title: I didn't know I was looking for you (but now I see, you're the only one for me)
verse: what does home look like? (I've only seen shadows of it in my dreams)
word count: 8,909
summary: Oliver has spent his whole romantic history looking for the next beautiful girl to distract him, but when he meets Felicity Smoak in a coffee shop, that wandering eye suddenly stops.
I didn't know I was looking for you (but now I see, you're the only one for me)
Oliver Queen met his first girlfriend when he was 6 years old. She sat across from him in Mrs. Andrew's first grade class. Her name was Alyssa; she had bright red hair that she wore in two braids, freckles on her nose and the brightest green eyes he'd ever seen. His favorite thing about her was that when she smiled at him, she had dimples. Theirs was a puppy love that was built on little more than thinking the other was nice. They held hands over the aisle during class and played together during recess. She'd giggle every time she kissed his cheek and used to talk about how, when they were older, they'd be like their parents. They'd get married and have kids with her red hair and his blue eyes and he'd drink scotch and smoke cigars and she'd watch soaps all day and dress up every night for parties.
They were together exactly ten days before one bright, early Monday, he lifted his head up from his work book and, instead of turning to the left, to see Alyssa smiling at him, he turned to the right. On his right was a girl named Cherish. She was blonde and she wore pink every day. When she looked over at him and smiled, he decided he didn't mind pink so much.
Alyssa found out he had a new girlfriend at recess when he didn't join her by the swings, but instead played on the monkey bars with Cherish. Alyssa kicked dirt in his face at lunch and he decided girls were complicated.
This would be an on-going deduction of his, as Oliver never quite stopped turning in his head in the opposite direction of whomever his current girlfriend was, only to find someone new and interesting. He had a reputation for that, only helped by his good genes and his natural ability to flirt with any- and everybody. In all honesty, this was something he learned early on and used to his advantage often. He was kind of proud of it, in fact. Who wouldn't be proud of the fact that he could get just about any woman he wanted? 'Just about' was being kind, actually. Oliver couldn't think of a time when he'd been interested in a girl and she hadn't been interested back. It was a collection of things, he was sure, not solely that he was attractive. His father always said that anybody could be won over. Flattery, money, charm; it was a trifecta that worked for most. A person didn't just have to be attractive, but it definitely helped.
Unfortunately, learning he could get anything he wanted early on didn't exactly encourage a sense of appreciation in Oliver. Everything came easy to him, in part because of his family name. If he was failing a class, his parents put in a call. Maybe they donated money to the school or maybe they pulled in a favor, but Oliver knew that, if he wanted to, he could just skate by in life. Women came easy to him; he hardly had to try by the time he made it into high school. Occasionally, a girl played hard to get, and sometimes he bit, sometimes he didn't. There wasn't much of a challenge if he knew they were just trying to be different, to stand out. At some point during middle school, he realized that he was the challenge. The challenge wasn't getting him; that was easy. But keeping him, now that was a real challenge. Oliver's roaming eye was notorious and he made no secret of it. Why have one girl when he could have all of them?
Now, sure, that didn't seem like someone anyone would want to invest in, especially in a long-term relationship, but it never worked against him. Tommy used to joke that one day he was going to fall in love with a girl and they'd never take him seriously, but Oliver doubted it. He just wasn't the type. He had an idea of what he wanted to do with his life, and it was simple. Get through high school, live it up in college, frat parties every night, retire young on his trust fund, happily wasting away on sandy white beaches for the foreseeable future, trading one exotic beauty out for the next, week by week. What wasn't to love about that future?
When he was seventeen, that dream hit a wall, and never recovered.
A blonde wall with glasses and a smile that grabbed him and held on.
He'd been watching her for five minutes. That was exactly five minutes longer than it usually took a girl to notice him.
She was cute. In that girl-next-door kind of way. Blonde hair tied away in a braid down her back and a loose, two-tone, grey sweater that hung off one sun-kissed shoulder. Her glasses kept sliding down the slope of her nose, but she merely reached up to push them back into place, barely taking her eyes off what she was typing. Every once in a while, she'd start chewing her lip, bright pink lipstick making her mouth pop. He'd be lying if he said he didn't imagine how she'd look, staring up at him from her knees, those pretty pink lips wrapped around him.
But she wasn't giving him the time of day, so that fantasy didn't look any closer to coming true.
The coffee shop he was sitting in wasn't his usual, but he had an overdue essay for English that needed all of his attention, and home was too distracting. Either because he'd heard his parents arguing again or because it was too easy to get talked into playing with Thea. More often than not, though, he'd end up hanging out with Raisa in the kitchen while she asked him how his day was and tried to curb the 'devil in him' that she said was always too quick to turn his good heart sideways. As far as Raisa was concerned, he was a good boy who couldn't help but prove otherwise. If there was one person in his life who believed he was better than he acted, it was her. Well, her and Thea, but his little sister was young, naïve, and pretty sure the sun shone out of his ass.
After six minutes of not so much as a glance— actually, no, she looked up briefly from where she'd been frowning at her laptop, and then looked right past him toward the front counter, waving an empty cup at the barista to let them know she'd like that refill now— he decided to take action.
His laptop was exactly three weeks old. It was top of the line and didn't come cheap by a longshot. He didn't even hesitate when he knocked his still full latte onto it. It was half his fault for not realizing that his latte was actually still really hot. So, leaping out of his seat, shouting obscenities while he dabbed at his jeans with a napkin was all genuine. Christ, but that stung!
He expected her to hurry over to help, blushing and stammering and asking him if he was okay. What he didn't expect was for her to go for the laptop instead.
That… was definitely a first. There were a few times that a girl looked past him to Tommy, but those were occasions that he didn't count as losses so much as a gain for his best friend. But being overlooked for a computer? Now that was a bit of a blow to his ego. Did she even see him? He'd just burned his junk for her. That was billion-dollar junk, too. The sacrifice he'd just made was kind of huge (and he didn't just mean metaphorically, thank you very much), but there she was, cooing over a laptop.
Oliver was nothing if not an opportunist, however.
"Poor thing," she murmured, dabbing at the keyboard with a napkin.
"Me or the computer?"
When she looked up, her brows were hiked. She glanced down to where he was wiping coffee from the front of his jeans before her gaze met his. "I said that out loud?"
His mouth twitched. Okay, so, she was cute. "Yeah. Question still stands. Which one's the poor baby?"
She pointed at the computer before readjusting her glasses. "Although I feel bad for your lap, too. That couldn't've been pretty." She cringed. "That came out wrong. I mean, it could've come out worse, but it was bad enough."
He cocked his head, grinning to himself. Usually when he caught a girl's attention, their reaction was a little more focused on him. "Oliver Queen," he introduced himself, holding out a hand for her to shake.
She didn't so much at blink at the familiar name. Taking his hand, she gave it a quick shake and replied, "Felicity Smoak, or you could just call me the girl who is going to save your laptop, because that's exactly what I'd like to do now that you've drowned it." She stretched her fingers out before looking back down at the laptop with that same expression of complete concentration that she'd had before he'd interrupted her with his poorly thought out plan to get her attention.
He chuckled under his breath. "Felicity's less of a mouthful."
"I've always been considered more of a handful." She paused. "Pretend I didn't say that."
A surprised laugh left him. "I'd rather pretend you did."
Forget cute, she was… unexpected.
He'd met confident women. Women who could twist anything into a sexual innuendo and follow through with it. But he didn't think Felicity was doing that. In fact, he thought she was trying really hard not to make anything she said an innuendo. Which was… new, to say the least.
When she looked up at him, a faint blush stained her cheeks, and he felt something tug in his chest. What was he saying about girl-next-door earlier? Maybe she was a lot closer to trouble than he expected, just not in the usual way women were in his life. He would need both hands to count how many times he'd been caught in his room with a girl, either by his mother or Raisa. He'd need twice as many to count how many times he was reprimanded at school for 'acting indecently' in the halls with a variety of different girls. Was it his fault they were so interested in staking a public claim? Well, maybe…
The kind of tugging Oliver usually got around girls wasn't anywhere near his chest. The kind of trouble he'd usually be up to was flirting with a girl until she gave him the cue she was interested in something more, and then they'd put the coffee shop bathroom to good use. Did they have stalls or would the sink counter be better…?
Felicity cleared her throat. "Is there anything on here that you don't want me to see?" she wondered, glancing down at the computer. "Because I'm probably going to have to take a look around to see what kind of damage you did."
He tugged the sleeves of his shirt up his arms and defended himself, "Accidentally."
She ignored that. "So, if there's anything, especially of the porny variety, warn a girl now."
Her candor stole a laugh from him. "I think you're safe… Now, if we were talking about my home computer… that'd be something else."
She pursed her lips to hide a smile, but she was helpless to it, which he was glad for.
With a shake of her head, she told him, "Your honesty is refreshing."
"Your smile is infectious."
She let out a breathless laugh that made his stomach twist up in a really good way.
Waving at the seat across from her, she suggested, "Since you probably don't want to leave your computer with a complete stranger, why don't you try another latte while I take a look at this?"
Oliver rested his elbows on the table and leaned forward, searching her eyes. Blue. Really bright blue. "Or I could spend some time getting to know you… Twenty questions?"
"Do you always flirt with people after damaging extremely expensive laptops?"
Oliver shrugged, waving a dismissive hand. "No, this is the first time I've damaged a laptop, extremely expensive or otherwise. I do flirt a lot though, especially with cute girls I meet in coffee shops. That was your first question. Nineteen to go."
Her mouth twitched.
"My turn." He tipped his head curiously. "Do you live around here?"
"'Live' is a broad term," she answered after a moment's pause. "I'm technically visiting, my mom and the step… half…? family, to be simultaneously vague and specific. But no, home is in Coast City."
He knocked his knuckles on the table. "Ah, so you're gonna break my heart by leaving in the end. Good to know."
She laughed, a quick, surprised noise that made him grin. He liked it, surprising her, and how breathless her laughter was. He wanted to make her do it again.
"Your go," he told her.
She hummed. "All right, friends. Who's your best friend?"
He nodded. That was easy. "Tommy. I've known him…" He shook his head, blowing out a breath. "My whole life, basically. Grew up together, sat together in every class since kindergarten, partners in crime, you know?"
"Just you and Tommy, nobody else to round out a Three Musketeers situation?"
He ducked his head as he laughed. "That's another question, but I'll give it to you anyway… No. There's other friends. Lots of them. But nobody as close to me as Tommy. He…" He sobered for a moment, his brow furrowed. "He's not just my friend; he's my brother."
Felicity's face softened.
Oliver cleared his throat, reaching up to rub his neck at the uncharacteristic honesty. "What about you? Who're your friends back home?"
"Jennifer and Kelsey," she told him proudly, perking up in her seat. "We met in third grade and we've been attached at the hip since." She grinned, shrugging one shoulder, reaching over to slide her sweater back up the slope of her arm. "Kelsey is… I don't think there's a better word than 'wild.' She's a little crazy and a lot extroverted. She's big on fashion and chaos and she'll probably drive you crazy, but… it's worth it. She's kind of insanely awesome in equal parts. And Jenn is… She's my rock. She's solid and dependable and the sweetest person you will ever meet." Felicity waved a hand through the air, smiling to herself. "She the eldest from a big family and, I don't know, I guess she's kind of like a mom to everyone. Which is good; I think we all kind of need that…" She paused then, frowning, and shook her head. Looking up at him, she wondered, "Oh, uh… Siblings?"
He watched for a moment. There was a wistful appreciation for her friends and he briefly wondered how long she'd been away from them. Aside from a few trips with his dad out of country, Oliver couldn't really remember a time when he and Tommy were separated for too long. Generally, Tommy went everywhere with him. Even when they had family vacations, it wasn't unusual for Tommy to tag along.
"Hmm?" He turned back to her, tuning back in. "Sorry. Yeah, yes, I have one sister. Thea. She's…" He grinned then. "She's a hurricane. All arms and legs, never sits still, talks more than any other seven year old alive." He chuckled to himself, crossing his arms on the tabletop and leaning on them. "She's a good kid. Smart and funny and…" He shook his head.
"Worships the ground you walk on?" Felicity asked knowingly.
He laughed, giving a quick nod. "Yeah. Yeah, I call her Speedy. She's always chasing me all over the place."
"Not the worst thing, though?"
"No." He smiled lightly. "No, there's definitely worse things." He looked over at her then. "You're getting ahead of me, though. That's three questions instead of one."
Felicity held her hands up in surrender and folded her lips in a sign that she'd stop asking.
He grinned. "What about you? You said you had half-sisters?"
Nodding, she said, "Mm-hmm. Two. I think I spend more time with Sara though. She's kind of enacted this girl's night on Sundays. I'm pretty sure it's just an excuse for me to paint her nails while she tells me about all the cute boys in her grade." She shrugged. "It's nice though. We don't get to spend much time together outside of summers or holidays. We talk. I mean, well, she calls once a week and I talk. Once you get me started it's kind of hard for me to stop, but Sara's used to that. Usually she'll just laugh to let me know I'm babbling." She rolled her eyes. "Anyway, since I'm two ahead of you, why don't you play catch up…" She wagged a finger. "That was a suggestion, not a question."
He licked his lips as he smiled. "Parents?"
Felicity went a little stiff then, her shoulders tightening up and her eyes darting away. "My mom lives here, with my step-dad and my sisters, and I live with my dad. He's…" Chewing her lip a moment, she frowned down at the table and then shrugged. "He's just my dad, you know? My mom is different. Like I said, I only really get to see her in the summer or on holidays. But she's… She's nice. She calls me all the time, so we usually keep up that way." Her face softened. "You know how grandparents always kind of smell like mothballs and medicine? Like, they just kind of have one of those smells. My mom always smells like lilacs. She's got this perfume, probably really expensive, and I remember she used to put it on my neck when I was a little girl because I wanted to smell pretty like her…"
Her expression was soft, full of melancholy.
With a quick shake of her head, she added, "My step-dad is a police officer here. He's… friendly and funny and just… a really good dad, you know?"
He nodded. "Yeah… Well, I mean, my dad works a lot. He's a CEO, so he's got a lot on his plate, but… When he's there, he's all there. We take a vacation every summer, go up to a cabin our family owns, and he takes me and Tommy fly-fishing. Asks us how life is, what we're gonna do when we grow up, that kind of thing…" He shrugged. "My mom's pretty busy, too. She runs a lot of charities and stuff. She's always got something on the go…" Clearing his throat, he shook his head. "Raisa was mostly there when I was growing up. She's part of the house staff, but, I don't know, she's always been more of a mother-figure." He screwed up his mouth. "That probably sounds weird. I don't… I don't really talk about my family a lot."
"Me either." Felicity smiled at him across the table. "Tell me about Raisa," she encouraged, tucking her hands under her chin as she leaned forward, elbows balanced on the table.
So, he did. He told her about his childhood, racing around the house with Raisa hot on his heels, either to force him into a bath after he spent the morning getting dirty outside, or chasing him simply because it made him laugh when she was just a few short steps from catching him. He told her about afternoons spent sitting on the counters, watching her cook, asking her why she was adding every ingredient, eagerly sampling everything she cooked, listening to her tell stories about her home country. And then there were the injuries that came along with childhood, sitting on a stool while she blew cool air on skinned knees and kissed away his tears as she smoothed Band-Aids over each scrape and told him what a strong boy he was.
"You must really love her," Felicity said.
He paused for a moment. "I do. She…. Raisa is family." With a shake of his head, he cleared his throat. "Tell me more about you. What grade are you in?"
"I'm a junior. Next year's my last year."
"Yeah? And then what?"
She brightened then, perking up in her seat. "MIT," she said proudly. "It's going to be pretty different from Coast City, but I'm looking forward to it. I want to do something with computers. That's where my passion's always been."
He glanced down at the laptop in front of her. "Hadn't noticed."
With a soft laugh, she shrugged. "Have you ever just felt like you found something that you were really good at and you loved it just as much? That's how I feel about computers. I love picking them apart. I love knowing that I can put them back together and they'll be better and faster and it's all because of me."
"Talented hands…" he mused.
"Talented in general," she boasted with a grin.
He let out a quick laugh and shook his head. Someone else might've played down their abilities, but not her. He could appreciate that.
Reaching up, she tucked her hair behind her ear, showing off a pink rose earring. She played with the back of it in a nervous gesture and wondered, "What about you? Do you like school?"
He blew out a sigh and leaned back in his chair. "I don't know if I like it… Some things I like." He shrugged. "I like building things. I think my favorite was an engineering class I took last year. I don't know if I'll be making the next fleet of robots, but it was fun. Probably the only thing I have patience for…" His brow furrowed. "Actually, that was the first class I got an A+ in… Which hopefully balanced out the D I got in algebra last year."
"So, what kind of engineering schools are there out there?" she wondered. "Have you looked into college?"
He shook his head. "My parents will figure out which Ivy League school they want me to go to and that's where I'll end up."
Felicity frowned a little. "You don't get a say?"
"It's probably going to be their money getting me in. I've got a solid B-average."
"Except for math."
His mouth twitched. "Except for math. But I don't think a B is generally what the Ivy's are looking for… So, my dad'll cut a check for a new wing somewhere and they'll name it after our family. Then I'll get a pass into their school and, I don't know, see what happens, I guess."
Humming, she twisted the cap on her coffee. "What if they don't have anything you like, though?"
Oliver shrugged. "I'll figure something out." In all honesty, when he thought about college, he thought about partying with Tommy and skirting around deadlines. Finding a college with a good engineering program hadn't occurred to him until… right now.
"Why do I get the impression that's something you say a lot?" she asked, brow raised.
"It is… Plans get broken. They don't work out. Why get your hopes up? I'll just deal with things as they happen."
"What happens if you really want something but you haven't prepared for it at all? Then what?" She held a hand up. "And don't say your dad can buy it, because, hate to break it to you, money doesn't buy everything."
"Maybe not," he agreed. "But I've never found something I wanted and didn't get."
"Hmm…" She eyed him a moment and lifted her coffee for a sip, watching him over the lid.
He stared at her. "You're not seeing anyone."
Dropping her cup back to the table, she narrowed her eyes and wondered, "Was that a question?"
His mouth turned up on one side as he chuckled under his breath. "Maybe more of a hope. If you don't answer, I get to pretend you're single."
Felicity shook her head slowly. "I'm not seeing anyone."
"Would you like to be?" He grinned then. "That was a question."
She stared at him, searching his face, and for the first time in his life, Oliver wondered if someone might not like what they saw.
And then she smiled.
His heart thumped in his chest. Oh, she was going to be trouble.
"If that's you asking me out on a date, the answer is yes."
Oliver liked trouble.
Oliver could safely say he'd never been nervous about a date.
Sweaty palms were not something he was familiar with. But, here he was, standing in line at the theater with Felicity beside him, her hands gripping the strap of her purse over her chest, rocking back and forth on the heels of her flats while he wiped his hands on his jeans. He'd been less nervous facing down her step-dad, but now that they were alone, he was worried he'd say or do something stupid.
Felicity looked up at him with a smile, her bright red lips drawing his eyes, and he felt that weird knot in his stomach that kept rearing its head whenever he saw her or talked to her or, hell, just thought about her. It was… weird. Not even in a bad way, just different. He liked her. He liked that she said whatever was on her mind, even if it didn't always come out the way she wanted. He liked how comfortable she was with him. Most girls had expectations of him, usually ones he was happy to fulfil. He'd never turned a girl down, so why would he start now? Only Felicity wasn't jumping him or pulling him into the backseat of his car. She followed him over to the line to wait for tickets, all the while talking about zombie movies and how she thought, between 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, they were making a comeback. He'd by lying if he said he didn't listen to every word she said.
Oliver wasn't a listener, most of the time. He was a doer. He liked immediate gratification and he never apologized for that. Mainly because everybody he'd met seemed to be the same way and had never turned him down for just that thing. But he was kind of enjoying how when Felicity twisted side to side, the tail end of her dress brushed against the back of his hand. And when he talked, she watched his mouth, licking her lips. He liked how she blushed when she said something inappropriate and how she counted back from three under her breath. He was… completely enthralled with her. So, maybe anticipation wasn't the worst thing ever.
His mom used to tell him when he was younger that one day he was going to meet the right girl and, hopefully, she'd straighten him out. He'd snorted at the idea. He met plenty of the 'right' girl. The 'right now, right here' girl was exactly his type.
He was starting to question what his real type was.
Felicity wanted to pay for her own ticket.
He almost laughed at her. It was six dollars. He could buy the whole theater without even blinking.
"No, seriously, I'm buying my own," she told him, digging her wallet out. "This isn't the 1950's. I don't need you to give me your class ring after either."
His mouth twitched before a warm chuckle left his chest. Holding his hands up in surrender, he said, "Fine. But I'm buying popcorn." Before she could argue, he said, "You get drinks."
She narrowed her eyes, but nodded. "Deal."
Felicity bought her own ticket and their drinks. She balked when he bought a pack of Red Vines with the popcorn, but he told her she didn't have to eat any if she didn't want to.
To be completely honest, he couldn't remember what the fuck even happened in that movie. They sat down somewhere in the middle of the theater, a bag of popcorn balanced on his knee.
She crossed her legs at the ankle and rested her heels on the seat in front of her. It was all down-hill from there in terms of his attention. Felicity's legs were… distracting, to say the least. He wasn't sure if he was a leg man until that very moment, and then he decided that yeah, definitely. Her legs were long and lean and he could just imagine them around his waist or spread open. He shifted in his seat as his head filled with images of him kissing down her thighs, her fingers pulling at his hair. He wondered how she'd taste. He decided on sweet and tangy. Then he thought about whether she'd be as vocal in bed as she was out of it. All those inappropriate things she blurted out would finally be said in the right context.
He looked over at her, a tendril of hair resting on her cheek, her coat discarded and her purse tucked under her seat. She was playing with a charm on her bracelet, chewing on her lip. He remembered suddenly what she'd said about her mother, about how she smelled like lilacs and Felicity had always associated it with smelling pretty… He wondered if she was wearing that perfume tonight; if her mother had let her dab it on her wrists and her neck. He wondered for no other reason than she looked extra pretty.
When the theater darkened, his eyes were torn off her and directed back to the screen. They were half-way through preview for Cabin Fever when he reached for her hand. The last time he'd done this, he'd led that hand right into his lap and the first ten minutes of the movie was just Jessica Carlisle rubbing him off through his jeans. He didn't do that with Felicity's hand. Instead, he tangled their fingers, his thumb stroking over her wrist. Her hands were small, dainty, and soft, fitting into his kind of perfectly.
He didn't pay much attention to the movie. Every once in a while the theater would light up and he'd get a clear view of her legs again. Mostly, though, he tried to focus on the food. Popcorn and licorice and soda that never quite quenched his thirst. Felicity was, surprisingly, quiet. He took her more for a talk-through-the-movie type. But every time he looked over at her, she had her eyes on the screen, her face lit up a faint blue, teeth digging into her bottom lip. He watched to reach over and release it, rub his thumb over her mouth, tug her chin toward him and kiss her. He really wanted to kiss her. He bet she tasted like popcorn and root beer and cherry red lipstick.
When the movie ended, he stretched his arms out above his head.
She reached for her jacket on the back of her seat and he was briefly distracted. She had pretty shoulders. So, he wasn't actually sure what made shoulders pretty, but hers were. He could see him spending a good, long time kissing them. Unzipping the back of her dress to push the straps out of the way before his mouth made quick work of her neck and down into the hollows just before the slope of her shoulders.
Tugging her purse on, Felicity checked the time on her cell phone before she called home to let them know that the movie was out. "Yeah, it just finished… Am I coming home?" She looked up at Oliver, a brow arched.
He shook his head. "Hungry?"
She half-smiled and nodded. "No. We're getting something to eat before he drops me off… Mm-hmm… Okay… I know… I know. I swear I'll mace him if he tries anything." She rolled her eyes up at him and Oliver snickered under his breath.
After she hung up, he moved to stand beside her and held an elbow out for her to take. "There's a shop like two blocks over that sells frozen yogurt," he said, leading them out of the theater, tossing the half-empty bag of popcorn in a garbage can beside the concession stand as they went. "Perfect place for our second date."
"Second?" She raised an eyebrow at him.
"Mm-hmm." He nodded. "Not a fan of wasting time."
She laughed. "And waiting 24 hours would be a waste of time?"
Rolling her eyes, she smiled to herself.
As they stepped out of the theater, turning left toward the frozen yogurt shop, she turned, looking up at him. "What's the last movie you saw?" she wondered, bouncing on the tips of her toes. "And don't say The Ring!"
He grinned. "Uh… I don't know. I think me and Tommy went to Blade 2 a few months ago."
She snapped her fingers. "See! Vampires and zombies. Now, personally, my favorite vampire movie is always going to be Interview with the Vampire. I mean, sure, for obvious reasons, like Brad Pitt, but also because of that feeling you get when you watch it. The mood in that movie was amazing. I read the book too, of course, so that helps. But the movie was still totally awesome." She smiled up at him. "What about you? What's your favorite movie? Doesn't have to be a zombie or vampire flick. Just anything."
He hummed thoughtfully, his head tipped back.
It was weird, but he didn't think he'd ever had a girl ask him that before. Not his favorite movie or book or what kind of music he liked. They asked him what the craziest thing he'd ever done was, which usually lead to where the craziest place he'd ever had sex was. They asked him about money and if he got away with a lot because of his family. They asked him if he could use his family jet whenever he wanted to and if he'd take them away for a weekend to some sandy beach somewhere. And that never really bothered him. It wasn't like his intentions with them were pure. It was like a transaction; they wanted something from him and he wanted something from them. Of course, he never gave them money or took them on the jet but they liked the idea of it. They liked the idea of fucking a guy with so much money at his disposal that they could swim in it. They liked the idea that they were sleeping with Oliver Queen, heir to a billion dollar company. It was all image. That was all it ever was. Surface stuff. And now that he really thought about it, just as much as he'd never scratched the surface on them, those girls had never scratched the surface on him.
"I want to say something smart and deep, but all I keep thinking about is how much I loved Disney movies growing up. I used to make Raisa put Robin Hood on, over and over. As soon as it finished, I wanted to watch it again."
Felicity wiggled her eyebrows. "That's kind of ironic, if you think about it…"
"What, that I watched a vigilante steal from the rich to give to the poor?"
"Well, I was going to say that your favorite Disney character was a fox while you would definitely fall into that category yourself, but sure, if you want to get deep…"
He laughed, his head falling back, and when he turned to look at her he found her smiling proudly.
God, she was pretty. That word was getting so overused tonight. But… He'd met beautiful women. He'd even fucked a few supermodels thanks to his mother's love for fashion shows and his offer to be her stand-in date. After a while, one beautiful face blended in with another. Oliver had no shortage of beautiful, exotic women to pick from. But Felicity was something else. She was bright and funny and when she smiled he naturally smiled back. Not that public smirk he put on for most, because it was easy and expected and he worked the bad boy image as often as possible, but something genuine. Something reserved for the important women of his life; his mother, Raisa, and Thea. Only there was something else to this smile too, because it wasn't familial affection that made him smile at Felicity. He couldn't put his finger on exactly what it was, but it was something he'd never quite felt before.
The yogurt shop was mostly empty. Felicity got raspberry and piled gummi bears and sour keys on top of hers, before warning him, "I'm allergic to nuts," when he reached for the spoon dipped into the pile of peanuts. He actively avoided anything with nuts before joining her outside at a table. He was smiling as he ate his strawberry yogurt.
"What?" she asked, digging out a bite of hers and licking the bottom of her spoon.
He shook his head. "You stopped me from eating peanuts."
Her brow furrowed. "So?"
"So, you're hoping I kiss you at some point."
Felicity rolled her eyes. "Or I was worried you'd touch them and then I couldn't even hold your hand without the fear of going into anaphylactic shock… So presumptuous," she teased.
He snorted and dug out a large bite of his dessert. He finished his quick. Raisa used to tell him to take his time and savor things, but Oliver never listened. So, when he was done with his, he set his sights on hers, especially the green gummy bear sitting on the very top, mocking him.
He reached over and stole it, scooping off some of her frozen yogurt in the process.
"Hey!" she cried, laughing as she slapped his spoon away with hers.
She managed to knock the gummy bear free and back into her bowl, but it didn't stop him from trying again. He merely laughed to himself at her ineffective defense and managed to, triumphantly, steal the green gummy bear, launching it into his mouth before she could get it back.
"Thief," she muttered, hugging the bowl of frozen yogurt closer to her.
"Sneaky like a fox," he agreed, reaching over to try again.
He managed two more bites before she was finished and tossed the empty bowl in the garbage.
Dusting her hands off, she looked up at him. "I can't remember where you parked your car…"
Oliver shrugged. They still had at least an hour before she had to be home. "Let's walk."
They made it approximately half a block before he reached for her hand, tangling their fingers.
He swung their hands forward and back while they walked, taking their time walking down the sidewalk, making their way back toward the apartment she was currently staying in. Felicity had been a little vague on the details of why she was in Coast City, since she usually didn't come down for another month or so, when summer started up. He got the feeling something was up with her dad, but he didn't want to push.
Felicity managed not to talk for all of five minutes, all five of which he found to be oddly comfortable. He'd always considered those awkward pauses the kiss of death when he was around a girl. Then again, it wasn't like he usually tried to find out much about them. Usually, when it got quiet, he'd lean over and kiss whoever it was he was spending his time with and things would quickly turn into making out. He wasn't opposed to that now, but he liked watching how animated she got when she talked. She'd jumped from a number of different topics already, mostly around her friends and back home and what she did for fun.
"So Kelsey, you remember I told you about her?"
"Chaos and trouble?"
She nodded, smiling. "Yes, exactly. So, Kelsey had this on-going flirtation with the quarterback of our football team. Nice guy, actually. I tutored him in math last year; super polite. Which isn't really Kelsey's style, actually. Well, no, she doesn't really have a style. It's more of whoever's hot and interested. I guess Matt was pretty handsome. I never really thought about it…" She tapped her chin thoughtfully. Finally, with a shake of her head, she waved a dismissive hand, "Anyway, so she and Matt were hooking up in the locker room, which, again, not unusual for Kelsey. Actually, probably the third time she'd been caught doing this. The Coach was looking for Matt because he was late for practice or something, and yeah, totally walked in to find his star quarterback on his knees, head under Kelsey's skirt, and—"
His timing probably could've been better, but her lips were moving and she kept giggling and her cheeks were flushed in embarrassment for her best friend, and the next thing he knew, he was kissing her.
Oliver had kissed a lot of girls. If he actually sat down to do a tally— well, no, there was a reason he usually failed math, but— the number would be high. Regardless of all that experience, when he kissed Felicity, the world shifted under his feet. For just a second, it was like everything went blank. His thoughts went quiet and his body went numb, and then slowly, bit by bit, he found his focus spiraling down to that one place where her lips were pressed to his. Warmth flooded through his skin, from his mouth across his cheeks, down his neck, spreading over his shoulders and arms; like lightening bolts of awareness, he felt them spiking through his body. One of his hands was buried behind her neck, fingers tangled in her hair. He didn't remember reaching for her, but he liked that he had. Her hair was soft and, this close, he could smell her vanilla shampoo. His free hand rose up to cradle her face, her cheek fitting into his palm. Her skin, he was pretty sure, was the softest he'd ever touched. The tips of his fingers slid down, tracing the curve of her cheek, his thumb dipping down to lightly rub under her bottom lip as he pulled back. He was panting, his eyes closed, and his forehead rested against hers for a moment, trying to get his brain to stop shorting out on him.
When she let out a shaky breath, he opened his eyes to look at her.
She stared back at him, her blue eyes bright. "That was a lot better than Bobby Peters in eighth grade."
He couldn't help it when he laughed, feeling it deep down into his bones. And then he kissed her again. He wanted to keep kissing her. She tasted like raspberries and he licked at her tongue, chasing that flavor. She reached up on her tip toes to drag her fingers through his hair and down his neck. For a few minutes, that was all they did, leaning against each other, mouths slanted, seeking, finding.
And then they started walking; or tripping, he supposed, was a better description. His arm wrapped low around her waist, keeping her close, and they stumbled their way down the sidewalk in the general direction of her apartment. He wasn't paying all that much attention to anything but her. Her lips were soft and her body was warm and her turquoise nails scratched down his neck in a way that made him shiver. She kept nibbling at his lips, tugging on them with her teeth, and it was incredibly distracting in the best kind of way.
They walked down the road in a mixture of tripping and spinning, catching each other when the other stumbled, laughing against each other's mouths before they found level footing and tried again. It was nice. It was… new and weirdly exciting and that weird tug in his chest had turned into a full blown warmth that made his heart stutter and his stomach swoop.
Oliver had been happy before. Of course, he had. He was happy when he was hanging out with Tommy, doing just about anything. He was happy when Thea came rushing out to meet him every time he came home. He had no reason not to be happy. But this… This was a different level of happy. It was… exhilarating. Like floating, feet no longer quite on solid ground. He felt weightless and excited and like he couldn't stop the laughter from building up inside him and bursting free.
When they finally made it back to her apartment, he didn't let her go right away. He didn't want to let go of her at all. There was a street lamp just off to the side and he backed her up against it. He kissed his way down from her mouth to her chin, gently biting at it before he ducked down to her neck. She didn't smell lilacs, but it made him smile anyway, because she didn't need perfume to make her pretty, she just was. He sucked kisses down her neck, leaning into the way her fingers moved through his hair. He lightly nipped at her skin when her breathy sighs met his ear.
"Invite me over tomorrow," he told her, sucking a kiss on her collar bone. "We'll watch that movie. King of the Ring or whatever."
She laughed breathlessly. "Lord of the Rings," she corrected.
He hummed, kissing up the other side of her neck. "We'll watch that and then we'll go see the second movie and it'll be a thing." He raised his head and kissed her lips, once, twice. "It'll be our thing."
She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling, and she smiled. "Our thing, huh?"
He nodded, kissing the tip of her nose and brushing his fingers back through her hair. "Uh-huh." He kissed her cheek and behind her ear and down her neck. "It's easy, just say… Oliver…" He tugged on her earlobe with his teeth. "Would you like to come over tomorrow?" He rubbed his nose against her cheek, making her laugh. "We can watch a movie and make out on the couch." He kissed the corner of her laughing mouth. "And my dad will threaten you again, but you won't get scared, because you're so, so brave."
She scoffed. "Is that what you are?"
He looked her in the eye. "Among other things."
"Funny, and charming…" He leaned in close so his lips were moving against hers. "And hopefully coming over to watch a movie with you tomorrow," he said in a mock-whisper.
Her eyes fell for a moment, her long lashes fanned on her cheeks. "You make a compelling argument…" she answered.
"How compelling?" He raised an eyebrow and pressed his forehead to hers.
She sighed, looking amused with him. "Oliver, would you like to come over and watch Fellowship of the Ring tomorrow?"
He grinned at her. "Well, I don't know, Felicity… I think I'll have to check my schedule."
She punched him in the shoulder and he laughed.
Nodding, he cupped her face and pressed his lips to hers. "Okay, okay. I'll be here."
"Good." She pecked his mouth. "One o'clock." She ducked out from his arms and started toward the apartment building. "Call if you're gonna be late…"
He watched her walk up the stairs, fully aware of the goofy smile he was wearing. She looked back at him before she walked inside and he decided whatever trouble Felicity would be in his life would be totally and completely worth it.
Oliver was whistling when he walked into the house. He made his way to the kitchen for a midnight snack only to find Raisa was still up. She had a room on the property, but she had a habit of making herself scarce after certain hours. Her hair was down, falling in dark waves around her shoulders.
Raisa smiled at him as he dug out a plate of dinner she'd put away from him. "You had your date tonight, didn't you?"
He nodded, crossing the room to put his plate of food in the microwave before he hopped up to sit on the counter. "Yeah. We went to a movie and got frozen yogurt afterward…" He smiled to himself, remembering how she parried her spoon against his in defense of her gummy bears.
"I know that face…" she murmured knowingly. "Has Mister Oliver met his match?"
He scoffed, screwing up his face, but the denial didn't last long. He never could lie to Raisa. With a sigh, he frowned. "She's different."
Raisa didn't bother to hide her smile. "Ahh, the good ones always are."
He looked over at her, his brow furrowed. "She's…" He shook his head, finding it difficult to put into words.
"Different," she reiterated.
Sighing, he nodded. "She talks… a lot. About everything. She's smart, like, really smart. She wants to go to MIT and she's got this life plan. She takes apart computers for fun and she's got this whole other life in Coast City. She doesn't even know how long she'll really be here. But… I don't know. Even if it's just a few weeks, I want to be there for that. I… I like making her laugh and when she smiles, I just… I feel it." He shook his head. "I really like her, Raisa, but I've never really done this. I mean, hook ups and short-term, that's kind of my thing. But this, it doesn't feel the same this time." He let out a laugh and ran a hand down his face. "I'm gonna see her again tomorrow and I've already got a plan for what we can do Sunday. It's just… planning this stuff, being in a real relationship, I… I don't even know if I know how to."
"Oh, silly boy…" She walked toward him, tsking as she reached up to cup his face. "You have such a big heart and you never share it. Maybe this time, maybe this girl, will show you how."
He swallowed tightly, because suddenly, the idea of that seemed kind of daunting. "What if I screw it up?"
"If you are honest and you try very hard to be who I know you are, then you can only do your best…" She tipped her head, smiling at him affectionately. "She might go away in one week or two or she might not ever leave, that does not matter. What matters is that you follow your heart and if it says that this girl is special then you listen. You find out what is so special and why you like it so much. And then you come home and you tell Raisa."
He chuckled under his breath. "Okay."
Patting his cheek lightly, she stepped back from him, taking her glass of water and moving to leave the room. "And Mister Oliver?"
She looked back at him, her eyebrow raised. "Do not fear love. It might not always look like fun, but it will carry you on your darkest days."
He stared at her a long moment, briefly thinking of how very not fun his parents made love look, and then he remembered how he felt when Felicity smiled at him. "Okay," he said, like it was a promise, a declaration that he wouldn't let fear stand in his way. Not this time.
"Good boy," she told him, before she left.
The microwave beeped then, demanding his attention, and Oliver pulled out his plate of food. He took it with him upstairs to eat in the privacy of his bedroom and took a seat at his desk, his legs propped up on top of it as he ate. He didn't know where things were going with Felicity. Maybe she'd get tired of him or maybe the shine of meeting someone different and new would wear off sooner rather than later. What he did know was that he liked her and he wanted to spend more time with her and, if she did end up leaving soon, then he was going to make what little time he had with her really fucking memorable.
The following afternoon, after dropping Thea off at ballet, he made his way over to Felicity's apartment. He was feeling nervous and uncertain again, and he was wondering if he was even that guy. The guy who did long-term and monogamous and planned out dates. The guy who only wanted one girl and didn't go looking to see who else might be smiling at him or reaching across the aisle for a hand to hold.
And then the apartment door swung open and Felicity was standing in front of him, smiling.
She was wearing a white and red striped shirt, so it wasn't completely his fault when his greeting was, "Hey Waldo, ready for our movie date?"
Rolling her eyes, she reached over and shoved his chest. "Shut up."
He caught her hand, her fingernails a bright green, and he tugged, pulling her forward until she crashed into his chest. Grinning down at her, he bent to kiss her hello.
And maybe it was just for the moment, maybe it would fade over time, maybe nothing ever really lasted. But when his lips met hers and she sighed softly, he wrapped his arms around her waist and decided trying really wasn't so hard. Not when the reward was so damn sweet.
author's note: So, I considered writing all of their dates up to this point, but I felt this was a nice place for it to kind of blend into the rest of the story.
I've had a few readers ask if Oliver was still a jerk during this time period and, well, yeah, kind of. Oliver's not a prince, by any means. He's just different with Felicity. His dating history isn't something he's really ashamed of. His pattern with women is well known and he sees no reason to feel bad about that. But, when he meets Felicity, and he takes a real interest in her, it's very different for him. This doesn't make Felicity a special snowflake from all other women. It's in part because she's the first girl he's really taken to the time to get to know and he really likes who she is. He admits that his previous "relationships" were very surface; both he and the women he's been with didn't try to get to know each other beyond immediate gratification. Now that he's with Felicity, it provides a different outlook on things. He is serious about her and exploring what's between them and so, despite not being sure he knows what he's doing, he takes Raisa's advice and jumps in with both feet.
I do have one other oneshot I wanted to write in relation to 'what does home look like?' and it focuses on Quentin as he met Dinah and was raising Felicity for the first five years of her life before she moved in with Tony. It kind of delves into his head and how he sees Felicity as his daughter, so I hope to get that up soon!
Thank you all for reading, please leave a review! They're my lifeblood.
- Lee | Fina