So, this chapter should have been up on Wednesday after the finale, but then life got in the way. My roommates kept dragging me places. Anyway, I hope you all like this chapter. It's a little shorter than usual, but this felt like a good place to end it. Thank you so much for all the amazing reviews. They mean the world to me!


Chapter 2:

First Signs

The next morning finds Felicity waking up with a splitting headache. Groggily, she reaches out from beneath her mountain of covers and slams a fist against the snooze button on her alarm. Her eyes are still closed but she can feel the heat and brightness of the morning sun against her lids. That and the blaring of her alarm let her know that it's time to move.

She sits up slowly, stomach churning with the slightest movement. She places a hand to her temple, rubbing her fingers over the spot. Her Doctor Who clock tells her that it's just after six in the morning.

With bleary eyes, Felicity takes in the room around her. Her pretty yellow sheets are in complete disarray but nothing else seems to be out of place. She is momentarily stunned that everything looks so neat. From the pounding in her head and the conga line going on in her stomach, she's pretty sure she was drunk last night. And yet everything appears to be in its place.

Felicity doesn't come home shit faced very often, but when she does she always wakes up to the same scene; a destroyed bedroom, every light in the apartment on.

That isn't the case now and it isn't until her fingers brush against something rough that everything comes back to her. She picks up the small, crinkled piece of paper from the pillow next to the one she's slept on. It's hard to make out the words with her eyes burning, but she manages to see that it's from Oliver.

Your clothes are in the wash. Take your time coming in today. Thanks for the party. :)

It isn't signed but she recognizes his hand-writing and something inside her stomach grows hot and twists. She can't help the small smile that spreads at the little smiley face. It's so unlike Oliver to be cute like that and the thought that he'd been like that for her is almost enough to make her cry in happiness.

The note tells her to take her time coming in to the office but in reality it just makes her want to go more. She wants to thank him in person for bringing her home and doing her laundry.

Tossing the sheets aside, Felicity gets to her feet. Even though Oliver's little note has improved her mood, she still feels like she's been smacked by a truck. The thought of a shower is a tempting one but throwing up is not and she knows that if she doesn't take something soon, she'll be sick all over the floor. She doubts that she'd have a good time cleaning that up. So, a detour to the kitchen it is.

She pads into the kitchen, noticing as she goes that all the lights in the hall and living room have been turned off. She mentally tells herself that's something else she'll have to thank Oliver for. She doesn't bother to flick the light on when she reaches the kitchen. The morning sun streaming in from the window is enough to light her way. She grabs a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and taps a few out. She makes herself a glass of water and tosses the pills back as she heads towards the shower.

The water feels amazing on her skin and Felicity takes longer than she probably should have. By the time she makes it out, it's ten after seven and she has less than an hour until she needs to be at work. She dresses quickly—throwing on a comfortable dress and a low pair of heels. She leaves her hair down because, once she applies make-up, she can tell that not even that is going to cover the bags under her eyes today.

The clock reads 7:45 when she's finally done. Felicity grabs an untoasted bagel from her cupboard and holds it between her teeth. She's in such a rush that when she does finally make it out the door, she almost misses it.

What actually happens is that she drops her cell phone. The floor in the hallway is carpet and so she's not worried about it being broken but it's still enough to make her let out a huff of annoyance. She bends down to pick it up, balancing her bagel and her bag in one hand as she grabs for her phone with the other.

Her fingers brush against something soft and silky. She grabs for it, worrying maybe she's dropped a handkerchief from her purse. Although, when she pulls her hand up, what she sees isn't a handkerchief. It's a rose. It's a vibrant red with a brilliantly green stem. Even though it's obviously slightly wilted, it's still the prettiest rose she's ever seen. She touches the petals with steady hands. The red pieces are soft beneath her fingers. She stands up, bringing the rose with her. She sees her phone beside it and snags that also.

The hallway is otherwise empty. Felicity glances around, wondering if the flower might have fallen from some bouquet or something ornamental. She finds nothing. It's only when she's putting the flower in her purse—it's pretty and she really loves red roses—that she sees the little note attached to the stem.

My Dearest Felicity is written in elegant typeface.

Felicity's face blossoms into a brilliant smile. Oliver. While the 'dearest' is a little much, she truly appreciates his efforts at thanking her for the party. While she'd been stressing about it all week, his little note and this rose really made up for all of that. It's such an Oliver thing to do—so sweet and understated—that she feels her eyes start to brim with tears. He always knows just how to make her feel better.

Felicity neatly tucks the rose into her purse and hurries down to the elevator.

~X~X~X~X~X~

Operations at Queen Consolidated are in full swing by the time Felicity arrives. She's only about ten minutes late, which is pretty amazing considering the traffic and how long it took her to get out of the house. She scurries off the elevator, purse in hand. She keeps glancing down inside of it, looking at the rose and feeling herself flush with happiness.

She swipes her key card and the door to the main business office clicks unlocked. Pushing the door open, she glides inside. Diggle is sitting behind her desk, looking very uncomfortable amidst the pink computer monitor and little lady bug figurines. As soon as he sees her, her shoulders drop and he looks like he's just had a major weight lifted off of him.

"Oliver had me watching your desk until you got here," he said by way of explanation.

Felicity raises a brow once she reaches his side. She sets her purse against the floor and leans a hip against the side of the desk. "Uh-huh," she says, her tone making it obvious she doesn't buy that for a second.

In his defense, Diggle manages to hold her gaze for a good two minutes before he finally cracks. He reaches under her desk and pulls up a beautiful bouquet of a dozen red roses. They are nearly a perfect match to the one she found outside her door, nestled inside a beautiful crystal vase. "He had an emergency conference call but…he wanted you to have these."

Felicity drops the tough girl act in an instant, her arms uncrossing from her chest and her lips twitching up into a wide smile. She reaches out to take the flowers from Digg. She's surprised at how elegant and beautiful the crystal vase is. She can tell almost immediately that it's actually real crystal and not that cheap imitation plastic that a lot of people buy. Her eyes sting with tears.

"He tried to bring them to you earlier but you didn't open the door and he didn't want to just leave them there," John continues to explain, reaching out a hand to rub his fingers against one of the petals. His own lips pull into a smile, although it isn't nearly as beaming as Felicity's. "He'll never say it out loud, but that party meant a lot to him. I haven't seen him smile that much in a long time."

Felicity can feel the beginnings of a sob working its way up her throat. She has to place a hand against her lips to keep it at bay. She runs a finger down the side of the vase, careful not to leave any smudges. There isn't a note but she assumes that it was on the rose that fell onto her hallways floor.

She bends down and procures the single rose from her purse. She smiles at it and then places it in the vase, nestling it among the others just like it. The paper with her name on it stands out brilliantly against the deep reds and greens of the roses. It's perfect.

She must have been staring because when John clears his throat he's giving her a funny look. "My…favorite flowers are roses," she tells him to cover her little slip. She cheeks burn.

Diggle gives her in indulgent smile. "I wonder how he knew that." The way he says it makes it clear that he is the one who told Oliver.

Adoration bubbles in Felicity's stomach. She can just picture Oliver pacing, wondering what she likes, and Diggle swooping in with the rescue. She bends down and wraps him into a hug. "Thank you," she says and it's the most honest thing she thinks she's said in a while.

A throat clearing breaks their little moment. Felicity pulls away from Diggle and spins to see Isabel Rochev giving her a nasty look. The older woman is dressed impeccably that day, her pantsuit obviously designer, her make-up perfect, hair swept back from her face with a pretty sparkling barrette that goes perfectly with her nude colored shoes.

"Mr. Diggle," she says with no greeting. "I didn't know your job description involved covering for Ms. Smoak when she's late. Don't you have somewhere else to be?"

Diggle stares at Isabel for a few long moments before sweeping his gaze to Felicity. The blonde merely shrugs at him. She knows that he's asking her permission to leave. One look from her and he'll make up some excuse about why he needs to be at her desk. But Isabel's eyes and tone are serious and Felicity is in such a good mood that she doubts anything the woman says can ruffle her feathers today.

Felicity gives him a small smile. "I'll see you at lunch, John."

Diggle can see that she's dismissing him. He doesn't very much like it—Felicity and Isabel haven't had the best relationship since coming back from Russia. But he also knows that it will make Felicity look bad if he tries to undermine her authority right now. Besides, he's pretty sure that she can handle herself; at least around Isabel Rochev.

He gives her a nod, knowing that she'll take it as the fact that he's leaving but doesn't like it. She shoots him a grateful smile in return. The last thing John sees as he rounds the corner is Isabel stepping closer to Felicity.

"Since you're late," the brunette says as soon as John is out of ear shot. "I don't expect you to have gotten the memo. But there's a very important meeting with some of the board at Star Labs today at noon and I need the conference room spotless."

Felicity is, in fact, aware of this meeting. Oliver had briefly mentioned it to her last week. Although from the looks of things it appears Isabel hadn't been told until today. Felicity only feels momentarily guilty for the jolt of pleasure that realization sends her.

"I'll make sure everything is spotless," she says instead of what she's thinking which isn't actually very nice.

Isabel gives her a frozen smile. "See that you do." And then she's walking away, thousand dollar stilettos clacking against the marble flooring as she makes her exit.

Felicity watches her go, proud that she didn't let the vapid woman destroy her great mood. As soon as Isabel is out of sight, she turns back to her desk to begin a checklist for the day.

~X~X~X~X~X~

Felicity spends the majority of her morning setting up the conference room for the meeting at noon. Every once in a while she finds herself looking over her shoulder to see if Oliver has returned to his office, although every time his chair is empty, the door closed and locked. She wonders briefly but doesn't have much time to worry about it because every time her thoughts start to go that direction, some emergency pops up.

This meeting with Star Labs is supposed to be an amazing opportunity for Queen Consolidated. The two companies will be discussing some type of merger and, while Felicity doesn't really understand a whole lot of business-related things, she does know that mergers are more often than not good things for both companies involved.

Oliver had mentioned to her that some of the big-wig board members were coming. While normally this isn't something extremely impressive to her—Queen Consolidated gets important guests all the time—he had hinted that the Vice President may be dropping by as well. About an hour into the work day, Isabel had stopped by Felicity's desk again, letting her know that he was coming and she expected everything to be set up accordingly.

By 11:30 the conference room is immaculate. Felicity has swept and dusted, polished the wood. She's set pens and paper at each chair, a pitcher of iced water with lemons in the center. The room looks brand new and when Isabel comes to check on it, even she is grudgingly appreciative.

"It's nice to see even someone as unfit for this job as you can make a room look presentable."

It's as nice a compliment Felicity has ever expected to get from the woman and so she takes her words with a light-hearted smile and a simply nod. Isabel breezes past her into the room, taking up the seat at one end of the table. Felicity knows that Oliver will take the other.

After Isabel is seated and semi-comfortable looking, Felicity takes her leave of the conference room. She hurries back to her desk just in time to see Oliver come around the corner. He looks stressed, hands balancing a huge stack of papers and folders. Felicity rushes to his side quickly.

"Give those to me," she says, taking the pile from him without waiting for an answer. "What is all this? Why aren't you in the conference room? Isabel's going to kill me if you aren't there, like, now."

Oliver reaches out to try and take his stack of paper back but Felicity darts out of his reach. Oliver frowns at her. "Isabel's going to be fine. We have another fifteen minutes at least." He makes another grab for the papers but one glare from Felicity and he backs off. "These are new employment sheets. I'm supposed to be going over them after the meeting."

Now aware that these sheets aren't anything important, she takes them over and deposits them at the edge of her desk. "Well, you could have told me and I'd have gotten them on my lunch break." She spins to face him, not at all shocked to see that he's staring at the flowers on her desk.

"Do you like them?" He asks, reaching out to touch the vase. He sounds so unsure for a moment—so unlike confident, cocky Oliver Queen—that Felicity is taken aback. He seems to take her silence as something negative, because he hurries on. "I tried to drop them off earlier. But then I realized you were probably still asleep, so I just—"

"I know," Felicity interrupts. It feels funny to be the one interrupting him for a change. "Digg told me. They're beautiful. But you didn't have to."

"I did," Oliver says seriously. He places a steady hand on her elbow and smiles at her. It's one of his genuine ones, the kind he saves for special people. Felicity is suddenly honored by how often he saves that smile just for her. "It meant a lot, last night. I wanted you to know that. No one really…you're a good friend, Felicity Smoak."

Felicity feels her heart both drop and soar at the word 'friend'. It's a strange feeling, one she's not entirely familiar with. It's something she'll have to think about later, when she has time to dissect her emotions. For now, she just tells herself to be happy.

"I wanted to do it," she promises him.

Oliver shakes his head. He lets his hand trail from her elbow to her wrist, squeezing her fingers with his. His eyes flash with something but it's gone so fast that Felicity is sure she's imagined it. "Still."

He looks like maybe he wants to say more but the sound of his name being called snaps them both out of whatever sort of trance they've found themselves in. Felicity turns around. Isabel is leaning against the open door to the conference room, hands propped on her hips.

She eyes them so closely that Felicity feels as if she's done something wrong. She pulls away from Oliver quickly, so intent on Isabel that she misses the look Oliver sends her. Isabel, however, doesn't.

"If you're done flirting, I'd appreciate it if you'd grace us with your presence," she said snobbishly. "You are the CEO, after all." Felicity flinches slightly at her tone. The way she says CEO, it's almost as if she's angry Oliver is head of the company.

Oliver looks at Isabel and then at Felicity and she sees that he's ready to argue. Rather than cause a massive blow out in the middle of the QC conference room, Felicity decides to step in. She steps in front of Oliver so that he is now only looking at her, not Isabel. "Hey," she tells him quietly. "Go. If you really feel the need to make up for your party, you can buy me dinner later. At Bella Cucina."

Oliver smiles at her. It's the smile that Felicity knows is reserved for people of importance. It makes her heart flutter to think she's one of them. "Ah, I see what this is all about. You threw me that party just so I'd have to take you out to fine cuisine and make up for it." His voice is serious but his eyes show her that he is only joking.

Felicity places a hand over her heart. "A girl's gotta eat," she tells him with as serious a face as she can muster.

Oliver's eyes light up. He places a warm hand on her shoulder. Felicity feels her heart stutter at the touch and she can tell by how his smile turns to a smirk that she's blushing terribly. He winks at her and turns, disappearing into the conference room with Isabel. The woman gives Felicity a frosty glare and then closes the door behind them with much more force than Felicity thinks is strictly necessary.

She only turns when she sees that they have both settled down at different parts of the table. Through the glass, Felicity can see Isabel's mouth moving and Oliver looking bored already. She has to fight a smile as she goes back to her desk.

She's pretty sure her face is on fire when she finally sits down. She looks at the roses on the edge of her table, sees the little note Oliver wrote, and wonders for the first time since she'd awoken this morning what the hell he's thinking.

Felicity isn't the best at reading people. She knows that. But she had been so sure—for just a second—that when he'd looked at her…There'd been something there. What it was, she isn't sure, but the very thought of it makes her cheeks red and her heart flutter.

Pretty soon the board members from Star Labs arrive. Felicity greets them with a distracted smile, asking to take their coats—although she has no idea why some are wearing them in June—and ushers them into the conference room. Oliver and Isabel stand to greet their guests and even Felicity has to admit that Isabel can pull off a nice smile when she's genuinely pleased with something.

"Thank you, Miss Smoak," Oliver says. His voice is all about professionalism but his eyes are bright.

Felicity ducks out smoothly, responding with a quick but polite, "Of course, Mr. Queen."


And there you have it, folks. Chapter 2 is done! Did you all like the finale? To be honest, I was a little pissed. Then I started to see maybe where the writers were taking things. Still, it only fueled my resolve more to write this story and give Olicity a happy ending!

Or will I? You'll just have to wait and find out.

Thank you to everyone who reviewed and please keep it up! It means so much. I'm looking for a beta reader so if anyone would be interested, please PM me. :)

Next Time…: Oliver and Felicity share a dinner. Meanwhile, not everything is what it seems at the cozy Bella Cucina.