“Miss Potts?” Pepper jumped, startled out of the endless task of managing Stark Industries. The voice of the front receptionist was as sharp and clear as if she were standing over Pepper’s shoulder, not speaking through Tony’s new and ‘improved’ intercom. Pepper dearly missed the telltale electronic buzzing the old one had. She wanted it back.
“Miss Betty Ross is here, she wants to speak with Mr. Stark.”
“The ask her to make an appointment. Wait, did you just say Betty Ross?”
“Yes, she is quite adamant.”
“Get rid of her.”
“I’m sorry miss Ross, but I’m going to ask you to leave.” The receptionist looked at Betty over the counter as she clicked her manicured nails on the polished granite. Betty disliked the woman more every second. She was cold, efficient and repelling; the first line of defence.
“Dr. Ross. You already asked me to leave, and I already told you I am not going anywhere until I speak with Stark.”
“All visitors must have an appointment.”
“Work something out.”
“Mr. Stark is very busy right now.”
“I’m afraid Mr. Stark is out at the moment.”
“Where is he, then?”
“Somewhere in Africa, I believe.”
Betty shifted her weight, the closest thing to grinding her teeth she allowed herself. Africa likely meant to the receptionist what ‘washing my hair’ meant to girls the world over, nothing but a convenient excuse. If Tony Stark was actually in Africa and not in some opulent office at the top of his tower, she’d repeal her findings on the effects of jazz music on butterfly migration. “I’ll wait.”
“Really Miss Ross, I can hardly allow that. Now please-“
“Doctor Ross. I will not leave.”
“Miss Ross, be reasonable.” The receptionist had gone from annoying to infuriating. She placed her soft hands placatingly on the counter top. Betty hated being placated. She ground her teeth.
“Doctor. My name is not Miss Ross, it’s Dr. Ross. I have the paper in my office to prove it. Now kindly tell me where Tony Stark is before I lose my patience.”
“Miss Ross, remove yourself from the building or you will be removed from it.” The receptionist’s voice turned frigid. Betty was getting angry. That was a bad thing.
“Are you threatening me?” Betty placed her own hands on the counter and leaned in, eyes flashing.
The Evil Receptionist held her ground. “Should I have spoken more plainly, Doctor Ross?” Betty lost it.
Of the two of them, Bruce had more spectacular tantrums than Betty, but he had a major advantage. Betty had always had to express her displeasure from within the confines of her expected role, first as a general's daughter and then as a prominent and professional female academic. Certain behavioral limits were imposed upon her from a very young age. As much as she might like to, she simply could not punch the Secretary in her smug mouth, nor throw the computer across the lobby, nor start screaming at the top of her lungs. Betty also couldn’t turn green and tear the tower in half with her bare hands, more the pity.
Bruce’s anger was defiantly flashier than Betty’s, and a tad more destructive, but Betty was not without her resources. So instead of throwing herself to the floor kicking and screaming like a child, Betty smiled.
The receptionist leaned away, smirk melting to reveal a wary recognition. There was a saying along the lines of ‘don’t poke a sleeping tiger in the eye’, and the irritating woman was beginning to realize her mistake.
Without another word, Betty turn from the desk, soft dark curls whipping around behind her. The sharp click of her heels on the lobby floor, the slight billowing of her clean white lab coat and the startles sputtering of the Evil lady empowered Betty’s righteous anger. She was Dr. Betty Fucking Ross, and she wasn’t going to let the receptionist - or anything else in this god damned tower - keep her from getting what she wanted.
The call button lit obediently beneath her extended finger. She didn’t wait long before the elevator arrived; sleek, efficient and shiny like all Stark tech. Betty smiled once more at the now frantic receptionist, who was now garbling to someone over the phone, before the doors slid shut with barley a click. Betty was going to get some answers. Stark was messing with the wrong girl.
Pepper hung up her phone. She didn’t sigh. She could sigh later. Now it was time to deal with a potential threat. Dr. Betty Ross was the Generals daughter. Not just any General, THE General, and she could not be allowed to wander the premises.
“JARVIS.” Pepper called out, preparing her defence.