Diary of an Avenger
13-year-old Diana Stark slipped in the kitchen door of the family home and cheerfully greeted the cook, a plump woman of about forty who went by the name of Martha. Martha had already set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for the teen.
Diana sat at the counter, enjoying the treats. “Do you have much homework today, Miss Di?” Martha asked.
“Not too much. Where is everyone?”
“Your father and brother are in their respective workshops and your mother is out visiting.” Diana thanked her, and then took a few extra cookies downstairs with her to her father’s workshop.
As she entered, Howard Stark looked up and smiled. Stopping his work, he stood and came forward to give her a hug. “How was school today, sweetheart?” he asked as he set her back on her feet. “Did you make any friends?”
Diana shook her head. “You should know not to ask me that question any more, Daddy. I don’t think I’ll ever have any friends other than Tony and Rhody,” she chuckled at the unintentional rhyme, and then held up one of the cookies. “Martha just made these, I thought you might want one.”
He smiled, then leaned down and bit the cookie out of her hand. She laughed, then asked, “So, have you and Tony talked yet?”
His smiled dropped, and he released her from his loose embrace. “I have work to do.”
Diana sighed. She had been trying for a whole week to get the two of them together to talk about their most recent argument. Clearly, it still wasn’t going to work. As she was about to leave, her dad called out, “Your mother and I have a date tonight, and Martha has the night off, so you’ll have to fend for yourselves for dinner.”
“Yes, sir. We’ll just order pizza and watch something.”
“Okay, but don’t make a mess.” Diana was already halfway up the stairs and didn’t answer.
Tony Stark was working on a new gadget in his bedroom when he heard a soft knock on his door. He sighed and set down his tools. Maybe talking with his little sister would take his mind off his problems with his father. “Come in, Di.” The door opened to reveal Diana standing calmly with her math book in one hand and a cookie in the other hand. “Need help again?” he asked, gesturing to the book.
“Yes, but I want to talk to you first,” she said as she handed him the cookie. He bit into it, and studied her as he chewed.
Diana was a pretty girl with curly, dark brown hair reaching just past her shoulders. Her large, brown eyes were expressive, and showed up every emotion. Though her attitude with the family was outgoing and cheerful, she was not a people person and, at school, was quiet and shy. She never enjoyed the functions that their father dragged them to every now-and-then, and always found an excuse to leave early. Tony, on the other hand, enjoyed being in the spotlight, and, though his father largely ignored him, he basked in the attention from the multiple people at the gatherings.
The two siblings were surprising close considering their vast personality differences, and that he was four years older than her. Tony had always contributed it to the fact that he felt that he needed someone to be close to, since both parents were fairly distant. Diana was his anchor. The one person, other than Rhody, that he could turn to no matter what. She was always there to try to help him smooth over his multiple arguments and disagreements with his father. Sometimes he was jealous of her relationship with their father. He seemed to love her more than Tony. One good thing though, was that Diana never tried to use her position to get what she wanted and she never acted smug about it. Instead, she used it to help Tony. She was the mediator for his arguments with his father.
“What did you want to talk about?” Tony asked as he finished the cookie.
“Why are you always disagreeing with Dad?”
Tony sighed. He should have known that was what she wanted to talk about. “I don’t know. Maybe if he would just listen to me sometimes instead of always hiding behind his latest project, I could find out.”
“Don’t put this all on Dad,” Diana admonished. “You hide behind your projects too.” Tony nodded, knowing she was right, but not wanting to agree with her verbally.
Diana came and stood next to him, running her fingers through his hair. “You need to try harder, Tony. I don’t like seeing you two at odds all the time.”
“I know you don’t, Di,” Tony whispered as he stood and set his hands on her shoulders. “I just wish he would listen.”
“Why don’t you tell him that?”
“I will, tomorrow.”
“Good. By the way, Mom and Dad are going on a date tonight, and Martha has the night off. I told Dad that we would probably get pizza and watch a movie.”
“Sounds good to me,” he agreed. “How ’bout if we have Rhody over? He can keep us company.” Diana nodded in agreement. “Alright then. Lets get your math finished up so that we can be ready.”
That night, after their parents had left, Diana, Tony, and Rhody settled on the couch with two large pizzas, a two-liter of pop, and a good, action-packed movie. Diana always loved it when their parents went on dates, because she could spend time with her brother and her best friend.
Suddenly, during a more calm part of the movie, Diana felt a wave of fear wash over her. It left her feeling like there was something missing inside her. She grabbed the remote and paused the movie. Rhody was about to snatch it back, but then he saw the look on her face. “What’s wrong, Di?” he asked, suddenly concerned.
For a moment, she didn’t answer. She looked at Tony, and saw that he was looking at her questioningly. “I need to call Mom and Dad. I think something bad just happened. She yanked out her cell phone and handed the remote to her brother. “Please see if there’s anything on the news.” While Tony started pushing buttons on the remote, Diana dialed her father’s cell phone number. The answering machine picked up, so she called her mom. Still no answer.
“Diana,” Tony said quietly. Diana looked up at the TV screen. To her horror, she saw the news report of a car wreck that was being heavily reported on. Tony turned up the volume.
“A tragedy occurred tonight, as a semi ran a red light and broad-sided a car that was crossing the intersection. The car belonged to genius-inventor, Howard Stark. His wife, Maria, was in the passenger seat. Both were killed instantly.”
The moment those words came through the TV speakers, Diana broke down sobbing. Tony cradled her close, and whispered to Rhody, “Call Dad’s secretary and our cook. Tell them what happened and ask Martha to come as soon as possible. The numbers are beside the phone.” Rhody nodded and headed off as Diana buried her face in her brother’s shoulder and cried.
By the time Martha had arrived, Diana had stopped crying, and was now perfectly silent. Tony was certain she was in shock. She would not respond to any questions, and would only move if someone was trying to get her to move.
Martha quickly took in the situation, and headed off to the kitchen to prepare some hot chocolate, cookies and other treats in an effort to draw Diana out of her shocked state. Meanwhile, the secretary, Trish, arrived with some of Howard’s business associates. While Tony greeted each of them and accepted their condolences, Rhody posted himself at the door of the living room and wouldn’t let anyone in except Martha and Tony.
Diana just sat on the couch staring straight ahead. Martha managed to get her to eat a few cookies, a brownie, and a piece of bread and drink a cup of hot chocolate and half a glass of water before she fell asleep against Martha’s shoulder. Rhody offered to take her upstairs to bed, and Martha and Tony agreed. While Tony herded the men into another room, Rhody gently lifted Diana into his arms and, followed by Martha, carried her upstairs to her room and laid her gently on the bed so that she could sleep peacefully.