|nwo_potts (nwo_potts) wrote in nwo_shield,|
@ 2008-07-16 23:52:00
Frank juggled the phone back and forth in his hands, wondering if he should call or not. He did want to talk to Pepper again, but he knew what a phone conversation would lead to, and he wasn't entirely prepared for another date. That first one had been strange and pleasant and there was no denying that he'd had a good - if somewhat uncomfortable - time. The problem was, it had put him off his game. Distracted him.
Sighing, he flipped the phone open and dialed Pepper's number. She was a sweet woman, and she deserved that much at least.
Pepper had been standing in her kitchen, staring at a cheesecake wondering where the hell had she gone wrong. For some reason -- and really, only Tony ever could know what was going on in his head -- Tony had decided that Pepper should bake a cake for a silent auction that the foundation was having. It wasn't that Pepper minded, per se, but it was frustrating when it'd been at least a few months since she'd had any time to bake.
The cake didn't look bad though, but Pepper didn't think it looked perfect and after Tony fawned about how wonderful her baking was, she needed perfection.
The phone rang then, interrupting her thoughts. Reaching for it, she answered, "Hello?"
"Pepper?" As soon as he said it, Frank wished he hadn't. Of <i>course</i> it was her, who else would be answering her cell phone? Cupping his forehead in his hand, he stifled a sigh. "It's Frank."
She brightened up at the sound of his voice. "Hey," she said, happily. "I thought you'd forgotten about me. I still don't have any of your information, you know, so I'm glad you called."
And then she remembered that they weren't very good at the whole conversation thing. Maybe it would work better if they weren't face to face? Pulling together the ingredients for a second attempt at the cake, she continued. "What's up?"
"Nothing. I've been out of town." Which was true, although he wasn't inclined to tell her exactly what he had been doing on his little trip. He hadn't had much luck, but there were a few threads to follow still. "How are you?"
"I'm good," she said, "Been keeping busy with lots of things." She didn't want to bore him with business talk, because heck, if it bored her, it would bore anyone. "My cheesecake, on the other hand, is not doing so hot though."
"You're making cheesecake?" he asked, strangely amused by the thought. She just seemed so... businesslike, not the kind of woman that baked. Of course, she <i>had</i> cooked him dinner, but there was something fundamentally different about cooking and baking.
Giving up on her baking seemed to be a good idea. She left all the ingredients out -- it would help bring the cheese to room temperature anyways -- and headed for her patio. Stretching out on a chair, she continued.
"Well, attempting, I actually had the day off, and we have this fundraiser coming up for the Maria Stark foundation and for some reason, the idea of a bake sale came up. Tony volunteered me, and well, I guess I'm making cheesecake. God, that sounds so PTA huh? The only problem is that it's not working how I wanted it to."
"Wish I could help," Frank answered, bemused by how domestic this conversation seemed. Maybe it should have frightened him, but things were different with Pepper somehow. Shit that should have sent him packing just made him laugh. "But I don't know a whole lot about cheesecake. Not from the production side, anyway."
"It's not as hard as people think it is. In fact, I'm sure it tastes fine, but it's not the right colour and that bothers me. I put a lot of effort into making it pink and it's just red." Saying it out loud made her realize just how stupid it sounded, but Pepper was a perfectionist.
Frank snorted. He couldn't quite help it, the conversation was so surreal. He'd meant to call her and tell her thanks but don't expect any more calls. Or dates. And yet here he was, listening to her... cheesecake woes? "Still can't help," he said. "I specialize in red, myself." <i>Oh, ha ha, Frank...</i>
She raised an eyebrow. <i> I don't think I want to even ask </i>. "Well red is a perfectly respectable colour and I'm sure it'll work but I still want to try to get the pink. The fundraiser is helping raise money for breast cancer research, so it seems more fitting," she explained.
"Of course, then it means I have a spare cheesecake... any idea what I should do with it?"
"Um." Had that been an invitation? He was pretty sure the answer to that question was 'yes', emphatically 'yes', and he was utterly unsure of what to do about it. So he cleared his throat and pretended to not get the point. "I don't know. Orphans?"
Oh god. How could she say no to orphans? "I suppose," she said, trying to find her way out of this. Ah screw it. "Or I could be utterly selfish and ask you to come over."
Damn it, this was why he tried to stay away from women in general and blunt women in particular. "You know the more you invite me over, the more danger you're putting yourself in," he said, knowing that the warning wouldn't do any good but compelled to give it anyway.
"Danger of what?" <i> Falling for you? Too late. </i>. "I thought you were keeping me safe."
"I can't keep an eye on you all the time," Frank growled. He shouldn't have been irritated by the comment, but he was. "And I have a lot of enemies."
She snorted. "Then all the better for you to be here with me, to make sure things are okay."
And then she sighed. "Okay, you know what? I don't know why I keep arguing with you over this. If you were anyone else, I would've given up on you by now and yet here I am, basically begging, once again, for you to come over. God."
"I don't know why I keep giving in," he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. There was a headache starting behind his eyes, and it wouldn't be going away any time soon. "Are you sure? You really want me to come... eat your cheesecake..." Christ, that sounded filthy.
That did sound bad but she couldn't help herself. "Yes. I do. It's pink and tasty and waiting for you," she laughed. "How long do you think it will take for you to get here? I'll put some coffee on or something.."
"Go ahead, it won't take me long..." he said, glancing out the window. He was probably eight blocks from her apartment at the moment. A cab ride would get him there in no time. Fuck.
"Okay, see you then," she said, hanging up the phone. Tapping it against her mouth for a bit, she bounced up from the seat and headed into the kitchen. She may as well try to finish up a topping, anything, just so it looked somewhat more presentable. Although, if she played her cards right, maybe they wouldn't even go near the cake after all.
Frank checked his guns and left, hailing a cab and sitting silent in the back of it for the entire ride. The driver chattered happily to himself, as most cab drivers will, and when the cab pulled up in front of Pepper's building, Frank tipped the guy twenty bucks and climbed out. "Damn," he sighed.
Pepper had kept herself busy, trying to finish up the dessert. She'd debated getting out of her tank top and shorts, but that seemed like far too much effort. He'd already seen her all dolled up, she didn't need to prove anything.
She'd just finished the topping when she'd heard the knock on the door. How he got around the doorman was beyond her, but she found it amusing. Wiping her hands on a dishtowel, she walked over to the door and opened it "So you actually going to step in this time?," she teased.
"Guess so," he answered, smiling. He slipped into her apartment, dropping a quick kiss on the top of her head as he did. She wasn't quite so tall without those ankle-breakers on, and he kind of thought he preferred her like this. "I can't eat cake in the hall..."
"See, if I'd known you had such a sweet tooth, I would've made you cake ages ago," she said, giving him a brief hug around the waist. Had it really only been three weeks? It seemed like far longer to her.
Closing the door, she smiled up at him. "Kitchen?"
Frank nodded, glanced around to orient himself, and made his way into the kitchen. It was still as neat as it had been on his first visit, and there was a bizarrely vivid cheesecake sitting on the counter. "Interesting," he said, grinning slightly and folding his arms. "It's... bright."
"Bright? That's all you can think of to say? It's, bright?" She laughed as she came up behind him. And then she took a better look at it. It was really red. "Oh god." She rested her head on his back. "It is really bright."
"I haven't tasted it yet," Frank pointed out, reaching out and resting his hand on the back of her neck. He gave her a quick, gentle squeeze, then drew back, not wanting to get too used to touching her. "Once I do, I'll be able to call it bright and delicious."
She moved around him, still enjoying the fact that he'd actually come in, and served him a piece. Once again, the stupid butterflies were doing their thing, and she didnt' even want to consider the option of putting anything in her stomach.
"Here," she said, placing the plate on the island. Why bother with the table, when they were just going to talk? "Did you want some coffee with it?"
"Sure." He shrugged, digging into the cheesecake with a certain amount of relish. It really was delicious in spite of the fact that it was violently red, and he made an appreciative noise in the back of his throat. "Lots of sugar. In the coffee, I mean. The cheesecake is great..."
She beamed at him. "Good, I'm glad you like it. I knew the only thing wrong was the colour." She poured him a cup, and brought it over, sugar bowl in hand. "Here," she said, handing it over. "Your definition of lots of sugar might be different than mine."
She then put her elbows on the island and leaned on them. It was neat just watching him.
He opened the sugar bowl and shook it a bit, judging how much was left in it. Looked like a little less than half, so he just tipped the entire bowl into his cup and stirred it calmly. One sip was enough to ascertain that it was, in fact, plenty sweet enough, at which point he noticed that Pepper was just kind of... staring at him. "What?" he asked. "Did I get cheesecake on my face or something?"
She shook her head. "No, I'm just still having a little trouble believing you actually came over." Playing with the now empty sugar bowl, she smiled. "And you really do have a sweet tooth. I'll have to remember that. Well, either that or I make really bitter coffee." “
I just like sweet coffee," he said shortly, glancing up at her. What the hell did she mean, she'd have to remember that? Christ, he was really in over his head now. "Look, you don't have to memorize all the shit I like..."
"It's just a comment, Frank," she said. "Relax." She kept forgetting that she really had to watch what she said around him. He seemed to take everything so literally. "Trust me, I'll forget more than I remember anyways. It's odd: if it's got nothing to do with work, my brain seems to find it useless and that's the first thing that gets pruned out of there."
Frank stared at her for a moment, trying to judge what exactly he should be feeling. It had been too long since he'd had to deal with anything even remotely relationship-like, so he just grunted softly and finished his cheesecake and felt obscurely guilty for even being there in her kitchen.
"Do you want some more?" She stood up a bit, and looked at him. "Or is there something else you'd like?" If that wasn't a blatant hint, she didn't know what else to do. Maybe a mallet on the head. Though, with her luck, he'd get a headache and leave.
Frank looked up slowly, blue eyes wide. Jesus, he'd <i>never</i> had a woman come on so strong before. "No, sit down," he ordered. "Lemme ask you a question..." He arched an eyebrow, obviously asking permission to pose his question.
Oh god. "Ask away,"
"Why the fuck are you so desperate to get me in bed?" He almost laughed. Hell, who was he to be complaining? She was gorgeous, wasn't she? Still, he wanted to know.
"I guess 'cause you're hot' isn't a good enough answer, huh?"
"Nnno." Frank laughed a little, though, and winked at her. "But I appreciate it."
"Honestly? I have no clue." She paused for a moment to catch her thoughts. "There's just something about you.. I mean, number one, I never talk to strange men who claim they know where I should or shouldn't be and number two, I never bring men home. Ever."
She reached out and placed her hands on his, "And yet I did both with you. That's got to mean something, don't you think?"
”I suppose it does," he allowed. The truth was, he hardly ever bothered to escort anyone anywhere, and he certainly didn't take women on dates. Frowning, he flipped his hands over and gripped her by the wrists. "Damned if I know what, though."
She looked down at his hands on hers. She knew that these hands had killed before, but all she'd ever felt from them had been gentle. "Then we're both in agreement: we have no idea what's going on, but there is something there?"
"Yeah," he said softly. It didn't seem like there was anything else to say, so he stood and pulled her against his chest and pressed his lips to hers, gently at first, waiting to see what she wanted.
It may have been a week since she last kissed him, but everything felt so familiar. Opening her mouth slightly, she kissed him back in earnest.
"Please tell me you want this as badly as I do," she whispered, snaking her arms around his was it.
"Depends how bad you want it," Frank teased, dragging his fingertips down her spine. She felt incredible pressed against him, small and slender. It took all his willpower not to just pick her up and slam her against the wall.
She lightly nipped at his bottom lip. "Do you really have to ask?" With one hand, she lifted his shirt free, and slipped both her hands under it. He was so warm, and she couldn't help just running her fingers lightly on his stomach, tracing the countours of his muscles.
Frank hissed and closed his eyes, pressing his lips gently against her forehead. He knew he ought to just leave and never talk to her again, but that was easier said than done. Shivering a little, he slipped his fingertips beneath the hem of her tank top, brushing the soft skin where her waist widened as it met her hips.
God, was every part of him warm? His hands felt massive on her, and she leaned into the touch as best as she could.
"I think we had this problem before," she said, trailing her lips down his neck. "I can't stand on my toes forever you know."
He laughed softly and wrapped an arm around her waist, lifting her up against his chest and kissing her again. This time, he didn't settle her on the kitchen island, he just held her there, enjoying the way she felt against him. It was no strain, she was so small that he could have held her up all day.
Well this was unexpected. And why were they always in her kitchen?
Moving her hands up around his neck, she continued her gentle assault on his face. "You'll get tired eventually," she said into his skin, her hands idly playing with his hair.
"Will not," he answered. He hesitated, then wrapped the other arm around her, his hand cupping her ass to hold her more comfortably. He nudged her head to the side, teeth grazing up and down her neck, gentle but insistent. He wanted to bite her, to suck at her skin and leave a bright mark for her to wear to work tomorrow, but he didn't quite dare.
She didn't know how much more of this she could take. Groaning softly, she caught his mouth with hers. This time around, she couldn't be gentle. Kissing him with an urgency she didn't realize was there, she managed to get out, "If you don't take me to bed now, I swear, I'm never speaking to you again."
He pulled back slightly and stared at her. He knew what she was going to say, but he still felt compelled to ask one more time. "You sure?" He was already walking down the hall, slightly awkward but unwilling to set her down.
She rolled her eyes and managed to wriggle her way down. "Yes, I'm sure. Would you like to sign something stating I won't change my mind later on or hate you tomorrow?" She laughed and grabbed onto his hands, tugging him into her room.
Thankfully, her room was actually clean, probably due to the fact she hadn't been there in a while, and as they got to the bed, she gently pushed him down, so that he was lying flat with his feet still on the ground. Crawling between his legs, she ran her hands up his chest, and began to lift his shirt up.
Frank made a soft choking noise in his throat, then subsided. He had a feeling it wouldn't do him any good to protest, and anyway she'd have to stop.... yep, right there.
He pushed her back, sitting up and smiling faintly as he unholstered his Girls, setting them both carefully on her nightstand and shrugging his shoulders. "Sorry. Can't go unarmed." He cleared his throat and stretched back out on the bed. "Keep going."
Right. Guns. Good thing she'd never been scared of them. Shaking her head, she grinned. "Shouldn't you be ravishing me, instead of the other way around?"
”I dunno, I like it this way," he said, grinning up at her. His hands slipped up the sides of her legs, thumbs brushing soft skin; he hesitated slightly when he reached her hips, then continued up, palms grazing her ass and coming to rest finally on her waist. "Easier to watch you this way."
Leaning forward, she pressed herself as close to his body as she could, her lips devouring his. She tugged gently at the bottom of his shirt, moving it upwards slowly, until she had to break away for air.
Taking the opportunity, she lifted the shirt off, in a vain attempt to slow down her breathing. He really was one gorgeous man.
Frank reached down, grabbing the hem of his black shirt and practically tearing it over his head. It at least kept him from tearing off <i>her</i> clothes, which he sincerely doubted she would appreciate. Instead, his hands slipped up, pushing her shirt aside, sliding up to rest against her slim belly.
Groaning, Pepper melted into his touch, and putting her hands on his, she smiled. He seemed to think she was this little, delicate thing, and while it was cute, it was not what she wanted at the moment. "It's not fair that you're the only one that gets to be topless," she whispered.
"Nobody's stopping you," he murmured, but he took the not-so-subtle hint and gently tugged the shirt up and off, tossing it onto the floor and staring for a second, fingertips dragging down to rest between her breasts. "The bra is all you. I don't like making an ass out of myself."
She laughed. "I'll have to give you lessons then," she teased, reaching behind her to unclasp it. Letting it fall to the floor, she cocked out a hip, and put a hand on it. "Still want me?"
"Absolutely," Frank murmured, sitting up and wrapping his arms tight around her waist. He kissed her deep, sucking at her lower lip as his fingers danced up her spine. She felt incredible pressed up against him, so small and oddly fragile. One hand rose to tangle in her thick hair, and he tugged her head back gently to nip at her throat.
With a soft push, she managed to get him into their previous position, of him on the bed and her on top of him. Running her fingers through his hair, she simply let him kiss her neck and idly, she wondered if it was enough to leave a mark. <i> Who cares. </i>
Trailing her hands downwards, she let them rest on the waistband of his pants, her hand splayed on his stomach with her thumbs peeking in. She hadn't really intended to take charge, but she couldn't help herself: she began to unbutton his pants.
"Pushy," he whispered, but it wasn't a complaint. He watched her, eyes half closed, content to let her undress him. After they were both naked, she'd have to put up with him being a bit more... aggressive, but for now... Well, honestly, he was kind of enjoying being allowed to relax for once.
She giggled, and pulled his pants clean off, and managed to wrigle herself out of her shorts, leaving her wearing only a pair of boycut black panties. Brushing her hair out of her face, she spread her body back ontop of his, and began to nuzzle his neck.
"Nice underwear," he said, mostly because he felt like he ought to say <i>something</i>, and because it was true. His hands skated down her back, fingertips dipping beneath the waistband of her panties to rest against the swell of her ass. "Nice... everything." He laughed softly at his own stupidity and bit her shoulder gently.
"And I had to beg and plead for you to see this," she said, a finger stroking his cheek. "You'd better not regret this tomorrow." Because Pepper knew there was no way she could stop at all. She could feel him through his boxers, and it took every ounce of strength she had not to just fuck him right then and there. After all the teasing he'd done to her? It wasn't going to end that quickly.
"I might and I might not," he answered. His hands slipped further into her panties, pushing them down off her hips, and a thrill of excitement ran through him. "Guess we'll just have to wait and see, hmm?" He gripped her hips hard and pulled her down, his own hips pressing up slightly, teasing her.
And she officially could no longer think. He was so hard beneath her and all she could imagine was just how it was going to be. Though, if she was honest, she'd pictured this scene in her head at least once a day since she'd met him. She'd fallen way harder than she wanted to.
"Oh god, Frank," she moaned into his ear, "I can't take much more of this," her hands moving all over his body.
Frank growled softly in his throat and shifted, gripping her waist. That was his cue. It didn't take any great exertion of strength; Pepper was small and when he lifted and twisted, she fell against the mattress easily. He gripped her legs beneath the knee and pushed them up, settling between them and leaning in close to kiss her throat.
She kept forgetting how strong he really was, but she was finding that it was far more useful than she'd ever imagined.
Moving her mouth towards his, she captured it and passionately began to alternate between kissing him, biting his lip, and really, as long as she felt his lips on hers, she was fine.
Wrapping her hands around his neck, she brough him closer to her.
As he kissed her, his free hand slipped down, grabbing at his boxers and tugging them off. Maybe she wasn't quite ready for that, as she hadn't made a move to completely strip him before, but he was getting far too worked up to stay even partly clothed.
Growling softly, he hooked a finger in the waistband of her panties and tugged at them. "Take 'em off..."
"Yes sir," she said, reluctantly letting go of his neck to push free of her underwear. Now, completely naked, she could feel her already speeding heartrate completely take off on her.
Frank hesitated for a moment, then allowed one of his hands to slip between her legs. God, it had been a long time, and if he didn't know better, he'd think his hands were shaking a little. He buried his face in her neck, inhaling the smell of her soap, and teased her gently open with the tip of one finger.
If she thought she couldn't think before, then she didn't even have the words to describe how she was feeling.
Pepper's breath hitched as she felt him, and instinctually,she raised her hips upwards, meeting his hand. "Don't tease," she managed to moan.
"Yes ma'am," he whispered, biting gently at the graceful column of her throat. His finger teased deeper, pressing up inside her, and he groaned, hips hitching forward eagerly. "Damn, woman..." He managed to laugh, but it was a struggle not to just flip her over and slam into her. <i>Gently, Frank...</i>
Biting her lip, she had to stifle the moans she felt inside. If he was going to drive her to distraction, it was only fair that she reciprocate.
Reaching down, she wrapped her hand around him and gently began stroking his length, slowly at first, but as his pace quickened, so did hers.
Frank hissed between his teeth, his eyes going wide as he thrust into her slim hand. It had been a long, long time since he'd felt any hand but his own, and he pushed his fingers deeper inside her, trying to coax out one of the sounds that he could tell she was desperate to make.
"Come on, baby," he whispered, lips moving against her ear. "Say something..."
"Oh god," she let out, her head thrown back. "I don't know how much more I can take," she said, tightening her hold on him. With her free hand, she lifted it up around his neck, stroking the skin there. She tried to say that she wanted him to stop, that she wanted to feel him inside her but all she could get out was 'Please.."
"Yes, ma'am," he said, shuddering. He pulled his fingers out, propped himself up on one arm. He was practically shaking as he settled his hips, and he had to close his eyes to keep from being frozen by her face. Christ, she was beautiful! What the hell did she want with him? Gritting his teeth, Frank swung his hips forward and entered her in one smooth stroke.
She gasped outloud at the sudden feel of him and she finally let herself stop thinking. Instead, she moved with the rhythym of his body, instinctually and allowed herself to just relax and enjoy. He obviously knew what he was doing.
"Do you like that, baby?"
"Shhh..." He threaded his fingers through her hair, nudged her head to the side. "Can't..." He bit down on her throat, hips rolling forward slowly. There was no talking right now, no thinking. Frank reached up, gripping her slender wrists and holding them above her head. <i>Slowly</i>...
She let him lift her arms, and looked up at his face, eyes heavy lidded, her mouth slightly parted. She probably looked like she was concentrating too much, but she couldn't help it. She was no longer in control of her body. From the moment he'd entered her, it was his and she was more than happy to come along for the ride.
"Good girl," he managed, slamming his hips forward, trying to get as deep inside her as he could. She was <i>his</i> now, at least for a little while, and he wanted to do more than just fuck her, he wanted to own her. He wanted her to go to work tomorrow still feeling him, still smelling like him. He wanted her to think of him all day. Growling low in his throat, he began to piston his hips back and forth, every thrust punctuated by her headboard slamming against the wall.
"Oh god," she moaned out. She couldn't help herself and with every thrust, a little breath escaped, and she found herself having troubles swallowing. . Every time he exited, she wanted him back.
Closing her eyes, she arched herself into his body, pushing down to meet his body and soon, she could feel the familiar stirrings below. "I'm not going to last much longer," she said, shuddering as the words left her mouth.
“That's my girl," he breathed, biting her neck again. She would have bruises there tomorrow, a fact which only drove Frank to fuck her harder. His arm slipped beneath her, lifting her hips, giving him a new angle of entry that let him go deeper, harder. "Come for me, pretty girl..."
"Not unless you're going to." She was determined to last that long, but the way things were going, it seemed to be empty words. Pulling at his neck, she pulled his mouth down on hers and hugrily attacked it. Screw this gentle kiss thing, she thought to herself. She needed to feel all of him, every way she possibly could. She needed to feel the sweat on his skin, to feel his heartbeat racing with hers. She wanted this to be perfect.
"I will," he hissed. His arms were trembling, his movements growing jerky and erratic as pleasure built painfully in his belly. Christ, he just wanted to let go, wanted to hold her close and spill himself inside her, wanted to collapse on the bed next to her and go to sleep. But more than that, he wanted to hear her scream his name, and so he bit the side of his tongue and kept on going. "Please, baby... come on..."
"Frank.." She pulled his head down and leaned her forehead against his. She felt his breath on her face, and she could see that he too was getting close.
The pressure was building higher and higher inside of her, and there was no way she could stop even if she wanted to. "Frank!," she cried out, allowing her climax to take over.
She came, tightening around him, and stars burst in his head. He slammed forward, gripping her so tight that he was afraid he might break her, teeth grinding as he froze, teetering on the edge of climax. Pepper drew a shuddering breath beneath him and her hips shifted, so slightly, but it was enough, and he came with a hoarse yell of pleasure.
Lowering herself back onto the bed, she tried to compose her breathing and completely failed. Tugging in down with her, she sighed happily and gave him a tired smile. I guess that's three weeks of sexual tension gone. "Wow," was all she could say.
"Nng," Frank answered. He kissed her forehead gently and rolled off of her, groaning as he collapsed onto the bed. One arm snaked out, circling her shoulders and drawing her up against his side.
She giggled and turned her head towards his. He looked beat and spent and she was glad to know she had played a huge part in that. Nuzzling up closer to him, she gave him a soft kiss. "See how good that was? We could've been doing that three weeks ago, you know."
"Wouldn't have been that good three weeks ago," he muttered, turning his head and kissing her forehead. He knew he should get up and put his clothes back on, but just at the moment, his legs felt like wet noodles.
“Says you," she said, tracing lines into his arm. "When will you learn to listen to me? I'm full of good ideas." And this definitely was one of her better ones, she thought to herself. Looking him over, he looked so tired. It'd probably been as long for him as it had been for her. She didn't even want to think about how long it'd been.
"I just bet," he murmured, rolling onto his side and shutting her up briefly with a kiss. He tucked her hair behind her ears, smiling faintly. "You also talk too much."
She made a face at him. "If I stop talking, I'll fall asleep. You wore me out." And even though she hoped he'd stay, she highly doubted it. It took her how long to get him to even come back to her apartment; she didn't even want to consider what he'd say if she suggested him spending the night.
So she just moved as cloase as she could to him, and leaned her head onto his body.
He saw in her face that she expected him to leave and, although he'd been planning on doing just that, the expression on her face made him feel obscurely guilty. He cradled her head on his shoulder and stroked her hair, staring up at the ceiling. What could it hurt? It was just one night. "Go to sleep," he ordered. "I'll still be here when you wake up."
She looked at him with surprise. "Really?"
"Really," he promised, kissing her temple this time. "I'll even let you make me breakfast."
She smiled widely. She was glad he said it without her having to beg for more attention. "Okay," she said, turning her face up for a kiss. "Then kiss me goodnight before I pass out here."
Frank didn't laugh, but he was close. He cupped her cheek and kissed her gently, smoothing her hair back. "Sweet dreams," he murmured. He wasn't going to sleep any time soon, but she didn't have to know that. He could be perfectly still, after all. She'd never know that he was awake.
"You too." Pepper turned to her side, her head cushioned on his arm, and closed her eyes. She'd sleep better tonight than she had in weeks.