With disheveled curly red hair and sleepy green eyes, I found myself smiling as I stepped out of the elevator and on to the floor of the common room.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y. Can you play my morning playlist?”
“Right away Miss Fraiser.” The A.I.’s voice filled the room.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y., I thought we had a deal?”
“Right. Sorry, Alexandra.”
A slight laugh filled the otherwise silent room. “It’s all good. I’m just gonna’ have to bug Tony about it.”
The moment I was done speaking the sultry sound of Marvin Gaye singing ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ filled the room. Singing along, I wandered over to the kitchen. After turning the coffee pot on, I began pulling pans from the shelves and supplies from the fridge. Quickly finding myself wrapped up in the process of making breakfast for the resident superheroes, I was jolted from my reverie by a voice from by the elevator.
“Wow. So, the date went that well did it?” Natasha asked as she entered the kitchen and slipped a coffee mug from the counter.
“What? Oh, right. Marvin Gaye. No, music is on shuffle.” I stopped in the process of whipping egg whites and looked over at my friend. “Actually, that’s not entirely true. The date was fine, but that was it.” Sighing I turned back to the eggs.
Natasha smirked and poured herself a cup of coffee. “So, what happened?”
“Nothing. He was nice, good-looking, even funny. It’s just; my job threw him off. Once I told him where I work, he couldn’t stop asking me questions about all of you, and I all but disappeared.” Shaking her head Natasha sat down on the bar stool opposite from me and sipped her coffee. “I’m sorry Lex.”
I shrugged and pushed the tray of bacon and sausage into the oven. “It’s OK. I mean, it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it.”
“Other than give up you mean. Which by the way, I’m not going to let you do. Will you trust me to set you up now?” Natasha carefully set her mug down on the counter as she spoke.
“Of course she won’t.”
I smiled at the soft voice of Wanda, as she padded over to sit beside Natasha. Pulling a big mug from the cupboard, I filled it with hot water and a scoop of loose tea leaves. After handing it to her silence filled the room for a few moments. Looking over at my friends, I sighed.
“OK. Fine. But if this date you set me up on goes south, I think I really will quit.” Natasha smiled and Wanda chose that moment to take a sip of her tea.
Seeing their reactions I asked, “Why do I feel like somebody’s being hustled?”
“Because with these two, you most likely are. Morning ladies.” Steve’s voice echoed through the room.
We turned to see Steve, Sam and Bucky walk over. Standing behind their girlfriends, Steve and Bucky proceeded to attempt to steal the girls’ drinks.
Laughing at the antics of my friends, I cried “OK, enough. If you aren’t going to help with breakfast, kindly vacate my kitchen.”
Laughter filled the room as Natasha and Wanda put their cups in the sink and the group headed for the elevator.
“We’ll be back from our run in time to eat.” Sam called out to me as the elevator doors shut, and I was once again left alone in the kitchen.
Pulling Bread out, I started to prep French toast when F.R.I.D.A.Y’s voice interrupted me.
“Sorry for the interruption Alexandra. But Mr. Stark was just asking if you are “up and about”.” I laughed when the A.I.’s voice changed to a perfect mimic of Tony’s.
“No worries F.R.I.D.A.Y., tell Tony I have his coffee here if he’ll come get it.” With no response from the A.I., I continued to prep the French toast and sing along to ‘Uptown Girl’.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y., please tell me you have been recording our resident baker. Her dance moves are YouTube worthy.” My brother’s voice stopped me mid spin. Glaring, I threw a blueberry at him – which he caught and ate.
Standing with my hands on my hips, I attempted to look menacing and said “With a comment like that, maybe I won’t make your coffee.”
“Tomorrow you mean. Since I know you’ve already made today’s cup.”
The smug reply from Tony made me laugh. “You know me too well, you big dope.”
Grabbing a red travel mug from its spot beside the stove, I walked over and handed it to Tony, getting pulled into a hug at the same time.
“You are a jewel. Thanks. And good morning sis.”
Squeezing my brother a bit tighter, I asked; “Did you and Pep get any sleep last night? Or did little Maria keep you both up all night?”
Tony cringed and let me go. “My daughter is a hellion. I love her to bits, but she is a hellion. What sane 18-month old won’t sleep?”
I laughed at his rant, and went back to prepping breakfast. Calling over my shoulder “She is YOUR daughter Tony. Wasn’t that your first clue?”
Tony’s reply was interrupted by F.R.I.D.A.Y informing him that Maria was awake and looking for her “poppy”. I doubled over in laughter as Tony went white and took off at a run for the stairs.
Nearly an hour later, I was setting the buffet table up when Sam appeared. Catching me by surprise, I would have dropped the tray of bacon if Sam hadn’t reached out and grabbed me.
“That was almost a disaster.” I whispered, my voice sounding strange in my ears. Chalk it up to the aftermath of being scared I guess.
“You can say that again. I think we’d have had an incident if there was no bacon this morning.” Sam laughed.
“True. So how did your run go?”
“Fine. I actually left the rest of them and went on another route today. Then I thought I’d come back and help you. If you still need it that is.”
Looking up at him, I grinned. “Samuel Wilson, I will never turn down the help of a strong man who can lift the heavy food trays up where short little me can’t reach.”
We laughed and Sam went over to the kitchen and started hauling food out for me. Glancing at the clock and seeing it was almost 7, and that the rest of the Avengers weren't yet present, I called out to F.R.I.D.A.Y.; “F.R.I.D.A.Y., will you please inform everyone that breakfast is ready?”
“Already done Alexandra.” came the reply from the A.I. .
“Thank you F.R.I.D.A.Y.” I called out.
Turning to hear a slight laugh, I saw a strange look on Sam’s face. “And what pray tell is so amusing?”
He was spared answering by the boisterous voice of Thor. “FRIENDS!”
Turning, I was swept up into a crushing hug from the Asgardian. “Thor! Put me down. I can’t breathe.” My feet had barely touched the floor when am arm was slung over my shoulder and I was pulled towards the food.
“So, what wonderful things has our resident pixie prepared for us this morning?” I smiled and pushed Clint away. “You’ll just have to wait for everyone else to find out Barton.” Walking over to the coffee, I poured myself a cup and was turning around when I heard the elevator doors open and voices filled the room. Feeling a slight twinge at the sight, put my cup down and started to walk towards Pepper and Tony.
“Here. Let me take my niece for a bit. You two can take a break.” With no desire to argue, Pepper and Tony made a beeline for the coffee. Smiling at the little girl in my arms, I laughed as she reached up to tug on my hair. The elevator opened again and Wanda and Bucky walked out, his arm around her shoulder. They were quickly followed by Steve, Nat and a half asleep Bruce. Seeing the scientist, little Maria started to squirm and babbled “Uce, Uce.” We laughed and he took her, walking over to join everyone else.
Turning around I heard Thor call my name. “Come, Miss Xandra. We greatly desire sustenance.” I laughed and quickly headed over.
With a sigh I slid the last pan into its place on the shelf and turned to survey my handy work. The kitchen gleamed, for now anyway. Knowing I’d have to be back in a few hours to get supper going, I decided to enjoy my afternoon. Stepping into the elevator and hitting the button for my floor, I was surprised to see the doors open on Tony and Pepper’s floor. The sight that greeted me made me smile and understand why F.R.I.D.A.Y. had stopped the elevator early. Walking in silently, I pulled the blanket from the back of the sofa and threw it over a sleeping Tony. Picking up Maria from among her toys on the floor we left and headed up to my floor. Looking at my niece I asked her “Did you wear out your poppy baby girl?” She smiled and hugged me in response.
Stepping out of the elevator, I set Maria down and watched her crawl over to the toys I kept for her. The rest of my afternoon was spent with an enthralled toddler. It wasn’t until Tony’s distraught voice filled the air through the loud speaker, that I realized how long Maria had been hiding out with me.
“Attention all personnel. There has been a security breach. Be on the lookout for a red haired toddler. Last seen in my personal living quarters.”
I laughed and picked up the now sleeping Maria.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y. please inform my brother that I have Maria.”
“Already done Alexandra. Although it would seem the boss has not registered the information.”
I sighed and headed for the elevator. “F.R.I.D.A.Y. perhaps more drastic measures are required. If you kill the power to everything but this elevator.”
The hum of the building died and I laughed at the cries I faintly heard. A second later the elevator doors opened and I walked into a room filled with guns pointed at me. Rolling my eyes I stepped out of the elevator and the power came back on.
“The person that wakes up this little girl is responsible for her for the rest of the afternoon.” My comment froze every person and killed all the noise in the room. Silently, I walked through the group of people into Maria’s room. After putting her gently down into her bed, I returned to the main room to find it empty of everyone but Pepper and a bashful looking Tony.
“I should have known you’d have her.” he mumbled.
“Yes. Yes, you should have. Honestly Tony. I love you, but you are such a diva sometimes.” Laughing at the smirk on Pepper’s face I walked towards the elevator. “You two joining the rest of us tonight? It’s Bucky’s turn to pick the movie.”
“No.” Pepper smiled “Peter has volunteered to babysit and Tony is going to take me out.”
Turning back around to face them as the elevator doors opened behind me; “Did you want me to check in on them while you are out?”
“You don't have to. Peter is great with Maria, so I will leave that decision in your hands.”
I nodded and stepped backwards into the elevator. Pepper’s response to my call of ‘Have fun’ was lost as the elevator doors closed. Turning around, I squealed and nearly jumped at the sign of a silent Sam standing against the far corner of the elevator. “Where did you come from?” I asked as I tried to get my heartbeat under control.
“Been here the whole time.” he laughed. “Thought you were gonna’ fall watching you walk backwards like that.”
“Actually, I’m surprised I didn’t.” I laughed. “So, where are you off to?”
“Looking for you actually.” I must have looked confused because Sam quickly continued. “As of right now, I have the rest of the day off, and I thought you might like a hand with making supper.”
“As long as you follow my orders in the kitchen.” My comment was only half in jest.
Sam laughed and saluted. “Yes ma’am.”
Laughing we exited the elevator and walked out into the common room. The second the elevator doors were closed behind us, I heard the distinct crackle of my music speaker, and ABBA’s ‘Super Trooper’ began to play. I laughed and called out; “Good call F.R.I.D.A.Y. Thanks!”
It wasn’t until I was reaching for my apron from behind the kitchen door that I noticed Sam wasn't with me. Turning around I saw him standing in the middle of the room. “Sam? Everything OK?” My question seemed to break him out of a trance. Looking over at me he nodded. “Sorry. I’m just constantly in awe of how you and Tony treat F.R.I.D.A.Y. like a real person.”
Now it was my turn to be confused. “That’s because she is. Real I mean, or at least as real as she can be.” I paused my rambling to throw an apron at Sam, and continued. “I guess I don’t really think about it. I mean we have a talking raccoon that occasionally shows up with his and i quote “talking houseplant/muscle”. Plus with vision around all the time, I guess talking to F.R.I.D.A.Y. just seems like a natural extension of life around here.”
Sam nodded and smiled. “It makes sense when you put it that way.”
Not knowing how to respond, I chose to not say anything and a smooth sort of silence fell over to two of us. The moment was broken by a new song coming over the speakers, and we both laughed and started to sing along to The Temptations. Before I knew it we had 12 pizza’s laid out ready to be bakes, and Peter was sticking his head around the corner asking about food. I laughed as Sam handed him a plate loaded with pizza.
“I hear this is the only way to eat pizza.” He asked as the plate was handed to the excited teen.
“You bet! Loads of cheese, I just wish Lex would tell me the secret to her sauce. Maybe you can coax it out of her and get it to me. Thanks Lex!”
The avalanche of words tumbled out of Peter as he ran for the elevator. Turning to look at me, Sam smirked and said; “No worries, your pizza secret’s safe with me.”
“I’m not worried. I know where you sleep Wilson. Remember that.” Laughter took over the room at my attempt to sound menacing.
The first round of pizza’s were just getting pulled out of the oven when we heard voices. Peaking out of the kitchen I saw that Bucky and Steve were pulling the couches together and setting up the movie projector.
“Hey gents! Where’d your better halves get to?” I called out to them.
Setting the couch down Steve turned to look at me with a smirk on his face. “Better halves?”
“Yes. Your clearly better halves.” I winked and stepped out of the kitchen and over to place my arm-full of plate on the table.
“The gals went to get drinks.” Bucky mumbled as he dropped the screen for the projector.
“O.K.” I looked in confusion at them and laughed as I asked “How is it the seniors got the job of setting up tech?”
Walking over, I pulled Bucky away from the projector and swiftly had it set up. Turning around to look at them I found matching blank expressions on their faces.
“Fine. Don’t answer.” Wandering back towards the kitchen, I paused at the door and looked back at the guys. “Out of curiosity, what movie did you pick Bucky?”
Suddenly Sam appeared beside me. “Don’t answer that Barnes. Plead the fifth.”
Laughing I was pulled into the kitchen and any reply from Bucky was cut off by the swish of the door. The rest of the evening went by in a rush as the rest of the gang showed up. Pizza and drinks were handed out, and I soon found myself sandwiched on the couch between Bruce and Thor. Silence followed by darkness filled the room a split second before the opening scene to ‘Music and Lyrics’ appeared. After the shock wore off, I leaned around Wanda and smacked Bucky on the arm.
Two hours later saw the end of the film, and the clean-up done, thanks to the help from the group. On the way to my floor, I decided to stop and check in on Peter and Maria. I smiled at the sight that greeted me. On the floor was the remnants of a massive pillow fort. Spread out in the middle of the pillows, was a sleeping Peter, with a sleeping Maria curled up in his chest. I had just finished taking a picture when the elevator opened behind revealing Pepper and Tony. Quickly putting my index finger to my lips, I pointed over my shoulder at the sleeping duo. Smiling, Pepper walked over a carefully picked up Maria and took her to her own bed. Meanwhile Tony had me pull a blanket from the back of the sofa, and placed it over the sleeping teen while he texted May to let her know Peter wouldn't be home. Hugging my brother, I whispered a soft goodnight and headed for my own bed.