Ginny’s presentation was a hit! The foundation had started to discuss moving beyond her original proposal before she was even finished.
Pepper cut in quickly. “We are looking to engage the community and have the movement grow organically rather than be presented fully realized.” she told them. “Ms. St. Pierre and I are aware of how much this could grow.” and then she sat down and didn’t say another word, but it was enough. The ‘suits’ listened carefully to the rest of her proposal, and after answering a few questions, they brought the meeting to a close.
The chair summed up the meeting quickly. “We are very interested in your idea, Ms. St. Pierre. Give us a week to run some numbers and let’s meet again.” They set up to meet at the same time the following Monday.
Pepper grabbed her into a big hug right outside the door. “You were amazing!” she said. “With that kind of passion, how could they say no?”
“I think it was your logistics that sold them.” Ginny said.
Pepper gave her another hug and said, “Let’s just say we make a great team.”
Pepper’s phone rang and she looked and said, “It’s Tony. Let me set things up for tonight.” and she walked away to talk.
Ginny pulled out her phone and texted Steve.
Your lady is amazing!! They loved it! Meeting next week after they run some numbers.
Her phone rang almost immediately.
“Congratulations! I knew you’d knock their sox off!” Steve sounded winded.
“Sorry to interrupt your training.” Ginny said, contritely.
“No problem.” Steve said. “I had JP watch for your text. I didn’t want to miss it.” He had caught his breath by then.
“My lady is amazing.” he said huskily. “Can’t wait to congratulate you tonight in person.”
“Moi, aussi.” she said, a little husky herself. “Are you kicking Thor’s butt over there?”
“You bet.” She could hear the smile in his voice.
“I’ll be done early this afternoon, so maybe I’ll stop by and see for myself.” Ginny said.
“I hope you do.” Steve stopped to listen to something in the background. “Break’s over. Got an Asgardian to set straight.”
“See you soon.” Ginny said softly.
“Bye.” he said as he hung up.
Her afternoon went even quicker than anticipated when Angie called her and told her she was sick. So Ginny decided to pay her dad a visit to give him the news.
Claude was overjoyed at her success. It would mean changes for him, too, although part of her process would be to start drawing kids from other orthopedists, too. It was the first time she was meeting his new intern, Joseph, and she liked him immediately. He was quiet and focused and complemented her dad perfectly. And he had taken French in high school, so Claude had someone to speak French to! It seemed a great fit.
Claude would be at the celebration dinner that night, but said he probably wouldn’t stay very late. He still wasn’t feeling great.
“Have you been to see your doctor?” Ginny asked, concerned.
“Pah,” he said. “He’ll just tell me to lose weight. He is a quack!” Claude said, dismissively.
“Still, this isn’t going away, Papa. You should find out what’s going on.” Ginny was concerned, but knew better than to dwell too much on it.
She left shortly after and made a quick stop at home. She got to Stark Tower by 3 pm.
She dropped her bag in her usual guest room and went to find the observation booth for the arena.
The room was dark, so she had a great view of the combatants below without them being able to see her.
“Again!” she heard JP shout and Thor and Steve came together with a crash. They grappled for a moment before Steve threw Thor over; but Thor was back on his feet immediately. Steve had to duck a blow aimed at his head and followed through with a body blow, which Thor avoided by falling to the floor and trying to kick Steve’s feet out from under him. Steve twisted mid-air to avoid this and Thor sunk a punch from below into his side. Steve grunted in pain as he fell to the floor. But he was on his feet to meet the next attack. And so it went for an hour. They would break occasionally for JP to give them instruction and then continue. It almost looked choreographed, Ginny thought. But she winced ever time Steve took a hit and silently cheered when he sunk a blow on Thor.
After an hour, she found she couldn’t take it anymore. Jane was right; it hurt her soul to see Steve take so much abuse.
So she found herself alone in the music room. The piano beckoned her, but she was aimless in her playing. She ran through a few scales and fingering exercises. Then she played some favourite songs from memory, then ran through parts of some songs on the tablet. She just loved the way everything sounded on this instrument!
“There’s the woman of the hour!” Tony said, coming into the room. She stood up and he gave her a hug. “Must feel pretty good.”
“It’s still a lot to take in.” she said. “I keep pinching myself.” She couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face.
“Everyone should be up in about half an hour, if you want to keep playing.” Tony raised his eyebrows in question. “Would you like a drink?”
“Sure…what would you suggest for someone who just realized her dream?” Ginny was starting to let the day sink in.
“That can only be champagne.” Tony said. “I’ve got some chilling.” He left to check on the champagne.
She sat down at the piano again and realized how much she wanted Steve there with her to share her moment. She picked at a few notes, then had a thought.
She started to play the intro to ‘New York State of Mind’. The song always made her think of him and she smiled as she enjoyed how this melancholy tune sounded coming from the body of this beautiful instrument. She could almost see cartoon music notes floating up. This made her smile again.
When she felt someone sit down beside her, she smiled again.
“It worked!” she said, looking up into Steve’s beautiful blue eyes.
“What worked?” he asked, slipping his arm around behind her.
She finished the song and put her head on his shoulder. “I was missing you and I thought if I played our theme song, it would bring you to me…and it worked!”
He chuckled at that.
Tony came in with Pepper; he had a bottle of champagne in one hand and he and Pepper had four glasses between them.
“I thought I heard your voice, Rogers.” Tony said. “Time to celebrate.”
They lined the glasses up on the piano and Tony popped the cork and poured them each a glass.
Steve raised his glass, offering a toast. “To dreams coming true.” and he smiled at her. The champagne was amazing; light and bubbly with a hint of sweetness.
“Nice, Stark,” Steve said after taking a sip, “brought out the good stuff.”
“Only the best for our Geneviève.” Pepper said, looking down at Ginny fondly. “You would have been so proud of her, Steve. She presented with so much poise and passion, it was beautiful.”
Ginny put her head down, a little embarrassed. She was never great at taking this kind of praise.
“Never thought for a second that she wouldn’t be great.” Steve responded.
Thor and Jane joined them, then, followed by Bucky and Sam. Tony poured the rest of the champagne and went to grab another bottle. When he returned, Claude was with him.
Tony poured champagne around while Ginny got up to greet her dad.
But when she hugged him, he felt cold. “Papa, are you okay?” She pulled back and took his hands, which were like ice. “Tu et trés froid!” Her brow was creased in worry when she looked up at him.
“De rien.” he said, waving her concern off. “Long day. I just need some sleep.”
“Claude.” Steve had come up behind her and was shaking Claude’s hand. “The combat prosthetic is amazing!”
“Is it working well in the arena?” Claude asked. “That is the true test.”
“From what I saw today, it is.” Ginny said, looking up at Steve with a smile.
“You were watching? Why didn’t you come down?” Steve asked, surprised.
“I didn’t want to interrupt.” she said. “Big difference from the first time I saw you go up against Thor. Still hard to watch you take that much abuse.” She frowned up at him. “I just wanted to come down and stop it. Jane is right…it hurts my soul.”
Claude was watching his daughter with this young man and was just realizing what was between them.
It would be good for Geneviève to have someone in her life again, he thought.
Claude smiled and winked at his daughter, then he and Steve talked some more about the combat leg before Pepper called them all in for dinner.
Conversation around the table was light, although the upcoming mission was definitely on everyone’s mind.
Tony asked Steve if he thought he’d be able to join the mission.
Steve answered, “Not if it was today, but give me a few more days in the arena with the new prosthetic, and I’ll be ready.”
The still had very little information but rehashed what they did know.
“I thought Fury was coming in this week.” Steve said.
“He is. Wednesday, I believe.” Tony said. “Let’s set up a meeting so we can get all the latest intel.”
Ginny was trying to hide her concern but not doing a very good job of it.
Steve smiled down at her and said, “It’ll be fine.”
She smiled back up at him, but had to look away quickly. He squeezed her hand under the table.
The conversation moved on, but Steve knew Ginny was still worried about him going on this mission.
“How would you like to take a walk on the track later?” Steve asked Ginny under his breath.
“I would.” she answered, smiling at something Tony said. They had a lot to talk about. He squeezed her hand again, listening to something Claude was saying.
Once dinner was done, Ginny expected Steve to go off with Dr. Coulter at 7:30 as usual.
“I cancelled tonight.” he told her. “I’d rather be with you than him any day.” He winked at her and turned to answer a question Sam was asking him.
At 8 o’clock, Claude pleaded an early appointment in the morning and got up to leave.
Ginny hugged him goodbye and found that he was still really cold. She gave him a stern look as she pulled away.
“Geneviève, stop worrying. I’m your father, not your child.” he said sternly to his daughter in French.
“I know.” she said, also in French. “If you were my child, you would have seen a doctor by now!”
“Pah!” he waved her objection away. “I will see you Thursday night for supper?”
“Of course, papa.” she said contritely and hugged him again, rubbing his back to try to warm him up.
Steve had gotten up to say goodbye to Claude as well and as the door closed, he leaned down and whispered in Ginny’s ear, “Ready for a walk?”
She turned and smiling, nodded.
Steve made the excuse of the space station being visible in the sky tonight for their departure, and they were on their way to the roof as few minutes later.
“Very smooth, Rogers.” Ginny said, approvingly. “Did you make that up or research it?”
“It is supposed to be visible tonight. We can look for it, if you want.” Steve said.
Ginny shrugged and said, “We’ll see.”
The view from the track was as spectacular as it had been on their last visit.
“Figured anyone who had their dreams come true today deserved no less than the sky.” He gestured towards the vista above them.
They stood for a moment with their arms around each other just watching the sky.
“Let’s sit.” Steve suggested.
The grass in the middle of the track was dry and they sat down.
He took her hand in his and said, “You’re worried for me on this mission.”
She was quiet for a long time, but Steve just held her hand and waited.
“I’ve never dated a soldier before you.” she said in a small voice. “I don’t like thinking about you being in danger and maybe not coming back.” She moved closer to him so she could put her head on his shoulder.
“I will have the best team with me. They’ll watch my back. But they need me to lead…it’s what I do.” he said, simply.
“I know all that with my head,” she said, “but my heart doesn’t seem to be listening.”
He stroked her arm trying to sooth her. “I’ve got a really good reason to come back.” he said finally, pressing his lips to her hair.
Suddenly, she wanted very badly to feel those lips on hers. She turned her face up to him.
Steve was surprised that Ginny wasn’t turning away as he came close to kiss her.
His lips were slightly parted to cover hers and her lips were so soft, he didn’t want it to end.
When they finally parted, Steve said, “Your lips are so soft.” and he pressed his forehead to hers.
“Hmmmm…that was nice.” Ginny responded and kissed the tip of his nose, which made his smile even wider.
Ginny wanted…needed more; more reassurance that he was hers and would come back to her.
So she sought his lips again. This time she parted her lips to let her tongue play with his.
Steve had only been French kissed once before, and it had felt like an invasion! Ginny’s tongue just danced with his and the sensation went right to his groin. He moaned softly.
Ginny brought her hand up to cup his face and when they parted, he covered her hand with his and brought it to his mouth to kiss.
They looked into each other’s eyes for what felt like forever.
“The last time I was French kissed, the girl tried to shove her tongue down my throat.” Steve said, finally. “This was much nicer.”
Ginny smiled. “Yeah, I’ve been kissed like that, too. Not very pleasant. If I ever did that, though, I’d lose my French citizenship!”
He laughed out loud at that.
Suddenly, Ginny was serious. “There’s a lot we should talk about.” She was still looking up into his eyes.
He sat back a little bit, took her hand into both of his and said, “What do you want to talk about?”
She was watching him stroke her hand instead of looking at him.
“Well…sex for one thing.” she blurted out.
“What about it?” he said, a little defensively. He didn’t really want to talk about sex. He thought that people in this generation talked about sex way too much.
“Look,” she said, rushing to get it all out before she lost her nerve. “I know you’re from a different time and that you have a different moral code. I just hope we can find a middle ground between you needing to be married and me wanting to make love to you right now under the stars.”
His erection was pressing painfully against the zipper of his jeans and part of him thought that right now under the stars sounded perfect.
“We will.” he said. “I’ve pretty much put aside the idea of waiting until marriage, but I’m not ready for tonight either.” He kissed her hand.
“Let me savour the idea of being able to kiss you for a while!” he said, teasingly, as he leaned in to claim her lips again.
Tired of sitting up, Steve stretched out on his back on the grass. Ginny snuggled in next to him with one leg over his and her free arm over his chest.
Steve couldn’t remember when he had last been so content. This smart, beautiful, talented, sexy woman loved him and he was over-the-moon in love with her.
As he stroked her hair and held her hand, they talked about the rest of the week and other upcoming things. Ginny’s best friend in Toronto was getting married in a couple of months; new clients; missions; training; working on her child amp centres; his family and life in the 30s and 40s; hers in Montreal and Toronto.
There were still lying there talking when Tony poked his head through the door. Steve sat half up to see what Tony wanted.
“Oh, there you are! I don’t want to interrupt anything.” Tony said, ludely. “But it’s almost 1 am and we’d thought you two had fallen off the roof.”
“You are such a bad influence on him.” Tony said, primly to Ginny as they came through the door. “And on a school night, too! Tsk,tsk.”
“Yes, I am.” she answered. “And I get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in forever!”
Tony split off and left Ginny and Steve to find their way to the guest wing.
At Ginny’s door, they held each other and kissed for a long time, neither one wanting the night to end.
“You could still come in.” Ginny said, coquettishly. She had had a lot of champagne and wanted him very badly.
He rubbed his hand down his face. “Let’s save it for another night when I’m not so tired and I don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn to let Thor put a beating on me.” Suddenly, he felt very tired.
He kissed her chastely on the forehead and said, “Come and see me at the arena before you head for work.”
“I will. Let’s go out for dinner tomorrow night, if you’re up to it.” Ginny suggested. “I know a great little place I’d love to take you.”
He smiled tiredly at her and said, “Sounds like a date.”
She kissed him quickly on the lips and said, “Our first. Sleep well, babe.” Then she opened her door and disappeared inside.
Steve stood staring at the door for a long moment. They he looked down at the bulge in his jeans in disgust.
You’re an idiot, Rogers, he thought. You should have said yes, and turned away to find his own cold bed.
Ginny finally opened her eyes at 9 am. She got up, took a long, leisurely shower and took her time getting dressed before heading down to the kitchen for something to eat. As usual, there were fresh croissants with organic honey to spread on them, and fruit.
Once she had filled a plate and made herself a tea, she headed for the arena observation booth. She watch Steve going up against Sam and Bucky today with weapons! They were shooting at him! She didn’t like that at all.
She finished eating, dropped her dishes in the kitchen and went to the arena this time. At least if she was there, maybe they’d stop shooting at him for a couple of minutes.
She greeted JP and let the guys finish the exercise he had set for them while they chatted.
Steve came over to them and said, “Hey Ginny. Come to check up on me?” in a casual, almost teasing way.
“Thought I’d stop by before I headed to the hospital.” she said, equally casual. “But you’re looking great out there. Like I said, I’ll probably do a final assessment later this week and then leave you to JP’s tender ministrations.”
Steve laughed at this while he readjusted his gloves. “That’s liable to get me killed.” he said.
JP waved them out. “Take your girl outside to chit chat.” he said. “Let me knock some sense into these two.”
JP had gathered Sam and Bucky to him as Ginny and Steve walked out into the hall.
“Sorry.” Steve said. “I didn’t want to kiss you in there in case it ended up looking unprofessional on you.”
“Thank you.” she said and tiptoed, putting her arms around his neck and kissed him thoroughly.
When they came up for air, Steve said, “I don’t think that will ever get old.”
“Where are we going for dinner tonight?” he asked. “Should I pick you up or meet you there?”
“Let me see if I can get reservations and I’ll text you the details.” she said and kissed him again, long and sweet.
He still had his eyes closed when he pulled back. “You’d better go before I carry you off!” He stepped back and held her hand to his lips for a second before waving cheerily at her and turning to the door.
Ginny touched her lower lip and savoured the feel of his lips before turning to go herself.