBerry to write a message for her parents.
"- never mind." He said as he stuck his hands into the pockets of his dress-slacks.
"Goodnight Mr. Stark and a Happy New Year." She told him simply before heading towards the door.
Before she could open the door he caught her arm and turned her to him.
"You have plans right?"
"Yes." She smirked.
Tony let go of her arm and blinked.
"Thought so." He said, pretending it was all right.
"Anyway, have fun."
Pepper smiled at him. She liked sometimes how vulnerable he really was and that he was really giving up when she was around him more often than he did before.
"The same for you Mr. Stark."
"Uh-huh." He said as he opened the door for her.
"And for you to know, I'm going to be at my parents in London."
He nodded slightly and swallowed hard before closing the door behind her.
"Jarvis!" He shouted.
The AI sprang to life.
"Do you have plans?" Tony asked while sitting down on the couch.
If someone would be there with him they'd think he's crazy.
Another story; another waste of time. But for you guys, it's worth it.
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