A/N: Hi guys, so here we have chapter 2.
This chapter is still all in Felicity's POV with some recognizable moments from the first ep, but as the story progresses it'll move away from the canon a bit more and we'll see Oliver's POV as well. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!
Felicity jumped, knocking over her mug, thankfully empty, and sending a pile of papers gracefully falling to the ground.
He stood at the entrance of her office, rigid and awkward, just like he had been that morning in his own room. He crossed over to her desk in just a few strides, bending down to pick up the papers. He tried a smile as he handed them to her. "Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."
Her heart still sat somewhere in her throat. How was it that she hadn't heard him come in? She took a deep breath. "It's fine. I just—I didn't hear you. That's all…"
"It's almost nine-thirty," he said.
She looked down at her desk. She picked up her cup to keep from looking at him a little while longer. "I know. The press was out there, so I figured I could out-work them."
He let out an odd huff that was, perhaps, supposed to be a laugh. She looked up just in time to see the remnants of a smile fade away. And then she turned back to her desk, shutting down her computer in silence because she didn't really know what to say.
Her phone screen lit up and Moira's picture appeared. She looked at Oliver, but he didn't say anything.
"Have you seen Oliver?"
He turned away, as if he'd heard, facing the glass that overlooked the city. It still didn't seem real—the fact that he was back. And he looked so different...There was a slight reflection in the glass and she could faintly see the blank expression on his face. That was also foreign to her; she'd only known him to be expressive. Sometimes he'd been too expressive. And so, maybe, that's how she'd lived with a man that rarely spoke to her; really, they didn't need words because everything was written on their faces. Now, she was still the same in that regard and he was…not.
"Felicity? Are you there?"
"Hmm? Sorry, Moira, yes Oliver's here at the office with me. I thought—when he came that he'd told you, or that one of you had driven him…"
Moira sighed in relief on the other end of the line, passing the message of Oliver's whereabouts to whoever else was in the room with her. "No. He just left. But I'm glad to hear that he's with you." Moira paused. "Bring him home when you're done…"
"I will. I'm packing up now. We'll see you soon."
"Thank you, Felicity."
She didn't have a response for that. What was she supposed to say? 'You're welcome,' just didn't seem right. "I—uh—yeah. See you soon."
Oliver only turned to face her once the phone call had ended.
"You didn't tell them you were leaving? Oliver, after what—you can't do that. Not for a while at least…"
"Tommy told me about the press. I told him I'd come get you…just in case."
She pressed her lips together, but let him get away with the evasive comment. "He shouldn't have done that."
"Because, I'm perfectly capable of handling the press. I was—am married to you…or something… The point is, I know how to handle it. You need to make sure that you take care of yourself Oliver. "
"I'm fine. I—"
"I thought you were done lying to me," she said, smiling to make sure that he didn't misinterpret it as an attack.
He smiled, genuinely, and she bit her lip to keep from looking too pleased. She didn't want to scare him—just like Tommy hadn't wanted to scare her earlier. He bent down, picking up her bag and handing it to her.
They walked through the building in silence. Felicity was careful not to bump into him. Still, she couldn't help but think that there was something nice about it—walking through the empty corridors with him. They had done it so often before the island. It was one of the few things that she had actually liked about their marriage; working late, and then walking through empty halls before returning to the place that reminded them how unhappy their marriage really was.
Once they were in the elevator he pressed the button for the third floor, but she didn't say anything. They stepped out into the darkened IT department. Server lights flashed incessantly in the back. She watched as he walked around the cubicles. He didn't touch anything. "This is what you studied for…right?" He turned to look back at her.
Only then did it occur to her that he had never asked her directly. He'd known, of course, but he'd never heard it directly from her. "Yes…"
"Did you ever get to do it—IT—before I moved you to the 25th floor? And before your parents decided that medieval tactics of mutually beneficial marriages were what they were going to force on you?"
Did he just make a joke? She could feel that the corners of her mouth had stretched apart considerably. He did. A soft laugh escaped her. "It was rather medieval, wasn't it?"
He nodded. She couldn't be sure from where she was standing, but there was a soft glint in his eye…amusement?
"I still get to do it. It's one of the things I do here. I just…I get extra paperwork and I don't sit on the third floor…that's all."
Oliver looked away, "Really? I never knew that…"
"Most people don't. Don't worry about it." He still didn't look at her. "If it makes you feel any better, I don't even know what you were studying before you dropped out of college," she lied.
He turned and walked back towards her. "Business and Economics," he said, reaching around her to press the elevator button. He tilted his head slightly. He knew it was a lie.
The only sound filling the room was that of forks and knives clanging against plates as a bunch of people, who weren't really hungry, ate. Again, Oliver looked awkward, but Felicity tried to push that thought away.
Tommy was being his usual self, "We're doing the city tomorrow Oliver. A lot's changed since—a lot's changed."
Moira smiled warmly at him in thanks, "That sounds like a great idea."
Oliver did one of his fake smiles. She'd seen a lot of those. He'd gotten better at it though…
"Good," he said. "then I wanted to stop by Queen Consolidated again and that old warehouse in the Glades."
Walter set his wine glass down, "Oh there's time for all of that. Queen Consolidated isn't going anywhere, after all. Why don't you just focus on enjoying the day with Tommy?"
Just then, Raisa tripped trying to set a bowl of fruit on the table. Oliver caught her easily. "I'm sorry Mr. Oliver."
Felicity could see some of the tension disappear and she hid her smile with the wine glass. Raisa had always been one of Oliver's favorite people. He could argue with her one minute and then turn with a perfectly genuine smile towards Raisa if she happened to walk into the room.
And then he answered her in Russian and Felicity felt an ice cold rush through her whole body. Where had he—
"Dude, you speak Russian?" Tommy asked, smiling proudly as if Oliver had just won some sort of contest.
Thea looked over at her with wide eyes, but Felicity couldn't set the wine glass down.
"I didn't realize you took Russian in college, Oliver," Walter said calmly.
Felicity was almost grateful for his ability to turn the situation around so quickly. She set the glass down and she was still looking at her fingers wrapped around the glass when Oliver answered.
"I didn't realize you wanted to sleep with my mother, Walter."
She flinched. They hadn't told him?
Moira looked at Thea who shook her head. And then Moira set her eyes on her. Felicity shook her head as well.
"They didn't have to say anything," Oliver said.
Moira sighed, taking hold of Walter's hand. "Oliver, Walter and I are married…"
"We thought that—well, we believed that Robert was gone," Walter said. "There was nothing going on while your father was here."
Oliver nodded curtly, using his fake smile again. He stood, "If you'll excuse me."
There was a long silence and then Moira nodded.
"Don't forget about tomorrow," Tommy said.
Oliver patted him on the shoulder, paused to wink at Thea and then looked at her. Felicity wasn't sure what he was trying to tell her, or even if he was trying to tell her anything at all. Eventually, he turned away, leaving them all to sit in an uncomfortable silence.
"I'll take you home," Tommy said once they were all gathered in the foyer.
Felicity glanced up at the staircase. She'd promised Oliver that they would talk, but tonight was not very good for that. There was plenty of time now, so it didn't have to be tonight anyway. "Yes," she said, turning back to Tommy "that would be good. Oliver brought me here though, so you'll have to pick me up for work tomorrow. My car is at QC."
"No problem. I'll bring you to work and then pick up Oliver for our day in town."
She hugged Moira goodbye, thanking her for the dinner. Thea held on a little longer, but let go eventually. "We should talk this weekend," she said.
Felicity nodded. There wasn't much she could tell Thea—at least not in regards to what she wanted to know—because Oliver hadn't said much, but she'd be there for the younger Queen sibling regardless. She kissed Thea briefly on the forehead before stepping away.
Moira was looking at the staircase now and Felicity followed her gaze to where Oliver had appeared.
"I know I promised—"
"It's late. Go home. Sleep. We'll talk tomorrow," he said.
"Good night Oliver."
"Good night Felicity. Tommy."
Felicity sat in her office, surrounded by three of the IT department's best.
"The firewall was fine yesterday," Henry repeated unnecessarily.
Felicity sighed, running her hand through her hair for about the hundredth time. There was something off. How could the firewall have been fine one minute and then not fine the next.
"I mean, it's not the end of the world. This small weakness still won't allow for a breach in the system, so we have time to figure it out without worry of being hacked… it's just—odd. This has never happened before," Grant said, tiredly. They'd been trying to figure it out all morning. Now it was almost four-thirty and they were still nowhere near done.
"Maybe we should move to the IT floor again?" Felicity said.
"Again? Guys, can we continue this tomorrow…we've been moving from the 3rd floor to the 25th floor back to the 3rd floor and back to the 25th floor all day. I'm getting tired of seeing the inside of that elevator," Grant exclaimed.
"And I'm getting tired of seeing Felicity's phone screen light up," Henry said jokingly.
Felicity glanced at the screen. Moira again. She sighed, taking the phone and shoving it into the desk drawer.
"Shouldn't you get that? What if it has to do with Ol—"
Felicity shut him up with a look. Yes, she should have gotten it, but she was trying to figure things out just as much as everyone else. How much time did she need to let pass before she initiated the 'what are we going to do about this marriage-not-marriage' talk? Should she involve herself in Oliver's life or should she just let him be?
Jane rushed in, looking a bit panicked, waving the phone above her head. "Oliver—was kidnapped and—"
Felicity shot up from her chair, "What?"
Jane shook her head frantically, "No. No. He's fine. Detective Lance is at the mansion now. You should—you should get over there maybe…"
"Tomorrow gentlemen," she said, rushing out of the room with one arm in her coat sleeve and the rest of the coat trailing behind her.
The drive to the mansion was a blur and she parked the car just as Detective Lance was leaving. He gave her a curt nod, but he wasn't sure if she acknowledged him or not. There was something about almost losing something so quickly…just after it had been found again.
Oliver walked into the foyer just as she entered. He stopped and stared at her for a brief second before hanging his head and sighing heavily, "Mom, I told you not to bother Felicity with this!" He called over his shoulder.
"Bother me—Oliver you were kidnapped a day after coming back!"
"I was kidnapped too, Licity, thanks for your concern," Tommy said jokingly as he joined them.
She backed up, needing to do a full check-up with her eyes. She forgot about the wooden table at the center of the foyer. She tripped over one of the table legs and closed her eyes to brace for impact. Her back hit something. It wasn't as hard as she'd thought it would be.
"Felicity," Oliver said.
"You can open your eyes now."
She cracked one eye open to find herself leaning on Oliver's outstretched arm. He pulled her up in one swift motion and she crashed into his chest.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
She was about to answer him when she remembered why she'd rushed over in the first place. She pushed herself away from his chest, placing her hands on his shoulders. "You were kidnapped! Are you okay? I mean—you look okay. You look great actually—I mean good—I mean you look like you're not hurt or anything."
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tommy unsuccessfully try to hold back a smile.
"We're fine," Oliver said.
"We got lucky. Some guy in a hood took out the kidnappers—apparently." Tommy held up his hands and shrugged. "Oliver saw him."
Felicity blinked. She looked from Oliver to Tommy and back again. They both looked serious enough, but they couldn't actually be serious…could they? "What fool walks around in a hood in broad daylight, saving people?"
Oliver let out a half-laugh involuntarily before catching himself, but his blue eyes were the brightest she'd seen them in two days. She felt as if a small weight had been lifted. He'd laughed and she'd been the one to make it happen. And also, he didn't wince which meant that he wasn't lying about being unhurt—because it usually hurt when you laughed…right?
"I don't know, but I owe him a 'thank you,'" Tommy said, patting Oliver on the back. "I'll see you later. And don't worry, I'll handle the party details. You just show up. By the way, Felicity, you're invited, of course."
"Party? What party—haven't you had enough adventures for the week?"
Tommy looked as if she'd just insulted him. He held up a finger "One. One adventure. And it's his 'welcome home' party. It's important. You'll be there."
Felicity pushed back the urge to face-palm herself. "Goodbye Tommy."
And then they were alone. Felicity looked him over quietly. He turned slowly in a circle, and she knew he was mocking her just a little. "Are you satisfied?"
Maybe it's because he looked so good, with his dress shirt sleeves rolled up, the first button undone, muscles outlined just underneath the fabric. Whatever it was, she wasn't happy about it, so she snapped. "Yes Oliver, I'm satisfied that you're alive and well. I'll leave you alone now!"
She tried to storm past him into the living room, but he easily banded an arm around her waist. "Felicity. I didn't mean—"
You're being stupid she told herself. "No. I know. I'm sorry." She didn't look at him when she spoke.
"I—Uh…thank you for coming to check up on me." His arm was still around her waist and he had softened his tone.
It was nice to have him back, it was, but Felicity couldn't help but feel that things had been easier when they were not in the habit of speaking to one another. Now it was awkward—at least when they were alone—and complicated. They needed to sign the divorce papers as soon as possible. At least then, she would know where she stood—where they stood. Oliver's soft eyes still held her in place. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. Maybe, once the papers had been signed and squared away, they could be friends.
"You actually saved me a few more bland elevator trips for the day." He looked confused and, realizing what she had just said, she winced. "Not that your kidnapping was convenient or anything—I mean I wish it hadn't happened at all. I hope it never happens again. It's just that—well, there was this problem with the firewall and me and the IT guys just spent the day staring at computer screens and the inside of elevators…that's all…"
Moira walked in, stopping when she saw them. Felicity could see her attempt to back away. Oliver's arm was still around her waist. Realizing that she had already been seen, she continued to walk towards them. Oliver released her and turned to face his mother.
"Felicity. I'm sorry if I scared you. I just thought it was something you needed to know," Moira explained.
"It's fine. I'm just thankful that Oliver and Tommy were unharmed."
"Yes. Thanks to that rather odd hooded man…just when you think the world can't get any stranger…"
Oliver cleared his throat. "Yes. That's over now. Felicity, will you be staying for dinner?"
Part of her wanted to. But that probably wasn't the wisest choice—not so much time with him. "No, I should probably go. I've got work to finish."
"You can do that tomorrow," Moira said. "You're not really going back to the office now, are you?" Moira looked at her son for help.
"I'll be working from home. I'll be fine. I really have to go."
She said her goodbyes quickly, not giving them time to protest and then she headed home. She needed a clear head.
"There's a…John Diggle here to see you?" Jane said from the doorway.
Jane shrugged. "A Mr. John Diggle."
Felicity pinched the bridge of her nose with her two fingers. "All right gentlemen, how about we give up the endeavor for today—or, keep at it, but that's it for me. I'm delayed on other work," Felicity said to the IT geniuses that were once again huddled around her desk.
They all stood simultaneously. "We'll figure this out," Henry said, patting her on the shoulder and sending her a friendly wink.
She smiled gratefully. "If you can't I'll be on the third floor tomorrow."
"See you Felicity," Grant called over his shoulder.
Henry and Mark waved.
John Diggle was tall, broad in the shoulders, muscular, and had a stern face of a man who'd seen too many things—the look, now that she thought about it, that she sometimes saw on Oliver's face. He wore a light blue dress shirt, black dress pants, and a black coat. She wondered for a moment if she'd forgotten a meeting or something.
"Mrs. Queen," John said as he extended his hand.
She flinched. No one had called her that in quite a long time. He noticed because his expression flickered to uncertainty before he regained his composure and resumed his serious expression.
"Mr. Diggle, was it?" He nodded. She shook his hand and then sat down, gesturing for him to do the same. "How can I help you today Mr. Diggle?"
"I'm Mr. Queen's bodyguard Mrs. Qu—"
"Call me Felicity."
"Right. Ehm, I'm Mr. Queen's new bodyguard. The other Mrs. Queen—his mother—hired me after the kidnapping incident."
Felicity pressed her lips together to do away with a smile. She thought of the medical equipment she had seen shoved in the corner of his room on his first night. Yeah, this was totally going to work. Oliver was probably loving being followed around.
"Right." She clasped her hands together. "And where is Mr. Queen then?"
John looked down for a brief second and then resumed eye-contact. "I was hoping you could tell me Mrs. Qu—Felicity."
She felt her lower jaw drop involuntarily. "What do you mean?"
"I was driving him around. We had just introduced ourselves and then he jumped out of the car," John said in the most serious, monotone way possible.
How was it that Oliver kept getting into trouble? He'd been back less than a week and already he was being kidnapped and jumping out of mo— "He jumped out of a moving car?!"
"Yes. I stopped the car immediately and looked around, but he was just…gone. I thought he might've come here or called you, maybe."
Felicity didn't respond. She was trying to comprehend what the hell was happening to Oliver—to her life. Was she just destined to be called up constantly to deal with his adventures? She almost wished for the days when they only called her if he'd gotten too drunk and needed a ride home—almost. How much could one human being actually go through? Five years on an island, those scars that came from…where she did not want to know, being kidnapped and then saved by some lunatic in a hood, and now he was jumping out of moving vehicles.
"Hmm..oh! No, he hasn't called. I haven't seen him either…And I'm guessing he doesn't pick up the phone?"
"No." Diggle sighed and stood. "I'll go tell his mother then."
"Wait. I'll try to call him. Give me a second." She felt somewhat bad for poor John. Obviously Moira hadn't prepared him for Oliver. She pressed in the number 4, ignoring the little voice in her head that snidely judged her for having put him on her speed dial again so quickly.
He picked up on the third ring. "Felicity? Is everything okay?"
She swiveled her chair to an angle so that she wasn't directly looking at John. "Hi. No. Everything's fine…" She suddenly regretted calling him. If she called him out now then perhaps he wouldn't trust her, or pick up the phone next time. There had never been that much trust between them to begin with. They were sort of building it from scratch and it had only been three days—far from enough time for a misstep.
"Good," he said. She heard a hollow echo in the background. He was obviously in an open space.
"I just—how are you?"
"I'm good." There was a pause, "It's good to hear you…How are you?"
"I'm—" she took a breath, "sorry."
"I called because you jumped out of a moving car and now your bodyguard's here and I don't want your mom to yell at him, so I told him I'd try and call you."
Silence. Felicity could practically feel the tension on the other side of the line. It suddenly felt like they were back to where they had been five years ago.
"He's at the office?"
"I'll be there soon." And before Felicity could say anything else, the line went dead.
Felicity sighed, hoping that she didn't look too disappointed to poor John who'd unknowingly walked into a situation that was far more complicated than he could have ever anticipated. "He's on his way."
The serious look on John's face had turned into something that wasn't quite pity, but it was close. "I didn't mean to—"
She waved him off, "It's fine. He'll get over it." She hoped.
Oliver came in just as Felicity handed John a cup of coffee. "You never got me any coffee," he said mildly.
So he wasn't upset with her? "That's because you had your own secretary."
"Executive Assistant," he corrected.
She rolled her eyes, "That doesn't exist. You just told her that to make her feel better about the whole thing."
"A boss has to know their employees."
"Oh, is that the strategy you used when you thought putting me on the 25th floor was a good idea?" She handed him her cup of coffee as a peace offering.
"You're still here aren't you?" He said, gesturing to the space.
He had a point. She could have moved back to the third floor but she'd chosen to stay. He smiled and she could just see him tallying a point for himself on some imaginary score board. She rolled her eyes, but she wasn't upset. It was nice…seeing him like this. She tallied her own point for making him smile. That was good enough for her.
Oliver took a few sips and then handed her the cup, a soft expression on his face. She hesitated, confused, but took it anyway. John Diggle cleared his throat and she jumped, slightly. Luckily, Oliver had drained the cup enough so that the liquid didn't spill. She'd forgotten that John was there at all and she felt her cheeks turn red in embarrassment.
"You jumped out of a moving car!" She blurted in an attempt to hide her flaming cheeks.
"Yes." Oliver said smoothly, turning to John. "I know my mother means well Mr. Diggle, but I don't need a bodyguard."
"With all due respect, Mr. Queen. I will lay off my duties only when your mother tells me to. Until then, I am your bodyguard. So as your body guard, I'll take you home now. I believe you have a party to get ready for."
Felicity watched Oliver shake his head in disbelief, but he was smiling slightly, clearly amused by John's determination. He turned back towards her, holding his hand out for the cup. She gave it to him.
"Are you coming?" He asked.
"Um…" she'd forgotten all about it. And she hadn't really decided how much she should involve herself in Oliver's life. "I will. I'll just get a bit more work done and then I'll head over to the party," she lied. It was probably better that she didn't go anyway. She didn't want him to feel like he needed to be with her, or behave around her since they were still married. He would have more fun if she wasn't there.
He nodded. "Okay, see you there."
John Diggle stood up and thanked her for her help, smiling as if at some secret joke that she didn't get, but she smiled back and thanked him as well. She liked him. He seemed like a good guy. Maybe he and Oliver would get along better than expected.
Oliver gave her back an empty cup. "Sorry."
And then he stood there awkwardly, unsure of what to do. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw John turn and slowly walk towards the elevator. She gave Oliver a quick, awkward hug and then he turned and left as well.
Before the elevator was even on the ground floor Jane was in her office, blue eyes wide. "What are you going to do?" She asked the exact question that had been swimming through Felicity's mind incessantly the past few days.
"I just have to pick a moment to talk to him and then we'll sort this out, get a divorce and maybe be friends." It actually seemed like a viable plan.
Jane shook her head furiously, her red ponytail swaying violently from side to side. "Are you kidding?! That was actually kind of cute. I've never seen you two like that."
"Cute? What was cute?"
"You. Him. That," she pointed at the empty coffee mug that now sat on the edge of her desk.
Felicity waved it off. Maybe it was cute, but it just showed her that they could be friends…maybe. Everything was still new, still kind of up in the air, so it was far too early to make any assumptions. Maybe this new Oliver was like this because it was new for him too—things could still change to the way they were. She hoped that they didn't, but it was a possibility. Friends is what she was going for, she definitely didn't want to be married to him. Even if he had changed, they just didn't work well as a married couple. "Friends are cute," was Felicity's only response before she got back to work.
Tommy called her at 9:45.
"Aren't you busy with a party?" She said.
"I'm busy noticing how you're not here."
"I'm just heading out of work now—"
"Great. See you in a bit."
"—to go home."
"You're not coming? No. No way. You're coming. Do you want me to come get you?"
She could hear the pounding music in the background, and the sounds of people yelling just to talk to one another. It sounded like a lot of people. And, knowing Tommy, she was sure that more than half of those people were strangers. Definitely not her scene. "No. I'm not coming. You guys will have more fun if I'm not around anyway."
"Says who?" He yelled, sounding almost offended.
"I don't mean it that way… I mean that it's awkward. Enjoy. Be free."
"Bee free? Felicity I'm coming over there."
"No. Seriously Tommy, have fun."
"I'll see you," he said, before hanging up.
By the time she cleaned up her desk and walked into QC's nearly deserted garage, Oliver's car was waiting for her, John Diggle was in the driver's seat. Felicity groaned.
"Mr. Merlyn asked me to do him a favor. He promised to keep an eye on Oliver."
"Fine. He's got me. I'll go, but I'll drive behind you because if I want to leave, I want to be able to do so. Oliver and Tommy will leave when the sun makes its appearance."
"Sorry Mrs. Queen, I've been instructed to drive you myself."
Why was this man so duty bound? Felicity sighed heavily, "Fine, but only if you stop calling me 'Mrs. Queen.'"
John nodded, "Deal."
The music and lights had given her a headache long before she was in the middle of the crowd of sweaty strangers in short dresses and expensive dress shirts. She knew it had been a bad idea to come. The flashing lights were blinding and there was barely any room to walk. The place was packed.
Felicity tried not to think about the fact that she and Oliver had loved to come to such parties in the early days of their marriage. They would show up together and then, promptly split up in different directions beyond the door to talk to, and drink with, people who they were not married to. It had been a good way to sort of keep up appearances while also avoiding each other. She'd given it up after a while though, they couldn't both be rich and irresponsible family representatives. So she let Oliver be irresponsible, enjoying the way she could let her guard down when he was not around.
Shaking those thoughts away, Felicity pressed forward into the crowd, wondering how on earth she was going to find anyone she knew. As if by some instinct, she looked to the very back of the building just at the moment that Oliver appeared from the back door. Felicity couldn't be sure, but she thought she saw him wince as he moved into the crowd. His hand lingering near his shoulder. She continued to watch him, hoping that he would lead her to Tommy. She didn't want to get stuck talking to him alone first. Her head was still spinning furiously from all of the talking they'd done in the past three days.
When Oliver reached Tommy, just beside one of the small stages, occupied by half-naked dancers, Felicity moved forward to meet them. And then Detective Lance was there, his men breaking through the crowd of people like knives through butter. Felicity heard him say something about the party being over. The music stopped.
"Adam Hunt was just attacked by The Hood across the street—same guy that saved your lives. Know anything about that?" The detective asked.
Tommy scoffed and Oliver said something too softly for her to hear.
"We believe he's in this building now."
Tommy stepped forward. "Look, whoever this hood guy is, he's not here."
"You want to find him?" Oliver asked. Then he raised his right arm in the air. "Everybody, listen up! Two million dollars to anyone who finds a nut job in a hood!"
The crowd erupted in a deafening mock cheer. Felicity felt her heart drop just a fraction. He sounded so much like the old Oliver—nothing like the man she'd been talking to these past few days…For some reason, it hurt.
She was locked in place as Lance's men did a quick search while Oliver and Tommy continued to argue with him. She just watched. Even if she wanted to, she knew she couldn't move just then. Some illusion or other had been broken and she was watching the pieces fall to the ground. Stop this! You're being stupid! Move. She was being stupid. She had no right to expect anything from Oliver and it shouldn't have hurt—it shouldn't have hurt at all.
Lance gave up after some time, calling his men out in the deafening silence of an irritated crowd. Oliver wasted no time. He stepped up onto the small stage, "Why is it so quiet in here? This is a party!"
Felicity felt her limbs again and she took a second to shake her head, cursing herself for expecting anything. Blue eyes met her own and Oliver's playboy smile slid off of his face. This was the part where people who knew each other communicated without words, but she didn't know Oliver, so she didn't understand what he was trying to tell her. She didn't even know if she was trying to tell him something…And yet, he didn't look confused. He looked like he was understanding something she wasn't even saying. He closed his eyes for a split second. That was all she needed to turn and push her way through the crowd.
She wasn't angry. She was just tired.
Her escape was stopped by some guy holding a drink. He was swaying slightly as he offered it to her. Tall and lanky with hazel eyes and disheveled brown hair and a sharp jaw; he looked harmless. Even as the irritation flared up at being held back from leaving, she couldn't bring herself to be completely dismissive.
"No thank you. I was just leaving."
"Couldn't you stay just a while longer?"
She almost laughed. She wasn't interested, but his question was so innocent that it quelled her irritation.
"Sorry, no. I have to go."
"Well," he said, retracting the drink, "I won't stop you then, but it's selfish of you to take away the prettiest girl from the party."
Felicity had to try very hard not to roll her eyes. Still, she laughed.
"I was just coming to talk to you about that myself," Oliver said, placing a hand on her back.
The guy squinted at them for a second and then his eyes widened. "Mr. Queen, Mrs. Queen—I'm—I didn't recognize you. My apologies."
Oliver placed his charming playboy smile on his face. "No hard feelings," he said, patting the guy on the shoulder with a little too much force so that he winced, stumbling backwards half-a-step.
"If you'll excuse me," Felicity said, pushing past the crowd to the door.
Oliver let her open the door into the quiet hall, following close behind. "Feliicty." He gently took her elbow, spinning her around to face him.
"Go back and enjoy your party Oliver."
"Let's talk about this."
"Talk about what? Oliver, I get it, the 'I haven't changed at all act.' It's fine. Go. Enjoy it."
He closed his eyes, tilting his head down. "What if it's not an act?"
What was he trying to pull? Did he think she was just going to forget about the last three days—about what she'd seen in him and about what they'd said to each other? She placed a hand under his chin and tilted it up so that he looked at her. His eyes were full of shame and, for a second, she thought that he'd meant it. But then she remembered that he'd gotten good at hiding his emotions. Maybe he'd gotten good at faking them too.
"If you want to push me away Oliver, that's fine. Just tell me not to be around you or—whatever it is you want, but this act…save it for them," she guested at the door. "We talked more in the last three days than we did the entire time we were ma—together. And now, you're running after me? Look at us Oliver… look where we are. You always let me walk away before. Why not now? To tell me you haven't changed? I don't believe you. You've changed and it's okay—it's good."
"The talking—that's just me trying to figure things out Felicity. I'll be the same man you hated once I get used to things again."
Felicity didn't understand why he was doing this and she had to fight the urge to walk away from him. "No you won't. I don't believe that. You said you were done lying to me. You're lying to me now. But if you want me to stay away, say it. Because, you know what? I get it. You being back—it isn't going to work unless we get used to being around each other, but away from each other. Does that make sense?"
She shook her head, smiling slightly. She felt relieved, like she'd finally figured something out. He was putting on an act. She didn't know why, or when he'd decided to push her away, but it didn't matter. She'd seen past the wall—just a little bit—and it was nice to know that she could. Someone eventually could. "I'll keep my distance, Oliver. And, for the record, I never hated you. I'm glad you're back." She reached up to place a kiss just above the corner of his lips. She didn't know why. It just seemed like the right way to end this conversation. And then she turned and walked away. He let her. It didn't hurt anymore.
A/N: So I hope you guys liked it! Let me know what you think!