The last person Felicity expected to run into as she exited the front doors of Palmer Tech was Laura Hoffman. But the excited cry of 'Felicity!' and the broad smile that greeted her a half a second before she was wrapped in a hug drew her to a full halt on the busy sidewalk. Laura didn't appear to notice, holding the hug a touch longer than was maybe necessary before she pulled back and began to talk. After they had attended their first cook out at the Hoffman's Oliver had quipped Laura was the only person he'd ever met that could out talk Felicity.
"Oh my gosh! I just couldn't believe it when you and Oliver up and moved in the middle of the night. The guys packing your house wouldn't tell us anything and I tried to call but for some funny reason it just never went through," she gushed, keeping a grip on Felicity's forearms as annoyed pedestrians were forced to move around them, no doubt on their way to grab lunch like Felicity had been before she'd been stopped.
"What are you doing here?" Felicity asked when Laura paused for a breath.
"Oh, my mom lives in Central City, I'm just on my way there for a short visit. And can you imagine our surprise when we were watching the news the other night and see you giving that press conference and then right after that Oliver announces he's running for Mayor!" she lightly slapped Felicity's arm, "You two have a lot of explaining to do!" but Laura didn't seem put out at all as she pushed her sunglasses on top of her head and continued. "I already had this trip booked and now that the train goes through Star City I thought I'd give myself a few hours to catch up."
"Yeah...I guess there have been a lot of changes." Felicity's mind whirled. Their life in Ivy City was so far removed from how things were now that seeing Laura was a shock.
"You can do lunch, right? I was hoping to catch you in time."
"Um, of course. I've got a little bit of time."
"That's so great!" Laura exclaimed, tucking her arm into Felicity's as they turned, finally part of the flow of foot traffic instead of an impediment. "You pick since this is your city."
Ten minutes later they were seated in a small bistro a block away from Palmer Tech as Laura sipped on a mineral water and updated Felicity on her kids and the neighborhood.
The more time that passed the more at ease she felt, genuinely glad to see the woman she had been starting to become friends with before they'd returned.
"You know, you and Oliver were the talk of the pot luck last weekend. Everyone kept asking us questions but…" she eyed Felicity over the rim of her glass, clearly fishing for information.
"I know, we uh...left sort of quickly, huh?"
"If you mean barely packing any bags and in the back of a limo at one in the morning quickly, then yeah."
"The company needed me. There were just things that couldn't be handled via teleconference while I wore my slippers."
Laura nodded knowingly. "I figured it was something like that. But then Oliver...running for Mayor. Wow!"
"I know. It was a surprise to me too." Felicity replied honestly.
She reached out to pick up her own water glass when Laura's eyes went wide and she snatched Felicity's hand before it could make contact.
"I forgot! I can't believe I forgot! Congratula-"
Felicity could only look on in confusion as Laura turned her hand one way and then the other, her words trailing off.
"Where is it? Did it need to be sized?"
"Where's what?" Felicity asked a half a second before she understood.
A rush of blood filled her ears, only partially hearing what Laura was saying.
"He was so excited to ask you. And it's such a gorgeous ring. Though since it was his mother's it makes sense it might not be the right size. And with something that intricate it can take time for the jeweler to do it correctly, you don't want that rushed."
Felicity sat stunned, hand still extended across the table now in open air as Laura stared at her.
"Felicity! What's wrong? You're white as a sheet...oh no. Oh no no no no. Mark is always telling me I make assumptions and get myself into trouble. He hasn't asked you yet has he! I'm so sorry."
Oliver had a ring. Moira's ring. His mother's ring. And he had been planning on proposing.
A flood of memories of their last night in Ivy City washed over her. The elaborate dinner, his unexpected nervousness, the way he was insisting she had to try dessert…
Then the doorbell rang and their past was on their doorstep.
And she'd told him they needed to go back.
But he hadn't proposed. Not before they left. Not in the car. And not since they'd been back.
Things had been good though. At least she'd thought they had been. They'd worked through him putting on the suit again, the revelation that she'd been helping the team, her adjusting to running a company, and now his announcement to run for Mayor.
Oliver had a ring. He was going to ask her to marry him that night.
An alert on her phone made her jump as she fumbled with her bag, deliberately avoiding eye contact with Laura. It was a message from Curtis telling her he was on to something and needed her back in his lab.
"I'm sorry. Work emergency. I've really got to run but it's been great seeing you. Enjoy your trip to Central City." Felicity said in a rush as she gathered her things and headed for the exit before Laura could even utter a word.
The rest of the afternoon her mind buzzed with thoughts that flung her from happiness to worry to everything in between. She apologized to Curtis several hours later and took herself home knowing she needed answers and there was only one person who could give them to her.
When Oliver arrived at the loft she was out on the balcony, a place they often found themselves at the end of a long day, something about being above the city they protected reassuring even when things weren't going their way.
"Hey there, you're home early." he said easily, one hand sliding over her hip as he dipped his head down for a kiss but instead of returning it she turned to face him.
"Laura Hoffman ambushed me outside the office today. Why didn't you tell me you were going to propose? Or I guess the real question is why haven't you?"
As his face went slack she winced. "I'm sorry. That's not how I was going to ask you. I've just spent hours obsessing over this and I need some answers."
"No! I shouldn't have asked you like that. It's just she surprised me and then she was grabbing my hand and asking to see a ring and...I had no idea what she was talking about."
Oliver blew out a long breath and reached out again, this time she moved into him willingly.
"Yes, I had planned on proposing that night." he said, the surety in his voice doing more to calm her than anything else could have. "And maybe I still should have. But I didn't think we were staying here. And then we did."
"Because I wanted to."
"Because it was the right thing to do." he corrected her.
"But we've been here a while now. Do you...are things different? I thought-"
His mouth crushed hers almost desperately, tongue sweeping past her lips until she was a limp, trembling mess wholly reliant on him to keep her upright.
"Don't ever think I don't want to marry you. I'm sorry if you ever thought that," he said low and affected as she clung to his forearms and leaned her head against his chest. "Remember what you said about being happy because you were with me? That's how I feel too. Nothing has changed, except everything has changed and I wanted to make sure I could still be the man I was in Ivy City."
"Oh, Oliver." she whispered, "That's always the man I've seen. It doesn't matter if you're wearing a green sweatshirt or green leather. As long as we're together we can make this work."
His hold grew tighter as the sounds of the city floated around them.
"So I have to ask, why were you so insistent I try dessert that night?" she asked with a grin, leaning back so she could see him.
"I put the ring in the souffle." he said with a shrug.
"The souffle? Really?" she practically cooed, cupping his face in her hands, astounded that Oliver Queen would go with something as cliche as hiding a ring in a dessert. "You're amazing."
He looked slightly chagrined, "I'll just have to up my game for next time."
"Next time?" she asked coyly, arching a brow over her glasses as he pressed her into the rail of the balcony.
"Oh, there will be a next time." he said, lips finding her jawline, lightly nipping as they made their way to her ear.
A shiver went through her as she wrapped herself tighter around him.
"Good thing I'm going to say yes."