Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I do not own Iron Man, but man do i wish i do!

First Iron Man FanFic, so please be nice! Reviews please. Tony + OC Romance and Other.

Summary: Tony Stark falls for the woman of his dreams. She's beautiful, funny and everything he's ever wanted. Only one problem: he hasn't told her who he really is...Iron Man.


"Your meeting with the board is at 4 o'clock, then after that it's the annual founder's party." Pepper followed in step, her eyes fixed on her iPhone, trailing down her schedule; or rather my schedule. I rolled my eyes as she carried on while I adjusted my shirt's collar. "I have your dry cleaning here and the car will be ready to pick you up from the office after the meeting."

I sighed heavily at my long time, hard-working assistant. "Really, Potts, do you have to be such demanding of me?"

"Yes, I do actually."

"And do remind me, who of the two of us is the boss?" I smirked as she pretended she didn't hear me while she continued to play around with my schedule. "Do I really have to attend this stupid party tonight?"

"Afraid so, sir, seeing as your father was indeed the founder of Stark Industries and like you said, you are the boss."

I trotted down the stairs while sorting out my tie before opening the door to the luxurious garage where my Audi R8 awaited me.

Miss Pepper Potts, dressed in her smart dress suit looked stressed as I opened the door. "Where do you think you're going?"

"Out," I answered simply, throwing my assistant a smile just to annoy her that little bit further.

"Out where?" She was getting angry with me now so I quickly slid into my car. "Tony, you have your meeting in less than two hours!"

I pulled down my shades to glance at the head-hot woman. "I'll be there Potts! Have I ever let you down before?"

"Hey, let me think-" But I cut her off with the slam of my car door and the rev of the engine, driving out the garage and out onto the gorgeous Californian roads. I turned up the music and blasted it so everyone would hear me coming. But today, keeping my shades on, I hoped no one would really notice me. ACDC's 'Back in Black' played.

"Perfect," I smiled to myself. Life was back to how it should be. The business was going well and I was at the peak of my health. Pepper and I had our friendship intact after she told me she'd fallen in love with Happy. Of course it had hurt, but her happiness was all that mattered to me. Besides, girls were flying at me from every direction, I didn't need her.

And to say the least, I was Iron Man. America's saviour, no, the world's saviour! I couldn't imagine a day where I would want to give up the suit. It was who I am. Iron Man is me, as I am him. There was no greater job than protecting the world, not even being the boss of Stark Industries, and man did the girl's love a billionaire superhero.

I drove to my usual spot where a small bar welcomed me without a fuss, the locals paying little attention to me. I pulled up and walked in. 'The Hut' was a small place but clean and friendly. The barman Charlie grinned as he welcomed me.

"There he is! My favourite customer," he walked over to me, reaching over to slap my arm. "The usual?"

I nodded, sliding onto a stool at the bar. "Thanks, Charlie." The older man walked away to poor my drink. I looked down, seeing exactly just how formal I looked, standing out from everyone else. I yanked at my Louis Vuitton Tie just as Charlie returned, stuffing it in my pocket so I was now just wearing shades, black trousers and a smart shirt.

"Here you go," Charlie said, sliding me a beer. "Haven't you got a meeting to go to or some famous model to sleep with, Stark?"

I scoffed, "Tonight, yes. Right now, I just want to blend in."

"Gotcha," Charlie nodded. The barman often threw out anyone who made too much of a fuss around me. He was a good man, understanding that sometimes I needed to escape from the screaming fans, even if it were just for a few minutes. I'd miss it too much if it were permanent.

Cheers and yells surrounded me as the men threw darts at the board. I took a swig from my bottle and checked my watch; 2:25pm already and all I had to look forward to was a meeting and a party where I'd have to fake interest in at least 30 different conversations. This was going to be one heck of a long day.

"Hey Charlie, grab us a bottle, please?" A stranger's voice yelled over the chaotic noise. I watched Charlie when his eyes seemed to brighten as he answered. He saluted the voice and stepped right to it.

I lazily watched the new arrivals out of pure boredom. A casually dressed group bounded into 'The Hut', laughing, the men punching each other's arm as if they were all caught in some joke that hadn't yet eased up. I rolled my eyes after one of the men thanked Charlie after buying the round of drinks; they were English tourists by the looks of it.

Tempted to leave, I drank the rest of my beer and was about to stand before I saw one of the tourists, freezing me in place. She was talking; I realised it was her who'd Charlie responded to so promptly, and who could blame him. She was stunning.

The two men continued to laugh and chat while two women with them gossiped amongst their selves. The two girls were very good looking. One was blonde and sweet looking, yet sexy. Her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail, dressed for what looked like a hike as her white vest was dusted and dirty. The other girl couldn't have been more opposite. I'd seen many like her before; far too worried about their appearance to get down and dirty. She wore heels unlike the others who wore sneakers. Her hair was carefully clipped neatly into place and she wore a short yet stylish dress, her brown skin suiting the make-up she wore. Like me, she didn't quite fit in the bar. The two men were quite opposite too. The both different shades of blonde hair, like filthy and clean, one more sized up than the other.

But her with the voice, the same that had commanded Charlie's attention like he was some dog but did so sweetly enough not to judge, was leaning over the bar, chatting away to Charlie. A crumpling, sore feeling took my gut; I was jealous. I didn't even know the girl, and I was jealous of the old barman talking to her. I laughed to myself and shook my head.

At this the girl looked over, scanning me, frowning. She drank from her bottle and eyed me carefully. I seized up, uncomfortable as she watched me without a word. And yes, she was gorgeous. Her eyes were piercing, brown and lovely. Her translucent skin needed no make-up, her dark hair framing her face perfectly, yet wildly. She wore shorts and a vest like the other girl, but wore a casual open shirt over it.

Thank god for Charlie, saving me as he said, "Would you like another?"

"No, I'm good thanks, Charlie." For some crazy reason, I addressed the girl. "You want one?"

She smiled lightly and waved her bottle as if it wasn't obvious. "I'm good, thank you though."

I nodded and looked away. What the hell was that, Tony? She must think you're a total idiot now. But to my astonishment she moved next to me. She smelt ravishing.

"Aren't you a little well dressed to be sitting in a bar on your own?" Her voice was soft but intoxicating. It made me want to answer.

"I have work later. Thought I might as well turn up ready, hammered or not." I smiled at her, slightly awkwardly. This wasn't like me. Where the hell was the confident, sexy Tony Stark? Since when did I get nervous around some girl?

She seemed sorry for me. "Hate your job, huh?"

I considered that. "Not at all, actually."

The girl clambered onto the stool beside me and extended her hand. "I'm Leanne."

I looked at her. She seemed generally interested, probably her first week in California and wanted to know everyone she met. I looked at her hand, wanting to shake it. But what would I say? 'Hi, my name's Tony Stark, billionaire and single, by the way'? She'd think I was some cocky, egotistical jack-ass who just wanted to get into her pants, rather than know her. But that was it; I wanted to know her. And she obviously didn't have a clue who Tony Stark was, otherwise she wouldn't need an introduction; she'd have recognised me on the spot. How could she not? My face was everywhere in the media…She really didn't know who I was.

And God knows why, I took her hand in mine and shook it, replying "Mark. Mark Renner."

She smiled, "It's nice to meet you Mark." I noticed Charlie watching us, his eyes wide and questioning as to why I had given this girl a fake name. Honestly I wasn't sure why either.

I couldn't help staring at her, as much as I was willing myself to keep my eyes on my now empty drink bottle. She shyly tucked her hair behind her ears, her fingers tapping against her own drink.

"So you're from England, right?"

She nodded, "London. My dad got a supply job at a local high school here for the next few months. I wouldn't have come, but my sister decided to come for her honeymoon so we all ended up coming." She looked at me. "You live in LA?"

"Sure do. All my life."

She laughed, "Lucky."

"How so?"

She looked at me, confused. "Well, it's Los Angeles, for crying out loud. From where I come from, this place is like heaven. This is the place where dreams are reality."

I scoffed, "I never thought of it like that."

"That's because you've never seen any different." She smiled at me, no amount of annoyance or anything, just interest. "What do you do, Mark?"

I noticed from the corner of my eye that Charlie was watching with a grin spreading across his face, waiting for my next lie.

"I'm a research scientist for a weapons industry." It wasn't far off.

"Wow."

"It's not that exciting, believe me," I kept my eyes off of Charlie who was laughing now. "Do you work?"

"Back home I did," She sighed at my question, her eyes darkening slightly. "I was a journalist but then our company lost a lot of money. Some of us had to be let go." She shook her head. "It doesn't matter; I'm in the land of dreams, right?"

I couldn't help but smirk at her optimism. I was about to speak when the girl in heels jumped next to Leanne.

"Hey Leo, aren't you going to introduce us to your new friend?" The girl pouted; she was annoying me before I even knew her. Quickly I waved to Charlie who grabbed me another bottle, understanding I was likely going to need it. He passed it to me.

"There you go, Mark," he chuckled at the look I flashed him, warning him to shut up. At this point, the other girl and the two men had joined us.

Leanne gave me an apology with her eyes, "Mark, this is my irritating little friend Pixie."

The well-dressed woman gave me her hand in a way in which she expected me to kiss it. "Enchanté," she greeted. Safe to say I resisted.

I let go of the oddly named Pixie's hand while Leanne carried on with the quick introductions. She gestured to blonde woman who hand her arm around the blonde slender man's waist, "My sister, Sophia and her husband, Bradley." Then she looked to the beefier man who didn't seem interested in me in the slightest. Likewise. "And that's Tommy."

I nodded to all of them in politeness then turned to Sophia, who I could now see the similarities to Leanne. "Congratulations to you both,"

Sophia seemed nice enough as she replied, "Thank you," but soon stared up lovingly into her newly husband's eyes. I was only too happy to turn my attention back to her sister anyway.

"And you're all living together?"

Leanne nodded, "Not too far from here actually. My mother left us a house here when she passed away; it's the only reason my dad was able to afford to take the job." Her eyes were distant as she spoke; her mother's decease must have been recent. I wanted to comfort, tell her I was sorry to hear that, but it wasn't necessary to cause her anymore upset on the subject.

Look at me, I thought, not wanting to hurt a girl I'd only just met. I really was a changed man.

Leanne and I changed the subject to a lighter discussion. We laughed and found each other's interests. I rarely got to do this with anyone, and if I did, I'd only have Pepper. But now she had Happy. An hour hadn't passed when her friends became restless.

Sophia's light voice broke our laughter. "Leo, we're going to head back now. Are you ready?"

Leanne's smile dropped, making mine secretly spread more so.

"Um, is it ok if I stay a bit longer?"

"It would be if we didn't come in your car." Sophia smiled at her sister.

"Oh buggar," she muttered under her breathe.

"I can drop you home if you'd like?" I offered. She spun round to me with a confused expression.

"Didn't you say you have work later?"

I smirked to myself, "My boss is easy. It won't matter."

Before Leanne could refuse, her sister spoke first. "Great, I'll see you later, Leo. And Mark, it was lovely meeting you!"

"Great meeting you too, Sophia," and I was being sincere. For once.

I waved to the others, although I was unsure of that Tommy guy. He was eyeing me suspiciously, as if I was going to kidnap Leanne.

"Hey, I uh, I don't think your friend over there likes me." Leanne frowned and glanced at Tommy just before he turned and left with the others.

"Yeah, Tommy doesn't get on with anyone really. He likes to keep to himself."

"Intense."

She laughed, "Very."

I leaned on the bar with my fist balancing my chin. "So why'd your friends call you Leo?"

She raised her eyebrows, "Oh, yeah, no one really calls me Leanne."

"Yet you introduced yourself as Leanne?" I replied.

She cringed, laughing too, "I wasn't going to introduce myself to a complete stranger as Leo, now, was I? You'd probably this I was a complete nutcase!"

"I don't think you're a nutcase. Strange, maybe, but not a nutcase."

He smiled fondly at me and explained. "When I was eight I was in the school play. It was 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' and I was the lion. Mum and Dad were so proud that they called me Leo from then on, and it just caught on I guess." She noticed me staring and she blushed. "Pretty sad, right?"

"No," I answered, possibly too quickly. "No, not at all. It suits you." Her red cheeks softened as she stared, with a smile, at her drink. We carried on talking and eventually Leo asked to be taken home. It got to half four when I walked her to my car.

Her mouth literally dropped. "This is your car?"

My silver Audi R8 didn't really fit in with my fake job plan, but I nodded. "I guess you could say my job pays well?"

"You're not kidding," she practically choked as she admired the vehicle. I opened the car door for her and she eventually slid inside. I jogged to the other side and started my beauty up.

"Where to?"

We drove for about twenty minutes, chatting as much as we could before we arrived at her house. It was large enough and quite beautiful, but from Leo's description, they could only afford it because her mother's side were once quite wealthy. It was cream with a porch and a beautiful front garden. It was nowhere near the size of my own home, but I was still relieved I wasn't dropping Leo off at some crummy old council house.

I began to walk her to her door and we paused on the porch. "Thanks for the lift home, Mark."

"It was my pleasure," I smiled back at her. I couldn't help but smile back at her! She was stunning and funny and completely and utterly lovely yet feisty. I hadn't had long enough with her. I wanted longer with her. She too had been smiling, but the smile drifted as her face became shy and unsure. I took her hand in mine and moved closer to her lips. I saw her eyes flutter closed as mine did in unison.

The door was slammed open and our bodies jumped away from each other. I was staring down at a tiny thing, with her arms folded and an annoyed but cute expression plastered on her face.

"Where have you been?"

Even in annoyance, Leo couldn't help but grin at the little girl. She must have been only five or six years old. She had tiny golden curls and a small face, wearing a checked yellow and white dress.

"It's alright, Maggie, I was with a friend." Leo moved to step behind the little girl and kissed the top on her head. The child's fierce pout turned to me.

"Who are you?"

"Maggie!" Leo exclaimed but watched as I crouched down in front of the child.

I offered out my hand to her and smiled. "My name's Mark Renner. And who are you?" My voice was filled with politeness and suave, swaying her slightly, lessening her accusing expression.

"Maggie Rosanna Hendricks," she said with over-exaggerated pronunciation, sounding quite adorable with her lisp-like child's voice.

"My little sister," Leo stage whispered.

I grinned at Maggie. "Well, it's an honour, Maggie. And may I say you're even lovelier than your sister."

At this the little girl giggled excitedly and took my hand, shaking it wildly. She looked upwards to Leo, "I like him."

She squealed and ran in doors, disappearing into one of the rooms. I stood up, still laughing to myself but my laughter ceased when I saw Leo, her eyebrow raised at me in questioning.

"Even lovelier than your sister?" she quoted.

I raised my hands, "In my defence, she is quite adorable but scary for a child."

Leo snorted and glanced back at where her sister ran off to then back to me. "You're forgiven."

Dramatically, I placed my hands to my heart and bowed my head. She laughed at my display and I couldn't help but smile at her.

"Well, I better go help my dad-"

"Can I see you again, Leo?" I quickly interrupted her.

She seemed taken aback, like it was completely out of the blue for me to ask her such a question. After a moment, she bit her lip. "If you'd like."

"I'll look you up," I grinned back at her as she stood in the doorway. I didn't want to say goodbye but I had to. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Mark." She stepped forward and touched my arm, placing a kiss on my cheek. I couldn't help my heart race. I felt like some sort of love struck teenager. What was wrong with me? Quickly she stepped into her house and closed the door, leaving me on her porch.

I made my way back to my car with the largest smirk possible plastered over my face. I heard a beeping sound and I dug my hand into my trouser pocket and pulled out my phone. Eight messages and sixteen voicemails left from Pepper. Boy was I in trouble when I got home. But I couldn't care less whether I missed my own meeting or party. I was Tony Stark for Christ's sake! But tomorrow, I was Mark Renner. I couldn't wait to wake up and call her. I couldn't wait to see her again. I couldn't wait.

I pulled out my device and spoke, "Jarvis?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Contact details on one Miss Leanne Hendricks. Have it ready by the morning."

"Very good, sir."

Now I just had to wait until morning.