Dusk settled on the Northern California horizon. It was the first day of August. Mercury was no longer in retrograde, and it was Desdemona’s birthday. It had been a good day too. Her coworkers had brought cupcakes into work, all her writer pals had made sure to wish her a happy birthday, and she had a special dinner planned with family and friends in a couple of hours. There was only one thing that could have made it perfect.
Des opened the sliding door leading to the porch of her house. She took in a long breath. The summer had been hot, disgusting with the humidity, but a lone breeze was making it a bit cooler for her birthday. She was thankful for it.
Something streaked through the sky, and Des watched it. A shooting star? she thought. She watched as it changed trajectory. She didn’t have to be an astrology student to know shooting stars didn’t do that. It came closer, slowing as it approached. She saw it wasn’t what she thought it was. It was the shape of a man, clad in red and gold armor. It was the invincible Iron Man!
“Hello, Desdemona,” Iron Man said, hovering in the air just outside Des’s porch.
“Iron Man!” Des squealed. “What are you doing here?!”
“I stopped by to say happy birthday. Did you really think I’d forget about you?”
Iron Man descended onto the porch with the deftness of a butterfly landing on a sunflower. The suit of armor receded, the nanobots that made up Iron Man’s suit flowing like liquid into their casing locating on Tony Stark’s chest. “It might be better if I do it face to face.”
“Can I get you anything?” Des asked out of habit.
“On your birthday?” Tony asked with a laugh.
Des giggled and looked away. She could feel the blush coming on. She had always been a gracious hostess out of habit. She couldn’t help herself. Tony found it endearing, though. He smiled as a small rocket fell from the sky, slowed, and hovered between them. It opened up, and the steam form the dry ice floated out. There were two flutes of champagne waiting for them. Tony took one in each hand, giving the one in his left to Des. “Shall we toast to your birthday?”
“OK,” Des said with another titter. She raised her glass and waited for Tony to toast. He looked like he was going to make a long speech. He straightened his posture, took in a breath, held it for a moment, and let it back out, relaxing his body.
The glasses clanged together, and they sipped from the flutes. The bubbles tickled Des’s nose, and she giggled again. She hated that she couldn’t do much of anything but giggle, but it was Tony friggin’ Stark, and he was drinking champagne on her porch on her birthday. He had taken a break from Avenging just to see her on her special day!
“Thank you, Tony,” Des said. “I mean… I always wanted to tell you that I…”
“Hold that thought,” Tony said, putting his finger to his ear, listening to what was on the other end. He poured the rest of the champagne down his throat and put the glass in the hovering rocket. “I hate to chew and screw, but I need to jet. Hulk swallowed and infinity stone, and Thor has been chasing him all day. We need to get it the moment he passes it.”
“Oh. I understand. Avengers can’t take breaks, I guess. Doesn’t matter whose birthday it is.”
Tony sighed. He pushed the hovering champagne cart aside and kissed her, a quick peck. “Happy birthday, Des.” The nanobots returned, and Iron Man was reformed. “Don’t tell Pepper I was here.” With a quick burst from his boots, he was off into the sky, leaving a trail in the clouds as his disappeared.
Des stood and watched as it faded. It had been her best birthday ever.