I Always Kill The Things I Love

The cigarette between my lips illuminated the cloche hat that hid my long blonde hair. I turned my jacket up against the wind, the weather threatening rain once more. I pulling out a pocket watch. He was late, again. Not for the first time, I wondered if he was worth keeping around, after all the hell he had been dragging around with him like a lost puppy dog. How many times had I bailed him out? Keeping face like the perfect wife I pretended to be, all coiffed hair and hot meals in stark aprons. Sure, he didn’t mind playing dress-up on the evenings of galas and being wined and dined by the positions of power around the city. But if it came down to the brass tacks, he was just a shmuck. He followed his old ideologies like they were going to save him, like they were going to plant the Silver Star on his chest again, and we both knew – even if he didn’t want to admit it – that he never deserved it to begin with.

Oh I heard all the tales and propaganda about how he was a war hero, came home to the wife and kids decked out in medals and accolades. Received that departmental promotion, climbing the ladder like a fire in a dry wood. I dug up old army buddies, asked them out for drinks, regaled them with her sultry voice and slicked back smiles, and they came to me like bees to honey.

He was known for being secretive, kept things to himself. In the war, he never thought of his men – just the orders, the outcome. And even the outcome was blinded: all he wanted was to follow the rules, and be damned his conscious. Well, he sure damned himself. Where did that land him?

Dead men. One crazed, following the dream of helping people after being made to murder so many innocents in the name of “order”. He scared me at first, who wouldn’t be if you were kidnapped by a man with a flamethrower? But he was just a lost soul, and you couldn’t come back from that. You can’t ever come back from that, not without a bullet to the head. And that was the kindest thing that could happen to him, the poor bastard. The others? One a drug dealer, out of his mind with the idea that he would be forgotten just because he played a small part in such a large scale war. He had guts, I’ll give him that. But guts only get you so far until you need the mind, and he was just as lost as the other bloke.

Then there was Jack. He played the right cards, no matter what. Phelps used to make fun of him, throw him out to the wolves in camp. He never believed he had what it took because he didn’t follow the protocol that he lusted after. But Jack … he was the best of them all. He looked after the men, whether they were his own or not. He made the calls that Phelps never could. He did what had to be done, because he was human and a soldier, and Phelps … well, he got the Silver Star, didn’t he? He had no men to show for it, and in the eyes of war, that was worthy of redemption.

But would his men agree? I doubt it.

So here I am, waiting for that lone ranger. He didn’t know I had been following his history, not until tonight. I told Jack that his lieutenant friend was going to see the light one way or another. He said he wasn’t his friend, but that he wasn’t his enemy either. I think the death of Hank still riled him. Poor guy. I wish there was a better way to wash away memories besides pouring alcohol over it. Some wounds just grow stagnate. I sure am glad Jack stayed in Vice.

I watched as his car came around the corner, headlights flashing high. I stood just out of the streetlight, observing as he pulled in, parking across the lot. Thunder shook above us, but I hardly noticed. Jack promised he would come by in about ten minutes – I had until then. I watched as Phelps jammed his hands in his pockets, hat tilted over his face to ward off the wind, and jogged over to me.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” he said, reaching my spot. I handed him a cigar, lighting it up for him. “Thanks.” He took a puff or two, and seemed to relax slightly, before turning his head skyward. “It’s going to rain soon, did you want to go inside?”

I took her hat off, hair spilling out across my shoulders. I was glad she put a little more effort into my makeup today; it was the least I could do for him.

“No, that’s alright honey. We won’t be long anyways.” I smiled at him, taking a long drag. “You don’t talk about your past. Why is that?”

I saw him stiffen noticeably, and he took several puffs of his cigar. “It’s not important. What happened, happened. Why do you ask?”

I shrugged, letting the cigarette hang from my fingers for a moment. The clouds were darkening above us properly now. “Ran into some old friends of yours, all were pretty tight lipped about what happened in the war. Seemed pretty worried about talking about you in particular, but they kept calling you the shadow. No reason why?”

He was silent, taking a long drag and staring into the darkness for a long time. Whatever he saw there, I didn’t want to know what it was. Let him have his demons.

“What’s going on Elsa.” His voice was straight now, and he didn’t look at me. Fine by me.

“You know I don’t play around, Cole. You couldn’t be honest with your own wife, never mind your men – why change now, right?

His head snapped around to me as I pulled the trigger on the Beretta, squarely against his chest, three times. His eyes widened as he realized what happened, and he crumbled. I stood there, watching him for a moment, the smoke from his cigar curling up from the cement as the rain started to come down heavily. I guess he was right, it was going to rain pretty soon. I tucked my hair beneath my hat once more just as another car pulled up, and this time I didn’t have to wait. The passenger door kicked open, and I stepped over his body to ease myself into the seat. The door shut with a click, and I remembered that Jack had such good taste. He smiled at me warily, and I leaned over to kiss his cheek.

“Well, that went smoothly.” He looked at her carefully. “Are you alright?”

She smiled, leaning against the seat comfortably. “Of course, sugar. I always kill the things I love.”

A Stark Request [NSFW]

A sleek Mercedes AMG GT hugged the corners of the seaside Malibu road. Seagulls and the soft roar of the ocean to the left of her, the cliffs rearing up to the right. It was ideal weather for wind surfing, but there wasn’t time for that today. Today was different.

The sun glinted off the car’s turquoise body as it roared towards its destination, a cliff-side mansion that projected itself over the sea. Built of white concrete and frame-less glass windows, the Stark mansion was a far cry from what could be considered ‘homey’. It exuded power, a sense of well-being and knowledge, but mostly it felt proud. A defensive wall for the city, a challenge to its enemies, a proclamation of what could be and what would be. She had always been enthralled with it – and its owner.

Stark Industries was not what anyone could call normal. Lucrative? Oh yes. Professional? Perhaps. A walk in the park? Not in your dreams. With its many divisions spanning weaponry and military armour, to biochemistry and transportation, it was not often that the COO to Mr. Stark was bored. She worked closely with the heads of each division, sending reports throughout the day via email or text to her boss. She hadn’t realized she had been so infatuated with him, until they were attending a board meeting together. He had absently passed her the coffee pot she had requested, and his hand had brushed hers. Her heart had thrown itself against her chest, and it must have shown on her face because he took a side long glance at her, a crooked smile growing on his face. He had paid more attention to her after that, stopping by her office for no reason, leaving lunch for her at her desk, sending quick texts of ‘Thanks for your diligent work ; )’ after receiving her reports.

But it was also not often that the CEO would invite her to lunch on a Saturday afternoon in his home.

She had reached the gated entrance to his home, and pulled up alongside the intercom. She waited a moment before a clear voice spoke to her through the small speaker.

“Miss Vivienne?”

She could hear the grin in his voice, and couldn’t hold one back.

“Mr. Stark.”

The gates slowly swung open.

“Come make yourself at home.”

She drove up the winding path to the garage, where the driveway split in two: left was to the garage doors, right was to the stairs leading to the front door. She saw the CEO standing on the stairs, hands deep in his pockets as he watched her. He nodded his head towards the garage doors, and she took his cue, steering her car into an empty spot just inside the doors. She was already impressed – cars of all different makes and models, but all fast, stood shining beneath the fluorescent lights. She parked quickly and headed back through the door as it slowly slid to a close behind her. He had told her it was a casual affair, so she had chosen to wear dark blue jeans with a loose white tank made of chiffon, a long brown sweater over top, and black flats. It was as casual as she had felt comfortable dressing; she’d never been around co-workers in her lazy clothes, never mind the CEO.

Making her way up the steps, a smile grew on her face unwillingly, her greeter seeming to be under the same spell. He gestured for her to go inside, following close behind her. The interior was just as elegant and commanding as the exterior: the floor-to-ceiling windows allowed natural light to paint the room with whatever colours Mother Nature chose to use outside. A sprawling couch sat against the window, a slender lamp posed above it for light reading or a drink. A spiraling staircase was in the center of the room, flanked by decorative boulders that also dotted the floor, and presumably led to the bedroom, while a sleek bar was tucked in behind it, adjacent another window.

He followed her to the couch, watching as she took everything in, in awe despite herself. She tucked her bag underneath the seat, where he joined her, arm thrown over the back of the couch. He waved to the room, letting his hand fall with a clap onto his leg.

“Well? What do you think?”

She smiled, her eyes taking in the minimalist design. “Very you, I have to admit. It is stunning, Mr. Stark.”

She caught him in an eye roll. “Please, call me Tony.” He followed her gaze outside, where the water sprawled as far as the eye could see. “I’m glad you approve.”

Vivienne nodded absently, her nerves suddenly realizing where she was and who she was sitting with. He doesn’t bite, Viv, calm down. Taking a mental breath, she turned back to Tony. “Thank you for inviting me to lunch, Tony. I appreciate it.”

He sprung up from the couch, beckoning her to follow. “Ah c’mon, Viv. We spend all day cooped up in that damn office, you could use a breather. Lemme get you a drink.”

He slid in behind the bar as if he lived there, and began rummaging underneath it. “What’s your poison: margarita? Caesar? Beer?”

Perching herself on one of the stools, she tilted her head watching him. “Whiskey on the rocks.” He glanced up at her in surprise. “If you don’t mind.”

He turned and grabbed a bottle off a shelf behind him, sliding it onto the counter top before leaning down and grabbing a glass, giving it a quick polish. “Not at all. I just … didn’t take you for a straight drinker. Show’s how much I know.”

Tony dropped a sphere of ice into the glass, and poured the amber liquid over it, watching it run smoothly over the ball inside, before pushing it her way gently. He poured himself the same and raise a small toast to her. “Cheers.”

She took a small mouthful, conscious that she hadn’t eaten in a couple hours. The last thing she wanted was to be drunk and make a fool of herself, here of all places. Vivienne leaned against the bar, and Tony matched her.

“So! The COO of Stark Industries is probably wondering why me, of all people, invited you to lunch with me. Am I right?”

She felt her cheeks turn pink, but refused to look away like a bashful schoolgirl. “I suppose I am wondering that. It’s not like there’d be any cause for it, outside of being polite.”

He nodded sagely, taking a small swallow of his drink. “You see, Vivienne, that is where you would be wrong.” He leaned over the bar, studying his hands for a moment before glancing up. He caught her gaze, and Vivienne felt a wave of euphoria as she searched his dark brown eyes. He searched her face, a thumb running over the rim of the glass. “I know your secret. The one you think you’re hiding, the one you keep buttoned up like it’s a tragic mistake, it’s written all over your face and thank god you don’t play poker.” He took a swig of whiskey, a tiny grin on his face now. “Have you a thing for your beloved leader, Vivienne?”

She sat back, surprised at how close she had been leaning towards him, and gave a shaky laugh. Tony mirrored her move, his smirk more prominent now.

“Mr. Sta- Tony, please, that is completely wild. We work closely together, that’s it. I could never live up to that kind of standard – not that I’ve imagined it!” She back pedaled as a look of triumph crossed his face. He swung around the bar swiftly and she suddenly found herself face to face with him. Drink still in hand, his head tilted low to peer at her.

“You sure about that? What about those careful glances during our meetings? What about the concealed smiles whenever you walk by my office – and I do so love when you walk by my office – and what about ..”

“Alright, you’ve made your point!” She took a long drink from her glass, forgetting her lack of food over nerves. “Maybe … maybe I do. What of it?”

Tony slid a hand onto her knee, and she thought her had fallen off her chair. “Maybe I do too. What then?”

Vivienne looked up at him properly now, her entire body on fire with confusion and needy surprise. “Tony … it would look bad, for both of us .. I ..”

He set his drink down on the bar, and took her hands in his. “I would be a blind man indeed if I didn’t see the work you put into ensuring I am well taken care of. And I mean, that dress you wear, my God woman, who wouldn’t have their eyes on you?” He pulled her to her feet, and she felt speechless, a stupid smile on her face. This was absolutely not what she was expecting when she got here – but then, what had she been expecting?

“Tony ..” Her resolve wasn’t so much resolve as stalling now, and they both knew it. He tilted her face up to his, his eyes on fire, before pressing a deep kiss onto her lips. He tasted of the whiskey on the bar, but of steel and velvet, of long nights by the fire and rallied days on the water. His hands were soft on her waist, pulling her closer to him, her hands on his chest now. It felt like eternity was passing as he kissed her, hands in her hair now. He broke off gently, his intense gaze on her again. But this time, she matched it, dragging her nails down his shoulder blades and feeling muscles awaiting her touch.

“Is that a yes?”

She barked a small laugh, releasing a victorious smirk on his face, before he scooped her up and marched towards the stairs. Long chestnut hair cascaded down her shoulders and over his arms, and she kicked off her flats as he climbed the steps, making his chuckle. He rounded the top of the stairs, and she was greeted with an equally luxurious bedroom; windows similar to the first floor, but a room that sprawled wide. She could see a master bathroom and walk-in closet against the wall, and a massive display system in the middle of the room, which was currently playing rock music at a low volume.

He slipped his own shoes off at the top of the stairs, humming along to the AC/DC tune that was playing, and made his way to the California king bed in the middle of the room. Vivienne’s heart began to race, her hands sweating as he stopped before the bed, sliding her onto the edge. He didn’t move far, though. His hands rested on either side of her to support his leaning over her, his mouth tracing hers hungrily again, to which she answered eagerly. She crept backwards, letting him crawl towards her slowly, his tongue exploring hers. She felt dizzy with anticipation, and she let a hand run up the side of his body, pulling his shirt up to reach the muscular body underneath and exploring his ribs, chest, shoulders. She felt him smile into the kiss and broke off briefly, leaning back on his feet to pull the shirt off for her. A blue glow emitted from his chest and her eyes widened as he tossed the article of clothing away.

He glanced at the arc reactor, and back to her, tapping it playfully. “Keeps my ticker ticking. It doesn’t scare you, does it?”

She shook her head slowly, and leaned forward, touching it gently before kissing it lightly. “It somehow suits you.”

A cocked eyebrow brought her back to the moment, and she pulled him back towards her, hands memorizing his every curve and dip now. Tony’s hands did much of the same, pulling off the weightless chiffon from her and exposing a silky blue bra. His hands slid over every curve, kissing and admiring his COO’s athletic build.

“Blue suits you too, did you know?” His murmured words against her skin made her shiver, running her nails through his hair as his lips found her abdomen. He quickly undid her jeans and peeled them off her legs, kicking them off the bed and continuing his journey down her hips.

“Mr. Stark, I thought you played fair ..” her voice was throaty, and he glanced up at her briefly, before slipping off the bed and pulling his own jeans off. Vivienne felt her heart in her throat; the man was built, there was no getting around that. His slim hips were hugged by briefs, briefs that more than showed the promise she was diving into. He gave her a small ‘tah dah’, his question silent: Everything you thought? Her expression of awe and need was more than enough of an answer.

He glided back over her waiting body, the warmth between them very real now. While one hand propped him up over her, another danced its way down her thighs until they found her silk panties, slipping beneath them to find hot skin waiting for him. She let out a small gasp as his fingers pushed into her, her body flaring up in response to his pressure, her fingers digging into his shoulders. He nuzzled his face into her neck, her breathing hot in his ear as he worked her slowly at first. Her panties were pushed around her thighs now, and she squirmed beneath him in pleasure, soft moans and gasps flowing over the sound of guitar, his teeth nipping her jaw and ear. He played her like a musician, and she was his bass; she clung to him like she was drowning as he pushed her towards the storm. She buried her head into his shoulder as her body broke loose, and the moan she let out made Tony’s hair stand on end with pleasure. She rode his hand as her body convulsed with pleasure, her nails dug into his skin as he inhaled sharply and slowed his movements.

Tony tugged her panties off the rest of the way, Vivienne’s face frazzled and sweating from exertion, and licked his fingers clean. Nowhere near done, she yanked his briefs off, desire coursing through her still as she pushed him flat onto the bed and straddled him. His hands went to her hips immediately, and he could feel warm liquid slowly dripping down his skin. She reached behind her back, freeing her breasts from her bra and tossing it somewhere to the side, before sliding onto him smoothly and leaning into his shoulder.

“Quick to the draw, are you?” He murmured against her ear, his hands grasping her buttocks and sliding along her sides. A sultry chuckle made him nibble her earlobe gently as she rode him slowly, teasing him.

“You have no idea, Mr. Stark …” She purred, sinking herself deeper onto his length, making them both moan aloud. She leaned back, pressing him against her inside walls like a lollipop in cheek, hair tumbling over her shoulders, tousled and glowing as if a goddess sat astride him. She brought him to the peak, and watched in ecstasy as he thrust into her hips, squeezing her hips as he let out a primal groan. She fell onto her hands over him, her hips rocking in time with his as she worked him to the core. As he came down from his mountain, they collapsed into each other’s arms, panting heavily, limbs slick with sweat and each other. The speakers played Shoot to Thrill somewhere behind them while Tony pulled himself up onto his elbows, looking over Vivienne’s glowing form sprawled beside him.

“This was so much better than lunch.” She glanced at him through half lidded eyes, and saw he was grinning. “I can barely make a sandwich, really.”

A tired laugh escaped her, and he ensconced her in his arms, sheets loosely thrown over their legs as sunlight threw itself over the room, lighting the white walls on fire.

“So … where do we go from here?”

His question roused Vivienne to a more alert state than her pleasure-soaked mindset. She rolled onto her side, hand supporting her head.

“I .. don’t know. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve dreamed about this for a long time, but ..” She glanced at him, before training her eyes on the sheets. “Where do you see this going?”

He mirrored her by rolling onto his side to face her, running a hand over her curves once more, making her shiver. “I see this going to the shower to clean ourselves up, and then perhaps a real dinner and some wine on the balcony. And from there? Wherever the world takes us.” He cupped her face in his hand, those dark eyes capturing her once more. “This is where I want to be, Viv. I wouldn’t have asked you here if I wasn’t sure.”

A silence fell between them for a moment, before she spoke up.

“Does it have to be wine?”

His face bloomed into a wide grin, and he pulled her into his chest with a laugh.

“Whiskey on the rocks it is.”