15521/Great Expectations

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Great Expectations
Date of Scene: 24 August 2023
Location: Stark Penthouse, Miami, FL
Synopsis: Tony Stark names Pepper Potts as Co-CEO of Stark Industries
Cast of Characters: Pepper Potts, Iron Man

Pepper Potts has posed:
The meal.. the feast was fantastic by pretty much anyone's standards and the 'tip' mentioned by Tony to Jarvis on the walk out to board the QuinJet is likely to pay for a year's salary for each and every one of the employees there this evening. The conversation at dinner ranged across topics that included them, this new step, and various other things - but Tony somehow manages to avoid the topics that might touch on armor, Stark Fujikawa, the Avengers, or SHIELD for the duration.

The QuinJet takes off on its own, presumably with Jarvis behind the 'wheel', and if Pepper's paying any attention it's _not_ ramping up to fly northward and back to NYC, instead making its way at a more sedate pace into the heart of downtown Miami towards the few skyscrapers that are there - and one in particular. One with a rooftop penthouse with a private pool, small putting green, sun bathing area, and a mostly glass walled exterior.

The ramp from the QuinJet settles quietly onto the putting green.. well it doesn't _quite_ touch the grass, but it's close enough to not argue about.. and it's with Tony's hand sliding down her back and then suddenly over and onto the curve of her ass that Pepper's guided down the ramp and onto the grass of the green as Tony .. directs her towards the open glass patio doors ahead of them and into the softly lit penthouse suite with more square footage than any condo in NYC worth less than five million.

"So I thought we'd wrap the evening here," he'd said.

Here, where there's certainly a staff quarters, maybe a couple of guest rooms, but somehow.. it doesn't seem likely that that's where Tony intends for her to end up this evening.

And that... was complicated...
Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper Potts was usually quite uniquely situated close enough to the the tornado of "Let's Make It Happen" that is Tony Stark to be able to help shape it and control the fallout without being caught up in it herself.

This is... not one of those times. From the moment she stepped foot on the Quinjet from New York to Miami, she'd felt a little unbalanced. She'd abandoned a crisis at Stark Tower behind to be spirited away to an ocean-side restaurant in Miami, only to find Tony had arranged the entire evening... for her.

Dancing. Dinner. A proper date. A proposal of something more than they were now... but with no clear answer about how they would navigate that.

Maybe there wasn't a good answer. Maybe that was a problem.

Dinner had been comfortable and fun. They talked animatedly, shared some laughter and a few moments of prolonged eye contact as they both navigated this new territory. It was simultaneously easy to settle into old patterns and forget that they'd just shared their first kiss, but also impossible to ignore. The tension between them was still electric.

And soon enough, they were flying somewhere else... the top of Miami high-rise, settling onto the roof and walking, still clad in their evening finery, into a gorgeous penthouse that offered not just a panoramic view of Miami, but of the moon's reflection over the Atlantic.

It was gorgeous, and it was yet one more reason for Pepper to feel so utterly swept up in it all that it was hard for her to think through all of the complications they would face when they got back. Would anyone still respect her once she was sleeping with Tony? Would she be able to continue showing her face once she was no longer the indomitable Pepper Potts, but just a lonely assistant swept up in the charm of her billionaire boss?

She'd made a joke about it once they'd slowed in the penthouse's living area and she'd turned to face him, trying to lighten her own spirits and concerns. But his reply...

/It's one of the perks of dating my PA, isn't it?/

It sent a chill down her spine. Her worst fear realized, that she would become a trope.. and not a flattering one. She knew him better than to think that she'd be just another notch on his headboard, but she couldn't trust anyone else to know that.

"Please don't say anything."

She says it in a rush, already anticipating the emotions he must be having -- chastising himself for already hurting her, worried that he's already driven her away, confused about how to proceed, unsure if she even still wants to, maybe even frustrated at the whole situation.

There's sympathy in her eyes. She was feeling most of that, too, about him.

"We already said this wasn't going to be easy. I need to get this out. Please just... listen for a second, and then whatever you want to do, we'll figure out."

She moistens her lips, composing her thoughts.

"I'm in this with you. I'm not backing out. I'm not upset. But I can't be the punchline at the office. I've worked too hard to endure that humiliation. So, I propose that we take things slowly. Outside of work you can have as much.. dictation.. as we can squeeze in."

There's a ghost of a smile that touches her lips, affection lingering in her eyes.

"But /at/ work, you're still Mister Stark. My boss. I can't cross those lines and maintain my integrity, much less the respect of anyone else at the company. When and if that becomes to difficult to keep separate, I'll resign. I'll help you find a replacement, and we'll figure out what that means for me... and us... at that point."

Then she lets out a little breath, her fingers finally moving again.. brushing across his chest more tentatively before. It's affectionate rather than sexual, but there's worry in her eyes. For as well as she knew Tony Stark, there was never a way to predict his reactions with one hundred percent certainty.

Iron Man has posed:
Tony starts to speak, and then as Pepper continues he looks like he might interrupt anyway, but then apparently decides that he'll just wait for her to finish instead - and his hands remain on her hips as he gives her his full attention through the explanation of where her head is at.

He frowns for a moment and then nods just slightly, uses his hands on her hips to turn her around.. away from him.. and towards one of the rooms off to the side of the main living area they're in now. Starting walking her towards he it once again comes up beside her, a hand at her back, and as they get to the doorway he says, "You're right, you're going to need to help me find a replacement, and probably sooner rather than later. You're going to be very busy, and not just with .. dictation. Add to that the fact that I need to focus more on .. what's next, for the company, Iron Man, the Avengers..."

He trails off then as he brings them to a stop at a desk that sits in the middle of what's clearly an office, atop which is a sheaf of papers, Stark Fujikawa letterhead, all very official and full of legalese.

The gist of which is: Tony's making Pepper a Co-CEO of Stark Fujikiawa, and should she check the date on the signature - it was yesterday. Also, it was _notarized_ and witnessed yesterday. Just pending her final signature.

"...I've decided to make some changes, starting with you."
Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper was doing her best to keep up with everything that was changing and trying to think far enough ahead to steer clear of all of the landmines that almost certainly existed in their path. Manage expectations up front. Be clear about boundaries. Make mature decisions instead of impulsive ones.

So, her words had all come out in a rush, and she's grateful that Tony lets her get them all out. She /needed/ to state her position. She needed him to know that she had concerns. Even if that meant looking into the future and predicting the end of her own career -- at least at Stark Industries. It wasn't something she wanted to contemplate, but...

/You're going to need to help me find a replacement, and probably sooner rather than later./

Her heart felt like it was going to drop out of her chest, her eyes searching his desperately for an explanation.

Instead, she's turned around and walked through the penthouse, heels clicking hesitantly on the hard floor with every step, echoing in the otherwise quiet abode. Soon, she's steered onto the carpeted floor of the office, to the desk, and there she looks down at what is obviously a contract.

They'd avoided work discussions all evening, so she didn't understand until she actually picked it up and leafed through it.

The only thing it was missing was her signature, and for a moment, she just stares at that page -- his slanting script, with the date beside it: the day he'd told her he was taking her to the gala and to keep dinner free.

Pepper turns her head to look at him, blinking in utter disbelief, still holding the contract in her hands as she'd forgotten how to use her arms.


Her voice is quiet, higher than usual, her eyes pleading for things to somehow make sense.

"I..." She shakes her head, her expression a little distant. "I don't know what to say.."

She did look a little like she needed to sit down.
Iron Man has posed:
The .. yo-yo response that he got from Pepper is clearly _exactly_ what he was aiming for, and he appears to have gotten it in spades. There's a low chuckle from the man as he watches her reaction to the elevation in status, the commensurate pay increase, the stock grants, all of which he's sure mean really very little to her. All of which he did not knowing how the past day or more would go, for certain, and all of which he'd clearly have done even _if_ things hadn't progressed to where they are right now the way he'd hoped.

"I'd start with 'I accept', and then you should be giving me a kiss or something in thanks, I think." Tony says with a flash of that devilishly rogueish grin of his.

"I told you, I need to focus, I need to stop being bothered by all the things that you handle for me, but not until I send them your way. You need to be recognized for what you do for the company, for the _world_, and this gets us most of the way there. "

"Don't go power wild though! I still am the majority stockholder and I've got Jarvis watching to ensure that _that_ doesn't change. And there's certain decisions that remain solely mine to make - but day to day, people, all the 'usual' stuff is yours."

"If you'll have it."
Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper Potts... go wild with power. She'd been working for the same man, in the same assistant job (with an MBA from Columbia), doing more and more work for basically the same pay (despite the ever-increasing list of responsibilities), for over a decade. So /that/ comment earns him a playful narrowing of her eyes just before they roll to emphasize the utter ridiculousness.

A little smile played over her lips, though, as she watched him. It solved... well... everything. It made her an equal, at least in the eyes of the company. It meant that they ran it together rather than her dating the man she took orders from. He had his portion of the company to run, and she... had hers.

Tony had been right, of course. She'd noted but flipped past the salary and stock options without lingering on them. The scale of what they were talking about far outweighed a bank balance.

It was... life changing. All of it. Co-CEO. Dating Tony.

She folds the contract closed again and sets it back on the desk to free her hands, turning back to face him and raising her fingers to his cheeks.

And then there's a little nod. A quirky, hopeful little smile despite the fact that her eyes still managed to seem entirely shell-shocked.

"I accept," she whispers. "All of it."

And then she's rising up onto her toes, eyes still staring imploringly into his as her lips brush against his. Softly. A whisper of a connection. And then her green orbs slide closed and that connection deepens, her body stretching up against his as her touch slips into his hair, her other arm clinging around his neck to pull herself closer.
Iron Man has posed:
Despite all of Tony's thinking ahead, of his penchant for having future conversations over and over again in his head as he games out options, results, approaches, counters .. there's nothing that really proves anything out like actually _getting_ to one of those points and achieving it.

There's a slight, but quite noticable to those that know him, relaxation as she accepts - even before the kiss - a satisfaction that things have gone not only where he wanted them to, but where they _needed_ to go - for Pepper as much as for him.

Tony's hands return to her hips as she stands to meet him, to deliver that kiss, and pull her in closely against him as that kiss lands.

It's a bit, then, before he's willing to pull back, but when he does Tony's smile is pure deviltry.
"So, it'll be all sorts of convenient with our offices having private connecting doors..."

"For meetings and private consultations, of course."