"What about Monaco this year?" Tony asked, fingering the wine glass in front of him.
"I don't know, Tony…." Pepper shook her head slightly, looking at Charlotte.
"You'd be mobbed," Charlotte said. "After everything that's happened the last week, I think we should skip it this year."
"But that's our place. We go every year." He didn't sound happy. Tony and Charlotte had met there eleven years ago at a party, and the two of them had gone every year since, along with Charlotte's cousin and Tony's best friend, Ezra.
Pepper poured more wine into her glass. "We can go somewhere else."
Nodding, Charlotte gathered up the now empty pizza boxes from the patio table. She didn't know where Tony had put all the pizza he'd eaten after nearly eating an entire apple pie a few hours before. "We can make new memories. And after all, there's a few more people that will be with us this time." Putting the now stacked boxes on a small table next to the door, she said, "It'll be fun."
"Couples retreat," he replied sourly. Then his head shot up, seeing Pepper, who had an expectant look on her face. "Couples are good, when it's you and me, totally. New people couples, not so good."
Sitting back down, Charlotte shared an eye roll with Pepper. "Life goes on, Tony. You had me and Ez all to yourself for eleven years, now you have to share."
"Sharing is overrated."
"Come on, you like Amanda!" Charlotte pointed out. Amanda was Ezra's current significant other. Normally, Tony enjoyed the company of the vivacious jewel thief. But tonight, he was being petulant Tony. "Don't tell me you still have issues with Methos?"
"No, he doesn't," Pepper said firmly. "Right, Tony?" Her tone indicated that his answer better be the right one or else. "Tony," she prompted when he didn't respond.
He slouched down into his chair. "He just doesn’t strike me as the group getaway, let it all hang out, sort of guy, okay?"
"You might be surprised," Charlotte said wryly. "Two words: Ancient Rome. I've heard they knew how to party back then. I think you'll discover that Methos knows how to have a good time, Tony."
"Fine, the boyfriend is cool party guy."
"I think we should do this. Pepper?"
"Absolutely! Someplace warm, with a nice beach," Pepper said. "Quiet, private."
"Agreed. And I know just the place." She poked Tony in the ribs with a finger. "Try and look a little bit interested."
"I'm interested. We can always leave him home, you know," Pepper told Charlotte with a grin.
"True. There's this island in the Caribbean that I own—"
That got Tony's attention. "You own an island? And this is the first I'm hearing about it, all the years we've known each other?"
"Oh, do hush, Tony," she said impatiently. "I haven't been there in all the years we've known each other, if you must know."
"Really?" Pepper seemed surprised.
"It's a place I go between lives. I haven't been there since the late seventies, when I became Charlotte Sparrow again." She put a hand on Tony's arm, seeing where his mind was taking her explanation. "It's not that time yet, Tony, I promise." He nodded, and she continued," My husband, Jack, and I lived there after we were married. Our house is still there, and I employ a caretaker to look after the place. There's a small village on the far side of the island, mostly descendants of Jack's crew. He wanted them to have safe harbour somewhere after we moved to the Carolinas just before the Revolution."
Tony was looking a little more interested now, but didn't seem quite willing to let go of his mood. "So what is there to do for entertainment on this island of yours?"
"What? Spending time with me isn't enough?" Pepper asked archly.
Seeming to have decided anything he could say would only make it worse, Tony leaned over, kissing Pepper, and whispering something in her ear that made her cheeks pink.
"Good answer," she murmured.
"Aww, he's not completely hopeless," Charlotte teased. Then she said to Tony, "I absolutely guarantee that I can offer you an experience you've never had."
"I'm officially intrigued, Miss Sparrow." He waved a hand at her to continue.
Smiling mysteriously, she dropped her voice low. "Secret pirate treasure cave, complete with treasure. Beat that!"
He quirked a brow. "I am completely unable to," he admitted. "Okay, we can go. But I have conditions: The pirate song. We sing it every night. On the beach. Around a bonfire. Drinking rum." He punctuated each condition with a chop of his hand.
"Then we have ourselves an accord, Mr. Stark, Miss Potts. A toast." She raised her wine glass, the others following suit. "To a pirate's holiday for us!"