I know it is a little sudden to be posting the final book in the "Iron" Trilogy, but I don't see you complaining, so let's see how this goes. Thank you so much for sticking with me for three books, encouraging and uplifting me with your fabulous comments and giving me suggestion after suggestion. I know some of you may reading this book and do not know it is a trilogy, but it is. However, you don't have to go back and read the prequels, but you may miss some information. If you are confused about anything due to not reading the first two books, do not hesitate to comment and ask a question, or private message me, and I will be more than happy to answer your question ASAP. I know not everyone has time to read and keep up with a three book series, and I don't expect you to.
First, before I pen this final chapter in the "Iron " Series, I would like to give some shoutouts to my loyal readers, and especially three or four who, above all, pushed me, encouraged me, and even wrote some of the trilogy when my brain couldn't kickstart.
My first shoutout goes to ShellyStark. I would be nowhere in my writings as a fan fiction authoress without her. I cannot imagine not having her there for me. Not only does she encourage me on fanfiction, she encourages me in everyday life and never ceases to be selfless for me, and others. I highly recommend you reading her fanfictions, she has several Ironman and Sherlock Holmes stories which, in my opinion, are superb. So, Shelly… thanks. I love you. A lot.
I also want to give a shoutout to XxThe Penny TreasurexX . She reviewed every single chapter, never missed a one. She said such encouraging words to me that helped me to get past my writer's block, and helped me grow tremendously with her comments, tips and support. Thanks, Penny.
The same goes for personwhoisthatperson. She did everything XxThe Penny TreasurexX did for me, and enormously encouraged me. Thank you, thank you!
Next I want to thank saichick. She gave me tips that, especially that tip she gave me about using the sense besides narration. Thanks! I cannot imagine how awful my chicken scratch would be with me remembering that piece of information.
And finally, to my super-mega awesome fans. Previously, when I gave shoutouts of thanks to my readers when writing "Iron Vows" I posted every name that ever reviewed at all, but this time, I'm just gonna post my most loyal, and most encouraging fans. So thanks to reader90, IncognitoWriter, michily, tonyedstark, AnnaTW (my little masterpiece maker, RhizOneill, Mi16, phennie, and mmkfire.
And, of course, my late bloomer fans. I didn't plan to shoutout to you, but you damn deserve it, because your reviews were insanely encouraging me. So, thanks to Gelly bean, The Bloody Drover, x-Bolly-x, x-Pick'n'Mix-x, isilyastar, and Pollux'sThetaWaves.
And thanks to Eminem. Love the Way you Lie is an AMAZING mood setter for whatever type of angst and emotional meatiness I need to punch in to keep it interesting.
So let's get on and see what happens! I can't wait to see how things turn out. ;)
"No, let me do it," Tony Stark pulled in a gentle strength against the firm, yet calm grip he opposed.
"I'm fine, Tony, I rested all the way here," Pepper Stark – formerly Potts until yesterday, when the two had finally gotten hitched. "I'm serious. I can do it." With a final wrenching pull, she freed her meager suitcase from Tony's grasp.
Almost a bit sheepishly, Tony grabbed the several bags his possessions occupied and trotted after her, walking almost pressed against to support her tottering steps.
"Stop it," she said, realizing he was trying to support her without her knowledge. "If we are planning on any physical activities in the coming two weeks, I have to start building up my stamina and coordination."
"You mean like…snowball fights and baking cookies, right?" Tony settled into a slow walk next to her, still ready to catch her.
"I was thinking of more… adult activities," she said. Playing along, Tony replied,
"Oh. So no cookies? I see. Grown up stuff. Wine and fruitcake. No snowball fights, more like…horseback riding, or -"
"Sex, Tony," Pepper cut off his pseudo innocent spiel.
"That," Tony sniffed in mock offense, "Is a very naughty word, where did you happen to learn that, Miss Potts?"
"Oh, just around," Pepper pursed her lips. "I used to have this pervert of a boss."
"Oh, yeah?" Tony raised his eyebrows testily.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Stark," Pepper replied.
"Is that so?"
"Well, let's just get you limbered up for all those…adult activities, shall we, Mrs. Stark?"
"Of course," Pepper had reached the tarmac of Tony's personal jet and slowly climbed the staircase, Tony gently pushing her along, his hand in the small of her back. Pepper felt a gentle shiver u p her spine and wondered if Tony had felt it, too. Sometimes it felt like they weren't quite where they should be concerning intimacy issues. Maybe it was a good thing they had saved themselves almost completely for marriage. Yes, Pepper had decided it was a good thing.
However, the definition of their "intimacy issues" didn't mean they had problems or didn't want to be intimate. No, they were mostly comfortable with intimacy, and definitely wanted to be intimate, but what the "issue", if it could be called an issue, was that Pepper still felt like a schoolgirl. Tony called her beautiful, she blushed. He held her hand, she didn't only feel the warm fuzzy completely security, but a little nervous giddiness, like a girl having her hand held for the first time.
In all honesty, Pepper had only had one serious relationship in her life, not counting Tony. Hell, she was still a virgin. She shared Tony's commitment issues, but not his previous sexual confidence. Tony wasn't a virgin, but he could say more than Pepper could – he had never had a serious relationship in his life - unless laying the nearest fine specimen counted. Her first and last dating relationship was when she was around 20, in college. His name was Tyler, and she had fallen hard for him.
All sparkling blue eyes and charming smiles, Tyler had seemed like the perfect man for her. And probably would have been, had he not died from a hit and run crime a year after she had started dating him. She hadn't even told anyone about it. Ever. Another reason Pepper had gone her whole life feeling like a pent up, emotionally scarred ticking time bomb. Not like she had ever had parents to talk to, anyways.
"Pep? Hun? Are you alright?" Tony's soft husky voice, tinged with streaks of concern roused her from her thoughtfulness. She hadn't realized her ascent got slower the deeper in thought she fell, until she had stopped on the top step.
"Yes, I'm fine, Tony. Let's just say we have a lot to talk about in future," Pepper cleared her throat and forced her stiff, aching and grossly uncooperative muscles to move.
"Oh, I know, Mrs. Stark," Tony smiled edgily. Pepper wasn't worried, though, she was sure she could handle anything he could dish out. This was the man she had helped countless time get over a hangover, yelled out, cried about, and kissed.
"Onto the plane," Pepper whispered wearily as she sunk down into the nearest soft cloth seat and bucked her seatbelt.
"Let me take that," Tony pried the suitcase from between her fingers and shoved it into the overhead along with his bags. He shucked his leather sheepskin leather coat and dropped heavily into the seat across from her.
"So, I think we have some things to talk about," Tony said, waving to the flight attendant to signal they were ready for takeoff.
"We just said that," Pepper nodded. "You first."
"I'm not going to spill everything now. Everything in time," Tony said. "Maybe later."
"You've been very secretive lately," Pepper frowned. "Why?"
"I'm – I'm not secretive," Tony stammered. "Why would you say so?"
"It's quite obvious. You can't keep what you had for breakfast a secret, but lately you've haven't been telling me anything."
"Why is this popping up all of a sudden? If you had doubts shouldn't they have been discussed before you married me?" Tony felt his defenses going up.
"I'm not saying doubts in your character, Tony," Pepper bit her lip, immediately regretting the action. Her lip gloss tasted waxy and coated the roof of her mouth. "Just in the secrets you're keeping."
"Who said I had secrets? I just said we had things to talk about. That could be issues in life, concerns, decisions to make," Tony shrugged. "I just think, before anyone jumps to conclusions -"
Pepper felt an immediate migraine coming on. In all the recent warm fuzzy feelings she had felt with Tony recovering she had forgotten how much of an evasive ass he could be. There was a long silence as the plan leveled out from takeoff and the seatbelt light went off.
"I'm really tired, and this is going nowhere, so, I'm going back to take a nap," Pepper unbuckled her seatbelt.
"Pepper, come on, don't…" Tony broke off the sentence with an exasperated sigh.
"I'm sorry. I'm just tired," Pepper gave him a hurt expression and slid out of her flats. The doctor had ruled no high heels for a long time so she was confined to flats.
"I didn't mean to-" Tony began.
"I know," Remorse sparkled in Pepper's eyes. In an almost sad yet affectionate gesture, she ran her fingers over his soft, long locks of wavy chestnut hair, then trailed a finger down his cheeks and cupped his face in her hand. "I know. You never mean to, Tony."
Turning, she walked quietly from the room. Tony wasn't sure if she just wasn't feeling well, or he had blown it again. It wasn't as if Pepper was completely calm and consistently fearless like she had used to be. No, the injury had made her softer, more vunerable, and although she couldn't be called bitchy, she had been very sensitive recently.
Tony wasn't sure how to proceed. Deciding she just needed some time alone, he closed his eyes and tried to sleep, but still had a troubled heart.