title: what does home look like? (I've only seen shadows of it in my dreams)
category: arrow
genre: family/romance
ship: felicity/oliver
chapter rating: pg-13/teen
overall rating: nc-17/explicit
prompt: ooh ooh felicity as lance's step-daughter, growing up with laurel and sara, in love with oliver! - anonymous
word count: 6,903
summary: (au) For most of her life, Felicity Smoak grew up with her father in Coast City, only visiting her mother Dinah and the Lance family in the summers. But when her father drops her off for an unexpected visit and doesn't come back, Felicity is forced to figure out what 'family' really means. And, in the meantime, falling in love with the local billionaire can't hurt, right?

what does home look like? (I've only seen shadows of it in my dreams)
-novel-

II.

"What do you mean a date?" Quentin wondered grumpily, frowning as he sat on the couch, a beer balanced on one knee and the TV remote in his other hand. He'd muted it when she walked out in a dress that Sara had helped her pick out specifically for the occasion. It was white with a floral print that she was sure Kelsey would've gone off about for days. In fact, her best friend would probably go on about cut and fit and how the little brown belt in the middle made her figure pop, and blah blah blah. All Felicity knew was that she felt pretty and Sara gave her a double thumbs-up. So, her outfit was a big fat go.

Fiddling with the cuff of her jean jacket while she sat on the arm of the couch, she said, "His name's Oliver. We met at a coffee shop a few days ago."

"And he asked you out on a date?" Quentin shook his head, his thick, dark brows hiked. "Isn't there some kind of protocol to that? Shouldn't he ask me first?"

Felicity smiled, glancing at a snorting Sara, who was sitting sideways on the armchair, her legs dangling over the arm.

With a lighthearted roll of her eyes, Felicity turned back to her step-dad. "He didn't propose. We're just going out to a movie."

Quentin grumbled, mouth pinched up sourly. "Well, who is this guy? How do I know he's safe? He have a driver's licence? A record? How old is he?" He waved his hands around with his questions, as if the answers were somehow evading his desperate reaching.

"He's seventeen, he has his licence, and no, as far as I know, he doesn't have a record."

His brows shot up. "As far as you know…?"

"Dad," Sara laughed, grinning at him in her amusement. "Chill out. It's just a date. Lissy knows what she's doing."

"Yeah? You been on a lot of dates then?" he wondered, sitting forward and narrowing his eyes at Felicity. "'Cause Dinah didn't say anything about you going on dates. She know about this?"

"Yes, I told her." Felicity scoffed under her breath. "And I've been on a few dates with boys back home. I'm seventeen…"

"Hah! I don't care if you're thirty. I wanna know where you're going and I want you to check in when you get there." He stabbed a finger down onto the palm of his hand. "You met some guy in a coffee shop, how do you know he is who he says he is, huh? He could be anyone. A serial killer for all we know!"

A buzzer went off then, letting them know someone was downstairs.

"That him?" Quentin shoved up from the couch. "Buzz him in. I wanna meet him."

"Dad," Sara groaned. "Don't embarrass her."

"I'm not embarrassing her," he argued. "I'm making sure this kid's not gonna take her off to some dark alley and chop her up into little bits, all right? That's my job. It's both my jobs, as a dad and a policeman. Now send him up!"

"That's… encouraging." Felicity sighed and reached over to press the button on the comm. "Hey, Oliver, do you mind coming up? My, uh, my step-dad wants to meet you. You know, to make sure you're not some insane serial killer that likes to charm girls with coffee and broken laptops before you ritualistically kill them…"

There was a pause and then,"Sounds like fun. I'll come right up."

Felicity bit her lip as she smiled and pushed the button to let him in.

She lingered by the door, half because she didn't want Quentin to swing it open and scare Oliver off and half because she didn't feel like hanging around to hear more of her step-dad's complaints that she shouldn't go out on this date.

When the knock came, she was relieved and pulled the door open quick. "Hey…" She shifted her feet, her nose wrinkling. "Sorry about this. He's just, well, a cop, so he's kind of protective."

Oliver shrugged. "No worries." He stepped over the threshold into the apartment and whistled as he looked around. "Nice temporary digs."

"Yeah, it's a lot better than my permanent house. My trailer back home isn't exactly something you boast about." She waved a hand for him to follow her and made her way toward the living room, pointing a thumb back at him as they stepped into the room. "This is Oliver. Oliver, this is my step-dad, Quentin Lance."

"Officer Lance," he corrected in a hard tone, stepping up to offer Oliver a brisk handshake. "Felicity tells me you two are going to a movie?"

"Uh, yeah." He nodded. "The Ring? It's playing downtown."

Quentin's eyes narrowed. "Yeah, one of them horror movies, right? So you can get your arm around her, hold her while she's scared. Not happening."

At this point, Sara was just laughing to herself.

"Why don't you go see that, uh, Two Towers, huh?" he suggested, crossing his arms over his chest. "Felicity loves the Lord of the Rings."

"It's a three hour movie. I hardly think Oliver wants to sit through that." Felicity frowned. "He might not've even seen the first one…"

"I haven't." He smiled at her. "But we could watch the first one at my place, tomorrow, then go see the second one if you want."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa…" Quentin waved his hands. "No way you two are having some unsupervised date at his house."

"Probably wouldn't be unsupervised. Raisa's always there." Oliver shrugged. "But we can watch it here, if you want."

Quentin glared at him and Felicity couldn't help but find it kind of amusing that every time he tried to put his foot down, Oliver didn't back down. In fact, he didn't seem the least bit cowed by Quentin's approach. She wasn't sure how wise that was, but it was fun to watch all the same.

"Felicity picked The Ring though, so it's really up to her what she wants to do…" Oliver looked over at her.

"We're going." She smiled and turned to her step-dad. "I'll call you when I get to the theater and when I'm leaving it, all right?" She gathered up her purse and pulled it over her shoulder. "I'll be fine. Oliver's clearly not a sociopath, and if he is, I have mace in my purse." She looked over at her date. "It stings, just forewarning."

"Noted," he said, half-smiling.

"Okay." She turned back to her step-dad. "I'll be home by eleven."

"No later," he told her, his mouth set in a frown, looking far more sullen than she'd ever seen him.

Felicity nodded, and then, for the first time since she was a little girl, she walked over and kissed his bristly cheek. "Promise."

With that, she walked away, hooking her arm through Oliver's and leading him out of the apartment. While it wasn't ideal, she had to admit, she kind of loved the concerned-dad act.


Felicity couldn't remember much of the movie. She did remember Oliver's hand finding hers while the trailers were still playing, and after that all she could focus on was the soft touch of his thumb moving back and forth over her skin.

That and the occasional, "You wanna licorice?" as he held one out or, "Popcorn?" when he waved the bag at her.

But after the movie, that was nice. They got frozen yogurt and sat outside the shop at a little table. There was a bit of a chill thanks to the breeze that made her regret having bare legs, but since his gaze kept dropping to where they were crossed, she thought the goosebumps might be worth it. Jenn always told her that her best asset was her legs. Then again, Kelsey always said her best asset was her ass. She was almost completely sure it was actually her brain, but she appreciated the compliments all the same.

Oliver knocked his frozen yogurt off a lot faster than she did, so it was no surprise when he kept trying to steal some of hers. She smacked his spoon away when he tried to scoop a few gummi bears from the top of her dessert, but he only laughed, trying again.

He walked her home, even though it would've been easier to take his car. They had some extra time to kill and apparently he didn't want to waste it. So, they walked through downtown Starling City with their hands tangled together, while she talked about everything under the sun. She wasn't really sure when he reached for her hand (or did she reach for his?), but she liked how it felt. His fingers fit between hers, his thumb rubbing circles. He had nice hands, much bigger than hers but oddly complimentary all the same.

As they walked, he asked her about home, about her friends and what she did for fun. Once she got talking about Kelsey and Jenn, there was really very little that could stop her. Best friends since third grade, she had enough stories to fill three books. And it helped that they were her favorite people.

She was mid-ramble about the time when Kelsey was caught in the boy's change room with the quarterback's head under her skirt when suddenly her lips weren't moving.

He tasted like strawberries. Which made sense since he'd had strawberry frozen yogurt, but that was the first thing that came to mind. The second was that his lips were warm and smooth and she liked how his hand fit behind her neck, fingers tangled in her hair. It wasn't her first kiss, not even close, but it was her best by far. His hand pressed to her cheek, fingertips tracing the curve, and his thumb slid down under her mouth as he pulled back, his forehead resting against hers.

She let out a shaky breath and said, "That was a lot better than Bobby Peters in eighth grade."

He laughed, a warm chuckle that made his chest vibrate against hers, and then he kissed her again.

He kept kissing her, making their progress in getting her home pretty slow, what with them tripping over each other's the whole way. He wrapped an arm around her waist, and she thought, to anybody else, it probably looked like they were dancing. Terribly, mind you, but dancing all the same. Spinning and moving together, step by step down the sidewalk, their lips only leaving each other to laugh as they stepped on each other's shoes or bumped into some stationary sign or fire hydrant.

It was nice and sweet and... It felt right. She wondered if this was what Jennifer was talking about when she said, "You know you're with the right person when laughing together feels as good as kissing."

She'd never laughed so much or so genuinely as she did with him.


When Felicity got home, she expected to see Quentin. Grumpy or worried or complaining about the three minutes she was late. Three minutes she'd spent with her back pressed against a street lamp as Oliver tried to convince her to have him over tomorrow to watch Fellowship of the Ring, even though they both knew Quentin would be there to chaperone. Three very awesome minutes of his mouth kissing down her chin to her neck and his fingers stroking through her hair. He convinced her.

After she closed the door, she walked inside the apartment with an extra little pep to her step. She felt light. Light enough to float away. Which was why she was sure Quentin's fatherly dress down would probably help to pop the dizzying bubble of Oliver with a fresh sense of reality. Only it wasn't him who was sitting on the couch waiting up, it was her mother.

Dinah was in the middle of knitting something, a pile of some misshapen project in her lap and a ball of wool beside her knee. She was terrible at knitting, but she just kept trying.

Looking up as Felicity walked in the room, Dinah smiled. "Oh, I know that face…" She patted the seat beside her. "Come on, tell me everything…"

Felicity let out a breathless laugh and crossed the room, tugging her jacket off as she went and letting it fall into the seat of the armchair before she sat down beside her mother. Her mouth opened to put it into words, but she found herself, for the first time in her life, speechless.

Dinah eyed her knowingly. "That good, huh?"

Felicity flushed, reaching a hand up to tuck her hair behind her ear, tugging on the lobe a little awkwardly. "He was… funny and sweet and…" She let out a groan and pressed her hands to her face as she fell back against the couch. "Have you ever met someone and it's like you don't even remember what they said or did, you just remember how you felt when you were with them?"

Her mother nodded, her expression softening.

"It was like that. I can't remember the movie but I remember how his hand felt holding mine. I can't remember exactly what we talked about, but I remember how he smiled at me when I rambled and how he laughed when I told him stories and how he said my name… It's like…" Her eyes narrowed as she shook her head. "I don't know. He just says my name a certain way."

Dinah reached for her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "So? Is it love then?"

She scoffed. "We just met."

Humming, she shook her head. "I knew as soon as I met Quentin that he was the one."

"Yeah?" Felicity looked up at her, brow furrowed. "How?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. He just… He smiled at me and I felt it. I felt it right down into my bones like I'd never felt anything before. And as soon as it happened, it was so funny, but you kicked. You kicked me so hard I actually jumped and he… Oh, he was so worried. He thought he'd sent me into premature labour. It was hilarious. Poor man, he was beside himself." She laughed, shaking her head. "Anyway, he asked me out for coffee after that and, well, the rest is history."

Felicity nodded, resting her head on her mother's shoulder. "I don't know what it is with Oliver. I just know that I like him. I like how I feel when I'm with him."

"That's good." Dinah stroked her hair. "I want you to be happy and if he makes you happy then I'm glad… Of course, I could be biased. I'm hoping you'll fall madly in love with him and refuse to go home. You'll just stay here with us, forever and ever," she declared playfully, hugging Felicity a little tighter.

Felicity's smile dimmed a little. "I haven't heard from dad…"

"Tony is… Well, he's Tony. I'm sure he has a reason for why hasn't come back." Dinah kissed Felicity's forehead. "He knows you're okay, that you're with people who love you. He can take all the time he wants, as long as I get to have you a while longer."

Felicity's lips trembled a little, both at the idea that her father would take his time and that her mother wanted to keep her. She blinked quickly as her eyes burned a little and pressed a little closer to her mom, breathing in that soft, lilac scent of her. "What are you knitting?" she wondered.

"Would you believe that it started out as a pair of mittens?"

Felicity laughed. "Those are huge mittens."

"Oh, honey, they're not mittens at all. At this point, I think I'm just fooling myself. I'm hoping if I keep going, it'll suddenly resemble something, but I'm not sure my hopes will be answered."

She laughed lightly. "Well, I'd help you, but I don't think I got any of grandma's knitting skills either."

"We can be hopeless knitters together then."

"We can start a club. Knitless." She laughed at her own joke, smiling widely as Dinah let her head fall back and laughed far deeper than her terrible pun was worth. She love her that much more for it.


Sara was not a morning person. Well, actually, neither was Felicity. Oh, she could pretend if she had to, and she always made sure she was up and ready during the school week, but if she had the opportunity to sleep in, that was exactly what she wanted to do. But, it appeared neither of them were allowed to do that Saturday morning.

Laurel woke Sara, telling her she was joining her on a shopping spree. Felicity was, thankfully, not included because she had Oliver coming over. Hence the reason she was up as early as she was. That was a little of Quentin's doing since he wanted to go over house rules when a boy was involved. On the bright side, he made breakfast, so she thought she might forgive him, maybe, a little.

"Oh God, bacon…" Felicity moaned, staring at the bowl her step-father placed on the table beside a bowl of scrambled eggs and a plate stacked with French toast. She hadn't seen a breakfast feast like this since last summer. Quentin was always the best for that. He liked to cook and, since Dinah always had work to do, he usually took it upon himself to make most of the meals they enjoyed. But breakfast and lunch were mostly free for alls due to conflicting schedules. In the summer, the girls tended to sleep in while he had to get up and head to work. Every once in a while though, something like this would happen.

"All right, all right, try not to drool too much. Dig in," he told them, waving his hands at the food before he took his seat at the head of the table. He folded his fingers together as he watched them for a moment. Bowls were handed around as each of them filled their plates and he took the bacon from Laurel before he said, "Since I got all three of you here, I think it's a good time to talk about, well, boys."

Sara's brows hiked and she let out a scoff, which meant a few scrambled eggs dribbled out of her mouth. "That's cheating! You tricked us with food. This is entrapment!" she declared, waving her fork.

Quentin snorted, rolling his eyes. "It's effective policing. Take it up with my superior if you got a problem, but your mom already knew I'd pull this…" He looked around at each of them and then sighed. "Look, I'm not opposed to you dating, I'm not. Do I want you to? Not really. But am I gonna stop you? 'Course not. I just… I want you guys to be safe. And I don't just mean in a…" His lip curled, "I don't just mean, uh… condoms." He choked the last word out like it physically hurt. "I mean, I want you to take care of your hearts, too. There are some… not so great guys out there and I don't want any of you fallin' for the wrong sort. You've all got big hearts and you're too damn beautiful for your own goods and, well, any guy who wouldn't fall for you three would be a damn fool. So just… be aware and be careful and… don't go fallin' for the first cute boy that comes along, you know?" He shrugged. "There's no shame in waiting… Forty's a good age. You'll be done with college, you got a good career behind you, probably got your own house…"

"Forty? Dad!" Sara snorted. "Besides, we've all had boyfriends, we just never told you." She stuffed a large chunk of French toast into her mouth, talking as she chewed, "Lissy might already know how to stay 'protected.'" She laughed, winking at her sister across the table.

Quentin went pale, his eyes darting toward her. He opened his mouth, paused, and then said, "Don't tell me. I don't wanna know. I just… I want you to be careful, that's all. I want all of you to be careful."

Laurel looked amused. "Dad, are you blushing?"

He shifted in his seat. "What? No, I… I'm just warm. The stove was hot. I've been cookin' all morning for you three."

"You're blushing!" Laurel grinned at him. "Aww, poor guy, your little girls are growing up…" She carefully cut off a piece of her French toast and bit into it, the polar opposite to her younger sister.

"Not too fast, I hope," he muttered, sighing as he looked down at his breakfast.

There was a defeated look to him, Felicity thought. His shoulders were slumped a little, his face somewhat slack. It was the look of a man who'd come to accept that his kids really were growing up and there was nothing he could do to change it. Oh, he could give them information and ask them to be smart and careful, but he couldn't guarantee that any of it would stick.

Felicity smiled to herself as she stabbed a bite of her eggs onto her fork.

Tony never talked to her about boys or sex or self-respect. When she was fourteen, he tossed a box of condoms on her bed, told her he wasn't the kind of guy who should ever be a grandpa, and then walked away. He couldn't meet her eyes and, later, pretended it never happened. She bought birth control for the first time when she was fifteen, more for her period than anything; her mother called it a bonding experience and spent much of the day talking about what it was like when she was Felicity's age. It was nice, and very different from what she was used to with Tony. Sometimes she wondered how her parents every managed to get along long enough to conceive her, they seemed like two completely different people. But then her dad would grin that charming smile of hers and she'd remember that he could dupe just about anyone into thinking he was something other than what he was.

"When's the boy comin' over?" Quentin wondered gruffly, looking over at Felicity as he rested his elbows on the table.

"Just after one," she answered. "He has to drop his sister off at ballet and then he'll be here."

He grunted, and Felicity hid a smile behind her glass of orange juice. She'd take that over Tony's general attitude of just ignoring her any day.


Laurel and Sara left at eleven. Felicity took some time to tidy up around the apartment, even though it was pretty much immaculate, and did a little of her of the homework she'd had emailed to her to pass the time. She felt nervous. She liked Oliver. She'd liked boys before, of course, but this felt different. He was different. He was so… focused. Whenever they were together, she felt like she was the center of his attention. Oh, that seemed kind of selfish. It was just… the way he talked to her and listened to her, it was like he refused to let anything else interrupt or enter the bubble that formed around them. Like he blocked out the rest of the world so he could hear what she was saying, even if it was a pointless five-minute ramble about absolutely nothing important.

She'd never really felt like that before. Overlooked and ignored were better adjectives for how she generally felt. It wasn't her mother's fault. Felicity lived a completely separate life from her and often kept the worst details from Dinah. Sometimes she wasn't sure why she did it. A last ditch effort to keep Tony from getting in trouble? A misplaced desperation not to look pathetic in comparison to the rest of her family? She wasn't sure. All she knew was that her home life was pretty, well, sad. She loved Tony. He was… dad. But their living conditions were kind of dismal and food was scarce and she always felt like she was cleaning up after him. She wasn't the center of his world, just the cleaning crew after he'd demolished what little he had in the world. When it came to her sisters and mom, she kind of felt like she didn't get to spend enough time with them to make any real impression. She came and went before anything got a chance to really bond them together. Maybe that was just on her side though?

She knew they loved her. She never questioned that. And even Tony loved her in his own way. But this felt good. To be independent and exploring something with Oliver that was at her own pace, however fast or slow she wanted that to be. There was an expiration date, of course. She wouldn't be in Starling City forever. But it could be fun while it lasted. She could enjoy this feeling for as long as she had it, so why not?

Oliver showed up just after one with a box of Orville Redenbacher and a pack of red vines.

Quentin took it upon himself to clean his guns in the living room while she and Oliver sat beside each other to watch the movie.

From what she could tell, he was enjoying it. Felicity split her attention between watching the movie and his face, trying to gauge his enthusiasm level. Every once in a while, his mouth would twitch, and she took it as a sign that he'd caught her staring. So, she'd turn back around and watch the screen for a while, until eventually something big was about to happen, and she'd look back to see how he'd react.

He'd snuck an arm around her early on, first with the excuse that he was going to feed her popcorn from the bowl in her lap, but when he rubbed a whole handful on her mouth just to bug her, she banned him from feeding her anymore. "Spoilsport," he sighed, but left his arm around her shoulders.

They were a little over an hour in when he asked, "There's a book, too?"

"Three," she told him, nodding. "Just like there'll be three movies. And The Hobbit, but that's not part of this series. There's an animated version though."

"Do you have the books?"

"Mm-hmm." She nodded, plucking a red vine from the bag on his leg and biting off the end. "Not here, though. Back home."

"Huh…" He frowned thoughtfully. "Maybe I'll pick them up downtown before I head home."

She smiled. "Yeah?"

He looked over at her, his gaze falling to her lips. "Yeah."

Quentin cleared his throat, drawing their attention. "So, Oliver… You're seventeen."

"I am."

Her step-father raised an eyebrow. "Any plans for your future?"

Oliver shrugged, settling back against the couch, his hand cupping and squeezing her shoulder. "College and then, I don't know, I guess I'll get a job at QC and shadow my dad for a while."

"QC?" Felicity asked, brow furrowed.

"Queen Consolidated," he explained. "My dad's the CEO."

"Right, you mentioned that, I guess I just didn't think about how… big that was." Her eyes darted away as she bit her lip.

"So you wanna go into business?" Quentin asked, eyebrow raised. "You see yourself calling the shots in some big office?"

Oliver frowned. "I wouldn't say it was my first thought, but it's what my dad's expecting, so…"

Quentin's eyes narrowed. "You always do what's expected of you?"

His mouth turned up in what could only be described as a smirk. "No, sir. Not generally."

The front door swung open then and Felicity was relieved to see Laurel walking down the hall, a few shopping bags hanging from her fingers. She frowned, however, when Sara wasn't pulling up the rear. Then again, it wasn't uncommon for Sara to go her own way whenever she felt like it. Still, the tension between Quentin and Oliver would probably lighten a whole lot more if Sara were around to distract her dad.

"Laurel, hey…" Felicity paused the movie. "We're watching Fellowship of the Ring, if you're interested…"

Laurel pushed her sunglasses up into her hair as she tossed her car keys into a dish and started pulling off her jacket. "Lord of the Rings? Again? Between you and dad, I'll have that movie memor…" She paused as she spotted Oliver on the couch. "Ollie!" she said, her voice pitched a little higher and her eyes wide. "What… What are you doing here?"

He half-smiled and pointed a thumb to the TV. "Movie." He turned to Felicity then. "I'm counting this as our second date, just so you know."

Felicity rolled her eyes. "Last night you said frozen yogurt was our second date."

He grinned. "You're right, this is our third." With that, he leaned over and pressed a sloppy kiss against her cheek.

Felicity laughed, ducking her head, but stopped when she noticed the overwhelming tension otherwise. When she looked up, she found her step-dad glaring a hole into Oliver's head and her sister looking confused and… hurt?

But then Laurel turned on her heel and said, "I just remembered I was supposed to study at Tamara's house. I'll be back for dinner." And then she was gone, sweeping out of the apartment as quickly as she'd arrived.

Felicity's brows furrowed and she looked back at Oliver. "You know my sister?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I've met her a few times… Usually at one of Tommy's parties."

She hummed, wondering what Laurel's issue was, but then Oliver grabbed up the remote. "This was just getting good," he said, hitting play. "What are the chances you know Elvish?"

She felt her cheeks darken with the force of her blush but raised her chin defiantly.

He grinned. "I might need a tutor." He looked over at her, brow raised. "Interested?"

Quentin sighed loudly in the background.

Felicity smothered a smile by resting her head on Oliver's shoulder. His arm wrapped around her a little tighter and she happily forgot all about Laurel to enjoy the movie. Although, it was kind of hard to pay much attention to even Aragorn's good looks when she had Oliver beside her.

The memory of an awesome "third" date would soon be ruined, however, when Laurel refused to say one word to her for the next week.


Felicity had to admit, she didn't actually notice Laurel was ignoring her at first. She was a little busy. She'd had boyfriends in the past, but things with Oliver were different. For example, he wanted to hang out every day and he always found something new for them to do. Her previous relationships had been a lot more open-ended. They hung out at school and went out a few nights of the week, usually down to the only burger joint in town. There was a distinct lack of passion in those relationships. No desire pushing them to want to be together as often as possible. She never really missed her boyfriends when they weren't around, though she was content when they were. She was happy with her life, independent and happy to stay that way. She had her friends, and they always came first. But, she'd liked being held and making out and having that hand to grab when she felt like it.

With Oliver, she always felt like it. She looked forward to their next chance to be together which, if it were up to Oliver, would be always.

On Sunday, he showed up at her apartment with the first Lord of the Rings book and asked her if she wanted to read it together, which didn't mean reading out loud so much as cuddling up on the couch together and silently reading each page at the same time. Sometimes she finished first and she'd turn her head to find his brow furrowed as he tried to catch up. Other times he'd finish first and try to distract her by kissing her face.

"Hey, I'm almost done," she laughed, closing her eyes as he pressed kisses down her cheek. "S-Stop!"

"Not my fault you're a slow reader," he told her, nuzzling her nose with his.

Suffice it to say, it took a lot longer to read than it probably should have. Of course, they didn't get anywhere near finished before reading dissolved into making out, the book lost to the cushions of the couch. They were only broken up when Sara decided to throw herself over the back of the couch and land on them.

"Sar-a!" Felicity complained.

Her sister laughed, her head thrown back in amusement. "Dinner's ready," she said as explanation before hopping off them. Turning back, she added, "And you're welcome, by the way. If dad walked in one that, Ollie would have an extra hole somewhere in his body…" With that, she winked, and turned on her heel to walk back to the kitchen.

Oliver buried his face at her shoulder and nipped her neck. "Might be worth getting shot."

Felicity rolled her eyes, even as she bit her lip to keep from smiling. "Come on…" She climbed over him and grabbed his hand to drag him with her. "You need to make a good impression on my step-dad, and we should probably start with getting that lipstick off you."

He grinned as he followed her toward the bathroom, and pressed up behind her, arms wrapped around her waist. "I don't know. I think it's my color…"

She'd by lying if she said she didn't add more lipstick to that entirely too handsome face before she got to cleaning it off.

On Monday, they took a walk through the park. She bought ice cream for them and then sat on a fountain as he deliberated on what he wanted to wish for with the remaining change. She licked at her mint chocolate chip cone while he flicked a quarter in the air and caught it, over and over.

"Your ice cream's melting," she told him.

In answer, he leaned over and licked a strip off of hers.

"Hey!" She yanked her cone out of reach from him, but he only laughed, licking the green ice cream from his lips cheerfully. "What do you think, Felicity? What should I wish for? I'm pretty set financially, I've got a gorgeous girlfriend, the best friend a guy could want… What's left?"

She paused for a moment, caught up with the 'g' word (girlfriend, not gorgeous, although that seemed a little generous to her thinking), but he didn't seem to catch it.

Oliver flipped the coin again and turned to grin at her. "How about…" He nodded. "Got it." And with that, he tossed the coin over his shoulder to sink down to the bottom of the fountain.

"You know, some poor homeless person is probably just going to gather up that change and buy something to eat, right? This fountain, probably put here by the city and holding absolutely no magical powers whatsoever, is not going to grant your greatest desire…" She shook her head, licking her ice cream.

Oliver slung an arm around her waist and pulled her closer. "What if my wish was for a homeless guy to get a sandwich? Then my wish would have come true."

She laughed, helpless against her smile. "You're a dork."

"Thank you." He leaned over to kiss her. "You taste good."

"I bet you'd taste better if you ate your ice cream," she said, nodding at the melting scoop of double chocolate chunk.

He shook his head, his nose brushing hers. "Yours tastes better." He ducked down for another kiss and she had to admit, he didn't taste bad at all.

On Wednesday, Oliver took her to laser tag, which she won, no matter how many times he said different.

Thursday, they went to see Two Towers, which, unsurprisingly, he loved, even if he did complain that the wait for Return of the King was already too long, exactly fifteen minutes after leaving the theater.

Friday night, he hung out with her and Sara while their mom and Quentin went on their mandatory date night. They ordered in Chinese food and watched movies while Sara talked on the phone to various friends and frequently teased Felicity for being so cheesy with her boyfriend. And there was the 'b' word, which she had yet to use but Oliver didn't seem to so much as blink at. She was pretty sure they should actually have that conversation, but it seemed pretty cut and dry. It wasn't that she didn't want him to be her boyfriend, she did. She just wasn't sure how that was going to work in the long-term. That was another thing… On Saturday, they talked about her dad.

"So he left?"

She nodded, sitting on her bed (or, well, the guest bed that was currently being used by her). "About three weeks ago… He just… I don't know. He said he had to do something and he'd be back in a week and then… nothing."

"What'd he have to do?"

She glanced at her bedroom door, which was cracked open, because Quentin had made it clear that she absolutely was not allowed to have Oliver in her room with the door closed. "Uh…" She hopped off her bed and moved to the door, leaning out to see if anybody was listening.

Just as she was about to close it, she felt Oliver pressed up behind her. "Is this a top secret thing?" he whispered against her ear. "Should we have codenames?"

Felicity rolled her eyes and stepped back. Nobody was close enough to hear, so she decided it'd be okay to tell him. Taking his hand, she dragged him back to her bed and hopped up, patting the space beside her.

Sitting down as requested, he cocked his head. "So?"

"My dad…" She frowned. Where to start? "He gambles. And I don't just mean he drops by the casino and loses a twenty here or there. I mean, he bets on horses and sports games and he sometimes plays poker where the stakes are entirely too high for him to afford…" She glanced at him, feeling a wave of shame. "Anyway, he does this sometimes. Loses too much and then has to find a way to pay it back. So, he does, it just… It's not easy and it takes a little time and sometimes the bookies get impatient. And when they're impatient, they're rough. They… They've never hurt me, but… there's a first time for everything. So, I think he just thought it'd be easier if I was here. What are the odds they'd try something if I was living with a cop, right?" She sighed. "Anyway, it was only supposed to be a week. He'd make up the money, pay them back, and we'd go back to business as usual."

Oliver was quiet for a moment before he asked, "He told you that? About the bookies?"

She shook her head. "No. I've just… I know the signs. He had a black eye, his hand was bandaged up. Usually, he tells me to go stay at one of my friends' houses, so him bringing me out here means it's probably serious… But I know him. He'll figure it out. He'll fix it."

Oliver was staring at her, and she was staring at the pattern on her comforter.

"Hey…"

Slowly, she raised her head to see him.

"That sucks… This stuff with your dad, it sucks. And I know you want him to come back and to fix all of this, but… What if you're better off here?"

Her brow furrowed. "He's not a bad guy," she defended. "He makes mistakes and he doesn't always think things through, but… He's my dad."

Oliver glanced away for a moment, but eventually he nodded. "Okay." He pulled her into his side and hugged her, pressing a kiss to her hair. Felicity wrapped her arms around his waist and sighed.

She'd never told anyone but Jenn and Kelsey about her dad's gambling. She'd always been afraid of how others might judge her or what they might do if they found out things at home weren't exactly the safest environment. Her dad used to tell her when she was a kid that CPS might take her if the wrong people found out. It used to scare her; the idea that these strangers might swoop in and take her from the only home she really knew. He didn't tell her she'd probably be put with her mom, so she always just assumed she'd be put into a foster home, far away from her family and her friends. As she grew up, that fear still lingered, so she learned how to act like things were normal. She got really good at taking care of herself and not letting on that things were tough at home. But it felt good to finally be honest with someone, even if she wasn't ready to admit that her dad had some serious faults when it came to parenting.

She pressed a little closer to Oliver's chest and appreciated how his arms tightened around her. He was a pretty good boyfriend considering they'd only been together a week.

[Next: Chapter Three.]


author's note: Can I just begin this by saying "WOW!" I can't believe the response I got to this story. I'm overwhelmed and overjoyed and so, so excited that you're all so enthusiastic about this story!

There are so many dynamics to explore, between sisters and daughter-father and mother-daughter and then the relationship between Felicity and Oliver. I've mentioned to a few other people that it's a bit of a likeness to Dinah/Quentin in that it's somewhat of a whirlwind, and that's evidenced a few times in this chapter as Oliver is jumping in with both feet. He likes her, he's not holding back, he's invested. Felicity is a little more aware of how reality plays a part and how different their worlds are and the fact that she's supposed to go back to Central City; in fact, she's overdue to.

We'll be seeing more of the Felicity/Laurel dynamic soon, too. I do want to preface that with the fact that Laurel and Felicity have tension that has nothing to do with Oliver. There's a some deeper issues going on that will be explored, so it's not simply because of a boy. There's some sibling rivalry and the like to come.

Anyway, I'm quite happy to post this much earlier than I usually would. I generally prefer to wait up to a week, but the response was just so phenomenal that I couldn't help myself. You guys are insanely awesome!

Finally, Felicity's date outfit is up on my Polyvore! So, check it out!

Thank you so much for reading, please do leave a review, they keep me writing and eager to post (and early too, as we can see, hah)

- Lee | Fina