Tony Stark had not expected this at all. When he had plastered the advertisement across the sprawling pages of the Internet, he had assumed that people would be savvy enough to understand that by "companion to view the States with," he'd actually meant "beautiful, busty girl to defile half the country's living establishments with." And had that not been clear enough, he would have assumed that the request to wear a wet, white shirt for the first meeting would have been obvious enough that it was an advertisement for girls only.
And clearly, there were still people in this day and age who did not, would not, could not read the subtleties of Internet ads, as evidenced by the young man standing and looking confused in the foyer of the coffee shoppe, his white T-shirt dripping all over the black-and-white tiles.
Tony sighed and rubbed the back of his neck in exasperation before waving the man over.
He approached Tony's table hesitantly.
"Mr. Stark?" he inquired.
"The very one," Tony agreed, indicating the empty seat opposite him. "Please, have a seat. Your name is...what, exactly?" He eyed the man appraisingly. Blue eyes stared back at him innocently, and Tony wanted to laugh at his naivete. Up close, however, Tony did have to admit that the damp white V-neck tee did cling rather deliciously to the man's chest.
"I'm Steven Rogers," was the reply. "But people call me Steve."
"Ah, Steve. A strong, solid name. My name is Anthony Stark; I believe you already know of me?" Tony examined him over the frames of his glasses.
Steve just stared back at him.
"Tony Stark? Ring a bell?"
Steve slowly shook his head. "Am I supposed to have heard of you?"
Tony looks at him, aghast. "You've never heard of Stark Industries?"
It is as though a light clicks on, rather slowly in Steve's head as he made the connection. "That's...the company that sells dishwashers, right?" Steve asked, looking across the table at him hopefully.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Well, yes, among other appliances. We sell cars, electricity, electronics, things like that. I'm the owner of that company."
Steve smiled innocently at him. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Stark. I have to say your company makes very good dishwashers."
Tony just barely has the grace to keep from dropping his face into his hands. "Tony is fine," he said in between gritted teeth. "And I'm glad you like our...dishwashers. They are fine products."
After he finished mentally reciting the first seventeen integers of the Fibonacci sequence to himself, he took a deep breath and looked back up at Steve, plastering a smile on his face.
"Now, Steve, tell me why you responded to the advertisement?" he asked.
"Well, it said that you wanted to see the States with somebody," Steve responded, looking over to the side as if trying to remember. "And I want to see the country also before my deployment."
Ah. A soldier then. Well, Tony thought as he struggled not to ogle Steve's chest for the third time that minute, his workout regimen was certainly doing wonders for his physique.
"I'm a safe driver, so you wouldn't have to drive all the time. I'm pretty entertaining," Steve continued, and Tony wondered if he was about to start listing cookie-cutter resumé qualities on his fingers. "I'm okay with talking and telling stories while driving, or we could just listen to music if you want, or you could go to sleep, that's okay too" - and, oh yes, Tony thought, there came the finger counting - "and I'm not very picky about things like food and sleeping places and stuff like that. And I don't have any romantic arrangements right now, so we wouldn't have to worry about that either."
Tony nodded, and said "Okay," every once in a while, but the hollow of Steve's throat was proving to be downright distracting.
Steve's voice shook him out of his reverie.
"And, in conclusion," Steve said, sounding for all the world like a primary school persuasive essay, "I think you should hire me for this job."
Steve sat back in his chair, looked at Tony expectantly. "Well?" he asked when Tony just stared back at him. "What do you think?"
I think you look like a golden retriever, Tony wanted to say, but instead he reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to Steve. "Do you mind getting me a drink?" he asked. "Get yourself one as well, of course. And don't forget to tip."
Steve picked up the money, pressing the crisp edges between his fingers. "What would you like, Mr. Stark?"
"Listen carefully," Tony said. "I'd like you to order me an iced, half-caf, ristretto, venti, 4-pump, sugar-free, cinnamon dolce soy skinny latte."
Steve stared uncomprehendingly at him, but when Tony asked him if he needed him to repeat it, Steve shook his head. "No. No, I think I've got it."
Tony admired Steve's back as he walked away, the lines of the damp white cotton only further accentuating his muscles. Definitely a lovely body, Tony thought, although most definitely not a girl. My reputation around women must have preceded me, he mused idly as he drummed his fingers on the table, waiting for Steve to come back.
Seven minutes later - and yes, Tony had timed - Steve returns with his complicated drink order in hand.
"Can you tell me what it is?" Tony asked, looking up at Steve.
He watched Steve worry his lower lip with his teeth, vaguely wondered if Steve's previous girlfriends had ended the relationship because he was too adorable. Bad boys were in right now, or had that been last fall? He couldn't remember.
"You asked for...an iced, ristretto, venti, 4-pump, sugar-free, cinnamon dolce soy skinny latte," Steve said, ticking the list on his fingers again. He paused. "Half-caf," he finished, looking down at Tony triumphantly. "That was all, Mr. Stark."
"Tony," he corrected gently, smiling at Steve. "And I do believe I said you could get something for yourself as well, and to leave a tip."
Steve placed a ten, three singles, and a quarter on the table in front of him. "Your coffee was $5.75, 15% tip for service is approximately 86 cents, rounded up to the nearest dollar is a tip of $1.00 so you won't have to deal with pennies, out of $20 is $13.25. And I wasn't feeling particularly thirsty, but thank you."
Tony grinned as he pocketed the money, twirling the straw around and stirring the golden streaks along the inside of the plastic cup.
"Well," he said after a moment. "Mr. Rogers, it does look like you have yourself a job."
Steve looked downright childlike, like he was about to burst into elated giggles at any moment.
Tony took another sip of his drink. "Is there anything you'd like to ask or tell me before this 'interview' is over? Any questions or comments about me, or anything like that?"
"You're really young to have your own company," Steve said. Although you do make really great dishwashers, and cars, and televisions, and electricity like you said earlier, so I guess it's not that surprising."
Tony nodded along, pretended to listen while he was already making plans and an itinerary for the trip ahead. They'd have to visit Vegas for sure, maybe D.C., definitely Miami. The girls in Miami were stunners.
About your advertisement..." - Steve said, trying and failing to catch Tony's eye - Tony was looking at something on his chest again, had he stained his shirt somehow? A subtle downwards glance told him no - "I'm not quite sure what the reason for the wet T-shirt was."
Tony almost choked on his latte.