Tony sat at the table during break and tried to relax, putting his hands behind his head for support as he laid back and felt the sunshine on his face. Even with his eyes closed, the bright sun in his face and the sounds of all the other students around them, Tony could see tell Rhodey was staring at him with concern. He tried to ignore it at first, hoping if he pretended he wasn't doing it, he would stop. But he didn't.
''What?'' Tony asked in a drawn out, annoyed groan.
''What?'' Rhodey simply shrugged.
''You're staring at me like my mom when she finds an empty beer can under the couch,'' he sighed. ''So, what?''
''You've been weird lately man. Two weeks ago you were all angry and upset about what happened at the party and then you just...change again,'' Rhodey explained. ''And it's not exactly subtle that you skip almost every chemistry class for some reason,''
''I know all there is to know about chemistry Rhodes,'' Tony relaxed again, readjusting his position. ''What's your point again?''
''My point is I don't know what's going on with you anymore,'' his friend confessed. ''When's the last time we even hung out or something?''
''Huh, so you're confused by me, and you...miss me? Is that what I'm getting from this conversation?'' Tony turned.
Rhodey just shook his head and chuckled slightly.
''You're a dick,''
Pepper didn't know how long she'd been staring at the piece of paper in front of her, correcting Liv's business homework. She wasn't terrible at the class, but she wasn't rather good either. That's why she had come to Pepper, actually that's why they were friends to begin with. Liv watched on nervously as Pepper thought to herself as she tapped the pen against the book.
''How'd I go?'' she asked after a few more minutes.
''Pretty good, you're getting better,'' Pepper smiled.
''Oh thank god,'' Liv sighed in relief. ''Thank you so much Pepper,''
''It's no problem. Why do you care so much about business though?''
''My dad said he thinks he can get me into a course after school in business, well business management. I never thought about it before I took the class and now I really want it, but I was so bad at it that I didn't think I'd pass this year,'' she explained. ''But thanks to you I'm getting there!''
''No way, I just helped out a bit, this is all you,'' Pepper shook her head. ''But you might want to look over the main points of marketing, pretty sure it'll be in the next test,''
''You're a lifesaver,'' Liv held her hand to her chest as the bell began ringing. ''Okay well I've got a free, I'm going to study at the library. Text me when you get bored in chemistry,''
The students soon cleared the grounds and into the building to their classes, but Pepper wasn't one of them. She quickly walked in the opposite direction once Liv was out of sight, heading across the long green field. There was a rather large tree on the other side, and since the field was so big, teachers rarely wasted their time with crossing the whole thing to check that there weren't students hiding behind it and skipping classes. Most other students weren't so smart with their choices of hideout when skipping a class, but Pepper wasn't going to get caught easily.
When she made it over to the tree that had a huge patch of shade on the other side, she threw her bag down and groaned loudly.
''How do you always get here before me?'' she asked, annoyed.
''Skill, Potts,'' Tony shrugged, resting his hands behind his head as he leaned against the tree. ''You should be more dedicated,''
''I should be more dedicated to skipping class?'' she chuckled as she sat down across from him, crossing her legs and becoming comfortable.
''It's not really a class, it's just chemistry,'' Tony defended. ''So yeah, be more dedicated to not going to it,''
''Not everyone understands chemistry like you,'' she pointed out.
''Right, sometimes I forget how genius-like I am, I should have you around more often to remind me,''
Pepper rolled her eyes and threw a twig at him off the ground, chuckling when he overreacted to the impact. Their friendship had really blossomed in the past few weeks. They didn't talk about the serious stuff or the awkward topic of their kiss. They didn't talk about those type of feelings at all, they were just friends and they both seemed to be quite happy with that arrangement. However Tony still couldn't see any other girl like he saw Pepper. He wanted to be friends too, in fact she was quickly becoming one of his best friends, but he would never get rid of those feelings, even if Pepper didn't share them.
''We should probably show up to chemistry sometime this week, you know,'' Pepper suggested. ''Pretty sure I'm failing,''
''Don't worry about it,'' Tony shook his head. ''I'll do your homework for you if you want,''
''I think it'd be easier to just show up to class,''
''Are you seriously going to ditch this ditching session right now?'' he looked up, horrified.
''Not right now, but honestly how long can we keep skipping it?''
''As long as we want. What can they do?''
''Send letters home, make phone calls, fail us, any of that sound appealing to you? Wait, don't answer. To me that's unappealing. I want to do well this year and so far I haven't gotten off to the best start,'' she sighed. ''Chemistry is my worst class and it's the one we choose to skip,''
Tony took into consideration her actual worry this time. He felt guilty for always persuading her to ditch the class with him, but it wasn't as if they could hang out at lunch or recess like other friends. The whole school saw what happened at his party, they heard what Christine said. Everyone thought Pepper had this huge crush on Tony and planned on breaking him up with his girlfriend, which was the story Christine was spreading around herself. It was all false, of course. Pepper didn't have a huge crush on Tony, it was completely reversed, and as for breaking up his relationship, Pepper honestly didn't care who he dated. These moments when they were alone on the other side of the school field, skipping chemistry class since it was the only one they both agreed on, was the only time they could really hang out at school.
''I could be your tutor,'' he offered sincerely.
Pepper gave him a look before chuckling.
''I'm serious. I'm better than that idiot at teaching...I think. I mean I know more than he does, I've probably had more practical experience anyway,'' he defended. ''I'm not kidding, I could help you with it,''
''I can't study with friends, I get too distracted,'' she shook her head.
''I won't distract you, I promise. Seriously, let me help you out,''
Pepper looked over to him and noticed he meant what he was saying. He was genuinely offering to help her with her chemistry grades, and she desperately needed help. She was failing and she did not want to fail a class at all, but science classes were not her strong suit. She was sure Tony knew more than their teacher, but that didn't mean he could actually teach her. However, it was worth a shot.
''Okay,'' she nodded with a smile. ''But I'm serious, I can't fail this class,''
''With me teaching you, no chance you'll fail,'' he grinned, leaning back on the tree. ''So what's in it for me?''
''Is there a class you suck at?'' she wondered.
''Nope, mastered them all,'' he shook his head proudly.
''Hmm, then I guess...I don't know, I'll repay you some other way,''
Tony looked over to her for a moment before bursting out with laughter at her words. Pepper glared at him for a moment for being so childish before she too found herself giggling. She whacked him in the leg with her hand and leaned back down on her backpack, shaking her head.
''Hey you're the one who said it!''
Liv and Pepper sat at the table during break a few days later, watching as Emily pulled apart her lunch. It was Thursday. So close to Friday and the weekend, but not close enough. Not that Pepper had anything planned. However tonight would mark the first tutoring session with Tony, and she dreaded something going wrong. Christine somehow finding out and telling the school Pepper and Tony were sleeping together, Liv finding out and never letting it go or Tony not actually tutoring her.
''Do you want to go for dinner tonight?'' Liv asked.
''Uh...I don't think I can, sorry,'' Pepper frowned.
''Damn. Parents are working late and dinner was on them,'' she sighed. ''Guess I can just order some pizzas. And dessert. And extras. You know what? Don't worry about dinner, that's totally fine Pepper,''
Pepper laughed and took a bite of her granola bar, pushing her textbook further away as a sign she was done studying for English right now.
''So is your dad not working late tonight?'' Liv asked.
As they became closer friends, Pepper began to tell Liv more personal things. Things normal friends would talk about, like where her dad worked. However once Liv knew Pepper's mother wasn't around, she didn't press the issue. She knew how private Pepper was about things, and she let her open up at her own pace.
''Uh, no, we're probably gonna have dinner and spend some time together,'' Pepper lied with a smile. ''Boring night in,''
''Well how about Saturday night, are you busy?''
''Nope, totally free,''
''Let's have a girls night,'' Liv whispered so Emily wouldn't hear. ''Movies and stuff, face masks too if you're into that,''
Pepper imagined going to Liv's and having a totally cliche, girly sleepover just like in the movies. She hadn't had a sleepover in a long time, in fact she hadn't had friends in a long time.
Pepper had thought of her elaborate explanation for when she got home that afternoon to cover why she'd be out, but as usual, no one was home. Mark was working again, but he'd left a note explaining what she could make for dinner or to order in. Pepper flipped the note over after reading it and grabbed a pen.
Gone to friends house to study, won't be late. Pepper xx
She knew he wouldn't be home to read it, but she was being careful. She didn't think her dad would be okay with her going to Tony Stark's house to study. In fact she was pretty sure going to a boy's house to 'study' meant a whole other thing to parents, especially fathers. Lying didn't sit well with her, but it was the only way.
Pepper got in her car and drove to the Stark's mansion, careful to scan around for anyone she knew. She didn't know why she felt so anxious, that someone was following her as if she was an important person whose activities would be headlines in a newspaper. She tried to push it out of her mind as she drove further through the gates and down the long driveway, parking near the door.
No one else was home, Tony had assured her. His parents would be fine with him having a friend over, if they were ever there to witness it. Tony and Pepper had a lot in common when it came to absent parents, but they didn't discuss personal and serious things, one of their unspoken conditions.
Pepper shouldn't have been surprised when Tony answered the door looking like a complete idiot. Wearing huge round glasses, a bow tie and his shirt tucked into his pants, Tony grinned when he opened the door up to welcome her inside.
''Miss Potts, welcome to class,''
''Oh god,'' Pepper shook her head as she walked inside.
It was going to be a long two hours.
Wow I'm so sorry I haven't updated in a long time, I don't even know what happened I just didn't get around to updating. Thanks for those still reading and following the story, I'll definitely try to update some more. Please review!