A Time For Heroes – Chapter 5

SuperheroesGinny’s phone buzzed while she was staring into the fridge looking for something to eat for dinner. It was a text from Steve.

How’d it go this afternoon?

 She texted back:

 Fantastic! Can you talk?

And a second later, her phone rang.

“Of course, I can talk!” he said, when she answered. “I’ve been dying to find out how things went.”

“You know,” she said, “Tony’s name is a very powerful weapon! All I had to say was that the Stark Foundation was considering funding my child amp program, and Margaret just fell all over herself to give me whatever I wanted!” She sounded absolutely jubilant!

“Even things that she seemed really hesitant about when I first mentioned them, I got! I am just on cloud 9!”

“That’s great!” he said. “Told you you didn’t need luck.”

“Oh, I had luck.” she said with a smile.

“So do you feel like celebrating?” he asked after a rather pregnant pause. “Bucky’s going to come up for supper and I think your dad is staying, too.”

“I’d really love to,” she said, “but I have some stuff to do to get ready for tomorrow.” She was undecided if she was truly upset to not be going or happy to have the breathing space. He still took her breath away, even on the phone!

“Besides, all that testosterone in one room. I might drown!”

He chuckled. “Well, we’ll miss you. No one to keep the boys in line.”

She laughed at that.

“What do you have to do to get ready for tomorrow?” He really didn’t want to end this conversation just yet.

“Well, the kids expect a different colour in my hair every week and I thought I’d try for a red, white and blue thing this week.”

“Really?” he said. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about that little shock of colour in her hair.

“I’ve never tried multiple colours before, so I don’t know how it will turn out, but if it’s terrible, I’ll only have to look dumb for a week before it washes out.”

“So it’s not permanent colour.” he mused. “But your hair isn’t brown underneath, is it?”

“No, I went white in that area in my early 20s. I tried dying it brown, but it was just too hard to keep up with. And with no dye, I look like the Bride of Frankenstein! When I started working with kids, I tried the temporary dyes and they loved it!” she said. “Some adults are put off by it, but I figure if that’s going to make someone not want to get to know me, I’m probably better off not knowing them.”

Yes, indeed, he thought, feeling a little guilty about his unkind thoughts about her hair.

“What time are you and Iron Man flying in tomorrow?” she asked.

“Not sure. Hold on.” All she heard was muffled sounds for a second.

“Um, Tony’s says he’ll call you. He just got off the phone with Margaret and he has some other stuff to discuss with you as well.” he relayed. “What time do the kids get there?”

“Early. Some of them are there by 7:30; the rest by 8.” she said.

“Well, Bucky’s here so I should go.” he said reluctantly. “See you in the morning.”

She smiled and said, “Looking forward to it.”

“Me, too.” he said. “Bye”

“Bye.”she said and hit the end call button. She didn’t think he was the type to play –No, you hang up – but she just didn’t feel like being disappointed just then.

The heck with dinner, she thought. Let’s see what I can do with this hair, and she dug into the cupboard where she kept her hair dyes and started to experiment.

He pulled the phone away from his ear and smiled as he tucked it into his pocket. He was glad she had hung up. He’d heard people going back and forth not wanting to be the one to hang up and he thought that was silly.

The evening went great. Bucky and he actually drove the scientists away with their talk of the war and old times! Sometimes it felt like they were alone on an island; the last two people under a hundred who still remembered those days, those people.

Tony offered hospitality, but they all had early mornings, so they said their farewells around 11 and Steve head up to bed.

On the way up the stairs, his phone buzzed and he looked to see…her.


she texted and there was a picture of her smiling under a red, white and blue forelock. She had let it spray out across half of her face to better show the colours.

All set for you, Cap! Sleep well.

He chuckled and texted back:

 Looks great! Thought the colour was for the kids, not me. You sleep well, too. 06 00.

He went into his room still waiting for a reply. It didn’t come until he was done brushing his teeth.

 If you had hated it, it was for the kids. But since you like it, it’s for you. 06 00 is way too early to be awake. À demain

 It took him a second to reach back and find the right words in French to respond.

 Bonne nuit.

He left his phone on the side table in case there was a response, but there was none. He’d have to ask Tony tomorrow how to make that picture come up when she called.

The kids started to arrive at 7:30 am. Sean, who was 13, was first. He was always pretty grumpy first thing in the morning, but Ginny’s hair got a smile. Annalisa, who was 5, showed up next with her stuffed bunny clutched in her arms. There were some fruit and croissants courtesy of Tony and all three of them were nibbling when Randy, who was 9, showed up. He had more energy than the 3 of them put together! He grabbed a croissant and went to mess around on the universal machine. Sarah was next, and already at 11, she was a beauty. Big, dark eyes, long black hair and full lips. She’d either be a sweetheart or a man-eater when she grew up. Ginny was working on sweetheart but the amputation had left her pretty vulnerable. Last but not least came 7 year old Maya. Already a full-tilt diva, she could give Tony a run for his money!

They all loved her hair. She didn’t tell them that Tony and Steve were coming. The deal was she had them for half an hour to 45 minutes, and then they’d all go visit the children’s ward for an hour and then back with Steve and the kids for training. Tony had called her after she had spoken to Steve to fill her in.

It was 10 to 8 when her phone buzzed. It was a text from Steve:

 All set? We’re almost there.

She had set some cheesy picture of him in full uniform as a contact picture. Now she gathered the kids to show them that Captain America was on his way!

She texted back:

 Yup! Ready when you are.

 “So that’s what the red, white and blue is about.” Sean said, slyly. “Is he your boyfriend yet?” he teased, and ducked neatly under her good natured swat.

The double doors from the hallway burst open and there they were, in all their glory. Tony’s gleaming metal suit was almost blinding and Steve, with his shield on his arm, looked like he was all business.

“Sorry to barge in like this, ma’am,” Steve said to her, “but Iron Man and I were in pursuit of a hostile alien, and we thought it came in here.”

Tony looked at her and then aimed a gun port on his arm at her.

“I think I see our alien, Cap.” he said, through his faceplate. “Look at the hair. They like to take over and hide in human bodies, but there’s always a telltale splash of colour to give them away.”

Ginny put her hands out in entreaty. “Now wait a minute. Let’s talk about this.”

Steve drew his gun and leveled it at her as well. The hostile look he gave her was a little too real!

Whoa…still play-acting, I hope!, Ginny thought.

Suddenly, the kids were all around her, protecting her, explaining about the hair.

“She does it for us; she’s our trainer; it’s different every week.” Randy stepped out in front of the group, his arms held wide in a stance that said ‘If you want her, you’ll have to go through me.’

Sean had been standing quietly beside Ginny, and now he sprang into action. He put his arm around her throat and pulled her backwards. He was a little bit taller than Ginny so it wasn’t too awkward for him to pull off.

“Haha!” he shouted. “I had you all fooled! I’m the alien, see?” He pulled up his shirt sleeve to show a Captain America shield design he had drawn there in magic marker.

“Now I have the woman you love as hostage, Captain America, and I’ll disintegrate her if you don’t let me go!” he shouted at Steve.

They had a stand-off! The kids had parted to watch this drama unfold so Ginny thought she’d give them a show.

“Oh, Steve!” she cried, batting her eyelashes. “Please don’t let him hurt me!” She reached out her arms to him and Sean jerked her backwards a little further.

“Damn” Steve said, not taking his eyes off of the two of them.

“I say they’re both aliens and we shoot ‘em both.” Tony said, evenly, raising his arm a little higher.

Steve dropped his gun to his side and said, “No, we can’t do that. We need to come up with another plan.”

“Wait a minute.” Ginny said in a steely voice. “Captain America isn’t going to hang out with some shrinking violet, femme fatale who can’t take care of herself.” She grasped Sean’s arm and before he could react, flipped him over her shoulder and onto his back on the mat in front of her.

“Secure the hostile, kids!” Steve shouted. They all piled on top of Sean in a seething, giggling mass.

Steve had holstered his gun and was smiling at the spectacle on the floor. Tony had popped off his faceplate to better see. It was obvious that this situation was handled.

It took Ginny a minute to sort the kids out and introduce everyone. Steve clapped Sean on the shoulder and said, “Nice bit of acting there. Thanks for playing along.” Sean beamed and pulled up his sleeve to compare his shield design to the real thing.

Tony was showing off his arsenal of weapons to some of the other kids and Ginny just stood back smiling and watching.

Sean had gone over to check out Iron Man’s armour, too, and Steve popped out the door to retrieve his gym bag, which he had left in the hall so they could make their entrance.

He came over and stood beside Ginny watching Tony with the kids.

“I hope that gun you pointed at me wasn’t loaded.” she said.

He pulled it out of the holster and handed it to her. “Plastic.” he said. “That was fun, but I was almost as nervous coming in as I was the first time they pushed me out on stage with the dancing girls in the 40s!”

She laughed and said, “These guys will be talking about nothing else for weeks!”

Annalisa came to stand in front of Steve, looking up. He hunkered down to her level and said, “Hi, Annalisa, what can I do for you?”

She hugged her bunny a little tighter and said, in a very tiny voice, “Ginny said some bad guys shot off your leg and now you have one like me.” She was wearing a dress and put her prosthetic leg forward.

His face was blank as he looked at her leg. Then he sat down on the floor to pull off his boot to show her his prosthetic.

“Ginny’s right.” he said. “Some bad guys did shoot off my leg. But I think yours is prettier than mine.” There were butterfly stickers all over hers.

Annalisa was on the floor with Steve examining his leg and all the other kids started to come over, showing their prosthetics and telling their stories.

Ginny had to bite her lip hard to keep the tears that were welling in her eyes from spilling down her face.

Steve smiled up at her, and then pulled a mock sad face. This made her smile back, but she had to turn away to get a tissue and get herself under control.

On the other side of the room, Sean had the Steve’s shield and Tony was shooting some kind of projectiles for him to block. Ginny picked one up just to see how lethal they were and found them to be soft rubber.

Randy had noticed their game and came over for a turn. Sean was just showing how to block the low shots when Margaret Reid walked in.

Her gimlet eye took in the whole room with one sweep. Captain America, partially undressed on the floor surrounded by a bunch of kids comparing notes on prosthetic technology and Iron Man shooting at two young men with a shield.

“Hello, Meg.” Tony said. “Come to join the fun?” He shot a couple more rubber balls at Randy, who squealed with delight!

“Mr. Stark.” she nodded to him formally, as though he was in a suit and tie. “The rest of your team is assembling upstairs if you’d care to join them.”

“Team?” Ginny said to Steve. He was trying to pull his boot back on.

“Yeah, Tony made some calls last night and Natasha and Clint were free, so were Sam and Bucky, so we’ve got a good group to visit upstairs.”

“What, no Thor?” she asked in mock disappointment…well, mostly mock.

“No Thor.” he said. “What is it with all you girls and Thor.” he sighed.

“Maya, tell him.” Ginny prompted.

“He’s hot!” Maya said, licking her finger and touching her behind with a sizzling sound. They both laughed at her precociousness.

“All us girls.” Ginny said under her breath. “Guess you’ve failed to notice that women fall all over themselves around you, too, eh?”

He didn’t have a chance to respond before Margaret chose that moment to join them.

“Will you introduce me to your friend, Ms. St. Pierre?” Was she blushing, Steve thought? But he smiled and shook her hand as Ginny introduced him.

Once introductions were made, Ginny gathered the kids and they headed for the children’s ward.

More introductions that left Ginny a little star-struck! Bucky was gallant and kissed her hand; Sam made a rather suggestive compliment about her yoga pants, which earned him a stern look from Steve.

There were a couple of gigantic boxes full of action figures, courtesy of Tony, of course, which the staff could pass out to the kids as the heroes made their rounds of the kids and their families.

But it didn’t end up being the staff helping out the Avengers, but her kids! They each attached to one or two of the heroes and ran back and forth grabbing toys as they were needed. There was lots of laughing, lots of pictures and plenty of goofing around between these super friends, who were very comfortable with each other.

There were tears, too, and more than one of the team who had to excuse themselves to gain control of their emotions.

At the end, everyone had a cherished action figure of their favourite (some had two because they couldn’t decide), and the Avengers took their leave, with Ginny and the kids in their wake.

She noticed that Steve seemed to be sticking with the kids instead of his friends. But Bucky stuck close to him, which she liked to see.

Tony had brought in more breakfast for everyone so the next half hour was spent with everyone back in her gym. There was lots of interest in Hawkeye’s bow and Black Widow showed the girls some defensive kicks while the boys clustered around Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Randy laid claim to Steve’s shield and was blocking shots from Iron Man again.

As they were leaving, Natasha ruffled Sarah’s hair and said to Steve, “I like your new friends, Rogers.” Then she said to Ginny, “Mind if I drop back in sometime?”

“Anytime.” Ginny answered, too star-struck to call her by name.

Tony was the last to leave, telling Steve he’d see him back at Casa Stark as he closed the door.

“Enough fun and games!” Ginny said firmly. “Hit the mats; let’s do some yoga.”

Steve grabbed his gym bag and pointed to the washroom before heading that way to change. His helmet was under his arm and his hair looked like he’d just gotten out of bed.

Stop it, Ginny, she said firmly to herself!

She usually did a modified yoga session with the kids that only lasted half an hour. She and Steve may have to make it up this afternoon. After all the excitement of the last couple of hours, they all needed to come down to earth a little bit. Steve joined them once he had changed into sweats and she told him that what they do is shorter than what she normally did.

“I get a lot more out of the meditation side of things than the physical anyways.” he said. “Although I still need to work on balance.”

“Well, after this we’re going to do some dancing, so that should help.” she said. She had promised the kids dancing last week, before she had met Steve and couldn’t renege.

“Dancing?!” Steve’s head shot up.

“Part of my unconventional program.”, she winked at him.

After Savasana, the kids all bounced up and were clamouring to be heard as to which song they wanted to dance to. She kept to older music because a lot of the newer stuff was not kid appropriate. If that made her old-fashioned, then so be it!

Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ seems to be the consensus. She didn’t know what it was, but these guys seemed to LOVE being zombies.

“How about we warm up a little first with some free-style.” she suggested. “Show Steve your moves.”

A couple of the girls went to pull Steve into the circle but he put up his hands, saying, “No, no. I think I’ll just sit this one out. I can’t dance.”

Ginny just rolled her eyes at him and asked the kids, “How many of you said exactly the same thing to me the first time?” All hands shot up.

Steve gave them a withering look and said, “You’re not helping my cause, guys!” That caused lots of giggles.

“We’ve seen you move, Steve.”, Ginny said. She flipped her tablet around and brought up a YouTube video of Steve from the battle of Manhattan. Even though he was knocking off aliens as he moved, the whole thing could have been choreographed. Several of the kids were imitating what they were watching.

Steve had his hand over his eyes, peeking through his fingers.

When it was done, he pleaded, “But that’s different!”

Ginny laughed and said, “If you can move like that in combat, you can dance. You can listen and watch to start but we’re GOING to call you in.” She fixed him with a stern look before turning on the music.

It started with just piano chords and Steve thought, Not so bad, but then the drums kicked in and he knew it was the tune Ginny had been dancing to on the elliptical the day before.

She was standing with him, watching the kids dance, but she couldn’t keep still. He had to admit, the music was pretty infectious.

Randy and Maya had gotten together in a jitter bug and were swinging each other around the dance floor. The others just seemed to be moving to the beat.

“Okay.” she yelled over the music as she turned to him. “We’re going to start you off on the boyfriend shuffle. Just shuffle your feet like this.” She shuffled back and forth. “Move in time to the music and let that guide your upper body.”

She started to sway and snap her fingers to the music. He followed her lead and felt really dumb doing it.

“Now try leading out with your hips, like this.” She was still moving her feet side to side but exaggerating her hip movements as she did it. Her arms were down by her sides but her shoulders were picking up the beat.

The song ended and she went over and started it again. “Sorry, forgot to put it on repeat.”

“The other rule of dancing is to steal.” she said. “If you see someone else doing something cool, try it yourself.”

Ginny moved around the circle dancing with each of the kids in turn, mirroring them and mimicking their moves; twirling, waving her arms above her head; running her hand down her thighs and moving her shoulders forward…that pose reminded him of Marilyn Monroe.

Then she was in front of him and all he was doing was the boyfriend shuffle…but he thought he was leading with his hips a little bit like she showed him. So she mirrored him, smiling up into his face, then turned it into a full body gyration with one hand on her hip and the other in the air.

“See, easy!” she spoke over the music.

When the song was done, she said, “Let’s try something different.” She changed the music to something with a cha-cha beat to it.

She came and stood in front of him and put her hands on his hips so that they were squared off. He could see Sean and Sarah and Randy and Maya doing the same thing. Annalisa was happily dancing with her stuffed bunny.

She placed his right hand on her shoulder and put her left hand on his shoulder and took his right hand in hers.

“For the cha-cha, you need to hold your frame like this.” She indicated their arms. Then she stepped to one side so they could watch the steps the kids were doing. Forward, one, two, three; back, one, two, three.

“Like ‘Dirty Dance’” he shouted. “No spaghetti arms!” She smiled at the reference.

“You got it.” she shouted back. “You ready?”

So they squared off again, she indicated that he should start with his left foot forward then she counted off.

He got through the first few steps, then he stumbled and they had to start again. Then they bumped into Sarah and Sean. Finally, he seemed to have the hang of it.

“Let’s try a spin.” Ginny said. “When you want to spin your partner, you move your left hand down to her hip.” She moved his hand. “This is the way I’m going to spin.” She lifted their hands over her head as she spun around and back to face him.

“All you have to do is give my hip a little push in that direction and raise your arm so I can go underneath. Randy, can you show?” she said, turning towards Randy and Maya.

Steve watched carefully trying to see where in the dance to pause for the spin. He got Randy to do it a couple more times and then he squared up with Ginny again.

First try was a disaster! He didn’t remember to raise his arm and they just collided; second time, he pushed a little too hard on her hip and almost lost her! After a couple more false starts, he managed to get her around and back in his arms and he was thrilled! He pulled her in for a hug and she threw her arms around his neck.

“Who said you can’t dance?” she whispered in his ear. He laughed and lifted her off her feet, swinging her around.

“Okay, we just have time for ‘Thriller’ before Papa Claude gets here.” she said. She found another video on her tablet and started it.

“Have you ever watched the ‘Thriller’ video?” she asked Steve. When he shook his head, she started the video. “There’s a great zombie dance sequence in here that the kids just love.” She skipped the video forward to the sequence she was talking about and they all gathered to watch.

Steve noticed that there were twitches and shoulder shrugs amongst the kids as they reacquainted themselves with the moves.

“Whoa!” Steve said. “What the heck is that?”

Ginny had been absorbed in the video but turned towards him when he spoke.

“What?” she asked.

He reached forward and moved the video back to near the beginning. “That. That’s a little indecent”, he said.

“The hip thrusts? That’s not indecent…wait until you see his crotch grab.”

“People do that in public?” He seemed scandalized.

“You know, for a soldier, you’re a bit of a prude.” she said with a smile. “I don’t think I’d ever want to take you to a club. Your head might explode.” she teased.

“You’re probably right.” he said, watching the video.

She went through some of the more challenging moves, like the leg half-kick and the shoulder rolls that the zombies did, and Steve followed right along.

Wow, Ginny thought, That man can definitely move!

Steve was a little self-conscious doing the hip thrusts, but he got the hang of it.

“Okay, let’s line up and see what we can do with this.” She moved to the back of the group with Steve and Randy & Maya, her best dancers, took the front.

Once they had gotten through it once, Ginny had a few pointers and they started it again.

Ginny kept her eyes on all of the dancers, including Steve. Her dad would be there soon to play and to adjust prosthetics. Annalisa was getting her new leg today; she had definitely outgrown her old one; she was almost limping as she danced! Sarah’s arm had 2 fingers that weren’t working…again. And Steve…she wondered when his new leg would be ready. His foot was still an issue with this one.

Which was why her eyes were on him as he moved through one of the sequences with hip thrusts!

Way to go, Cap, she thought, Maybe not such a prude after all!

The song finished and they were all congratulating each other on a job well done, when Claude came in.

The kids all ran to greet him shouting “Papa Claude, Papa Claude!” Claude feigned horror at this onslaught and was trying to listen to them all at once telling him of their adventures that morning.

They all knew that he kept lollipops in his pockets for them and they all came out with one.

Ginny and Steve stood back and watched the spectacle. The kids had grabbed Claude’s cases and bags and went to put them on the table that he used as a workbench leaving him free to greet his daughter.

She engulfed him in a huge hug and he kissed her cheek sweetly. Then she gave him a mischievous grin and reached into his pocket for a lollipop, too. He smiled indulgently at his little girl, then turned to greet Steve.

“Mr. St. Pierre” Steve said formally as he shook his hand.

“It is Claude, please.” he said. “As long as you don’t pronounce it like the rest of New York does…CLOD…Ptah!” He had pronounced it in French with a long O as in road. He handed Steve a lollipop, too, then grabbed one for himself.

“Claude, then.” Steve said. “I knew a Claude during the war and I wouldn’t be here talking to you if I had ever mispronounced it!” Claude laughed and clapped him companionable on the shoulder.

“Also, do not call Geneviève – GENEVEEVE.” Claude confided. “My pretty girl has claws when she needs them.”

“One of the reasons I go by Ginny here.” she said. “But Steve gets it right.”

“How is the leg holding up?” Claude asked Steve, drawing him away towards his workbench. “Your prosthetic should be ready by the weekend but we will have to discuss using the newer technology that we discovered in Mr. Barnes’ arm.”

Ginny had heard a little about that tech. They used implants so that the prosthetic was effectively linked through the nerves to the brain. What they would have once called ‘Bionic’.

She wasn’t sure how she felt about it and continued to mull it over as she gathered the kids on the universal machine to work.

Steve joined them shortly afterwards when Claude called Annalisa over to fit her new leg. He had started working his legs and lower body with some leg presses when he left and headed for the washroom. Ginny was working with Sarah, stretching the scar tissue across her back from the fire that had cost her her arm, so she didn’t see Steve go.

So she was surprised a half an hour later to see him missing.

“Anyone see where Steve went?” she asked.

Claude pointed behind him towards the washroom.

She turned to Sean and asked him to check if everything was okay.

Sean came out a minute later. As he walked towards her, he looked back towards the bathroom once, then he told Ginny, “Yeah, he’s okay. Just ate something that didn’t agree with him”

Alarm bells were going off in her head, but she nodded at Sean and carried on with Sarah.

Claude was just finishing up with Annalisa and had her old leg packed up…he would add some height to it and give it back to her as a spare…when Steve finally emerged from the washroom, looking pale and shaken.

Claude looked up from his work and asked if he was okay.

“Yeah, something at breakfast just didn’t sit right.” Steve answered, resting a hand on his stomach.

He headed back over to the leg press machine and started working.

He noticed Ginny was watching him with concern and said, “I’m okay, honest.” He gave her a wan smile and went on with his work out.

Ginny scooted Sarah over to Claude so he could take a look at the two broken fingers and made the rounds of the others to make sure no other adjustments were needed.

Their last half hour passed quickly and then it was noon and the kids were being picked up one by one by parents, grandparents or nannies. Soon there were just the 3 of them left.

“Come to dinner tonight, belle.” Claude said. “We haven’t had time together in forever.”

“Bien sûr.” she replied. “I’ll grab wine…red or white?”

“It’s still warm enough to BBQ a steak.” he said. “Bring red; that one you brought the last time was good.”

Mmmm…medium rare steak and a nice Malbec from Argentina…too hard to refuse.

“Is 6 okay?” she asked. “I don’t know yet how late Steve will be here.”

“6 – 6:30. Just let me know so I can start the BBQ.” He kissed her on both cheeks and organized his packs and bags to leave.

Once Claude was gone, she went over to Steve to see if he was hungry. She wasn’t after all of the food that Tony had brought in this morning, but if he was, she could run across to the deli and grab him a sandwich.

“No.” he said. “I’m good. Still not feeling great.” He smiled at her. “I’m just going to work, if that’s okay.”

So she put on some music and hit the elliptical. Steve looked up at one point and saw that she was dancing again. It made him smile, but not for long. His mind was occupied and troubled so he went to the punching bag to try to put some of his demons to rest.

It was almost 5 when the door opened and a gentleman stepped in saying, “Captain Rogers? Mr. Stark sent me to drive you.”

Steve had gone from the punching bag through his upper body routine and was back at the punching bag again. He started untaping his hands.

“Thanks. Just give me a minute to pack up.” he told the driver.

Ginny had finished her work out and was working at her tablet. Now she came over to Steve and said, “Thanks so much for everything today, Steve. I don’t think anyone could have been a bigger hit with the kids!”

“I had a lot of fun today, too.” he answered. She saw that he was still quite pale and that his hands were shaking. She took his hand between both of hers.

“You’re sure you’re okay? You’re shaking.” Her eyes were full of concern.

“Probably not enough water.” he said, taking a drink from his water bottle. “I’ll get some dinner and some sleep and I’ll be fine tomorrow.” He managed a weak smile before grabbing his bag and heading for the door.

She watched the door for a long moment after it closed. Alarm bells were still going off in her head. Something was very wrong, but she couldn’t put her finger on what. Sean had been lying to her and she knew the only person who could have made him lie, who would have had that kind of influence over him, was Steve. So what had happened in that washroom? She shook her head. She’d ask Steve the next day when he was feeling better. Today, he had put back up all of the walls.

So she packed up her tablet and paperwork to head out. She’d be at Stark Tower in the morning so she could start working on the proposal for the Stark Foundation.

But right now, she had a wine to find!



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