A New Plan
The last two weeks seemed to blur together and Peyton could barely remember each day individually. Managing both school and her job was difficult enough, but adding Tony to the mix seemed to set everything off balance. Of course, as time had gone by, she had grown used to his tendencies and character and a new normal routine had slowly started to take shape, which she was grateful for, but now she was back to square one and trying to manage her time with a brand new itinerary in preparation for the Stark Expo.
“Good morning, Miss Salvatorrelli.” J.A.R.V.I.S.'s voice flooded her room in a greeting. “Miss Potts arranged a wake up call for you this morning and has asked me to let you know that breakfast is served downstairs. Please come down whenever you'd like.”
Peyton was ever so slowly gaining awareness as the A.I. continued speaking to her formally, and as she tried to grumble out a response into her pillow, she realized it did her no good and finally collected herself enough to talk out in a more intelligible sentence. “Thank you, J.A.R.V.I.S., and good morning to you, too. I'll be out shortly.”
“Very well, Miss.”
Peyton licked her lips as the rays of sun that bathed her room in natural light washed over her warmly, the satin sheets and foamy bed giving her the impression of being on a cloud. After a few minutes of appreciating her bed and the comfort it gave, she slowly rolled off the mattress and wobbled over to the closet to fetch herself some new clothes for the long day ahead of her. Although she knew that it would be a bit of a long process and an even longer flight, she was excited.
Today they'd be flying out of California and arrive in New York to go to the unveiling of the Stark Expo, an incredible feat for Tony to reveal to the public that would most definitely earn him some good publicity instead of the usual criticism from reporters regarding his suit and the government.
After her routine morning shower, she was dressed and ready for the day as she descended the staircase and made her way into the kitchen. “Good morning,” she greeted both Harold and Pepper with enthusiasm.
“Morning,” Pepper returned with a smile and Harold, who was in the middle of washing down his breakfast with a gulp of coffee, raised his mug in reply to greet her as well.
“Smells great, Pepper.” Peyton served herself a nice helping along with a drink and sat down beside the two friends at the counter, beginning to chow down the food and gave the strawberry blonde a thumb's up to show her it lived up to her usual cooking.
“Glad you like it,” Pepper smiled, taking Happy's now empty plate towards the sink to quickly wash it. “So are you ready for today? The expo's going to be great.”
“Yeah, I'm actually really eager to see it. Not to mention it's going to be great press for Tony.”
“That it will be.” She nodded. “I take it you're all packed then?”
“Not entirely,” Peyton admitted, smiling sheepishly at her friend. “It doesn't take me long to pack much though, and we'll only be staying about two to three nights so I'm not going to bring too much.”
“Sounds good. The presentation at the expo isn't going to be too formal in case you're wondering what to pack. You can wear jeans and t-shirt if you wanted to.” She gave a laugh as she dried off her hands on a paper towel.
“Oh, this would also be a good time for you to take some notes or maybe even some pictures for your article, wouldn't it?” Harold spoke up.
“I was actually thinking the same thing a few days ago so I'm bringing my digital camera to see if I can take some pictures while we're over there.”
“I'll get a pass for you so you can be backstage.” He offered.
“I'd really appreciate that, Happy, thanks.”
“Sure thing,” he replied, standing up and straightening out his suit. “We'll, I'll go get the car ready. Bring your suitcase down when it's packed and I'll put it into the car, Peyton.”
“I will, Happy.”
He smiled at the brunette and at the strawberry blonde before taking his leave, the older of the two women giving a sigh as she looked at the clock. “I'd also better get Tony up or we'll be late for the flight.”
“No need.” A voice interrupted, both girls turning to see said billionaire descending the staircase with a tired look etched upon his features while he pulled down his shirt. “I'm up. And if it's my plane, wouldn't it, or rather shouldn't it, just wait for me to get there?”
Pepper gave her employer a questionable glance. “That's not the point here, Tony. You shouldn't be late just because you can be.”
“Then there's no point for me to have my own plane.”
Peyton shook her head, hiding a small smile by taking a drink of her orange juice, and muttered soon after, “Well, this is a surprise.”
“What's a surprise?” Tony took a bite out of a muffin that he snatched from the counter-top and glanced at the brunette curiously.
“That you're up without Pepper having to go wake you.”
“Why's that so surprising? I can wake up on time, I just choose not to most of the time.”
Chuckling lightly, Pepper set down a plate for Tony beside Peyton. “I think you mean all of the time.” Tony could only mumble incoherently which led both females to believe that he was somewhat agreeing with her.
Pushing herself off the bar stool, Peyton stood up and took hold of her plate just as Pepper did the same. “I'll wash it, Pepper.”
“No, no, you still have to pack. Leave it to me.”
“But you always clean up after me.”
“It's my job.” She insisted.
Tony watched the two women and their banter for a moment, not understanding why it was such a big deal for Peyton to simply hand over her plate for Pepper to wash it. He didn't understand why she had to be so independent all the time. However, he didn't voice his opinion – for once, as he needed to eat and actually pack away some clothes for himself.
After Peyton finally gave in and handed over her plate and cup in defeat, she headed back into her room and got out her small suitcase, stuffing away some clothes, shoes, and other unmentionables for the few days she'd be gone. As she packed, she was glad that she was able to find someone to cover for her at work and that Professor Edwin had allowed her to hand in her paper for an assignment a few days early.
Now I can focus on the article for a few days and not have to worry about much.
The crowd had been too much. There was too much pushing and shoving, too many enthusiastic fans of the billionaire to take decent pictures and really appreciate the Expo's presentation. Instead, Peyton opted to use the backstage pass Harold had provided before the start of the event. It allowed her to see the stage, the scantily clad dancers in their themed Iron Man suits, and the open roof of the auditorium that Stark was planning to make his grand entrance through in true “him” fashion.
Minutes passed, fireworks exploded in the dark sky above the expo, and Peyton could barely start to make out the outline of Tony's suit in the bursts of light. It was magical, the experience giving her goosebumps as “Shoot to Thrill” by AC/DC blasted throughout the area. Tony landed upon his specially made platform and a resounding boom of applause commenced, the mechanical arms underneath the stage rising up and disassembling the suit that he was known for and revealing himself in his tailor made suit.
As the song ended and the crowd wound down, he started his speech. “Oh, it's good to be back!” He shouted, regenerating the cheers from the audience. “I'm not saying that the world is enjoying its longest period of uninterrupted peace because of me. I'm not saying that from the ashes of captivity, never has a greater phoenix metaphor been personified in human history. I'm not saying that Uncle Sam can kick back on a lawn chair sipping iced tea because I haven't come across anyone who's man enough to go toe-to-toe with me on my best day!”
As she listened and as Stark continued on, Peyton couldn't help but feel something stirring inside of her. It was admiration. Tony could be an douche. He could be the most egotistical dick in the room. He could be a downright pain in the ass to put up with on occasion. However, he sure as hell knew what to say and how to get a crowd going. He knew what to do to liven up the atmosphere.
“Therefore what I'm saying, if I'm saying anything, is welcome to the Stark Expo!” There was a brief pause as Tony allowed the crowd to cheer for a second. “And now, making an appearance from the great beyond to tell you what it's all about, please welcome my father, Howard.”
Tony then proceeded to step off the stage on the other side while the small presentation lit up the big screen, capturing the attention of all the attendees. Peyton listened for a minute before heading off to meet up with Stark and Happy who would be leaving for the car in a moment's notice.
The group of three then made their way towards the exits, being bombarded with flashes from all directions while reporters hounded Tony with questions. Once past the journalists, Tony made small talk with those he passed. He chatted with familiar faces, signed autographs for little kids, and even found time to flirt with a few of the women. Finally, after making it through the horde of bodies, they exited the expo and found Stark's car sitting prettily for them with a woman in office attire standing beside it.
“Do we know her?” Peyton questioned.
“Not in the least,” Tony muttered back, though greeted her all the same. “Hi.”
“And you are?”
“Irish, I like it.” He noted.
“Pleased to meet you, Tony.”
“Where you from?”
“What are you doing here?”
“Looking for you.”
Harold held the door open for Peyton and she slid into the leather seat with ease while watching the fast-paced conversation curiously. Happy then excused himself to pick up Pepper in the other car while Tony slid into the driver's seat, leaving it to be just the two of them.
“What are you doing later?” Tony continued.
Both Peyton and Tony stared at the envelope she had in her hand as she extended it out for Tony to take. “Yikes,” he murmured, looking away from the item, and Peyton, being well aware of his dislike for being handed things, reached out and grasped it instead.
“He doesn't like to be handed things.” She explained.
“Yeah, I have a peeve...”
“If that's what you want to call it.” Peyton muttered.
“You are hereby ordered to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee tomorrow morning at nine a.m..”
“Can I see a badge?”
She reached inside her purse and pulled it out without hesitation, staring at Tony expectantly. “Like it?”
“Yup,” he replied, starting the car. “How far are we from D.C.?”
Peyton's eyebrows furrowed together as she thought about it. “Probably around two hundred and fifty miles.”
And without another word, Tony stepped on the gas, propelling them forward and letting Happy and Pepper know that there was a new plan.
I know that it's been forever since I last updated and I know that this isn't the longest update, so for those two reasons, I'm unbelievably sorry. I feel horrible for always lying about when I'll update, but shit keeps happening. I hope you'll forgive me. I don't know if the next update will be longer or shorter, we'll see. However, but putting out this chapter, we've officially entered into the plot of the Iron Man 2 movie and we're making progress.
I hope that you'll continue to comment, rate, and subscribe! Thank you so much!