Chapter 3

Catalina took a page out of Tony's book and decided to cancel all her appointments for the day, she was so tired that she slept in until ten and spent the rest of the morning lounging around in her pyjamas and watching TV, something that she hadn't done for a long time. Sylia was concerned but glad that her friend had decided to take some time to her self; she had been going flat out for such a long time.

She rather enjoyed taking a day off, it felt good to just act her age for a while, she played a little play station, ate half a tub of ice cream, gave her self a manicure and phoned some of her friends from college to organise a night out. She only remembered that she was having a dinner meeting with Tony when clock struck 7:00.

Seeing that the sun wasn't going to set until later Catalina decided that she would take the opportunity to run over to his house, she pulled on her workout clothes and a pair of sneakers, stuffed some clean clothes into a small back pack with her flash drive containing the work they needed to go over and headed out the door. She called out to Sylia.

"Don't wait up Baby"

She heard an audible scoff come from somewhere in the house. Shaking her head in amusement Catalina pulled her hair back and put in her earplugs, turning her ipod to her workout play list she put sneakers to the pavement and ran towards Tony Starks Cliffside mansion.

The music pounded through her body her feet pounded the pavement, it took her about 45 minutes to reach Tony's house, by the time she got through security and wound her way up the absurdly long drive way she was drenched in sweat and in desperate need of a shower.

Tony was down in his work shop tinkering with his roadster when Jarvis notified him that some one was at the front door; he wiped his hands clean on a shammy cloth and wandered up the stairs the sound of the door bell resonated through the hallway. He opened the door to a sweaty and panting Catalina, boy did that conjure up some thoughts.

"Hey, you're early" he stated with a quirky grin.

"Yep, I…thought…I…would …get ….in…a…run….at…the….same…time" she panted, deep breaths punctuated each word.

Tony gaze was caught at the sight of her heaving chest; Catalina noticed the line of sight and rolled her eyes.

"Are you done admiring the view? I'd really like to have a shower before we go over the final building specs and the outline for the ground breaking ceremony"

Tony snapped out of his daze and looked back up at her face.

"Huh? Oh yeah, come on in. You can use the down the bathroom through the door to the left, all the towels there are clean and you can find everything you need in the cabinet above the sink" he replied pointing Catalina in the direction of the guest bathroom.

As a bit of revenge for being a pervert Catalina gave Tony a tight, and sweaty hug as she passed by through the large door way. Tony could have sworn he could here JARVIS sniggering as the cold clammy feeling of her sweat drenched arms penetrated his clothing, it felt pretty gross despite the fact that he actually enjoyed the sight of Catalina sweaty and panting. That was an image that conjured up some damned inappropriate thoughts that shot straight from his head to his groin.

To prevent a more visual affirmation of such thoughts he had to visualise Rhodey doing the Cancan in a thong bikini. He shuddered at the image dancing in his mind, which was enough to get anyone out of the mood. He heard the fan in the bathroom turn on and the water start pouring out of the shower head…he also heard Catalina's sigh of delight at the sensation of the hot water hitting her body.

He coughed and walked into the living room to set up a suitable work area, order a pizza and find something to drink. While he was milling around he could hear faint singing coming from the bathroom…not very good singing unfortunately. As striking and intelligent as Catalina was, one thing that she could not do was hold a tune with out sounding like a tone deaf yak.

By the time the pizza arrived Catalina was out of the shower and strolled out into the living room her hair still damp had been brushed back from her face and fell just past her shoulders in shiny damp ringlets. Her layered fringe was brushed so that it fell across her right eye and brushed her cheekbones, her skin was freshly scrubbed and glowing. She was dressed in a pair of grey formfitting bootleg jeans and a tight black KoRn t-shirt. He looked up when he heard the sound of her bare feet padding in across the marble floor; she had a small laptop and some files in her hands. He liked this look on her, granted she had looked sexy as hell in that purple dress and powerfully confident in the black business suit, but now in this get up she looked like a college girl coming over for a study session. He suddenly felt 17 again.

Catalina grinned at the sight of the large pizza box from Giuseppe's Pizzeria; she plonked her stuff on the couch and lifted the lid inhaling the scent of the different types of meat products. She pulled out a slice and bit into it with a vengeance.

Tony looked surprised at her gusto.

"I take it that you're not a tofu girl then?"

Catalina quirked an eyebrow and swallowed her mouthful of meat lovers.

"Tofu is the root of all evil, and there's only one thing that can change a person's mind, and that's a modified Uzi with an extra-long clip"

Tony choked on his drink and snorted loudly with laughter at that statement.

"I don't think I have ever heard that one before"

They ate their pizza and went over the final details for the new building and were relaxing on the couch with a couple of drinks, just hanging out and talking.

"…so I just turned to the reporter and said 'Jesus, man, so much of life is just f***in' detailin' the car'".

Catalina sniggered and took a sip of her drink.

"You know this scotch, while expensive and delicious just doesn't seem to get the job done"

Tony looked shocked and appalled

"How can you say that, this scotch is perfectly aged and fermented for maximum effect"

Catalina smiled evilly and asked where he kept his other spirits. Tony pointed at a nondescript cupboard next to the hole where the baby grand piano used to be, she stood up and opened it to find almost every spirit, liquor and mixer ever created. She pulled out three bottles, a spirit glass and a measuring cylinder used to measure out 30ml and 15ml quantities of alcohol. Her back was turned towards Tony, so he couldn't see what she was making. She poured out three different shots into the glass and stirred the mixture with a swizzle stick.

She brought back the glass and handed it to Tony; she sat back down on the couch and motioned for him to take a sip. He looked wearily at the glass and at Catalina; she just smiled innocently and flicked a now dry curl back from her face. Tony sniffed the glass and pulled back, what ever this concoction was it smelled strong. He took a mouth full and swallowed. He coughed and gasped for breath, WOAH! That was one strong cocktail.

"What the hell's in this thing?" he asked, gasping as the strong drink burned down his throat, warming his body.

Catalina cracked up laughing and tears started streaming down her cheeks.

"Its called rocket fuel, its got rum, tequila and vodka in it" she managed to stammer out "I wanted to see if you could handle a real drink"

She reached out and took the glass, knocked back a gulp and shuddered at the taste before smiling at the warming effect. Tony snatched it back and downed the rest of the drink, the beverage having an almost immediate effect he swayed a little and smiled drunkenly. He flopped down on the couch beside Catalina; he looked straight into her eyes and brushed a stray curl out of her face. His hand stroked her cheek gently and brushed against her lips. She smiled and leaned into his hand, enjoying his ministrations.

She kissed his palm and enclosed his hand in her own. She sighed and sat back against the arm of the chair.

"Tony, you know that nothing can happen between us" she said heavily

That one sentence seemed to have an instant sobering effect on him.

"Why the hell not! It obvious that there is something between us so why cant we…"

Catalina cut him off with a finger on his mouth.

"Because as much as I like you, I am not going to end up as another one of your tricks. I do not want any of the other company heads out there thinking that I will have sex with every person I do business with, its hard enough being a young woman as the head of my company trying to prove that I am as good as the rest, I don't need people thinking that I am any easy lay too" she replied with conviction.

She looked off to one side at the beautiful ocean scenery with the full moon reflecting off the water. Tony clasped her chin gently in his finger tips and turned her face back to meet his.

"Why would you think you would only mean one night to me?" he asked earnestly.

"Come on Tony, everyone knows how you are with women. You spend one night with them and then the next morning send them on their merry way and forget their names…I couldn't take having that happen to me, not from you"

Her pretty blue eyes grew shiny and she pressed her face into his shoulder and sighed deeply.

"God Tony, when I was a teenager I used to dream about the day you would look at me like that; and now that it's happening I can't do a damn thing about it"

Tony wrapped his arms around the younger woman and held her tightly. He breathed in the scent of her hair, she smelled like jasmine and coconut.

"Tali, you would never be a one nighter. No woman has ever made me react the way that you have…for one thing you are a lot smarter than me, and that's a feat in its self".

She sniggered in to his shirt, then pulled back to look at him with a smirk on her face.

"That's true I am smarter than you…and better dressed"

"Yeah but do you have a kickass gold titanium alloy suit that can blow stuff up" he rebutted.

'Yes, and its even better than yours' she thought.

"No, but if I did it would kick your suites ass all the way back to kingdom come". She retorted with a grin and a poke in the chest, her finger nail connected with Tony's arc reactor and made a soft clink sound.

She tugged down the neckline of Tony's t-shirt to get a better look at the glowing blue device embedded in the millionaire's chest. She traced an outline of the device with her finger tip, Tony sucked in a breath at the feeling of her finger tips against his skin. Catalina stared at the device the gentle blue glow illuminating her own blue eyes.

She looked back up at Tony and smiled softly.

"This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen"

Tony smirked sexily and leaned in for another kiss when JARVIS rudely interrupted.

"I am sorry to intrude sir but it seems that there is a problem at the factory"

Tony sighed irritably and sat back on his haunches.

"Where exactly?"

"In the Hanger sir, the section under the newly restored rector that was previously labled Sector Six"

Tony shot up and the colour drained from his face. That was where he stored the original prototype for his Mach 2 suite, something bad had to be going down.