Betty and Me
Tony Stark had never been a patient man. The thought of waiting on anything at all usually never even crossed his mind. His whole life could have easily been summed up in the following two words: instant gratification. Then exactly one week before his 25th birthday, things began to change for one Anthony Edward Stark when Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts came barging into his life demanding that he wait while she showed him a spreadsheet which she said contained a math error. She had obviously not gotten the memo which read “Time and Tony Stark wait for no one’. But something in her manner actually made him wait while she explained what she had found, and looking back it was probably one of the smartest things that he had ever done in his life. Twelve years later, she was still making him wait.
“Hold on, Mr. Stark.” She said as he moved away from the coffee machine in their kitchen in the pent house of Stark Tower with a full cup of decaf coffee. “I saw on the notes from last month’s meeting that it’s your turn to bring the morning snack to the Avenger’s meeting today.” She quickly moved to block his path. Since the aftermath of Loki’s invasion attempt, Pepper had become an unofficial but highly regarded Avenger team member. She was the one who had managed to persuade all of them that a monthly face to face meeting at Stark Tower would be in all their best interests. Since this was an unofficial meeting, Director Fury was, of course, not invited which was one of the few reasons why Tony agreed to participate. Pepper being of course all the other reasons. The group had appointed Pepper as their mediator, expeditor, tangent monitor, and most importantly, head Tony wrangler. Her personality was what this group of super heroes desperately needed to keep their egos, tempers, and hidden agendas in check and engaged in productive, non combative activities. And herding cats, even the super hero kind, was one of Pepper’s many talents.
Tony groaned as Pepper pulled the cup from his hand, replacing it with a red box. He looked down at the box in his and then up at her. She held his gaze steadily, took a sip of his coffee, and then smiled at him innocently.
“But Pepper” he whined gently pushing her back against the counter, quickly setting the offending red box on the countertop behind her, then placing his large hands on her hips possessively.
She immediately set the coffee cup down on the countertop next to her and wrapped her arms around his neck as she leaned in to kiss him tenderly. He moved to deepen the kiss as she twined her fingers through his hair. After a minute, she gently tugged on his hair and pulled away from his lips slightly. “Natasha brought Russian pryaniki last month and Thor brought…” she looked at him puzzled at her memory: Thor never really did tell them what exactly the donut like food from Asgard he brought for them to eat was called. It was good though. “whatever that was from Asgard the month before. This month it’s your turn.” She reached behind her and pulled the red box between them.
Tony was being stubborn and refused to let go of her hips. “”You are a mean woman.” he said looking at the box with contempt. When Pepper turned the box around so he could read it, his face immediately changed from a frown into a small smile. “Wild Blueberries” he murmured to himself, then looking up to lock eyes with Pepper who couldn’t stop a grin from spreading across her face. She had gotten him hooked on blueberries five months ago.
She handed him the box, and quickly pressed a soft kiss to his cheek. “I am sure that you and Betty Crocker will get along just fine. And be sure to make both batches. Twenty four muffins aught to be about right. Twelve for Thor and twelve for the rest of us.” She said and she turned to pick up the coffee cup off of the countertop. “And Jarvis. Please no helping Mr. Stark either. That is unless he decides to set fire to the kitchen again.” She chuckled to herself as she walked out of the kitchen.
“Yes, madam.” The AI replied.
“That was not entirely my fault.” He called after her as he turned to glare up at the security camera in the corner of the kitchen making his dislike of Jarvis’ agreement with Pepper visually known to the AI.
“I did try to warn you, sir” the AI coolly remarked. “But you had insisted that your recipe for ‘flaming’ fondue was quite safe.”
Tony ignored the AI’s sarcastic remark as he leaned up against the countertop and began to read the directions on the box. He opened the box up and pulled out two packets of mix and two cans of wild blueberries. Within about 20 minutes he had both muffin pans in the oven baking. Now came the hard part: waiting. Since Jarvis couldn’t help him, the oven controls were now on manual which meant that Tony was on the hook for making sure the muffins cooked properly and didn’t burn.
The twenty one minute baking time suddenly became an eternity of impatient waiting misery for him. He pulled a stool over in front of the oven door and stared into the dark glass of the oven door as if his sheer will could make the muffins cook faster. Within minutes, the odor of baking blueberry muffins filled the kitchen. Tony took a deep breath and sighed. Pepper had made him breakfast earlier, but the wonderful odor of cooking muffins made his stomach growl in anticipation of their morning snack. The old saying that an army marched on its stomach was true and the Avengers were no exception to this rule. And since today was Tony’s day for keeping them fed, he had already planned out their lunch of shawarma at the restaurant two blocks from the Tower. Then he and Pepper were going to host dinner for everyone tonight in their pent house. Pepper had been excited to hear that Betty, Bruce’s wife, Thor’s girlfriend, Jane, and Steve’s ‘friend’ Jennifer a Shield Doctor were to join them for dinner.
Tony looked at the timer which now read four minutes and twenty two seconds, and he was suddenly relieved that his mental ramblings on food had helped to pass the time. Tony heard Pepper’s trade mark high heels on the tile floor as she entered the kitchen. He next felt her hands on his shoulders and felt her lips on his neck. He reached up and took her hands in his and pulled them down so they encircled his waist as she continued to kiss his neck.
“Haven’t you ever heard the saying that ‘a watched pot never boils’ Tony?” she whispered, pressing her lips against one of his ears. Shivers involuntarily ran down his neck disappearing into his shirt.
Suddenly the timer dinged. Pepper let go of him and he got up, pulling on the oven mitts. He pulled out both pans of muffins placing them on cooling racks on the countertop.
Pepper reached around him pulling out a plate. She picked up one of the muffins careful not to burn herself and placed it on her plate.
“Hey” Tony protested “Those are for our morning snack.”
Pepper looked at him her eyes sparkling with mischief. “I am your official taste tester you know.” She replied pulling the cupcake tin from around the muffin. “But I am willing to share.” She held the muffin out for him and he took a small bite out of it, leaving the majority of the muffin for her to eat. “Please don’t tell me that you are going to start watching me like you watched the muffins.” He smiled at her and laid one hand gently on her stomach. “If you had trouble waiting 21 minutes for the muffins, I can only imagine how trying it is going to be for you to wait another 6 ½ months for our two buns in my oven.”
He leaned over and kissed her soundly on the lips. “Yeah” he began as he gently caressed her stomach through her blouse “but I know some really great ways that you and I can pass the time while we wait on those buns to finish baking.” His eyebrows moved up and down suggestively as she took a big bite of muffin and rolled her eyes at him as she chewed. He took her hand and gently pulled her in the direction of their bedroom. He knew that as soon as she swallowed her bite she would begin protesting his plan for passing time this morning before the meeting. “And if we’re a few minutes late to the meeting, no one will care ‘cause we’re bringing muffins!”