Scarlett stood staring blankly in awe in front of Tony, shivering from the chills she got down her back. It was true that Tony had confessed love to her in his basement after they had argued over what seemed more and more like trivial things the more Scarlett thought about it but she hadn’t believed it for a second. What it boiled down to was that Tony had overreacted and had flown off the handle while Scarlett had been so shocked and surprised by his lashing out that she hadn’t known what to do. She didn’t think her anger was unjustified by any means, she had decided, but she wasn’t as angry as she had expected to be.
But now, Tony was confessing his love for her again on the train. It had been hours since she’d left the Stark home and the admission he’d made hours ago popped back into her mind suddenly. Why had she disregarded his words so quickly? Maybe he had meant it when he said he’d loved her then. It was an admission in the heat of the moment, so why hadn’t Scarlett considered there was some truth to it?
She was sure that a psychiatrist would tell her feelings of inadequacy made her think she was undeserving of love and rejected the idea as quickly as it had come. Scarlett thought psycho analysis was a crock of shit, at least when it came to her. It was logical for her to think that Tony had been making excuses to try and clean up the mess he’d made of their relationship with little to no effort on his part. At least that was what Scarlett had thought he was doing. He could’ve been honest, but it was a logical mistake for her to assume that he wasn’t being completely truthful given his extensive history.
And yet, there they were standing in the back of a train car that Tony had purposely stopped in the middle of the tracks in one of the busiest cities in the world and he was telling her that he loved her and most importantly that he was sorry. He hadn’t tried to manipulate her into coming home or tried to defend his actions. Scarlett had expected him to immediately come up with reasons why things hadn’t been his fault as a lot of men did when faced with their shortcomings but he’d taken the higher ground and had flat out apologized. On top of that he was saying that he loved her, which she was guessing was a huge step for someone like Tony.
Why hadn’t he waited until the train had gotten to the station to talk to her? They were already almost to the train’s first stop he could’ve waited fifteen or twenty more minutes and have saved himself a lot of time, money, and trouble. But maybe he was trying to make a statement with what he’d done. Unlike the first time that Tony had confessed his love for her, Scarlett didn’t doubt for a moment that his words were true.
Her face softened for a brief second as she considered why those simple words affected her so fantastically. Love was just a word. She’d never believed in its existence and had always rolled her eyes at the people who told her stories of how they’d found it and completed their lives with that of another person. Maybe it was because she’d never had good relationships in the past. Maybe it was because Scarlett was selfish in many ways. Or maybe it was just because Scarlett was downright cynical for most of her life. Love was a fairytale created to justify bouts of lust gone awry.
She hadn’t known what the word love really meant until she was hearing it from Tony’s lips in that moment on the train. For those precious few seconds Scarlett knew that she was loved by him and it had been a sincere confession. She knew what those people who talked about love meant and as childish as it felt to think that she’d found the missing piece, she was thinking it. Why else would Tony destroy a surely incredibly expensive train along with the track that it was on? Why would he put innocent civilians in harm’s way just so he could continue lying to her? It didn’t make sense for his intellectual mind. If nothing else, Scarlett was uniquely positive that Tony was being honest with her, at least this one time.
What was she supposed to do now when faced with the truth? Tony was staring at her expectantly, hoping for some kind of reaction. He wanted her to be truly moved by his words, he wanted her to forgive him, but most of all he wanted her to know that he was being honest with her. The ache in her chest that she had finally learned to manage on her walk through Malibu was back in full force. She was sure that if she tried to move, she’d collapse with pain. Scarlett turned away from Tony and shook her head.
Even if he really did love her, how was she supposed to forgive him for what he’d done? Would those three little words really make everything alright again? Of course they wouldn’t. Love wasn’t magic, life wasn’t some story in a book and Scarlett was still mad as hell, not to mention hurt. She was already doubting the truth of his words, but knew it was all fear related so didn’t put too much stock in it.
Being away from the intoxicating air of Tony Stark had reminded her of why she’d woken up in Malibu in the first place. She’d almost died at the hands of an evil group of men and women and a man who had put up with her selfish behavior for years had been put in harm’s way. He may not have been the love of her life, but he’d always stuck by her through the struggles she’d gone through. This had humbled her. Even if she didn’t want to spend her life with Scott she owed it to him to let him know that she was okay at the very least. He might even know something about MedCo that would help her pinpoint the remaining founders so she could take them out and end the story once and for all. She could only imagine that Scott assumed she had died and was feeling just as guilty for her having deceased as she had felt.
Closing her eyes tightly Scarlett held a hand to her head and tried to stop the conflicting thoughts rushing through her mind. Too much was happening at once and it was overwhelming her. Most importantly, Scarlett knew that in such a state she couldn’t resist the urge to jump into his arms and tell him that she loved him too. It was too cliché for her to do. This wasn’t some romantic movie where the girl would fall prey to her emotions and give into them and finally find happiness with her true love despite the terrible things that had transpired over the film’s course. Even if she went back with Tony now that he’d confessed and they really worked things out together she wouldn’t be okay with the situation. It would feel good initially, but trouble would eventually brew the way that it always seemed to.
There were people out in the world ready to kill her and those in their path to her and they wouldn’t stop until they got what they wanted or until Scarlett stopped them. Her selfish want for romance and love with Tony ever since things had gotten increasingly intense between them had drowned out her need to do the right thing even if she wasn’t quite sure what that thing was yet. Putting a stop to the devastation that MedCo had caused was far more important.
She knew that loving Tony would only suit the two of them and they had both made a mess out of their lives and the lives of the other in the process of untangling the twisted web of their emotions over the past month.
But what had gotten them into so much trouble in the first place was the deceit and the lies that had covered the foundation of their relationship. If Scarlett didn’t tell Tony that she loved him right then and there she’d be doing him a disservice and adding onto the lies she’d swore to stop telling. On the other hand if Scarlett did tell Tony she loved him on the train then he would likely scoop her up and carry her away into the unknown until she talked it out with him. She didn’t think that Tony was likely to take no for an answer anyway, not after he’d stopped a train to confess to her. If he carried her away, her strength would fade.
On top of that Scarlett didn’t really want to hide her feelings from him. He’d been the only person she’d ever felt a strong emotional attachment to in her life before. Emotional bonds had always been a struggle for her. She’d even felt detached from her parents in her youth and every boyfriend that had followed. Standing on a train surrounded by people was not the best time to consider her emotional turmoil. People behind her were waiting on her response, clearly enraptured by their story.
Tony looked desperate. He was staring at her with pleading eyes and hoping she would respond to him, even if it was to tell him to go to hell. When she turned her back he reached for her shoulder but then recoiled when he realized that he was still wearing the suit of armor. When she didn’t turn back to look at him, he continued to talk.
If nothing else, he’d gotten her to stop arguing with him. Clearly his words had an impact and even if it wasn’t the desired one it felt good for the words not to go discarded entirely as they had during their argument earlier in the day. At least he’d made an impact with what he’d said and she hadn’t accused him of using them to try and manipulate his way out of an apology. But he hadn’t expected to see the hurt and stress in her eyes when he’d said it. Now that she’d stopped yelling at him and making accusations, it was apparent how she was really feeling.
“I know you didn’t believe me when I said it to you earlier after we fought.” Tony expected her to lash out and list the reasons that she hadn’t believed him but he didn’t need her to defend the logic behind her response. It made perfect to him sense after he’d thought about it for awhile. Scarlett looked back at him, seemingly still in awe of what he’d confessed. He’d never seen her so out of it, even when she’d had her awful anxiety attack that went with the allergic reaction she’d had on her leg, it hadn’t been that bad before. This was a different kind of darkness hanging behind her gaze. She looked lost. That scared Tony more than anything else.
“How could I?” Scarlett was sure those around them were more confused than ever, but it seemed like they were hanging on their every word, eager to find out where their love affair would end up.
“I know, I know!” Tony stopped her from continuing on, but little did he know that Scarlett had almost nothing left in the way of words when it came to arguing with him. “I was an ass when I did that, okay? I was a huge asshole and… I was angry and confused and took it out on you which wasn’t fair. I know that.”
Scarlett averted her gaze back toward the window. She could see the lights of the police sirens just outside now. It would only be a minute or two before the cops came in and interrupted them.
“I’m an idiot, Scarlett” Tony stepped closer and gingerly placed a metallic hand on Scarlett’s arm, being careful not to apply too much pressure. She glanced down at it but other than that didn’t acknowledge it. “I screwed up. I was afraid that you’d…” Tony twisted the words on his tongue, and decided not to finish his sentence at least not with so many people as their audience. “I love you. Do you know how hard that is for me to say? I have literally… never said I love you to anyone before and that… I mean, even my parents I just sort of nodded but… I feel like you need to know. I love you and even if you keep your walls up and avoid me for the rest of our lives I’ll always love you.”
Scarlett got the shivers as he spoke, goose bumps breaking out on her skin. Finally she glanced back up at Tony. He was pleading with her, hoping that she would forgive him. The more she looked the more she realized it wasn’t even that. He didn’t need forgiveness. He needed the chance to earn forgiveness and that somehow meant even more than the apology had meant to her. Scarlett opened her mouth to respond but didn’t get the chance.
There was a bang on the side of the train car that made Scarlett jump almost out of her skin. Tony grabbed harder onto her arm and pulled her closer protectively. They’d gotten so into the argument and tension of the situation that they’d both forgotten what was transpiring. It was hard to forget about the crowd gathered around due to the closed quarters, but they’d nearly forgotten they were trapped in a train and awaiting rescue.
“Step aside!” Voices from outside the door echoed within, urging those inside to step away from the doors so they wouldn’t get hurt when it was pried away. Scarlett turned to look at the group of people who were staring at her and looking for guidance. She nodded her head to let them know it was okay to listen so they backed away from the door. The door flew open and the chilly wind of the night overwhelmed them. Scarlett pulled free of Tony’s grasp so she could help the people on the train start to climb out of the car now that it was established there was no immediate threat to the people inside it.
“Wait, Scarlett no…” Tony grabbed her wrist and carefully tugged her back. She whipped around and shook her head.
“We have to get these people home.” Scarlett didn’t sound mad and she didn’t sound upset, she simply sounded focused.
“I already took care of it. I’ll pay for transportation, whatever… Pepper will take care of it.”
“It’s not just that. You scared them. You scared me.” She shrugged her shoulders. “We thought something awful had happened.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Tony didn’t care about the other people on the train, he only cared about Scarlett and getting her back.
“The things you do matter.” Scarlett argued and then started to turn away again. Tony shook his head in dismay.
“Please, just give me another chance to prove to you that I know what I do matters, okay? And I can make this up to you if you let me.” Tony pled, his big brown eyes shining with sadness. He had to make her stay with him. Not that he would take no for an answer, but he wasn’t going to give up the ghost so quickly either. “They’ll be fine but me? I won’t be if you don’t give me another chance.”
Scarlett pulled her wrist free but didn’t turn away from Tony this time. Instead she stared at him and considered his proposal. It would be much easier if she could simply say she’d give him another chance and let him embrace her like she so wanted him to. But easy didn’t mean it was the right thing to do. With MedCo on the loose Scarlett didn’t think it was the right direction to go in. Still, it was a tempting offer and the more she thought about it, the more she wanted to give in.
“Excuse me, Mr. Stark?” One of the officers, looking none too pleased by the situation at hand, stepped between Tony and Scarlett. Tony tried to peer around the officer but he wasn’t moving out of the way.
“I’m a little busy…”
“Do you have any idea how many laws you’ve broken? How much damage you’ve done to this metro system?”
“How much? I can get my assistant to write a check.” Tony nodded his head impatiently. The officer seemed offended and was soon joined by another who was far more level-headed. Over and over Tony kept thinking and hoping that maybe if he got the police out of his hair quickly he’d find Scarlett waiting behind for him and ready to give him another chance. He didn’t need her to say she loved him all he needed was the chance to show her he was being honest.
But unfortunately the officers had a lot to discuss and there was a myriad of paperwork that Tony had to sign and go through before he was able to actually get away from the officers. The crowd of people traveling home for the night or to various venues had begun to disperse at long last but the police had lingered around afterward to supervise the repairs to the track. Scarlett had disappeared somewhere into the crowd and despite his attempts to find her, Tony couldn’t seem to catch a glimpse of her. She’d taken the time that he’d been distracted and had escaped.
Cursing, Tony searched through the people who remained on scene at the station but Scarlett was still nowhere to be found. Putting the helmet back onto his suit, Tony decided to take his search to the skies. He’d been able to pinpoint her before so maybe he could use that same heat signature to scan the area and locate her. Then again he was in Los Angeles so scanning the area wouldn’t exactly be the easiest task to accomplish.
“I have a call from Miss Potts. Actually I have several calls from Miss Potts and one from Colonel Rhodes.” Jarvis echoed in his ear once communication with him was restored.
“Patch Pepper through and tell Rhodes I’ll talk to him later.” Tony sighed, knowing that he couldn’t leave his assistant in the darkness for long.
“Tony! Tony, what the hell are you doing? I was just on the phone with the FBI. The FBI Tony, what is this about a train? Did you destroy a train? I told you to go after Scarlett, not to go destroying the greater metro area! And what are all these taxi cab companies doing calling me for a payment? Tony what the hell did you do out there?” Pepper barely took a breath while ranting.
“I stopped a train to find Scarlett and offered the other passengers a ride to wherever they were going considering I caused the stop anyway.” Tony answered casually as he flew above the city. “Oh, and if you could alert air traffic control that I’m up here above the city that’d be great. I’ve crashed enough big transportation vehicles today, the last thing I need to do is to take out a weather chopper or something.” He chuckled.
“This isn’t funny Tony! Happy! Where’s Happy? I need Happy.” Pepper seemed to be having some sort of panic fit and it was actually making Tony feel a little bit better to hear his assistant in her usual state of confusion. It was the tiny bit of normalcy that he needed. He could hear Happy in the background telling her to calm down.
“Just find out the damages for the train that I destroyed and double it, Pepper. Tell them to call it the Stark Station if they have to… it has a nice sort of ring to it.”
“Did you even find Scarlett in that mess?” Pepper sounded irritated but had regained her composure. Tony knew that Pepper’s freak outs about his bad behaviors didn’t last very long. When it came to legal and financial situations she was a genius and that’s why he kept her around despite her difficulty when it came to handling the physical and emotional danger that he often put them in.
“Kind of.” Tony responded, a long whine in his voice, pursing his lips.
“Kind of? What’s what supposed to mean? Tony I swear, if you stopped a train and didn’t even do what you set out to do then so help me…”
“What are you going to do about it, huh? It’s my money.” Tony chuckled. Pepper’s threats were always good for a laugh.
“Sir, I’ve started scanning nearby establishments for purchases by women of similar description and multiple variations of the spelling of her name.” Jarvis chimed in through the speaker.
“You wouldn’t interrupt me on the phone if you hadn’t found something, am I right?” Tony spoke to his computer.
“Tony, I’m still here.” Pepper chirped, seemingly torn between being irritated with Tony for being so poorly prepared and amused that he was actually hunting Scarlett down throughout the city of Los Angeles.
“Pepper, I’m a little busy right now.” Tony spoke over her. “Gotta go.” He disconnected the call and stopped the Mark VII from flying further, hovering above the city. Somewhere in those lights below, Scarlett was hiding from him and trying to avoid dealing with the mess he’d made. He couldn’t rightly blame her for trying to avoid it but he couldn’t let her continue to do so either. It wasn’t good for either of them. Tony needed her to be okay and somehow he knew that she needed him just as badly. “What were you saying, Jarvis?”
“After checking the local banks and finding nothing amiss, I started checking hotels in the metro area.”
“That sounds like an exhausting search.” Tony glanced at the busy streets below. There’d be no way for Tony to find her in the metropolis even with Jarvis’ help and the internal memory of her heat signature. It was damn lucky that she’d used her real name to buy a ticket on the train and he doubted she would do that twice. Closing his eyes, Tony considered that he’d given up his last chance to get her back and exhaled deeply. He wouldn’t give up his search, but it would be much harder to find her time and time again.
“Not for me,” Jarvis responded. “My guess was that Miss Damien would plan for a more permanent escape. It’s the only reason why I can think she would travel to Los Angeles specifically. It was a one way ticket, not connecting unless she planned to cheat the system upon arrival.”
“And since I pretty much put a stop to the entire train system…” Tony smirked, realizing she likely couldn’t take the train to get anywhere else. Even the Amtrak trains ran out of the same stations and from what the police had told him, he’d put a stop to the entire thing by causing a disaster on the one track. Even after he’d offered to help move the destroyed cars off of the railing so things could resume as usual it was explained to him that protocol dictated that it couldn’t be done that way. Plus he’d destroyed multiple areas of the track and had compromised the strength of that section of rail entirely. Instead Tony had just agreed to pay the fines that came with the destruction he’d caused.
“I checked alternate routes out of the country, the logical choice being the airport. My guess is that without legal documents she will not be able to flee the country for at least twelve hours while she obtains the proper identification.”
“You can get a passport that quickly? It took me like… three months.” Tony pouted, snapping his eyes open.
“There are less than reputable ways, sir which from what I’ve gathered about Miss Damien, she is rather familiar with.”
“Jarvis, you dirty dog.” Despite his sassy retort, Tony was not in the mood to play around. His heart was still thundering in his chest but he had a glimmer hope. Scarlett hadn’t rejected him, she’d just run away scared.
“Anyway sir, I checked hotels and couldn’t find any recent bookings for anyone named Scarlett Damien.”
“She’d be a fool to use her real name twice.” Tony nodded, thinking that this was the big flaw in his new plan.
“Precisely, so I scrambled the letters of her name and only found one reservation in that of one Mina Castle. The reservation was placed for a one night stay at a moderately priced hotel near the Los Angeles International Airport. She is in room 412.” Tony quietly contemplated this information.
“You do realize that if this isn’t her room I’m probably going to end up back in trouble with the police tonight.”
“Miss Potts might kill you.” Jarvis countered.
“Target room 412, Jarvis.” Tony waited for the room to come up on the screen and then started off through the night sky toward the hotel.
Scarlett rushed away from the train with the crowd, breathing heavier than necessary in an attempt to ward off the panic sitting in her chest. She was running away from Tony so she could clear out her thoughts. It’d all happened too quickly and she was off of her game. The urge to fight was gone and she was left with nothing but quiet confusion to destroy her thoughts.
With some time away from Tony she’d feel better. With a few sips of scotch she’d feel great and maybe even forget all about how terrible the situation had become. Terrible perhaps wasn’t the right word for her struggle. It was just not something she knew how to deal with. Espionage? Sure. Torture? She’d been there and done that. Natural disasters or contract killers? No problem. But love? From Tony Stark? That was a whole new area of crazy that she wasn’t ready to deal with.
Right now Scarlett could only deal with the mission in front of her. Her heart was racing and her head was hurting. Walking into the hotel, Scarlett used the first alias she could think of to book a room for the night after she stopped at multiple ATMs to pull out a substantial amount of money from multiple accounts that she’d memorized over the years and used for backups. It was an easy process to manipulate an ATM as long as she made it look like she was doing a regular transaction.
Once in the hotel with her room booked, Scarlett went straight to the bar. She didn’t plan on getting obliterated. A couple of drinks would ease her nerves enough that she would be able to function. The last thing she needed was to end up causing another drunken disturbance like she’d done a few days ago. Sitting at the bar she considered that really had only been a handful of days ago. It felt like a lifetime ago when her world had come crumbling to pieces around her. Scarlett had spent much of her time over the years fighting to find her way but never once before the last few days had she ever felt this completely upside down.
She didn’t know what to do. Scarlett didn’t know how to live her life without a fight. So instead of trying to take the easy way out and give into what she really wanted, she’d go where she could fight. And right now that was in Africa. It was the only goal she had and it was the only thing she could think to do to distract herself from how Tony had chased after her and the fight that they’d had earlier in the day. Even though he’d apologized and admitted that he was being an ass the words he’d said still stung.
Glancing behind the counter at the bartender’s rack against the wall displaying the various bottles of alcohol Scarlett hesitated to order. She didn’t want a glass of scotch for the first time since she’d discovered it in her twenties. It reminded her of being with Tony. Even the rum reminded her of Tony and the first time they’d spent the night. Leaning her head in her hand she took a slow deep breath and considered what to drink. When the bartender asked her what she wanted she wasn’t sure what to say because everything she considered seemed like a recipe for depression.
“Vodka and Sprite please.” Placing the payment on the counter since she only intended on having one drink, Scarlett ordered the only thing she could think of that she hadn’t had with Tony and would still enjoy. She didn’t love vodka but masked with enough soda it was tolerable to drink. Drowning her sorrows for a half an hour over a glass of alcohol that didn’t seem to appeal to her, Scarlett finally discarded the glass and decided to head up to her room. She regretted leaving Tony at the train without saying goodbye at least. After all, it had been kind of romantic that he’d stopped it just to talk to her. It was sweet in a weird way and she wondered why she was flattered.
Then again it was probably wrong of her not to be flattered.
Scarlett had just about enough of thinking for the day. She’d sleep and in the morning worry about obtaining a passport so she could get out of the country. Then she’d purchase the items she required for her mission and be on her way. Sighing softly she headed onto the elevator, humming quietly to herself as she leaned against the back wall with her eyes closed. She’d had a number of interesting experiences in elevators. Everything from lovemaking and surprise attacks, to technical difficulties and power outages.
Reflecting on these memories she wondered how things could ever work with anyone, nonetheless Tony?
Her history was toxic. She was toxic. Hearing the ding of the elevator, Scarlett opened her eyes and walked through the hall, still without her shoes and her feet incredibly sore, and then slowly toward the room at the end of the hallway. It was a nice hotel, one of the better ones near the airport and she’d decided to spring for a room with a view and some space. She figured it would be her last enjoyment of luxury before she headed back into the desert where she would be lucky to have a place to sleep at night.
Slipping the key card in the lock on the door, Scarlett stepped into the hotel room and let the door slam closed behind her. Barely looking around the room she shivered from the chill in the air and adjusted the thermostat on the wall. Turning away from the thermostat she tossed her key onto the coffee table in the living area and then walked around the couch and through the archway to the bedroom.
Paying little attention, Scarlett hung her head and untied the knot she’d placed in her hair to keep it out of her face and then stopped as she opened the closet door to find the robe that was usually complementary in those places. Maybe she’d take a long bath and soak her sore and aching feet. Hearing a creak behind her Scarlett grabbed the hanger the robe was on, twisted it in her hand so that the hook was facing outward and then turned around sharply to face the source of the sound across the room.
Standing in between the open doors of the balcony on the opposite side of the bed in the hotel room was Tony, still in his armor, the helmet of the Mark VII mechanically sliding off and having caused the sound that had caused her suspect. Blinking at him in surprise, Scarlett hesitated but lowered the hanger in her grasp. She wasn’t planning on attacking Tony and no longer needed the impromptu weapon.
“How did you find me?” Scarlett wasn’t acting as surprised to see him as she actually was. He must have been determined to find her to search through so many databases.
“Well, I figured you’d try to get out of town but you couldn’t leave without a passport… So I started searching for hotels around the easiest ways out of the country which left the seaport and the airport and well… Since I didn’t think you’d use your name again I started searching for anagrams of your name and one popped up. I figured either I’d get really lucky and you’d be here or I’d get arrested and that’s not the worst thing I’ve done today so it was worth the risk.” Tony nervously pushed his hands through his hair and then started to disassemble the armor he had on. It was too much. He didn’t want to be Iron Man at the moment. The suit had just been a means to an end for him.
“So you asked Jarvis to help is what you’re saying.” Scarlett folded her arms over her chest and avoided eye contact.
“Yeah, Jarvis did all the grunt work.” Tony could feel the tension in the room and became defensive immediately. “Look before you kick me out just give me a chance to…” Tony drifted off when Scarlett came closer to him.
Instead of smacking him or yelling at him like he expected her to do she started to help him pull apart the pieces of the Iron Man armor to get it off of him. Tony stood stunned while she helped him. There were about three hundred things he could think of to say to make a snarky comment that would likely cause her to roll her eyes at him but instead he chose to stay silent. Later there would be plenty of time to make up for the sassy remarks he’d missed out on. Right now he needed to try and repair the damage that he’d done and try to find out why Scarlett was acting so strange. She hadn’t had the list of nasty things to say to him that he’d expected. Clearly something had changed.
Scarlett wasn’t sure how to take the armor off but quickly found out how it snapped together and assembled and was able to help Tony get off the bulk of it. It took a good few minutes but they managed to get the armor off of him and set it aside so that he could put it back on later. Helping to place the armor aside, Scarlett dusted her hands off once her task was finished. Tony watched her curiously, trying to read her body language but every signal she was sending was mixed and confused and he couldn’t honestly blame her.
Turning away he closed the window to the balcony and then sighed heavily, leaning against the door. She hadn’t thrown him out and she hadn’t tried to run away from him so he guessed that this was something akin to progress.
“I stopped a train for you.” Tony furrowed his brow, finally taking into consideration what he had actually done to get to this point. He hadn’t really thought much of what he’d done through before he’d done it. Of course, he’d dealt with the aftermath but Tony was always good at dealing with the aftermath. Having grown up in the limelight it was hard to avoid dealing with that sort of thing on the fly. His whole life was on camera, not a single moment left untouched. So when the police had come barking and the media sniffed around he turned on the charm and dealt with it as he always had. But now that he was alone with Scarlett the gravity of the situation had settled in. He had stopped a train on a busy track for a woman who he wasn’t even sure loved him as much as he loved her.
And then of course, being in love was blowing his mind just as severely as the things he’d done for it was. Confused and surprised, he suddenly knew why Scarlett was acting as confused and aloof as she was.
“I saw that.” Scarlett was straightening things on the nightstand in a particular manner. “Actually I felt it. You’re really lucky… so many people could’ve gotten hurt and sued you. Hell you could’ve gone to prison for the injuries you could’ve potentially caused.”
“I wasn’t thinking about that at the time.” Tony grimaced. He’d never wanted to hurt anyone, he’d just wanted to get to Scarlett. It wasn’t the first time Tony Stark had done something incredibly stupid for the sake of something he wanted.
“I guessed that.” Scarlett rolled her eyes. “It was idiotic. I’d ask what you were thinking but I’m guessing there wasn’t much thought in the decision.” Straightening her back and running her fingers through her hair, Scarlett continued to avoid looking at him while she checked out the hotel room. She wanted to be familiar with her surroundings, it brought her peace of mind which was something she had been severely lacking for a long time.
“Well I…” Tony drifted off. He didn’t know what to say to her in response to that. Stupid hadn’t really been what he was going for and it wasn’t an insult that often suited him. But he couldn’t exactly disagree either. He hadn’t considered the damage he’d do to the people inside of the train when he stopped it. But seeing as no one had gotten hurt, there was no harm no foul, right?
“Don’t try to make excuses for yourself.” Scarlett sighed and finally glanced over at Tony. “It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen you do.” Tony frowned, still unsure of what to say. “But…” Tony glanced back up at her quickly. He hadn’t anticipated a follow up. “It was also the most ridiculously romantic thing I’ve ever seen anyone do in my life. Nonetheless the most romantic thing that anyone’s ever done for me. It sure beats buying me a drink.” Scarlett was looking away again but Tony was watching her like a hawk. It was the first time she’d said something to him that let him think he might still stand a chance with her.
Tony got the shivers and smiled at long last. Things could find normalcy again. All they needed to break the tension between them was to go right back to where they belonged. He didn’t have to be someone else to be in love with Scarlett. Even his stupid mistakes had come off as romantic to her. Once they both realized that, maybe they could start to heal.
“Look, Scarlett…” Tony stepped away from the balcony doors and around the room so he could be closer to her. “I’m so sorry…”
“Stop.” Scarlett turned to face him and held her hand up in front of her. She was tired of fighting and it was obvious Tony wasn’t going to stop following her until they had their talk at least. And part of her didn’t want Tony to ever stop following her despite what she knew she had to do in the long run. “You don’t have to apologize, Tony. You’ve said enough.”