Unsure (Marvel Movies)
Claim: Penelope 'Penny' Coulson
Fandom: Marvel Movie 'Verse
Prompt: Unsure, Table 3
Notes: Poor Phil, it's hard being on the other side of the door
Phillip Coulson was good at very many things. He was organized, dedicated, able to kill with his bare hands, and was a 'super-secret agent man'. He could understand advanced military tactics and apply them. On the other hand, he could not cook, sing or dance, and often found himself saying the wrong thing. Like with women. Or at the moment, with Penny. You see, it had all started with the annual SHIELD gala.
"Mornin' Phil." Penny padded into the kitchen towards the fridge in her usual fluffy cupcake pajamas.
"Morning," he replied, not even looking up from the newspaper situated in front of his face.
She threw open the fridge door and began to dig around for the milk. "Did you drink all of the milk?" No reply. "Seriously Phil." Penny sighed, accepting the fact she would have to drink orange juice today.
"I didn't drink it. I swear," he responded. "Hey will you hand me a pencil?"
"There should be some in the coffee mug on the table," she said, swinging the orange juice back into the fridge. Hm. Toast or muffins? "Toast or muffins?"
"Muffins." Phil replied, returning to his crossword.
3 Down. Native American Sports Legend Jim... Thorpe. 9 Across. Agency in many spy movies...CIA. 32 Down "The Book of _" Denzel Washington. Hmmm... "Penny, what was that recent movie with Denzel Washington?"
"Book of Eli?" she said, sliding into the seat across from him.
Eli. Fits. "Thank you."
"So what we doing this weekend?" Penny asked with a mouthful of muffin.
Phil frowned. "You didn't happen to bring any formal wear did you?"
"Well, there's the annual gala at the end of the month."
She groaned, eliciting an eye roll from Phil.
"Oh don't give me that look. You'll be fine," he replied.
Penny frowned. The knee length dress was pretty, but there were faults. For one, she didn't have the boobs to pull this one off. Two, purple was not her color. It was a no.
"Catch!" she said, tossing the poor dress over the door, praying Phil would catch it. She was not shelling out one hundred dollars for that thing.
Phil blinked. This was the third one. Yes, he understood that women wanted to look good, but Penny had already gone through three without even saying why they were not 'the one.'
"What's wrong with it?" he asked.
That was mistake number one.
"I don't have the boobs for it," she called back.
"Never, ever say that in front of me again. You are my sister. Just...don't."
Penny grinned. Phil could be such a prude. "Well, you asked me why." Penny pulled a light blue floor length from the hanger. Two minuets later, it sailed over the door. As did the next, and the next, and the next, and the next...
Phil had no idea what to do. Penny had sent him to look for more dresses, size 4. He had stared down terrorists, gods, and super-villains. As he stared at the rows upon rows of dresses, he decided that nothing was more intimidating than this. Maybe that's how Penny felt. So he did the only thing he could think of: grab one of each and move on.
After being accosted by an overly helpful sales-woman and a mother whose mind was definitely not on shopping, Phil finally made it back to the dressing room. He hefted the mound of dresses over one rickety chair and took up his post in the other.
Penny popped her head out around the door. "What took so long?"
"That pushy saleslady from before."
"The one that hit on you?" she asked, tilting her head.
"Yes," he replied, grimacing.
"Ah," Penny nodded sagely, "No wonder it took you so long."
"Since you've rejected everything, we have a new rule: you show me everything." Phil said.
That was mistake number two.
At first, they were reasonable. The peachy one washed her out, the animal print one was just hideous, and if he never saw her in a dress that short again, Phil would consider his life successful. But then it went down-hill from there.
Penny strode out in a red floor-length dress, made of chiffon and with rouching on the bodice. Not that he would admit that he knew what that was. Penny had corrupted him with her dress talk. As much as he loathed to admit, she looked very mature and sophisticated.
"And?" he prompted, already knowing the answer.
"It's too low cut."
Alright, he had nothing against her covering up. "OK."
The next one was a similar story.
"I don't like the color."
And the next.
"It's too old lady like."
That one he would agree with.
And the next.
"I don't like orange dresses."
And the next.
"No. Just no."
And the next.
"It's purple, Phil! I look terrible in purple!"
And it went on and on.
What alerted him to how much time had passed was the loud grumbling of his stomach. He pushed back his sleeve and checked the clock.Three hours. He looked up as Penny swooshed out in green, belatedly realizing that there was a clock on the wall in front of him. Without even saying a word, she walked back into the dressing room. Phil pinched the bridge of his nose. This was giving him a serious migraine.
Phil frowned. That was unexpected. "Is there a particular reason why you're saying no to everything?"
"Penny?" Phil stood up, making it across the floor in three strides. "Penny?" He jiggled the door knob. "Penny, will you open up the door?"
He sighed. Really, why did he subject himself to this torture? He should have just let Miss Potts take her. Turning around, he knew what he had to do.
Phil strode out into the department, seeking her out. He decided to ignore the fact he knew her work schedule by heart. It wasn't like he took Penny here in hopes of seeing her or anything. She was surrounded by dresses, all ones Penny had rejected. He absentmindedly pulled on his jacket. She would know what to do. After all, she was female and roughly Penny's age.
Darcy whipped around, spilling the dresses and nearly slamming into Phil. "Woah dude don't do that!" She blinked, her eyebrows furrowed. "Agent Coulson?"
No, Ironman. He bent down, scooping up the fallen dresses. "Yes. You work here, correct?"
She nodded warily. "How do you know?" she asked as she began to hang up dresses.
"I just do," Phil cleared his throat. "So,"
Darcy glanced over her shoulder. "So what?"
"Penny's in the dressing-room," he began to hang up the rest of the dresses, "And she locked me out."
"What do you want me to do about it?"
He couldn't bring himself to look her in the eyes, so he settled on her sparkling green headband. This would never be something he could do easily. "Will you talk to her please?"
Darcy gave a little half smile. "Sure."
Darcy was not surprised to see Penny sitting in the fetal position when she unlocked the door. She could recall many instances when she went through the same thing with her own brother.
"Go away," Penny muttered, burying her face deeper into her arms and knees.
"No can do, sister friend. Your brother asked me to talk to you and we gotta make it snappy so Ruth doesn't eat him alive. Now, I understand completely what you are going through. Dress shopping sucks. It makes any female angry and violent. Trust me. I know," Darcy slid down the wall. "Now, inside you're thinking about how you're not pretty enough and all that crap. If it's the boobs you want, I'll gladly share," she said, eliciting a giggle from Penny. "But I have a feeling that that's not it. So what is it?"
"It's stupid, really," Penny replied, slowly sitting up.
"So? It's also stupid that I can't wear graphic tees to work."
She sighed. "It's just...I don't want to be noticed. I mean yeah, my inner critic is telling me that nothing looks good on me but...If I wear something pretty and nice, people will notice and then they'll judge and then they'll talk and I don't want them to talk about me like that 'cause-"
She paused. "Yes Darcy?"
"Why do you think I wear what I wear? I want someone to notice me for me, not what I wear. I think that's what your trying to say, right?" Penny nodded. "Right. So what we have to do is find you a pretty dress that compliments your personality while not drawing attention to you." Darcy paused. "Or your... assets. I don't want Agent C to kill me anytime soon. You ready?"
Penny nodded. "Ready."
In the end, they walked out with a light pink floor-length chiffon dress with an embroidered top. Of course, the dress was half of the battle. Getting her to the gala was the other half.