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Hardest of Hearts

Just A Touch Of Insanity In The Moment

"He's a one stop shop with a real big uh! He's a sweet-talkin', sugar coated candyman!" I sang as I danced around the room, tossing stuff into a giant box.

"And here she is. Kit! Say hello to Miss Pepper!" I spun around and pushed my hair out of my eyes. I smiled at the stranger and wiggled my fingers in greeting.

"Hey, Miss Pepper. Whatever Ember told you, it's a complete lie." The words fell on deaf ears. The woman standing in the doorway to my bedroom had her eyes trained on my chest. I was wearing loose jogging pants (the ones that Tony gave me actually), and a loose white tank top. You could easily see my green sports bra, and my glowing hardware. Miss Pepper was staring right at the glow. She stepped into the room, and I flinched back when she held her hand out as if she was going to touch my hardware.

"I guess I was hoping that he had dreamed the whole thing," she whispered.

"Come again?" She seemed to snap out of her daze and sent down a tight smile.

"Tony told me what happened. How are you feeling?"

"Great! And how are you, Miss Pepper?"

"Please, just call me Pepper. We're going to be seeing a lot of each other, so there's no need to be so formal."

"We are?"

"Kit, this is Pepper Potts. You know, the CEO of Stark Industries," Ember said with a pointed look. And that's when it hit me.

The famous Pepper Potts was standing in my small, and dirty, bedroom. If you knew who Tony Stark was, then you knew all about Pepper Potts. She started off as his assistant, which she was for many years. Then she became the CEO of his company, and the company has done nothing but improve since she started. For a little over a year, she was Tony Stark's girlfriend. No one could say why the two split, but she still ran his company and was frequently seen with him. After their split, Tony showed up in the tabloids a little too much. He's calmed down a bit here recently though. Maybe they got back together?

"It's an honor to meet you, Miss Po-I mean, Pepper. You're an inspiration to all women wishing to enter the work force."

"I am?" she asked with just a hint of a blush. It looked pretty against her pale skin and strawberry blonde hair.

"Ignore her, Pepper. She just got her Bachelor's in business, so now she thinks she's a successful business woman." I could almost see the eye-roll in Ember's tone.

"I am! I handle all of my own business, don't I?" I asked and cocked an eyebrow.

"I don't understand how you already have a degree. You look so young."

"Yeah, we'll be twenty in December. I finished out the degree over the summer, and I started dual-enrollment back in my sophomore year," I said with a small shrug. It's October now, so I've been done with school for a few months. I'm still debating on whether or not I want a Master's degree.

"Ha! I finished back in May," Ember said with a smug smile.

"So I got a little behind. Big deal," I said with a roll of my own eyes.

"Wow, I wish I had been as ambitious at your age," Pepper said and tucked her phone into her pocket.

"Kit? Ambitious? Wrong word there, Pepper. Kit, the truck will be here soon, so get the rest of your stuff packed," Ember explained.

"What about the rest of the house? Kitchen? Living room?" I asked.

"Tony has a storage space. After we leave, another truck will come to pick it up. We have packers as well," Pepper said quickly.

"Nice. Well, the bathroom's done. I just gotta finish packing up the books. Can I take my bookcases?" The room was tiny, because I have seven good-sized bookcases set all around the room. Pepper's eyes quickly took them in, and she nodded her head.

"Yes, that should be fine. I'll go wait for the truck. If you need anything, I'll be right outside." Her phone rang as she stepped out of my room, and she immediately started talking. Ember watched her leave and then turned back to look at me.

"I like her." That's the thing about Ember. She either likes you right off the bat or not. If not, it takes some convincing. Even then, it's not a sure thing. Ember's a strong believer in first impressions, and instincts.

"Me too."

"Now get that ass in gear!" I cranked the volume up on my radio and started piling the books in. My closet's packed, my dresser is empty, and the walls are bare. Even my bed has been stripped down. The only thing left is my bookcases, which has more than just books. The seventh bookcase is nothing but DVDs, and I keep random little things on the shelves. Like the green teddy bear that my Nana won at the fair when I was eleven.

"Oh! I'll get it!" I yelled to the sweaty workman half an hour later.

"Thanks, ma’am," he said and used a bandanna to wipe the sweat from his face.

"Georgia?" A smile brightened the man's face, and he ducked his head a bit.

"Right along the Tennessee line. How'd you know?" Now I could really hear that southern twang. It was like being home.

"Mississippi along the Louisiana line. It's good to know that I'm not the only hick in this city."

"You too, huh?" His eyes, a brilliant bright blue, met my own.

"Yep. I've only been here for three months, so I'm just now getting used to all the stares. You?" By now, we were walking through the house, each carrying an end of my first bookcase. Everything else in my room has already been moved out.

"A year. Sometimes, when we move for the big people, I try to talk different. Ya know, not talkin' so slow," he said with a very small shrug.

"They do talk kinda fast, huh?" We shared a smile at that and kept on walking.

About an hour later, we were through moving our stuff. Well, the stuff we're actually taking with us. I waved goodbye to Kevin and skipped over to where Ember and Pepper were waiting. Ember raised her brow in question, but I just shook my head and pointed at the car. She nodded and then got into the car, behind Pepper. I eased in next to her and closed the door. Happy, who I met last night, was behind the wheel.

"Back to the Tower, Happy," Pepper said.

"On it," he said as the car pulled away from the curb.

"Now, spill! What were you doing talking to that cowboy?" At Pepper's small smile and questioning eyes, Ember explained, "Kit has this thing where she just doesn't date, ever. It's been over two years since she talked to anyone, which is crazy. This is when we're supposed to be dating everyone and having fun! And she has just spent the last hour talking to a guy. A guy!"

"Don't sound so surprised! I flirt all the time! Just last week, you gave me a ten minute on lecture on not flirting with our waitresses!"

"Because you had the poor girl so flustered she dropped your coffee!"

"Well, this time I got a number! And a date, for this Friday night," I said with a wide smile. Ember squealed and basically tackled me.

"Come on, Pepper! Join in on our girlishness!" Ember said and opened her arms.

"No, no, I'm okay," she said with a quiet laugh.

"Aw, come on! You said it yourself, we're gonna be spending a lot of time together. Part of being a girl, is getting excited about dates," I said and pushed on Ember's shoulder. She rolled to the other side, still laughing and making kissy faces at me.

"Yeah, Pep. Ooh, got any dates coming up?" Pepper blushed, quite prettily, and looked out the window.

"Tonight, actually. We're going to see Les Miserables."

"Who's the lucky sir?" I asked and laid my head on Ember's shoulder. Pepper looked away again and pressed her fingertips to her upper lip. I felt Ember stiffen at my side and realized that Pepper was on the verge of tears.

"Pep? You okay?" Ember whispered. Pepper waved a hand and laughed quietly.

"I'm sorry, it's just...I can't remember the last time I had girl-time," she said with a sad smile. I think it was supposed to be an apology smile, for getting so emotional, but it looked sad to me.

"Em?" I tilted my head to meet Ember's eyes, and she nodded her head.

"Kit and I have been together since our mothers were pregnant. We have other friends, but they're only casual."

"We like you though, Pep, and you look like you really need a friend."

"Or two."

Pepper actually squealed a bit when Ember and I jumped across the car to where she was sitting. We sat on either side of her and wrapped our arms around her. Ember's arms twined around her shoulders, and mine rested around her middle. Pepper's body was a bit stiff at first, but she slowly relaxed once she realized we weren't letting go.

"You can always come to us when you need to talk, about anything. Girl stuff, work stuff, anything."

"Oh! And we'll take you shopping and even invite you to our super-exclusive movie nights."

"You girls really don't have to do all of that," Pepper said.

"Every woman needs a female friend," I said.

"Or she'll go absolutely insane," Ember added.

"So, come on, spill," I said and poked a rib.

"His name is Heath Penn. He's a pediatrician. We've been dating for around two months now," Pepper said with a shy smile.

"Pictures!" Ember and I yelled together. Pepper pulled out her phone and quickly brought a picture up.

"He's so cute!" That was me.

"You're so adorable together!" And that was Ember.

Heath was a little taller than Pepper, and the couple had bright matching smiles. Heath's hair was a dirty blonde, with slight waves, and calm blue eyes. He looked like an all-around good guy, and Pepper looked completely relaxed. They really were a beautiful couple, and Ember was already cooing about weddings and babies. Pepper was blushing, and laughing, and stammering. I was so busy watching the two of them that I nearly jumped out of my skin when my phone started vibrating in my pocket. Ember and Pepper paused long enough to laugh at me before continuing their conversation. I quickly read the text and then waved my arms around.

"Hey! Kevin's boss wants to know which floor to go to?" I asked and looked at Pepper.

"Hmm, the top ten floors are all R&D, so that takes out eighty-three through ninety-three. Tony has the eighty-second floor to himself. Do you mind taking the eighty-first?"

"The eighty-first floor? Why not?" Ember asked and looked over at me.

"Eighty-first it is." I sent a text back and leaned against the leather seat.

"You okay, Kit?"

"Just fine, Em."

"You might need to take it easy, Kit. You've been through a lot in the past twenty-four hours," Pepper pointed out.

"I still feel wonderful. I was a little scared to shower earlier though," I said and ran my fingers over my hardware. Pepper smiled at that, and I saw the understanding in her eyes.

"We're here!" Ember cheered and climbed over both of us to get out of the car. I started to follow her until I felt Pepper's hand on my arm.

"If you ever need to talk, about the reactor, you can go to Tony. He's not always the best conversationalist, but he'll understand what you're going through."

"Thanks, Pep. Now, let's get moved in!" I yelled and spilled out of the car.
As Tony stepped away from the destruction, Kit and Ember were enjoying lunch on the second day after moving in. Tony sighed as he looked at the pieces of robots laying scattered around, and he felt a little wind on his face as Susan popped up next to him. Thanks to Johnny, he'd probably lost ten pounds just from being overheated. He needed a shower, a shave, and to sleep for a week straight.

"You did good today, Tony, but we've got it from here if you need to get home," Susan said quietly.

"Why would I need to get home?"

"You've seemed a bit distracted," she pointed out. He'd been thinking about Kit actually, and Ember, and Pepper. Had they settled in okay? He knew nothing had happened to Kit, because Jarvis would have alerted him immediately.

"Just a lot on my mind. Actually, what day is it?"

"October seventeenth," Susan said with a puzzled look on her beautiful face.

"Ah, I've got a charity event to attend. Give the guys my goodbyes?"

"Yes, of course, but don't you want a ride?"

"Already covered!" Tony called from the air.

He met up with SHIELD an hour later on the helicarrier, where he was immediately debriefed by Nick Fury himself. He was so tired that he didn't even fight the process like he usually did, but he did make sure not to mention Kit Torlin. She was his guest and his responsibility, and he wanted to keep her off SHIELD's radar for now. After he was through, he was given a room. He was asleep before his head touched the pillow, and consciousness didn't come back until the helicarrier had landed in New York. He called Pepper as he stepped off the aircraft and took to the air.

"Tony? Are you okay?" Pepper's voice was rushed, and he heard her mumble something to someone else. Probably Dr. Pediatrician.

"Yeah, just got in. The charity event...is that still a thing?"

"Depends on how injured you are and how much you've slept."

"Just a few bumps, and I got plenty of sleep on the helicarrier. So, have a suit ready for me?" he asked as he touched down on his landing pad. It was attached to his own floor at the Tower, and he headed straight for his bedroom.

"Yes, of course. Where are you?"

"In my bathroom. Let me shower, and I'll be right out." Half an hour later, he was clean and shaven. A towel was wrapped around his hips, and he was expecting to see a suit laying on his bed. The suit was there, and it had a bodyguard.

"Tony! How ya been?" Kit was sitting cross-legged on his bed with a large smile on her face. She was wearing baggy blue shorts and a lime green tee shirt that had the sleeves ripped off. Her feet were bare, and her wavy brown hair was sticking up in a few places.

"Peachy. Why are you here?" he asked and looked down at her from his place at the foot of the bed.

"Well, Ember's currently covered in paint and Pep's making phone calls, so it was up to me to come pick you out a suit. So, whattaya think?" she asked and gestured to the suit next to her. The suit was all black, and the tie was a dark gold. It wasn't his usual style, but Kit was smiling so proudly that he didn't know how to say no.

"It'll do." Brown eyes washed over the moving figure as she did a little happy-dance, while still sitting, and he sighed. "I need to get dressed." Wide hazel eyes flashed up to him, and she smiled as she slapped a hand over her eyes. So she wasn't leaving. The towel dropped to the floor, and Tony reached for the pants.

"What? No underwear? Are you going commando?" Kit suddenly asked. Tony rolled his eyes and shrugged the black shirt on.

"Says the girl who likes being shirtless," Tony pointed out as he struggled to button the damn shirt. Kit must have heard his struggle, because the hand slipped from her face.

"You're such a baby. Move. Out of the way," she said and pushed his hands out of the way. She was kneeling on his bed now, and her fingers made quick work of the shirt. It kinda pissed him off; how'd she know how to button a man's shirt so quickly? As if hearing his thoughts, "Ember went through this drama phase our freshman year. In the only play of the year, she had to wear men's clothing. So, I usually got stuck buttoning her up while she rehearsed lines."

"Thank y-Hey! What are you doing?!"

"Tucking your shirt in. Now hold still." He could feel the heat of her hands as she tucked in the back of his shirt and then she was buttoning his pants and smoothing out any wrinkles. She even zipped the damn pants!

"You don't have to do that," was all he could think to say. She looked up at him, and Tony decided right then and there that she should never look like that. Her hazel eyes were a dark and murky green, and her lips were pulled down into a slight frown. It made her full cheeks look somewhat flat, and there was a deep furrow between her brows. The usually upbeat girl looked so upset that Tony expected to hear about the impending apocalypse.

"You saved my life, you know? You could have left me and gone after the robot, but you didn't. Instead, you did something that you're clearly uncomfortable with just to save a stranger's life. Now I'm living in this fabulous house, and...I'm alive! I'm alive, and it's all thanks to you."

Somehow, she'd grabbed both of his hands in hers, and she was smiling up at him so prettily. He'd never seen such a sincere smile in his entire life. It was the kind of smile that puffed her cheeks out, shone out of her eyes, and could be felt in the gentle touch of her hands. He had the urge to grab her smiling face in his hands and kiss her until she couldn't even breathe, much less smile. But he didn't. For the first time, Tony Stark did not act on his first impulse. Instead, he placed his palm over Kit's arc reactor and spread his fingers wide so that they spanned the length of her collar bone.

"Don't thank me yet. There's still a chance that you could die."

"True, but you've given me a chance to keep on living. Speaking of which, I have a date! Have fun at your charity thing! See ya in a week!" Fingers tightened around his for a moment and then Kit was sprinting from the room. In her haste, she nearly ran Pepper over. Tony looped his tie around his neck and set about tying it as he watched Kit run off. She yelled an apology over her shoulder and kept on going. Pepper turned to watch her go and then faced him with a smile on her face. It was the most relaxed smile he'd seen on her pretty face in a while.

"Oh, good, you're dressed. Ready to go?"

"For you? Always," he said with his usual charming smile. Pepper just rolled her eyes, but she was still smiling. Tony held his arm out to her, and she took it with a quiet laugh. Maybe everything would be okay with them. As for that brief thought about kissing Kit? Just a touch of insanity in the moment.
I stood in the doorway of my new room and just admired the view. After inspecting the eighty-first floor, we discovered that there was only one bedroom. I offered to take the eightieth floor, until Jarvis casually mentioned that there was a library on the eighty-first that could be cleared out. Joy does not even come close to how I felt in that moment. After inspecting the room, I deemed it perfect and all mine. Now, the Tower is completely modern and mono-chromed. On some whim, the library was made to look like your regular picturesque library. Dark paneling, a fire place, rugs...and there's even a connecting bathroom, for some odd reason. Pepper and Ember put their heads together, and my bedroom was made!

The original bookshelves are still here, and my own bookcases have been spread throughout the room. A queen-sized bed has been dumped off to the side, with a fluffy blue and green comforter. My dresser was added, and Pepper found a closet hidden behind a bookcase. I've traded the oriental rugs for some shag rugs, because I love the way it feels between my toes. The lighting is pretty dim, which is great, and I even have a little desk for my laptop with one of those old-schooled wing-back chairs. It's not exactly normal, but I love it anyway.

"Kit! Why are you just standing there?! You're supposed to be getting ready for your date!" I froze and glanced over my shoulder. Ember was standing behind me, one hand on her hip, and the other was pointing a purple coated paintbrush at me. With Pepper's okay, Ember had painted the walls in her room a bright purple color.

"How's the room?" I asked.

"All done. I'm just waiting for the paint to dry so I can hang my pictures," Ember said with a bright smile. Her carpet was mostly white, with purple splatters all over it. Various pieces of her artwork are going to be on the walls, and everything else is already in place.

"Okay. I'm going to jump in the shower and then you'll help me pick out an outfit, right?"

"Of course, dummy. Not get to stepping!" I laughed and walked into my new bedroom. Tonight, I was going to go out on a date and have a fabulous time. What was I not going to do? I was not going to think of the look Tony had in his eyes right before I ran from the room; the look that said he could devour me before I could run screaming for my virtue (or, what’s left of my virtue). Nope, definitely not going to think about that.


Sometimes I think what I’m writing is boring, but it’s always relevant. I love build-up! To me, there’s no such thing as a filler chapter. If I’m writing it, it’s because I want people to know what’s going on. Also, if you want Kit and Tony together and in love almost immediately, that’s not going to happen. Far from it. There might be moments, but they’ll be fleeting. I don’t like stories where the characters instantly fall in love. Lust I can understand, but love? The slow building of a relationship is important to me, so that’s how this story is going to go.

For those who haven’t guessed it, I am from the southern part of the United States (Alabama, actually). I have one of those slow southern drawls, and it only gets worse when I’m super excited (and sleepy). My closest friend is not from around here. Her mother actually did grow up in New York, and they both have this quick crisp way of talking. Sometimes when I’m at their house, I have to explain what I’m saying because they can’t understand my accent, and I’ve known these people for about seven years now. So, I love accents and I always think it’s hilarious when someone comments on my lil’ southern twang.


I'd like to read more. :)
CupKTCakes CupKTCakes
Please update!!!!
Irrelevant86 Irrelevant86
I enjoyed your non filler chapter update! Please do so more frequently!! :)
thatsrealjazzy thatsrealjazzy
I love this. I need more! :D
FallingUp. FallingUp.
Oh this is really cool :)