Author's Note: Clearly, I don't own either of these copyrights. This is all just a bit of fun when I wondered how things would have gone down if Christian Grey had pulled his shenanigans on an independent woman. Take it for what it is. I would certainly appreciate any thoughts or critiques you'd like to share.
Christian Grey Vs. Pepper Potts
"Mister Grey, your one fifteen has arrived."
The dazzling, magnanimous, scintillating, utterly devilishly dashing-with-a-side-of-carnal-bliss business mogul glanced up from his perusal of the morning's paper, one steamy glance afforded Blonde Office Worker Number 29 before glancing to his watch. The time was precisely fifteen minutes past one in the afternoon on the fifteenth of August. A check of his calendar assured him he was meeting with a Miss Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries, who was presently in Seattle giving a lecture during a conference on clean energy.
"Yes, Miss Lovelorn. You may show her in now," he finally responded.
Tension knotted his lower belly when, upon hearing the muffled request by his secretary for Miss Potts to join him, the door opened to admit her. His expression was aloof, disdainful even, when the attractive redhead glided inside and promptly lost her balance, tumbling to the side and pitching headlong onto his expensive Asian rug made of hundreds of thousands of small strands of red and black and gold and black and red threads, crimson patterns swirling inside the charcoal border and intermingling with dazzling displays of gold thread.
The tiniest of smiles twitched the severe line of his lips. Interest immediately piqued, he experienced that familiar swelling in his groin just seeing her on her hands and knees on his office floor after being privy to such a display of uncoordinated clumsiness. At that moment, he decided Pepper Potts would be his; the same way Anastasia Rose Steele had been his from the moment she'd spilled through his door.
"Two left feet, eh?" he drawled in his silky dark-chocolate-and-raspberry-and-key-lime-pie-and-mousse voice.
"No," Miss Potts returned while picking herself up from the floor. "I believe that can be passed off as a wardrobe malfunction." The woman tugged her fitted skirt back into place and retrieved the peaches-and-cream pump that had dislodged from her foot during her fall.
"What a naïve and endearing excuse, my dear. There is no shame in admitting your normal grace deserted you in the face of my dazzling charm and suave cool."
Miss Potts' expression wavered slightly, a coy glance thrown toward the door followed by a brief touch to the hem of her dark jacket as though itching to remove it, and Christian felt tension pulling his groin tighter in the face of her uncertainty and nervousness. She was a like a doe sighted in the crosshairs of a hunter's rifle, all innocence and quivering anxiety. His mouth watered at the possibilities of taking this beauty under his wing and bending her to his will.
"Actually, my clumsiness is a result of a broken high heel, Mister Grey." She pulled the separated heel the rest of the way off the body of her shoe to demonstrate, no doubt for his approval and obviously seeking his reassurance that her supposedly uncharacteristic clumsiness didn't diminish her desirability.
"Indeed. You are permitted, Miss Potts, to be so overwhelmed as to experience a moment of clumsiness. There is nothing shameful in having been dazzled off your feet."
"No, broken heel," she insisted again, but he saw right through her excuse.
"I give you permission to…"
"Look, Mister Grey, there's a jet waiting for me at the airport…"
He interrupted by saying, "A jet? How quaint. I pilot my own helicopter." His chest puffed slightly as he postured in an effort to make himself look more enticing.
"Right," she said, "and the man I'm dating pilots a technologically advanced suit of armor. My point is that my time is limited, and I would prefer to determine whether or not Stark Industries can help with your energy needs rather than dwelling on a wardrobe malfunction."
She was seeing someone. The information pulsed through his mind, causing his eyes to widen, his heartbeat to quicken, and his breathing to become strained. The instinct was there to immediately order her to break off all communication with her former lover, but such things had to be done delicately lest his fly escape the spider's web.
"Yes, we should concentrate on business for now."
Pepper paused to read a notation at the bottom of the form before scrawling her signature on the dotted line so construction could begin on the next phase of Stark Industries' self-sustaining arc reactors. Said form was passed along to her assistant, a very capable and eager young woman by the name of Stephanie Ward.
"Don't forget to have Legal arrange a notary for tomorrow afternoon's meeting, and reschedule my lunch meeting with Berry Benson for the twenty-third."
"Legal has already been notified, and someone will be awaiting our arrival." Stephanie collected a stack of heavy volumes from the desk and padded across the room to replace them on an imposing bookshelf. She paused there next to the newly replaced bank of windows to admire the New York City skyline. Repairs caused by Loki's attempted domination of Earth were still ongoing nearly four months after the event.
"Did you lose any family during the attack, Stephanie?" she thought to ask upon noting a moment of sadness in her assistant's expression.
Tension snapped tight inside the office.
"My twin brother was killed when his office building was leveled by one of those massive flying whales," whispered Stephanie.
Genuine empathy was in Pepper's tone when she responded, "I'm sorry to hear it."
"Who is that creeper? He's been standing on the sidewalk for the past hour just staring at the building. I know Stark Tower is a stunning feat of engineering, but it's not that interesting." A definite shift in tone marked Stephanie's attempt to change the subject.
Because her assistant appeared so reluctant to discuss her loss, Pepper allowed the conversation to drop instead of pressing for information. They were colleagues, not BFFs intent upon sharing their deepest, darkest secrets.
She joined the other woman, brow knitting as she gazed down upon the lone figure standing ramrod straight on the street corner. The angle and distance, however, made discerning enough detail to identify the creeper's identity difficult but not impossible. "Wait, is that Christian Grey?"
"The CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc?"
The slightest of smirks twitched her lips, and she responded, "Doesn't have the same concise ring as Stark Industries, does it?"
"I thought we were officially Stark Enterprises."
"What would give that impression?"
"Mister Stark said the company name during my initial face to face interview."
Replacing Natalie, who'd turned out to be Black Widow, had been a rushed affair, and Pepper admitted she couldn't remember the fine details about the mad search for a suitable assistant. Finally, she said, "I thought human resources handled your first face to face."
"I started out being interviewed by a woman, but Mister Stark stepped into the office and relieved her claiming he knew from personal experience the kind of assistant you needed."
"Someone will be having a conversation about that when I get home tonight." Tony didn't normally meddle in her personal business, so she was curious as to why he'd involved himself in the search for her assistant.
"I'm sorry if I've spoken out of turn."
"No, you're fine. At any rate, Mister Stark has changed the company name several times, so his ability to process what the current official name is changes depending on how focused he is on other tasks. We are officially Stark Industries now."
Back to the matter at hand. Why was Christian Grey camped out on the corner staring up at Stark Tower? As long as he was creeping on the sidewalk rather than inside her very office, she would ignore his presence, but something about him gave her the heebie jeebies. Surprisingly, it wasn't because he was so full of himself. She lived with and dated the most narcissistic man on the planet. Being full of oneself wasn't a co-requisite with sleaze.
Next Chapter: Tony will never live down his 12% comment, and Christian's creepiness deepens.