Chapter 6

'Jack' chased after Stark down his mile long driveway. The R8 whizzed past the swarm of paparazzi being held back by Stark's bodyguards and local police officers .

Steph decided to give the press a good picture, so she slowed as she approached them, coming to a complete stop.

"What are you doing, Steph?" Jack asked, even though he knew what she was doing.

"Giving them a nice picture!" She took off her helmet and popped out her chest, pouting at the flashing cameras.

They were going mental as per usual. The story of the world's two most famous whores finally having sex with each other would be huge.

Without a doubt.

The last three days had simply been 'Is Tony Stark really Iron Man?'. People were getting bored of that unanswered question. Although the story of Sexton and Stark wouldn't give them answers, it would at least allow them into the privacy of his life, which they have been completely shut out off for some weeks now, as well as the privacy of London's very own rich bitch.

Satisfied, she put the helmet back on, turning on the headset and released the clutch with her gloved left hand.

"Left," Jack told her, as she approached the end of the driveway. "I'm transmitting the directions to you now."

"You have cameras on here, yeah?"

"Yep, I can see that ugly mutt of yours."

"Oi!" Jack laughed in bittersweet irony, how far it was from the truth.

"Do you have a webcam handy?"

"Erm, why?"

"Just wanted to see how that bruise is healing up."

"It's fine," he said immediately.

"Remind me how you got that?"

"You know, Steph."

"I forgot."

"No."

"Yes!"

"NO!"

"YES!"

"I bumped into the landing skids," he sighed as she giggled at him. Jack was referring to the landing skids of the 1978 Westland Lynx Helicopter, currently being restored in their basement.

"Oh yeah, now I remember. You really should stop working on that thing. I told you that it's cursed! You seriously need to give up-"

"I will restore it, Steph, however long it takes, I will, regardless of the bruises."

Jack had been working on that helicopter ever since moving into Steph's house. He had never really admitted to moving in, but in reality Steph's house was his home.

"Right," Steph replied, hearing his sigh. "You set the camera up yet?"

"Nearly, give me a sec." She passed three cars, outrunning them like lightning outrunning thunder.

"Hello." He waved towards the webcam in his pajamas and sipped on a cup of coffee. Jack wore a long sleeved white t-shirt with pale blue trousers, his hair was unkempt and loose.

"Let me see," Steph asked. She could see him in the corner of the helmet's screen. The image was very clear and focused, as if she was actually looking at him.

Jack moved towards the camera, turning his head to the left, the bruise slightly purple but very faint. It would be gone in a few days.

"Healing up well, actually."

He sipped on some more coffee before telling her to take the next left. She whizzed past a police car parked on the shoulder, the officers inside too lazy to chase after her, they knew they could never catch someone at those speeds.

"You really need to shave, Jack."

The Ninja raced down the Californian highway, its speed over 100mph. Steph was heading directly into a car dead ahead, but she was too busy inspecting Jack's face to notice.

"Mind the car!" Jack shouted, nearly spitting his coffee all over the screens.

She managed to avoid the car, but only by a few feet, the sweet adrenaline rush energised her muscles.

"Bloody hell, that was close," she replied casually, giggling off the near death experience.

"Maybe you should concentrate on the road rather than my morning stubble." Steph laughed at his words.

"But Jack! Nothing is more important than your morning stubble."

"Including your life?"

"Obviously!" Jack rolled his eyes and tied his hair back into a small ponytail, as was custom when he was concentrating on something, this one being keeping Steph alive.

Seeing as she was incapable.

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"Oh come on, Jarvis, this is ridiculous. Have you got a virus or something?" Tony said looking at the route that had been mapped out on the satellite navigation system.

"This is the shortest route to your destination, Sir."

His eyes were back on the highway, the R8 was nearing maximum speed and Stark was irritated by the cars ahead, thus making him slow as he avoided them.

"Clearly, it isn't. This is like flying to New York to get a plane to Mexico. Anyway, where have you been all morning?"

"All systems were temporarily shut down, Sir."

That really took Tony by surprise, although Jarvis had been messing up the past couple of days, due to Nick Fury's interference, the A.I. had never once completly shut down throughout its entire existance.

"All systems were. . . " he began to repeat, making sure he'd heard Jarvis correctly, but something on the GPS screen caught his attention.

"What the hell is this?" Stark asked pointing at a large area that had been mapped out in red. The suggested route on the sat-nav had avoided this area.

"That is Edwards Air Base, Sir," Jarvis replied.

"It's that big?" Tony had been to the place many times, back in the days of weapon manufacturing. He'd never realised that the base took up such a vast area of land.

"What's to stop me from driving through there?" Tony asked. He was pretty sure he could beat Steph, after all California was his home, but he wanted to make sure.

Stephanie Sexton seemed to be full of surprises.

"You're not authorised to do that, Sir," Jarvis said, answering his question, "Though I assume that is not reason enough to stop you."

Tony smiled, "Hell no!"

he smile faded as he concentrated on passing two trucks that were side by side, both traveling at the same speed. Jarvis told him that the R8 was too wide for it to squeeze through, but Tony stubbornly beeped the horn at the two large vehicles. The familiar feeling of power and victory filled his gut as they both moved over, allowing him to pass through.

"Call Rhodey," Stark told the A.I. after saluting the two truck drivers.

"Of course, Sir."

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The last person James Rhodes wanted to hear from this morning was Tony Stark.

The problem with Tony was that he only ever worked to his own schedule, and usually that conflicted with everyone elses, so Rhodes was half expecting a call from him anyway. Whether he would take it or not he had still not decided.

Tony had left without warning Rhodes to collect his award, which, with his fear of public speaking, was not one of his favourite things to do. He hadn't even had anytime to prepare.

Consequently, he'd got absolutely smashed last night. The hangover he was currently suffering he could thank Tony for.

The picture he'd received on his cell phone this morning had lightened his mood slightly. He assumed it was from the slut Tony left with last night, although he couldn't trace a number.

No doubt she stayed the night.

He preferred her sense of humour to Tony's.

He walked into the control room and had just taken a seat when his cell phone started to ring - Tony.

Rhodey let it ring for a while, feeling like he was getting some sort of revenge. Normally he'd pick up almost immediately, and, although he knew that having to wait a few extra seconds wouldn't bother Stark, he felt a small sense of satisfaction.

"What do you want?" he said, picking up the call.

"Rhodey, I need a favour."

No apologies then.

Not that he'd really been expecting one. Stark had no shame - asking him for a favour after just abandoning him the night before.

"You've been asking me for a lot of favours lately."

Tony rolled his eyes.

"What did I do wrong now?" he asked. Last night had not even crossed his mind.

"Oh come on, Tony! Don't give me that crap." Tony smiled when he realised what Rhodey was annoyed about.

"It wasn't that bad, was it?"

"No. You know how much I love public speaking."

"Yeah, sorry about that." He hadn't even thought about that. He knew his apology didn't sound very sincere but he didn't have time for this. He was fast approaching the air base.

"Anyway, about that favour. . ."

"I'll keep the skies clear Tony, but you know I can't keep doing this, right?" Rhodes had only given in that easily, because he knew he could get Tony back at a later date, and besides, whether he decided to help him or not, he knew Tony would just go ahead anyway.

In truth, he was more worried about what would happen to his pilots than Tony.

"I wouldn't bother," Tony told him.

"What?"

"I wouldn't bother keeping the skies clear, but letting me drive through the air base, that would be more useful."

"And why would you want to do that?"

"Well, I'm planning on winning a race."

Rhodey shook his head, "Race against who?"

"Sexton."

"What?" Sexton didn't seem like the driving type, let alone the racing type.

"I'm racing Stephanie Sexton."

"She races?"

"Uh huh, she's got a Ninja."

"She's got a what?"

"A Ninja,"

"What?!"

"A Ninja, a bike, idiot."

"Wait, you're telling me that Stephanie Sexton is a biker?" That he couldn't believe.

"Look, can you stop asking questions. Are you gonna let me through or not?"

Rhodey still couldn't believe the last piece of information Tony had told him. Stephanie Sexton, racing? On a motorcycle?

"Rhodey?"

"What if I say no?"

"I'll do it anyway. I am not losing this race."

"What if you get shot at?" Images of the R8 plagued with bullet holes flashed across his mind.

"And why would you do that?"

"Maybe I want Sexton to win."

"Oh, so that's what this is about?"

"Tony, what are you on about?" He could hear the amusement in his voice.

"You know, I really don't think she's your type."

"What?"

"She's rough. Very rough."

"Wait, you think I-"

Tony laughed, "So you gonna let me through?"

"You own me, you son of a bitch."

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California was a fun place to ride; more fun than London, where it was inevitable that you'd be held up in traffic sooner or later.

Usually sooner.

In Steph's opinion, the congestion charge had achieved nothing except putting more money in the major's already bulging pockets.

The money didn't matter, it was the principle.

Really, it wasn't fair comparing an entire state to one city. Besides there were plenty of things she preferred about London.

The weather for one thing.

She was more suited to the cooler, more temperate climate of London. The sun was fine for a day or two, but to live in the unbearable Californian heat? She didn't know how anyone could do it. She was already missing the cool damp London air.

She sighed, rounding a bend in the road.

"What's wrong?" Jack asked her, concerned after hearing the sigh.

"I've just found a major advantage of cars over bikes in California," she told him looking at the vast open planes of California.

There was no sign of shade anytime soon, and the leather riding suit wasn't helping her rising body temperature. Let alone the harness and the extra protection Jack insisted she wear.

The suit's breathing holes along the shoulders, spine and thighs weren't really doing their justice.

"And what's that?" Jack questioned. She could tell he was eating, even though she couldn't see him anymore, by the noises he was making. Jack crunched on his cornflakes, slurping the milk on the spoon.

Hearing Steph eat the cereal earlier tempted him to do the same. The cornflakes, he noted, were perfect and had little, if any, sugar.

"Air conditioning," she said, answering his question. He laughed in response. He had been wondering when she was going to complain about the heat.

"And Jack."

"Yeah."

"Don't speak with your mouth full. It's disgusting." He rolled his eyes.

"It's not like you can see me." He'd switched the webcam off after her first near miss, not that it had made much difference to her riding. She was determined to ride dangerously regardless.

"Yeah, that's another point. How is that fair, at all?"

He frowned. "How is what fair?"

"You can see me, but I can't see you."

"I was just trying to keep you alive, but fine," he said, switching the webcam back on, his face flashing back up on her screen again. The only reason he hadn't put up a fight was because he was convinced that having the cam on would make little to no difference to her riding anyway.

She still wasn't happy. Bon Jovi's 'Have a Nice day' blared through the internal speakers of the helmet. "Why the hell is Bon Jovi on? I don't even like Bon Jovi."

"You did three minutes ago," Jack mumbled, stopping the music. Her bad mood was already starting to get on his nerves.

Please tell me she's not going to be like this for the rest of the journey.

"What was that, Jack?"

"Nothing."

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing, Mistress. What music would best please you?"

She couldn't help but smile; Jack's heart fluttered at the beautiful sight. "Sorry. The heat's making me irritable."

"I figured."

"You mean I figured, Mistress."

She saw Jack rolling his eyes. "Uh huh."

"Seriously Jack," she told him. "You've started something so you're now obliged to go through with it."

"Right," he replied, ignoring that comment. "What music did you want me to put on?"

"Jack, if you don't start calling me Mistress, I'm gonna have to punish you when I get back!" she joked, accelerating past another vehicle.

"Punish me?" he laughed, "Uh huh, sure."

"You really want to try me? Honestly, you should see some of the things I've got under my bed."

An awkward silence ensued. They had got to the forbidden subject.

Sex.

"Can you put the pink iPod on, please?"

"Sure."

There was complete and utter silence as Jack looked for the iPod and then plugged it in, setting it on shuffle. The silence was broken only by the music. But the agonising awkwardness remained.

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Tony was speeding through the airbase, feeling more than a little pleased with himself.

"I've won," he thought aloud.

"There is still an estimated twenty minutes until you arrive at your destination, Sir," Jarvis reminded him.

"Yeah, but how long would it have taken if I'd had to go round the air base?" he said. It was a rhetorical question, but he wasn't surprised that Jarvis came back with an answer.

"An estimated thirty-five minutes."

Tony smiled thinking about how far behind Stephanie must be. Steve Harwell's 'You'll Never Catch Me' blasted through the speakers.

"Exactly." He turned up the music, already enjoying the sweet taste of his pre-conceived victory. Stark smiled remembering her words 'winner gets to be on top'.

He couldn't help laughing.

Sorry, Miss Sexton, but you are most definitely bottoming.

You'll never catch me.
Though you think you can.
You'll never catch me.
Not a single touch.
I'll leave you all behind.

He wondered is he'd be upset if he lost this race. It would only be his ego that suffered. Sex with Stephanie Sexton was mind blowing either way.

The song faded into silence as Jarvis interrupted his thoughts.

"You have an incoming call, Sir."

"Who is it?"

"Miss Potts." He sighed hearing her name. The familiar guilt was back once more.

"Would you like to take the call, Sir?" He paused for a second before replying, "Yes."

"Tony?" he heard Pepper's slightly concerned voice asked.

"Hey, Pepper," he replied casually.

"Tony, where are you?"

"I, um, I just. . . I decided to go for a drive."

"You decided to. . . a drive. Right."

"Were you worried about me?" he asked in all seriousness.

"No." That was a bare faced lie. "It's just you should have told me that you'd gone out."

"So, you were worried?"

"No. I just thought you'd let me know that you were going."

"It was a spur of the moment thing." Neither of them spoke for a moment. He just wanted her to say it. She'd admitted it before, what had changed now?

"Come on, Pepper, just admit it, you were worried."

"Mr. Stark, you have two meetings today and to be honest you don't have time to be-"

He interrupted her. "You went down to the workshop and checked that the armour was still there, didn't you?" There was silence again. That had been the first thing she'd done when she'd realised that Tony had gone.

Again she cursed Jarvis for not responding and informing her of his whereabouts.

Pepper had been more than worried about him, she'd been absolutely petrified, but she would not admit it to him.

Her stomach was in knots, only untangled by the sound of his voice. Her intense worrying made her muscles shake in fear. Her lungs had tightened, breathing became a chore, painful and tiring.

She would not admit to caring about him again.

Never.

The silence was a good enough answer for Tony and he sat back in his seat, smiling. She was crazy about him, and she could try and hide it as much as she liked, but he knew it.

"Tony," Pepper said, ignoring his previous question, "You really need to get ready."

"Yeah, yeah, after this race," he said thoughtlessly.

"Race?" Pepper questioned, her heart flipping. She hated how casual he was.

"Did I say race? I mean drive. After this drive."

"Tony, what are you-"

"Pepper. Can we talk about this when I get back?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Great. See you later," he told her, ending the call.

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They had both sat solemnly through the whole of 'Sex on The Beach'. Steph had almost wanted to laugh when the song started, but the serious expression on Jack's face had prevented her from doing so.

These situations with Jack were probably the only times she ever really felt awkward. She wondered what he was thinking. Was he ashamed of her? Ashamed of his best friend who slept around?

Jack had always had more morals than her.

Probably because he got brought up properly.

She'd been aware that both her parents were cheating on each other since she was thirteen years old. She knew that they'd never loved her, but she thought, or maybe hoped, that they loved each other and that they were happy together.

It was only an illusion; an illusion that was smashed into a million pieces when she found her father fucking another woman on the kitchen floor and her mother tonguing some guys balls in her own bedroom.

She considered herself a step up from that. She'd never tried to convince anyone that she was in love with them, [truthfully she had never fallen in love] only to lie and cheat on them, sleeping with other men behind their backs.

What was the point?

Sexton liked sex and was not going to deny it. Easy, no strings attached, no broken hearts, no lies, no pain. Sex was what she desired and to be honest she couldn't see the problem with that, and she couldn't understand why it bothered Jack, although she would probably never ask him.

The subject had been avoided for so long, that it would be too weird, too awkward to bring up now.

The song ended and even though they were thousands of miles apart from each other they both felt the tension between them decrease dramatically.

Jack had been through the entire of the last song trying to push various emotions and thoughts to the back of his mind, the prominent one being anger.

He'd been desperately hoping for her to break the silence but at the same time, fiercely dreading talking to her again.

For the past couple of minutes, he'd been staring down at his hands, not even able to look at her on the screen. The truth was that he was more than a little curious as to what exactly was under her bed. This curiousity helped the rage subside.

Hearing the familiar introduction to 'Burning Down The House' by Talking Heads he could not help but grin and look up at the screen where Steph imitated his smile.

The memory of them being at Cambridge University flooded both of their minds.

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"I love this song!" She handed Jack an earpiece as she clicked on her MP3, turning it up close to full volume.

They had just completed a three hour exam on micro-electronics; Jack was dumbfounded by her renewed energy, all he wanted to do was sleep for the next twelve hours.

'Burning Down The House' by Talking Heads blasted through the earphone, Jack was reluctant to put it anywhere near his ear. Going deaf wasn't one of his priorities, but telling Steph how beautiful her eyes looked when she was happy. . .

"Can you turn it down a tad?" he asked as he held open the door for her. They were the first out of the lecture hall. Steph's impatience was handy at times, this one being that Jack wanted to be anywhere but the lecture hall, preferably a bed. Also that they weren't stuck in the main swarm of students fighting their way towards the exits.

"It's not even loud!" Jack lengthened his stride in attempt to keep up with her. She started to sing along with the song's lyrics.

"Watch out. You might get what you're after. Cool babies. . ." He watched her in awe as she pouted, jutting out her head in time with the beat.

She looks like an idiot.

A laugh escaped him, capturing her attention.

"What?" she asked, momentarily pausing her head bobbing.

Jack imitated her, but exaggerated, jutting out his arms as well as his neck.

"Hey!" her irritation couldn't stick as she giggled at his impression.

"It's the song! It does weird things to me."

"Oh, I know. I did have the misfortune to witness it." She rolled her eyes, the wide smile still plastered on her cheeks.

This grin quickly vanished as another student bumped into her shoulder, knocking out the earpiece.

"Oi!" she turned to see two males walking away from her. They had to be at least five years older than her.

The two male students sniggered as they ignored her shouts.

Stupid bitch thinks she knows everything.

"Hey!" she shouted once more, this time louder and with more aggression.

"Steph, come on, don't waste your time on those pricks."

"You saw what they did!"

"I don't think they meant to-"

"They did, Jack, on-fucking-purpose!" He pulled her arm, trying to dissuade her.

"They aren't worth it, Steph."

"They deserve black fucking eyes."

"Steph, come on, they're what? Twice your size?!" She was quick to pursue, solely concentrating on ways to kick their arses and not on the MP3 she had just dropped.

Jack retrieved her MP3 and also picked up her bag which she had just thrown on the ground.

"Steph! I didn't mean it like that!" He continued as he gained no response. "Hey! Wait up!"

He chased after her, trying to discourage the trouble she was about to get herself into. Jack knew she couldn't be reasoned with as she pulled up her sleeves.

"Hey!" The two students both looked at her, coming to a halt.

"What the fuck was that?!" she questioned, expecting a logical reason as to why one of them bumped into her.

They responded by sniggering again.

"The pathway was what? Eight foot wide?!"

"Steph, come on, don't waste your time, let's go," he spoke to her in hushed tones, so that the others couldn't hear him.

"They need to be taught a fucking lesson!" The two guys both burst into hysterics, both holding onto each other for support as they laughed.

"Y-You think you can beat us up!?" one of them asked, causing the other to laugh even more.

"I know I can." Her tone turned deadly as she replied.

Then, she launched herself at one of them, tackling him down to the ground. Their hysteria quickly turned silent.

Steph kneed him in the groin, causing him to screech in pain. She turned her attention to the second target, getting off of the first, she kicked him in the stomach.

The air escaped him, he clutched his sides, gasping for oxygen. A swift uppercut to the chin knocked him to the floor, joining his companion as they writhed in pain.

She took in her victory for a few moments, before turning and approaching Jack. He was frozen in shock, unable to comprehend how this sixteen year old at 5'4 and what? 120 pounds was able to take down two fully grown male adults.

Retrieving her MP3 and bag, she closed Jack's open mouth with a tap on his chin. Playing the song once more, her head began to jutt out again, just as she was doing before.

"Don't want to hurt nobody. Some things sure can sweep me off my feet. Burning down the house. . ."

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Sorry it took so bloody long. Personal crisis. [Thanks LadyHawke for the support and for the recommended song 'You'll never catch me']

Please forgive us or go ahead and shout at us in a nice review!

We don't mind :D

Your thoughts really do mean a lot to us [I know it sounds silly] but they make us so happy.

Thanks for reading [and reviewing?! :P] !