5694/Most Eligible Jerk

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Most Eligible Jerk
Date of Scene: 23 March 2021
Location: Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills
Synopsis: Pepper expresses concern about Tony's flirting.
Cast of Characters: Pepper Potts, Tony Stark

Pepper Potts has posed:
For quite a few, the Awards circuit is an honour; to be chosen to attend is like being hit by lightning. It's a chance to see and be seen, to rub elbows with the rich and famous and the talented, whether on stage or screen. Autographs are quietly given, swag bags valued upwards in the tens of thousands of dollars are handed out to guests, honorees and hosts of these varied affairs.

For Tony Stark, however, it's always only been a question as to how to fit each one into his schedule, and who his date would be for each. In years past, for some, careers were made because they were on the arm of the handsome, playboy tech genius. They were seen, and welcomed into the fold of entertainment, no matter what sort of venue it was.

This year, reporters are having a field day. A few superstars had attended the dinners, the after hours parties without anyone on their arm, but one of the bigger buzzes has been the fact that Iron Man, the great Tony Stark, doesn't seem to have anyone with him.

Sure, the ever present Personal Assistant has been along and never far, but.. that can't be it, can it?

Pepper's dressed in blue; the evening gown looks stunning with its shimmers, hugging her form in flattering proportions. A necklace hangs upon her throat, with matching earrings; all in emerald. Red hair is swept up, with tendrils framing her delicately shaped face, and while she is wearing some makeup, she has the natural glow that shines through.

Dressed, and still at times, it's like she's not even there.

Pepper knows the difference, understands that in press conferences that she is out of camera focus; out of view. But here and now, she's present. Beside Tony.

After the curtain goes down for the last time, and everyone begins to go their own ways, Terri Curtis, Tony's co-host and announcer for portions of the awards sways up, her bright blue eyes focussed on the dark-eyed genius and reaches out to take Tony by the arm to swing him around, whispering something in his ear, leaving Pepper standing there, not a few feet away, her eyes wider in the shock and stun of the blatant .. blatancy of it all.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony is quick on his feet and very quick to adapt on the fly. He's always like that: a sharp wit and easy natural in situations that come up, taking things rapidly in stride with efficiency and ease. He turns the move around on Terri, to 'mess' with her in return, shifting balance to dip her backwards with a sly smirk and laugh. It's just automatic with him, to play back with someone.

The whisper makes him answer something just as quiet, and then draw her back to her feet evenly. Another person's tease and question pulls Tony's attention that way, though: "Putting on another show for us, Stark?" questions the reporter eagerly.

It gets a sharp laugh from Tony. "Always."

The reporter, taking that as an in, approaches to hammer with a few questions.

Pepper Potts has posed:
In the next second, the media darling trills a laugh as she set back upon her feet. Finding Tony being pulled into reportage himself, the decision on her part is a no-brainer;she hands Pepper a piece of paper with a smirk that simply doesn't reach her eyes.

"Be a dear and schedule him for my room. Door will be open.."

She looks back at Tony; her words were more than loud enough for him to catch, and a suggestive smile is given his way before she departs.. showing him yet one more 'asset'.

Pepper holds the piece of paper in her hand, and at first stares down at it, then at Tony as he becomes the target of every reporter in the vicinity. Slowly and deliberately she wads that paper in her hand into a small ball before turning around to find a garbage can in order to throw it away. Not finding one, Pepper approaches a reporter, hands over the paper, and pass on the information, "The door will be open." Her smile is tight, it too doesn't quite reach those green eyes, but she has also played this game for years. It looks genuine enough in this world of appearances.

"Tony?" It's hard, being stuck between two 'worlds', as it were. Extricating him from unwanted interviews is easy for the Personal Assistant, but as the date? Sliding back towards him, this time closer to his side, she offers that same tightlipped smile, her words taking on that 'shepherding' tone, "There's another party we need to attend in an hour."

Oh, it's definitely a lie..

Tony Stark has posed:
In the past, Tony has /heard/ the disapproving undertone in Pepper's voice. He has just chosen to continue on his way regardless of the overly worried 'chiding' that Pepper had done in the past. Poor thing worries so much, needs more vacations... and the strength of her reproach was different.

The amount of which Tony is now putting attention, though, has evolved over the year. He doesn't just fan her off; he turns his head entirely towards her to look her in the face. A quizzical little look comes in. He's showing her recognition of her message, the words between the lines.

In that she'll see him take in that he knows it's a lie, but reads what her request actually is just as readily. "All right, let's get to that prep," Tony grants, taking her signal and leaning into it flawlessly. There's a query to his dark browns, but not worry.

Tony shifts back to shake hands and say his teasing farewells, before exiting the hall with Pepper.

Pepper Potts has posed:
It's true. Things have evolved over the year(s), with this last moving from partying with them and coming back to her to dealing with the business and then moving back to her side. Things had been getting progresively better. The man she loved has been nothing but..

As they walk, Pepper has her clutch in one hand, her free hand looking to wrap lightly at his elbow in the 'traditional' style. She wears that cultivated smile as she walks, but he would know that she's anything but happy. In true Pepper form, however, there is never anything to be aired in the public eye.



But, as they find themselves a little clearer, Pepper can't help herself. She doesn't pause in her step, and her voice is low, carried only so far as beside her. They've done this sort of 'conversation' many times before...

"What is it with them?" Pepper's beginning to vent, "Does that woman really believe you're going to her hotel room? Why?"

Tony Stark has posed:
"Her hotel room?" Tony didn't see the paper, and doesn't start on the same page Pepper is on. "I think she'd like a closet just as much if the opportunity came up," Tony quips, thoughtfully, amused, and not quite sensing that the venom might turn on him. After all, he hasn't done anything wrong.

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Why does she feel that she has the-"

Pepper's steps don't falter, even if her words may for the moment. They're nearing the elevators for the venue's suites, but she's not going to give anyone the satisfaction of being privvy to their business, including their conversations. "Why would you even.. Tell me you're not serious about that. You're not.. that woman?" If Pepper could hide her disgust, she'd be up for an Oscar herself.

"Now she thinks she has a chance.. you flirted, dipped her.. turned on that Stark charm.." that makes her melt. "Whispered in her ear..." Pepper's thoughts are disjointed as she tries to organize her thoughts, and she keeps coming back to an answer that makes no sense to her, unless he's tired of her. But, he's not. He proves that pretty much every day. So, what is going on?

"I gave a reporter her room number."

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony lifts his brows through her frustrated ramble, as they get into the elevator. He crowds her a little towards one side, and then lifts his hands to set them gently at her upper arms, just above the elbow. "Pepper. I whispered a rejection. If you're jealous of that, I could reject you too," Tony offers, in a serious, deadpan tone, looking at her directly, face to face. A smile quirks, as well as real curiosity.

"Her number to--- The Daily Breeze reporter? Poor Rodney, you'll break his heart with that," Tony says, in mock dismay for the heart of Rodney.

Pepper Potts has posed:
The elevator doors open, and once they're in, Pepper is shifted to the side where they can continue to talk. Green eyes look into those deep, dark brown eyes of his, and as he talks, the cadence of his words, his voice, she catches what it is he's saying.

Shaking her head, there's a shift in her expression, her eyes going a touch moist in the finality of it. Out and out rejection.

Because of her.

"You.. you are.." and there's decided relief on her face, in her tones. She laughs in that moment where she realizes that she doesn't need to feel as if there'll be a 'better', or a fling around the corner, even as targets of opportunity.

Pepper lifts her arms to hang them around his neck, brows rising once more. "I don't think you could reject me," is returned, her tones tentatively teasing. "Particularly," and she leans forward to whisper in that same ear.

Tony Stark has posed:
"I was nice about it. I don't need to throw a heart on the floor and stomp on it as well as say no," Tony explains as she steps in to hang her arms around his neck. He lowers his hands to set them at the sides of her waist as she leans in to whisper to him.

"Watch out, I'll say the same thing to you I said to her," Tony 'warns' her, but there's a flirt there. "She did mention she thought I earned the title of most eligible bachelor. I told her I wasn't eligible anymore." Tony leans in, with a smile, and offers a brief kiss.

"Your jealous flush is nice, though."

Pepper Potts has posed:
"Wasn't eligible any-"

Pepper pulls away only slightly from that lean when she'd whispered in his ear, her head tilting as she searches those dark eyes of his. "Did she think..."

There is a light laugh, and her expression is brighter; her features glow with it. "Jealous flush? Not on your life," Pepper begins again, backtracking slightly, humor evident in her tones. "I wouldn't think you'd fall for such cheesy lines like that." She doesn't drop her arms from about his neck, however. She is enjoying the closeness.

"I did say that one day I would cancel that photoshoot for GQ. Keep the 'Sexiest Man Alive', but that 'World's Most Eligible Bachelor'?"

Tony Stark has posed:
"Couldn't say what she thought," Tony says, with a sort of general lack of interest and dismissiveness. This is familiar - it's the same tone Tony used to use when he'd indicate that some woman that stayed over should be taken home. He's disconnected from it, and really isn't concerned about what the woman may think either way about it. Adults make their choices to have fun and nothing further!

"I don't mind going public with our relationship when you're ready for that. The only secrets I hold are the ones that'll damage other people," Tony explains. Such as secrets related to his armor, inventions, or weaponry that can be misused. Or, in this case, if it would harm her. Then he'll hold it close to the vest. Certainly not secrets about him being Iron Man or other things, though....

"I don't necessarily care what anyone thinks about it, but it stays secret while you want it to be."

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper has a way of watching him, the hint of a smile on her face as he talks to her in those low tones, the sound of his voice as it changes timbre to give her those subtle cues as to level of seriousness of his topic at the moment. She nods her head in agreement and in acknowledgment of what he's saying, his posture, and then his words. Those words.

"I.. I think I'm ready." She wasn't before, the fear of too much attention, too much scrutiny, too much.. of everything. But now? She takes a deep breath, and her teeth take hold of her bottom lip for a moment before she nods again, her eyes bright as if this was one of the most important of conversations of her life. In a way, it absolutely is. Now, even her parents will hear about 'them'. "I think I'm ready."

There's a momentary pause, however, as the realization begins to sink in, "You remembered." He did. He remembered that even with all their day to days, their meetings, that there hadn't been a formality tied to it as far as the media was concerned. So, the news continued on blithely, the Board; Tony Stark was still the world's most eligible bachelor.

Even she had been caught up in the day to days..

Tony Stark has posed:
The elevator has now reached the designated floor, and Tony shifts gears only slightly. There's a bit of an upswing there, but no signs of any change in his opinion of anything.

Whether they are public or not does not change or modify his feeling about it, it seems. "The people that matter to /me/ already know, like Rhodey or Rogers, and so on, so.... if you want to tell your family before they hear it from their gossipy neighbors, maybe do that first," Tony teases her, with a hooked hug sideways, his attention moving to the opening elevator.

"No hurry, really, but I don't see a need to hide it."

Pepper Potts has posed:
It means the world to Pepper, however. She's not the one in the center ring, not the one in the limelight unless there is a business article written and published on an inside page in the business section of the Times. She's not been in pictures as 'the woman', holding his arm, the subject of both envy and vitriol from the general female public. Never has been. She's always been on the periphery, just on the edge of things, and he the rightful heir of public media adoration (and in some cases scorn).

It's the assuredness with the way he's talking about this now, about the knowledge and understanding of how she feels, and somewhere along the line, he became not only fine with it, but coming to that conclusion that perhaps it was completely reciprocated. And speaking from a position of knowledge, there's no force greater than Tony Stark.

The elevator *dings* open, and while it remains open, Pepper still has her hands draped there, if only for the moment. "I should probably tell my family," she nods in agreement, her eyes not leaving his for a second, the smile still playing lightly on her face. "They'll definitely expect us for Thanksgiving this year, you know." Meet the boyfriend, and all.

Tony Stark has posed:
"Thanksgiving? I've got some time, then," Tony answers, with a mischief in his tone. He's adapted fully, though, there isn't alarm in him at all, just a sort of acceptance of that being part of things, and he's already taken that into account. He's always quick with adjustment, but he does seem to have thought of this: the lack of surprise proves he /did/ think this through, and isn't just reacting off the moment.

"To come up with my list of questions to learn all the embarrassing facts about your history," Tony continues, with a sly half-smile, moving from her draped hands but lifting one of his to snare her hand and wrist to draw her with him.