Felicity wasn't sure if she knew quite what she was getting herself into as she quickly ducked into the dead end alley. The only thing she was certain of was she really had no more patience for people barging in on her day off. If the man following her thought he was an exception to that he seriously had another thing coming. As he slowly made his way around the corner she grabbed his arm and rammed his body into the opposite wall of the alley.
"Listen, I have enough stuff in this bag for maybe 3 sandwiches. I also have grapes, blueberries, and some tiny strawberry tart thingies. You may share my snacks in exchange for an explanation as to why you are here being all skulky, and you buy the lemonade when we get to the park."
"I agree to your terms," the man laughed, "if we include cotton candy at some point. I'm feeling like having a cheat day."
Felicity gave him a small smile. "I'm still not happy about this, just so we are clear on that."
"I promise I don't have a hidden agenda. Just thought you might enjoy some company."
"Digg," she said as they crossed the street. "I know you had plans with your nephew today, and I'm kinda annoyed Oliver traipsed all over your day just to put out some feelers because he is a control freak. I'm fine, he's fine; we are all fine."
"Oh, I absolutely agree that Oliver is a control freak, but he did not send me. Andy had a last minute birthday party so he is off with 8 other 10 year olds being plied with ballpark food. My whole day was free. I heard you had a rather intense 36 hours or so, so I decided to accidently bump into you for lunch."
"Heard how?" she asked as they entered the park. John bought lemonades and a bag of cotton candy, and they wandered off the sidewalk and found a spot to sit in the grass.
"I have my sources. You are well liked by people I mostly like."
"I'll just hack your phone to find out and then throw you to the wolves and tell them you made me work on my very well deserved days off," she said, staring him down.
"That is not your best work as far as intimidating looks go," he said as he wiggled his pointer finger in her face.
"I've decided to save all the mean looks for Oliver. Now spill," she said, batting her eyes and sticking out her lip.
Dig chuckled and blew out a breath. "You're Roy's favorite," he said, shrugging his shoulders.
"In non-Thea ways," she said, causing Digg to pull a face. Felicity sighed. "He's such a yenta."
"Isn't he though," Digg said, smiling. "What really threw me, though, was when I got to Verdant and found Oliver there. He was going over QI notes. Well, staring blankly at them more than anything, but there were actual notations on some of the pages."
Felicity sighed, "I should probably text him and let him know I'll be in on Tuesday. There's a luncheon with the board and some people from city hall. He never remembers anyone's name. Although, sometimes I think he hesitates to make them uncomfortable," she said picking up her phone.
John gently grabbed the phone from her hand. "We had a long conversation. He asked me how long that had been going on."
"He asked me the same thing. It's part of the job."
"But it should never be at your own expense, Felicity," he said.
"I figured that was the part that Roy decided to share. I'm not sure what kind of conversation he and Thea had with Oliver, but Oliver was pretty torqued up when he stopped by last night. He had his apology face on, but worse."
"You are someone Roy can count on no matter what he's going through. We all count on you, and sometimes you get taken for granted. It also helps Roy find joy in life when he can point out Oliver's shortcomings and his habit of acting like a 'trust-fund douche nozzle' when Laurel is around."
"It wasn't exactly like that…but that's not the part that really bothers me."
"What's going on?" John asked.
"So, I'm lying to myself, and Thea, and I can't even bring myself to tell Laurel to shove it because I can't be sure if it's because she's Laurel or because he's Oliver."
John hummed thoughtfully. "I think I know where some of this is going, but just to be sure, why don't you shore that up with some details."
"I feel like I lied to Thea. I told her that Laurel can say what she wants, that I know who I am, and it's mostly true. I'm just not always quite sure where I stand. So sometimes I feel like I'm standing a little too close or a little too far away. And sometimes I get these weird…come closer vibes, but then I think I'm imagining them. And I feel the need to protect Oliver's feelings, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do that. And it has been pointed out to me, a lot lately, that my secret coping mechanism…"
"The fade and run," John interrupted.
"Digg!" Felicity said, shoving at his shoulder before continuing. "My attempts to get a handle on this are not as stealthy as I thought. Which brings me back to the lying thing because I recognize I am experiencing some boundary issues and now of that I don't know if I'm overly sensitive to Laurel for the right reasons and obviously her saying whatever she wants is having an effect on me."
"Ah," John said. "So, Felicity Smoak is a liar, liar, pants on fire with boundary issues."
"I feel like I need to step aside and let them have their thing, god, whatever that poo show is. I know there is a lot of stuff between them that's unresolved, and realistically, I can guess why I'm a target. Even Thea was lobbing some pretty sharp daggers for a while. The truth is the Oliver I know is different than the one they had. And Thea and I are friends and now I can understand where she is coming from but with Laurel and Oliver, I don't know what they are to each other, so I don't even know what kind of daggers I'm supposed to be defending myself from."
"I think if you feel like you're under attack, from any type of dagger, you just be Felicity."
"So I babble incoherently for a few torturous minutes then step out of the line of fire? That is the current horrible plan. I don't like it, John, I don't like it at all."
Digg laughed, "Felicity, You're not a delicate flower and you don't ever have to pretend you are one. You don't have to shrink out of the way when thunderstorms rear their heads. Which I know Oliver basically told you last night, too."
"Yeah, but last night he was feeling bad for being an idiot."
"That's not really new for Oliver," Digg said causing Felicity to laugh. "It still stands. You've earned your place in Oliver's life…"
"I know, but where Laurel is concerned…"
"And you can absolutely tell Laurel where to stick it, but I would suggest something more gently phrased, just to ease your conscience later. Since you don't actually need my permission for that I have to wonder what's been holding you back."
"I feel for her, you know. Events were beyond Oliver's control, but he was still…a shithead. I understand her attitude, and I don't want to be the target either…but that old him, I understand her desire to baseball bat his face."
"Sometimes I wanna hit the current him with a baseball bat," he said with a grin. "You allow for people's feelings because you don't see them as a weakness, but I've seen you stand up when those feelings made people way scarier than Laurel act in a way that wasn't right for you. You get to stand up for yourself and personally, I think Laurel has met the limit on taking her feelings out on other people."
Felicity smiled at him. "I think I just needed to hear someone else say it out loud." She cocked her head and thought for a second. "You're pretty filled with wisdom today. Have you been watching the Rocky movies?"
"I…what?" he sputtered. "Oliver asked me that, too. I had no idea what he was talking about then and I have no idea what you're talking about now."
She eyed him suspiciously. "I'll choose to believe this wisdom comes naturally to you for now. But tell me, wise one, what do I do about the root cause of my boundary issues?"
"Felicity, I can't tell you what to do, but if you have it in your head to do a little research, there is always the Verdant surveillance footage from this morning."
"Wouldn't that be a violation of the bro code; spitting into the face of 'what happens in the man cave stays in the man cave,' being a gross snoop?"
"Regardless of the name on the lease, that's your cave. Oliver knows that. Plus, I have it on good authority that you may have already cracked open the door on that issue" He put his arm around her shoulders and kissed her forehead. "Whatever you decide to do, you know where I am."
"I do. Thanks for the shoulder."
"Thanks for lunch," he responded, gathering up containers and napkins and putting them back into Felicity's bag. "See you in a couple days?"
Felicity nodded yes as he stood up. "By the way," she said grinning, "you owe me a hundred bucks."
Digg laughed. "Put it on my tab," he said, then turned and strolled back towards the entrance to the park.
Felicity took in the scenery around her: The children playing nearby. The wind blowing gently through the trees, the calming sound of water flowing through a nearby fountain. The happiness radiating off the people all… "Oh, who am I kidding," she mumbled to herself. She pulled out her laptop and clicked away.