"So this is New York City," Alex stated coolly as her eyes wondered at the skyscrapers out the window.
"Pretty amazing, right?" the Indian man driving the vehicle said knowingly, "So what brings you here."
"You're obviously not a tourist, so what brings you here?"
"How do you know?" Alex asked scoffing, pretending to be offended causing the cab driver to laugh.
"No tourist gets off a Grey Hound bus with that much luggage and takes a cab to Stark Tower."
"Touché," Alex said narrowing her hazel brown eyes and scrunching up her face. A short while afterward, the yellow taxi came to a stop and with a 'we're here' she knew she was at her destination.
"How much was the ride?" Alex asked stepping out of the taxi with her red suit case and carryon.
"That's less than I expected," she said nonchalantly as she took out a fifty from her pocket and handed it to the cab driver. He put the fifty in his wallet and took two tens but before he could hand it to Alex, she said, "Keep the change." The cabbie was shocked at the big tip but smiled and thanked her.
Alex slowly walked away from the cab, but before brown haired girl could get too far, the cabbie asked loudly, "Why are you going to Stark Towers?" Alex giggled a little before answering, "To see my dad."
"Hey Tony," Pepper said in her usual cheerful voice, handing him a yellow file folder. "This is the paper work for the Smith transaction and I set up your appointment with-" but Tony paid no mind and rushed past her to his computer. "Tony what's wrong?" she asked concerned and slightly frightened; Tony did not usually walk past her like that and the look in his face told her something was up.
"Pepper," he asked scrolling through files and checking recent updates in mid air, "did you do any updates on anything today?"
"Uhh…well…I updated your schedule, the list of repairs for your suit, and the list of modifications you asked me to. Why? Is something wrong? Jar-"
"No!" Tony exclaimed putting a hand on Pepper and pulling her close to him. "Earlier today when I was testing my suit, I asked Jarvis to read me my stats but he paused for a second," he whispered frantically, "Jarvis has never done that so I think someone broke into his system."
"Oh no. Who would do such a thing?" a childish voice from across the room asked nonchalantly causing Pepper to jump and Tony to raise his hand in defense, suited up to attack. "Well that wasn't the kind of welcome I was expecting but, it will have to do."
"Alex?" Tony questioned in disbelief, "What are you doing here?"
"Standing," she responded, "but now that I think of it, I'm kind of hungry so I'm going to get food. Do you guys want pizza?"
"What your dad means, Alex, is" Pepper said walking towards the brunette female, "why are you not at home with your mother?"
"Reasons," she replied, "so is that a yes or no on that pizza because I'm okay with Chinese-"
"Alexandria Stark," Tony scolded causing the young female to innocently answer.
"Yes?" She questioned.
"Oh no! You're not using that daddy's little girl stuff on me. It's not going to work. You are going to tell me why you are here or I'll-"
"But dad," she whined, giving her father a pleading look.
"No." Silence filled the room as the two brunettes stared at each other. Tony's gaze was firm, demanding an explanation while Alex's eyes changed from pleading to sad as tears formed in her eyes.
"Alex," Tony asked sternly, "why are you cry-"
"I can't believe that you don't want me here," she said through tears.
"No; that's not it, it's just-"
"No it's okay," she stammered looking down, "I mean you missed my homecoming, my prom, heck, you weren't even there for graduation. I guess you really don't want me."
"Oh kiddo," he said, as guilt washed over him. He walked over to Alex and placed his hands on her shoulders, causing her to look up. "Of course I want you. It's just that my life is kind of hectic and I'm not able to see or spend time with you."
"No, you're just saying that," she cried, "I know you avoid me and you're not proud of me."
"Of course I'm proud of you, sweetie. You were able to break into my system and let yourself into my building. My building; how were you able to do that?"
"I'm your daughter," she sniffled wiping away her tears, "it wasn't that hard."
"Wow," Tony said smiling. "Sweetie, I love you, and I'll let you stay here for as long as you want as long as you tell me why you're not with your mom."
"Promise?" she asked innocently.
"Promise," he repeated.
"I'm going to NYU," she said smiling. "That's great, Alex," Tony said hugging his daughter. "So you came over to visit before you move into your dorm?"
"Well…" Alex dragged up biting her lip.
"Alex?" Tony questioned. "What's going on?"
"I'm not exactly dorming there."
"So…where do you plan on staying?"
"Here…I mean…you already said I could," she pointed out.
"Dammit," Tony muttered under his breath causing Alex to chuckle.
"Come on dad. It will be fun."
"Alright," he sighed. "As long as you help me out in the lab."
"You already know I will," she said smiling. "So…pizza or Chinese?"