So this was stuck in my head for weeks. It was supposed to be a short, three-part fic. Then it turned into a little monster. This is going to be 4 parts, each one longer than the one before, to the point where the fourth part will be divided in two. I hope you'll like it, it's set after episode 217 but was written right after 215 and is set a year after (some time during season 3). Therefore, Laurel still knows nothing.
Of Need and Abandonment Issues
If there's one thing that Felicity Smoak hates about going undercover as an executive assistant, it's that even when they have to break into a room full of servers at a stupid gala she has to wear the highest heels ever and uncomfortable dresses. She's here acting like the dumb blond secretary people think she is, and has to fight glancing at Digg in the corner of the room in desperate boredom just to make sure she is not the only one living an absolute nightmare.
Oliver has been led away by Jared Alston fifteen minutes ago, and sucked into a soul-wrenching conversation about stock market and potential investments. She can hear the entire exchange in her very well covered earpiece. Felicity feels like plucking her eyeballs out so she honestly cannot imagine just how murderous Oliver must be feeling right now.
He keeps saying weird things that are probably aimed at her so she can come help him get out of the conversation but she chooses very deliberately to let him suffer a little while longer. He didn't want her to be part of the mission, and it took a long while to convince him that it could go smoothly, so she sort of feels like that moment is going to be payback.
Considering the tension in his neck, she's pretty sure he's aware of what she's doing. And she cannot help her smug smile when she sees Diggle finally taking pity on him and walking up to Oliver to get him out of the room because of a "very important phone call". Oliver gives her a pointed glare on his way, and the guilt creeps in a little bit. But her smirk doesn't falter.
Felicity literally jumps when she hears the nickname that only one person has ever used without getting a punch in the face. She hasn't heard it in eight years. Which probably explains why she's frozen in her spot.
She hears Oliver's quiet but disbelieving "Smoaky?" in her earpiece (she'd say she can hear his brows furrowing too but that doesn't make any sense, does it?) and now she literally wants to die and melt into the wooden floor of the Starling City Museum of Art. She's handpicked one of these earpieces that she can't turn off. It is all part of the compromise she has had to make with Oliver if he was even going to consider letting her tag along. His argument that he would know instantly that she'd be in danger if there ever was silence is backfiring in a way she had not foreseen.
She cannot believe he was right about her better off staying in the foundry. Seriously. Life is anything but fair and she's never going to hear the end of it.
Still, she finds the strength to turn towards the voice. And be completely baffled by the effect that stupid Aaron Millers still has on her. Eight years after. Good God, Felicity! Get a grip.
"Aaron?" she asks.
She totally blames the breathy voice that she uses on the surprise she's overcome with. Oh man. Life really is unfair. He's even prettier than he used to be.
"Aaron?" she hears Diggle repeat in her ear — and what's with all the frowning that she can hear? "High school boyfriend Aaron?"
Felicity wishes she could find a way to take the earpiece out of her ear without her ex-boyfriend noticing but every time she turns a little bit away he unconsciously follows her movement. Since she doesn't want to look like a dog chasing its tail, she stops moving around and braces herself for a conversation she is not prepared for.
Aaron grins at her, and she can't believe it's still so boyish. Well, it's more of a mix of boyish and manly hot. Does that even exist? Is this even possible? Oh God, she's hopeless. He seems really happy to see her. Apart from shocked, she has no idea how she feels. That doesn't seem to deter Aaron.
"I almost didn't recognize you with your blond hair! And it's straight too… I love the change, it really suits you!"
"Dumb blond?" she scoffs. "Why, thank you."
"No. Hot woman." She's so shocked she doesn't even blush, nor find something embarrassing to add. Aaron seems on a roll. "I can't believe you're here! How have you been?"
Felicity opens her mouth and closes it repeatedly. She has the lamest flashback about their very first conversation senior year and that pushes her into action. She bursts into the most ridiculous laugh ever. This has to be karma. It's all because she didn't go save Oliver from Jared Alston. She knows it is. It has to be.
"Good, I'm good. How about you?"
He looks so ecstatic and cheerful, he reminds her of a puppy. A six feet tall, super muscly furry puppy, with curly chestnut hair and sparkly deep brown eyes. More like a strong lab. Okay, now she's comparing a full grown man to a dog. What the hell is wrong with her?
"I've been great!" he answers right away. "I'm a lawyer at Finch and Associates, I passed the bar last year and now I'm trying to make a name for myself so… Here I am."
"You passed the bar?!" she finds herself responding. "What about your Packers dreams?"
He looks at her sheepishly and runs a hand through his very soft-looking curly hair. She suddenly remembers when it was her hand tugging at it and how he responded when she did that. She tries gulping but doesn't remember how.
"Yeah, they kind of burnt to the ground when I broke my knee twice sophomore year of college. So… I was left with a more sensible path to choose."
"Oh. That sucks."
"Yeah… Yeah, it does. But hey, that's life, right?" he shrugs. "My dad wanted me to study law 'just in case' — you know my dad — and I kind of figured what the hell…"
Felicity can't help but raise her eyebrows at that.
"Waw, your law school must have been dazzled with that motivation speech."
Aaron laughs and she finds herself smiling back at the sound. She hasn't spared a thought to that guy in so long she had almost forgotten about him, and now there she is, smiling and being nice to the asshole who broke her heart in the meanest possible way.
"Don't worry, I charmed them the best way I knew."
"What, you slept with the entire decision board?" she smirks, and she knows there's a bitchy glint in her eyes. "Now that's determination."
Aaron laughs again, undeterred. This isn't really what she was going for, but what the hell…
"God I missed you and your snarky comments. But enough about me! What are you doing here, of all places?"
She can hear Diggle and Oliver speaking in hushed voices about the plan in the servers room and it's distracting. That's probably why she gives him an actual answer instead of the quick "goodbye let's never do this again" speech that she has had prepared for five years. Oh well.
"Oh yeah, right! I heard you were working at Queen Consolitated, he's like a big donator tonight, right?"
Now that takes Felicity's mind off of her team's annoying whispers.
"You heard?" she repeats.
She is not on Facebook, has no need for a LinkedIn profile and does her best to avoid anyone from her hometown. How the hell have these news — that she has anything but broadcasted — reached a guy that she hasn't heard from in eight years?
"Yeah, Oliver Queen's assistant, right? Didn't know they had such majors at MIT."
Felicity lets out a giant scoff. How dare he?
"And where on Earth did you hear that?" she asks.
A waiter walks by with a plate full of glasses of champagne and Felicity's arm takes it upon itself to grab one and bring it to her mouth. She thanks it in her mind (yeah, she does that sometimes, she thanks her limbs). She gulps the whole thing straight, and wonderers how long it is appropriate to wait before getting a second one. Probably a few minutes. Minutes are long.
"What, it isn't true? The rumors also said that you were sleeping with him so…"
She tries not to spit out the champagne — it's super expensive and rude to do so — but she ends up choking on it and has to cough repeatedly. Aaron tries to tap her gently in the back but she moves away from his touch. No way is he laying a hand on her. She can play nice, but she's not going to be masochistic and let his soft, beautiful hands get anywhere near the naked skin of her back.
"WHAT?" she whisper-shouts when she's done coughing her lungs out.
"Okay, so I take it was all wrong…"
In the corner of her eyes, Felicity sees Oliver burst into the room, looking for her but Diggle reaches his arm at the right moment and she knows that he has no idea where she is. "And how do you think this will help her exactly?" Oliver stops moving and sighs.
This entire situation is a gigantic debacle. She sighs too, looking for a way to finish this conversation the fastest way possible. She glances back at Aaron and sees that he's waiting for some kind of reaction from her.
Is he freaking serious?
"What? You think I'm sleeping with Oliver Queen? Yeah, you got me."
She throws her hands in the air, exasperated.
Honestly. The rumors. It's been over a year, and they have died down at QC since she is obviously not pregnant, not carrying a ring the size of Botswana on her finger and Oliver has not fired her. It has been a while since she's had to deal with them, and the anger and hurt that they provoked in her then are apparently all too happy to float back to the surface.
"We do it everywhere," she quips, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "His couch, his desk chair, his desk, my desk, the bar in his night club, his desk at the club, it's just a lot of desk-related sex basically it's a miracle we get anything done…"
Aaron has the decency to look ashamed, and it gives her a little bit of pleasure. She doesn't dare throw a glance in Oliver's direction because she cannot believe she just said that (or that he heard, and holy shit she's never talking to him again), but she can hear Diggle chuckle and for the third time since the beginning of that very short conversation she wants to disappear into thin air.
"Well." Aaron mumbles, his hand in his hair again. "Glad to know some things haven't changed. You're still into doing it on a desk."
He grins at her sheepishly, her traitor of a heart skips a beat and her brain takes the longest freaking time to understand what he's referring to.
"Oh my God!" she exclaims, baffled. "You did NOT just say that!"
She's so glad she's wearing contacts right now because it allows her to flatten her entire hand on her face and concentrate on ways to stop this situation immediately.
"Okay, sorry, sorry. That was inappropriate, I'm really sorry. So you're just his assistant."
"Executive assistant." She stresses through gritted teeth. Why? Why does she need to stress that? What difference does that make? Can someone please just make her invisible already?
"I can't imagine how your mom reacted when she heard the news."
At that, Felicity freezes, opens one eye between her fingers, and stares up in Aaron's direction. He understands immediately and it's his turn to chuckle. Great. Yes. Her life is hilarious.
"You haven't told her!"
"Of course I haven't told her! You have met my mom, right?"
He laughs out loud.
"How do you think it's going to go when she finds out?"
Felicity drops her hand from her face and grabs a new glass of champagne. It probably hasn't been a minute, but screw it; she's going to need more alcohol in her system if she's going to talk about her mom with her ex-boyfriend while her vigilante-team is listening in. She promises to herself that it's the last glass before she goes into the servers room and plants the trojans in the mainframe. She could do it in her sleep but she knows Oliver is going to be a little more stressed out about it.
"She's not going to find out. She'd have to have a clue about where I live and she doesn't care enough for that. I'm safe on that side."
Aaron looks at her with the same concerned face he used to give her when they were hanging out at his place, and she takes pride in the fact that she doesn't melt or shiver from the memory. But then something pops into her mind. If he doesn't know that she hasn't talked to her mom in over two years, that means only one person could have babbled her deepest secret (okay, not deepest, but, like, at least in her top 5 of secrets).
"So, since when are you friends with Max?"
Then Oliver's steady voice is in her ear and she is so deep in her thoughts about murdering Max (now renamed 'the vicious gossip-whore traitor') that she startles at the sound.
"Felicity, the security shift is in five minutes, I suggest you wrap your little reunion up."
"Are you okay?" Aaron asks when he witnesses her reaction.
"Yeah, fine." She says to Oliver but Aaron takes it for himself. "So? Max?"
"Max's dating my sister. I overheard them talking about you and…"
"Great. Wonderful. You can send them both a warning about my definition of payback." She looks at a non-existing watch on her wrist. "Look, that was super fun, I am so happy you're happy, but I have to go. Have a great life."
She spins on her heels, and starts walking towards the small exit behind a curtain that she had spotted when they'd prepared for the mission, taking her phone out of her purse when she feels Aaron's hand brush her shoulder down her arm and gently catch her hand to hold her back. His touch leaves a trail of delicious goose bumps, because her body obviously hates her.
"Wait! Do you have plans tomorrow night?"
"Why?" Felicity asks, confused.
She hears Oliver audibly groan. Oh, come on! It hasn't even been a minute; she still has some time.
"Because I want to take you out for a drink, catch up?"
He's still smiling but he clearly wasn't expecting such resistance. Ha.
"Didn't we just do that?" she wonders out loud.
Fair enough, it might have sounded a little bit like a whine. Aaron turns the charm on full then.
"Oh no, that wasn't catching up. I want to hear about MIT, your actual job using desks that doesn't involve made up stories, know what you've been up to since…" his smile falters as Felicity's eyebrows rise on her forehead.
"Since?" she pushes, knowing exactly since when they haven't seen each other.
He avoids her eyes for a second, his hand flying to his hair once more, and sighs before meeting her ruthless stare.
"Since I poorly handled breaking up with you."
She takes her hand out of his, and he lets her while she bursts into a humorless laugh.
"Well, apparently you remember my tutoring classes about euphemisms."
He has a shy grin that melts her heart way more than it has any right to.
"To be fair, your reward system was flawless…"
She snickers, and after another merciless look she turns on her heels once again. And finds herself stopped by his hand again.
"Come on, Aaron!" she's really whining now.
"Okay, fair enough, I was a gigantic dick and a coward and probably also a little misogynistic and you did not deserve the way I broke up with you, but you had your revenge and you don't see me refusing to see you! Hell, I'm basically crawling at your feet to get a date with you."
"I thought it was just a drink?"
He actually rolls his eyes at her like she's the dense one.
"Yeah, a drink, a date, whatever you want."
"None of the above."
"Because I learn from my mistakes?"
He looks over her shoulder and holds her hand a little more desperately.
"Is it because of Oliver Queen?"
Felicity follows his line of sight and finds Oliver staring at them tensely. Wonderful. Just her luck. For once, Diggle seems to share her lack of amusement at the situation. He even seems concerned. Considering what she told him about Aaron, she's not surprised. She considers sending her dogs at him for a second, to serve him right for what he did to her… But then she thinks about how she handled the situation on her own back when she was seventeen, and how she still laughs at her revenge when she thinks about it, and okay, fine, he's right. She's over the way he dumped her. But not the rest.
She sighs and shakes his hand off.
"Yes of course it's because of my boss. Not at all because I am too smart for this." Her voice drips with sarcasm again, and she has to gulp to calm down a little bit. "Look, you're right. I'm over you standing me up on prom night without an explanation, or even a stupid text telling me that you were basically done with me."
"Felicity…" he whispers, but she is not going to listen now.
He had his chance eight years ago. It is not her fault if he didn't take it.
"I don't care, it's too late, and thank god for me I've moved on. But it doesn't mean I've forgiven you, or that I'll ever get over the fact that you used me and my feelings for you so you could win a bet."
GOD. That feels good. She's never had the nerve to actually confront him after that debacle. He had come back the Monday after prom, his arm around Madison's shoulders, and avoided her like the plague. Then there were finals, and then graduation, and she'd flown to Boston to find a job before settling in her dorms at MIT. She has not seen Aaron since Graduation Day, and aside from her little revenge program, she has tried her best to avoid thinking about him. Except, maybe, the little fantasies where she confronted him.
In her fantasies, he looked shameful, devastated, sometimes even in awe of her. There might have been a time where he offered to be her slave (sex may or may not have been involved) to repay her in some way. However, he never looked at her with the deepest confusion.
"What bet? What are you talking about?"
It's her turn to roll her eyes at him.
"Oh come on, drop the act Aaron. I know everything. Have a good life."
But she finds a way to wriggle between the guests and out of his reach. She uses Digg's training to get away quickly without drawing attention to herself. She looks down at her phone and looks at the time.
"Two minutes, guys. I'll be in place."
She has to walk really fast on her heels to get to the rendez-vous point, but she manages. She tries not to think about Aaron's face when he heard about the bet, tries to focus on getting the very small version of an external hard drive that she built herself (thank you very much) full of viruses and spywares that will come in handy.
She stands against a wall, looks at the time on her phone. Her boys are eerily quiet on the other end of the comm, and that freaks her out a little bit but if the alternative is having to talk about what just happened, she thinks she's better off with complete silence.
Two minutes pass quickly and when she sees one of the guys from security being replaced by a coworker, she warns her teammate.
"Digg, you're good to go."
Digg is standing close to the security station and must have pressed the button on the app that she installed on his phone because suddenly she hears movement close to him.
"Done, Felicity. You have five minutes."
"Okay, I'm in."
She uses the key that Digg stole from one of the girl who works at the museum with a little flirty-flirt to get in the servers room and closes the door behind her. Now, the fun can begin! She gets her tablet out her purse and pulls up the data that she needs to figure out which one of the servers she has to invade and mess with.
Once she finds the information she's looking for, Felicity sits on the floor (damn it's cold, she should have worn tights) and begins to work her magic. She connects her tablet to the hard drive and links it to her tablet before sending all the malware in the servers. She smiles diabolically and does a little victory dance (not that anyone will ever know about it, thank goodness) before gathering all her devices, shoving them deep inside her bag and walking back to the door.
"Done!" she whispers gleefully and because she's a total nerd, she can't help but add "Mischief managed!" which, of course, none of the boys get.
Maybe the champagne is doing its magic too. Whatever, that is a mission accomplished and no one has been killed or arrowed. In her book, this is a victory in every way.
"Don't get out right now," says Oliver's voice. "Hold on."
She frowns, and listens intently. It's not long before she hears a bunch of muffled sounds and then the door opens. She's really proud of herself when she doesn't scream, and she's ready to fight if she (really) has to. She gets in the position Sara taught her last year, totally willing to throw a punch in the face of the person who might attack her and waits for her assailant to show his face.
It would be way more efficient if she didn't close her eyes when she throws the punch, but to be fair, Felicity is never going to be strong enough to take Oliver.
"It's just me!" he whispers when she throws her fist in the general and vague direction of his face.
He catches it gently, spares her a smile, and she releases her breath. She doesn't know if she's dizzy from the stress, the champagne or Aaron messing with her certitudes (definitely not Oliver's smile. Nope, she's totally immune to that by now).
"Oh thank god. Let's go!"
He takes her fist with him as he turns towards the exit, looking down the corridor before dragging her out of the servers room. When she locks the door, she sees in a corner that a guard is laying on the floor, eyes closed.
"He's just passed-out, don't worry." Oliver smiles at her reassuringly and she can't help but mirror him.
He starts walking back in the direction of the main hall, his hand still holding hers, while his other one is touching his earpiece.
"Everything's good Digg, you can get the car, we're leaving."
"Okay, I'll take you out front in two."
He throws her a glance, and she nods her agreement. Her hand goes to take her earpiece out but Oliver catches it before it reaches the comm, and shakes his head in disapproval.
"But you're with me!" she protests.
"I don't care. You're not taking it off until we're safe in the car. I am not joking."
Felicity grits her teeth but doesn't say anything. Since the Grand Slade Wilson Cataclysm, she can't really blame him for being extra careful and untrusting of what is going on. For all he knows they can be separated because somebody from the island that was supposed to be dead has planted a bomb to mess with him. Oliver told her a few months ago that he could not function if he thought her or Thea could be in harm's way. That was really nice to hear at the time but it is really impractical and a bummer in everything related to intimacy (seriously, she needs to pee so freaking bad she can't wait to get to the foundry).
When they reach the lobby to get their coats back, she notices Aaron standing against the wall like a lost puppy, obviously waiting for her, and she knows she's in for another cringe-inducing, shame-filling exposé of her teenage years.
Well, Oliver now knows she's been stood up for prom. How much worse can it get, really?
He has let go of her hand to get her purse and coat, but he follows her line of sight when he sees her reaction and steps in front of her.
"Do you want me to take care of it?" he asks.
He looks almost as awkward as she feels, but there's a fierce protective undertone in the question that gives her the strength and resolve to shake her head no.
"I'll be fine. Go to the car, I'll meet you there."
He's holding her elbow and giving her a very concerned look that she deflects by tilting her head.
"I'm not a damsel in distress, Oliver. Don't worry about me. I'll be okay."
He sighs, gathers his coat, shoulders it and walks through the exit, but not without leveling Aaron with a bone-chilling stare. Aaron doesn't seem that impressed but thinks better than to comment when Felicity walks up to him.
She doesn't say anything, and he looks at a loss for a second. Like he cannot believe she is here. To be frank, she cannot really believe it either.
"What were you talking about earlier? I know I screwed up when I…" he doesn't elaborate. "But you were never a bet, I swear."
Felicity rolls her eyes, and sighs.
"Where did you hear that? Who told you that?" he presses, and she can hear the genuine concern in his voice.
"Who do you think?" she answers bitterly.
He stares at her wide-eyed.
"Madison?! Why on Earth would you believe anything she said? She hated you!"
"Because your explanation was so much better?" she snaps back. "It's not like you were rushing to tell me why. At least her reason made sense."
"How did that make any sense? Apart from… Okay, apart from standing you up that night — which, granted, was a dick move — what did I ever do to make you think that you were a bet? I was already broken up with her when we started dating…"
"Oh, we were dating?" she laughs cynically.
"What?" he frowns and reaches for her but she steps away from him. "Of course we were! What the hell?"
"Aaron, you didn't introduce me to any of your friends, none of them knew we were a…" She looks for the proper word.
"— A couple!—"
"Whatever, fine a couple. You kept your friends and our thing very separate, you never called me your girlfriend in public and you most definitely never took me out on a proper date that was in the same vicinity of anyone we both knew."
"It's okay, I don't care anymore; it doesn't matter. The fact is, prom was supposed to be our first public thing and we both know what a magical night it ended up being. 'Friendless Felicity'," he physically flinches and grimaces at the nickname his friends created for her while her cold tone stays even, "having to choose between going stag and facing you with your ex or staying at home listening to her psycho mom's ramblings about being a poor excuse for a daughter. 'High school: making memories'? Mine are golden, thanks to you."
She doesn't wait for his response, just pushes the glass doors to exit the lobby and starts looking for the Bentley parked right at the bottom of the stairs. Oliver's waiting outside, staring at her in concern. She clenches her jaw, humiliated, and feels like laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. She has gone out of her way to never mention anything about herself, and in fifteen minutes Aaron has laid it all out for her friends to hear.
Screw it, she's taking the comm out of her ear. She starts marching towards Oliver when Aaron's voice stops her.
"I did it because you were going to reject your full MIT scholarship, okay?"
Felicity freezes, and grits her teeth, her eyes closing in anger, as she forces her hand to push the earpiece back in its place. Then she spins and throws him her best death-glare. She can't help using her loud-voice.
"I am going to kill Max!"
"It wasn't Max! I found your MIT file in the trash the day before prom, and saw your acceptance letter at USC and your calculations for a loan."
She can feel her head turning beet red in anger. She should have followed Oliver. Or told him to take care of Aaron.
"How dare you?" she seethes.
"No, please, don't spin this around." Aaron shakes his head calmly. "I didn't look for it, okay? I wanted to surprise you, take you to Jake's party. I went up your window so your mom wouldn't notice and ended up on your desk and there it was."
"And instead of talking to me you took it upon yourself to use my abandonment issues to break my heart?"
"Oh come on, Felicity! What was I supposed to say? 'Don't stay in California on my account you're making the biggest mistake of your life'? You never would have listened to me! You would have told me that I was looking for a way to dump you."
"Well I would've been right, wouldn't I?"
"Felicity, do you remember who I was back then? The screw-up quarterback you were forced to tutor because it was my only chance to get into a good school? UCLA would have never even considered my file if it weren't for you! MIT was literally following you around all year, promising you everything you were hoping for and more. You'd already sacrificed so much for me, hell you dropped looking for your father so I could be a better candidate; I wasn't going to let you sacrifice your dream of leaving stupid California and your mom behind to go to the East Coast and create your own Google on my account!"
"Why not?! It would have been my choice!" she counters in her loud voice.
Aaron doesn't wait a beat before he answers.
"Well it would have been a stupid choice and I certainly wasn't worth it then. And if it had been such an important choice you wouldn't have gone back to plan A when I removed myself from the picture."
Felicity looks at him, incapable of knowing how to react. Everything she thought she knew turns out to be a lie, and she feels like crawling into her bed and crying herself to sleep. But she can't. She scoffs.
"You were right, that was really misogynistic of you to take the choice away from me."
"Well, it's been biting me in the ass ever since, hasn't it?" he asks in defeat and a little bit of bitterness. "You haven't created a new Google and you put me on the no fly list for five years."
She can't help the proud smirk that enlightens her face. It brings a glint of amusement in Aaron's eyes. It's crazy how that little sentence calms the atmosphere down.
"You're not even denying it," he chuckles despite himself.
Felicity shrugs non-committedly. Her heart is still beating really fast and she wants to crawl out her skin or go back in time and start that night over.
"I'm not confirming it either."
Her voice is still cold. Aaron takes a step towards her and she can't bring herself to back away from him. He takes it as a victory.
"Look, can we just… Can we start over, please? Please, Felicity. I…" he runs his hand in his hair, his eyes staring deep into hers, and she sees the regret and the emotions he doesn't even try to fight. "I'm sorry for the way I handled things then, but I was eighteen and very, very stupid. I just…"
She's shivering. It's not even cold outside, why is she shivering? Aaron tentatively takes her hand and she feels so numb that she lets him.
"You didn't just come here to meet potential clients. You knew I was going to be here," she guesses.
He doesn't look away, gives her a half-apologetic half-"what can you do" shrug.
"I saw Queen's name, figured I'd try my luck."
Felicity feels manipulated and weirdly moved. Something must have shown on her face, because apparently that's the moment he chooses to go in for the kill.
"Look, I loved you then Felicity. Hell I probably still do! Truth is, I miss you and I guess I just want to be part of your life again. No pressure, we don't have to date — but if you're willing I promise you won't be left with any doubt that you're my girlfriend." He lets out a shaky sigh, and gets closer to her. "Look, if you could just give me one chance, just one, for a drink, ice cream, I don't care. We'll talk about whatever you want, I was serious about MIT. I want to know."
Felicity blinks, and she is surprised when tears come out of her eyes and roll down her cheeks. She shakes her head, closes her eyes. She has not been on a date in years, and she obviously still feels something for Aaron. He's pulled the rug from under her, taking away everything she has spent years getting over and accepting.
She knows she would have stayed in California. It pains her to realize that he is right. She is smart, but she was so in love with him it was honestly ridiculous. He had made her feel like she was not alone for the first time in her life. She was part of something, something other than computers and that felt exhilarating. He was so far out of her league, she was the lone geek, he was the school quarterback and it was like in TV shows. He'd told her he'd apply to schools in Massachusetts, or at least on the East Coast but didn't get into any of them. Now that she thinks about it, his dad wanted Aaron close, for control. Maybe he hadn't even really sent the applications, or hidden the acceptance letters using everything in his power to get his son in the closest and best school he could.
She hates that Aaron tried to do the "noble" thing, she hates it when people take choices away from her. She has always prided herself on being able to make her own choices, lead her life the way she wants — that is one of the perks of being completely alone.
But in the end, wasn't he right? If she hadn't gone to MIT, she wouldn't have joined QC, never met Oliver and Digg, never actually been part of a real team, of a homemade family.
Aaron looks more mature, more like the man she knew he could be when she met him in high school. He's clearly no longer the screw up he claimed to be. She feels weak, and she needs time, and… Doesn't she deserve answers? A chance at happiness? At the very least a rewrite?
"I won't make it easy." She finally answers.
She's angry. Angry at herself for being stupid and in love when she was seventeen, stupid for not being smart right now and offering him a second chance, just to… Just to see, right? Worst case scenario, he turns out to be a jerk and she has no regrets. Best case scenario she feels at peace with her 17 year-old self.
"Fine. 'No one writes songs about the ones that come easy'." He quotes, a huge smile illuminating his face now.
She looks up at him and can't help a stiff laugh. She'd made him watch that show back then.
"One drink." She concedes.
"That's all I'm asking." He nods.
"Text me the place and time. I'll be there." Now she's quoting him talking about prom night, as a hint. He doesn't get it.
That'll make it more fun.
"Thank you. I… Thank you Felicity."
She wants to say "whatever" or something cool like that, but she just shakes her head and gives him a phone number, then walks back to the Bentley. Oliver's face shows confusion when she passes his open door and hails a cab.
"Wait!" she hears Oliver say.
"I'll meet you back at Verdant in an hour, I need to be alone right now. And FYI, we are never talking about what just happened."
"You gave him a fake number." She hears Diggle chuckle in her ear.
"Oh yeah." She answers shakily as she slides in the cab and shows the driver the address of a bar close to her apartment on her phone. "I am totally standing him up for that drink. See you soon. And yes Oliver, I'll keep my phone on."
Oliver doesn't answer.
"Be careful." Digg answers after a few seconds.
She takes the comm out of her ear, puts it in her purse, and starts crying before it's even closed. Once she is at the bar, she calls Max and lets her know exactly what she thinks of the girl code, and how she's going to receive nothing but spam for a whole year, then proceeds to get drunk.
When she goes back to Verdant an hour later, no one mentions Aaron. But Oliver's training really hard with Diggle, and there's Aaron's background check displayed on one of the screens. She stares at it dreamily (some might say drunkenly) and tries her best to concentrate on the malware she just installed.
It takes Aaron a week to track her down. And two more weeks to get her to show up to an actual date.
[Next : Part Two - Oliver's POV]
Author's Note : So it started out as a conversation between a friend and I about Felicity and Oliver and how we both wanted Felicity to date another guy first. My argument was that it would be super tricky for her considering that she would always drop her boyfriend for missions, always pick up the phone for Oliver and spend so much time with him and be unable to explain exactly why. This spurred that story. I personally think the show is going to make Ivo Felicity's dad, which I hate, because I have had my own backstory for her for a long while (I was sure that her dad had died during the summer between S1 and S2 but episode 213 ruined that so... my mind came up with another one). Anyways. English is not my mother language, so if there were any mistakes I apologize.
I hope you liked the first part. Let me know what you thought :-) Thank you so much for reading.