Hey it's me again! A few people asked for a follow-up to my other fic Of Need and Abandonment Issues and it turned out I wasn't ready to let go of the characters and the way they'd been set up. If you haven't read the first fic, I don't think it matters too much.
Please, keep in mind that the first fic was written after episode 217 and this one was started right after episode 220. Felicity is therefore not from Vegas but from California, she lives in an apartment and Roy is still shot with mirakuru.
This will be a four-part story.
Of Love and Abandonment Issues
Felicity grew up hearing that when life gives you lemons, you better make lemonade. So far, life had given her crappy parents, and a lot of heartbreak. She'd figured then that she could turn that pain into positive energy. But now that she's actually dating the guy that she has been ogling for the past four years (and steadily falling in love with in the process because damn those abs), now that the guy has seduced her and voluntarily asked her to be his girlfriend, she doesn't really know what to make of it.
Abs-omade doesn't sound realistic (is she supposed to press the abs and keep the juice? Is it weird that the idea turns her on?).
Felicity has been walking on freaking sunshine and cloud nine at the same time for two full months. Two months of ignoring Diggle's exasperated sighs, warning looks and throat-clearings every time he walks into a room that her and Oliver have been occupying by themselves. Two months of pinching herself every time Oliver tries to steal a kiss, gives her that secretive smile of his, or makes her come four times a day (at work. Between meetings. She's not even sorry).
Felicity feels like she's having it all. She spends day and night with a man who understands everything she's going through. Oliver knows why she's cranky in the car when he drives her home. He gives her space when she doesn't want to talk while she hacks at QC. He leaves the restaurant at the same time as her when Lance calls with an emergency.
She feels like they're a badass couple who can take over the world.
She also feels like she's dreaming.
"Miss Smoak?" Oliver asks in front of Jared Alston.
Her head perks up but she fights the need to roll her eyes. She's the one who insists on keeping their relationship a secret for the time being. They don't need any more rumors about them.
"Didn't you tell me that you had plans for tonight?"
Felicity's eyes widen and fly to the right corner of her computer. Shoot. She's going to be late for their date. For someone who is never on time for anything, Oliver is really good at keeping her schedule straight. And at making sure that if they're both late for a meeting it's going to be completely his fault and not hers.
"Oh yeah, Mister Queen," she responds, emphasizing his last name because she knows what it does to him, "are you sure you don't need me here anymore?"
Oliver nods, but Felicity notices the hunger in his eyes.
"Well there's nothing more you can do here tonight. Go home and enjoy your evening," he tells her.
"I think I will, Mister Queen," she taunts.
Diggle comes out of the elevator right at that moment and winces in exhaustion when he witnesses the looks they exchange. Alston drags Oliver back in a conversation about a very important investment he should make with Wayne Industries, bringing an amused grin to Felicity's face.
"You guys are the least subtle secret couple ever," Diggle mocks.
"You're just saying that because you know," she banters.
"No. I'm saying this because I've seen too much, and heard too much, and you guys are gross."
"You spend too much time with A.J, Digg."
"Whatever. I miss the times when I could walk in the foundry and not fear of stumbling on a reenactment of the best of Youporn."
Felicity raises her eyebrows and grimaces as she gets up and gathers her purse and coat.
"What are we supposed to do, stop looking at each other?" she asks, shrugging her coat on and throwing a glance in Oliver's direction.
Oliver is staring at her with a look of utter despair. She vows that she'll make it up to him tonight as she smiles at him in support. Poor guy. It's his third meeting with Alston this week. The guy is the definition of boredom, what with his bland suits and transparent, unexpressive face.
"If it helps!"
Her phone starts ringing as she laughs. She takes it out of her pocket and checks the caller I.D but the number is blocked.
"Okay, I hear ya, I'll make sure it doesn't happen anymore. Hello?"
Diggle snorts in absolute disbelief. "Yeah right."
"Felicity?" someone slurs in the phone.
Felicity's heart stops. She freezes in her step, her eyes stuck on the open doors of the elevator.
"Aaron?" she whispers in dread.
It's the first time she hears from Aaron in the seven months they've been broken up. They dated for a little over a year, and had planned on getting married before Aaron had realized that Felicity would never be as available as he wanted her to be and broken things off.
Honestly, Felicity feels disgusted when she thinks about what she did to Aaron. She loved him — now she knows that she wasn't in love with him, but she loved him and the idea of a normal life that he brought with him — but she sort of led him on, settling for him because she felt then that she couldn't have Oliver.
To be truthful, she still doesn't feel like she really has Oliver, but at least she's not leading anyone on. If anything, she's the one risking her heart there.
"Fe-li-ci-teeeehhh," Aaron mumbles in response.
She frowns and blinks. Her heart has started beating again, but it feels like a hand is clutching it and it hurts against her ribcage. There's something clogging her throat. She recognizes it as shame.
But it's been seven months, now. Why is he calling after all that time? Surely he's either moved on or still doesn't want to talk to her, right?
"Are you drunk?" she asks.
"Yes. Yes, I'm drunk," Aaron sighs.
"What's wrong? What happened?"
She hears Aaron's broken sobs through the phone and all color fades from her face. She feels like she needs to sit. But she steels herself for what's coming because it sounds like it's going to hit her like a concrete wall. Frankly, nothing he's going to tell her will be something she hasn't already repeated to herself. She's a terrible human being. She's a selfish bitch. She should have let him go before he went all in. She should have loved him more. He deserves better.
She turns her back to the glass wall because she can feel Oliver's gaze on her and she can't deal with her guilt and his concern and has she mentioned her guilt? Because she moved on so fast after she stomped on Aaron's heart like it was no big deal. Because she's actually happy with another man. Because she's dating the guy that Aaron was so scared of losing her to.
But Aaron's blaming words never come. Instead, he coughs something unintelligible and yells at someone in the background.
"Aaron? Where are you? What's wrong?" she repeats.
"I'm at The Corner, Smoaky," he says.
"The Corner? In Milford?"
"Yop," and he makes the p pop like he did when he was eighteen. She can picture him passing his hand over his face, looking for his next words.
And suddenly, she knows exactly why he's calling. It's not to yell at her because she's a selfish bitch who broke his heart. It's because she's the only one who can understand what he feels right now. Her face softens immediately, before she even hears his words.
"My dad's dead."
She closes her eyes in compassion and stays quiet for a second, gulping.
"What's going on?" Oliver asks behind her.
She pushes his voice away.
"I'm so sorry, Aaron. When?"
Aaron sniffs, and she hears him down another shot.
"Earlier this morning. You're my first call, isn't that sad?"
Felicity opens her mouth to answer, and walks back to her seat in front of her desk. She takes her glasses off, and drops her forehead in her left hand.
"What happened? Was he sick?"
"Oh he was sick alright!" Aaron slurs.
She can't help the smile that the old joke brings to her face.
"Hey now, he wasn't that bad."
"He hid all the acceptance letters from the West Coast. I was accepted at Boston College. My mom told me after we broke up last year," he sniggers, and it's a sound full of hurt and pain that makes Felicity's lungs collapse.
"It doesn't mean we would have worked out then. You can't live with what ifs, Aaron."
"Ah, today I can. My dad's dead because he yelled at me and I'm drunk. I killed my dad, Felicity."
"No you didn't. He had a heart attack, I take it?"
"He was yelling at me. Because I'm a terrible son who quit his job."
"You quit your job?! Why? What happened?"
But Aaron doesn't answer. He just sobs in the phone and Felicity can feel from her seat the pain that is overtaking him. Full on guilt placates her. She broke him. She broke the guy who made her happy and tried to be the best he could for a year. The guy who wanted her whole and the guy she wouldn't open up to.
"I need you, Felicity," he weeps.
She closes her eyes, and blinks the tears away. Behind her desk, she hears Oliver basically shoeing Alston away, and Diggle whispering with him.
"Please," Aaron begs.
Felicity's bottom lip wobbles, but she keeps it together.
"I don't think your mom is going to want to see me, Aaron," she sighs.
"Fuck my mom."
"Ew. No thanks."
"Please, Felicity. Please come. I need you."
"I can probably make it to the funeral. When is it?"
"In two days. But you can make it here in three hours. And drink with me."
She stays quiet, staring decidedly at a pen lying on her desk, refusing to look up and meet Oliver's gaze.
"I don't think it's a good idea. And you're drunk. When you sober up, you'll probably get sick looking at my face."
"Felicity… There's no one else I can call. Or want to see. Everyone here is already giving me platitudes and 'he was such a wonderful man' bullshit and I… I want to scream at them. Please. Please."
What can she say? How can she say no? She should probably discuss this with Oliver. But she can't bring herself to tell Aaron that she needs to talk about it with her boyfriend first. Why kick a wounded man? And he'll have questions. He'll know that it's Oliver. Maybe that's her out. Maybe that's the way she doesn't have to show up. Shatter him further so she doesn't have to face what she did and support the guy who gave her chance after chance.
But he was there when she needed him senior year of high school, and he was a wonderful boyfriend and fiancé for a year and… and she loves him. He was her first love. She can't let him down now. And it's not like Oliver asks her permission to do anything. It's her life, after all. She's not going down there to hook up with her ex, just to show support to an old friend who, okay, fine, she was engaged to for two months.
She bites her lips. There's longing in his voice, but she can't deal with that.
"Okay," she murmurs. "Okay, I'll come down as soon as I can. Does Hank still work there?"
"Yeah," is his answer, and she can hear the relief in his voice.
"Pass the phone over to him."
"'kay, boss." Felicity hears muffled sounds as the phone is moved around.
She smiles weakly when she hears Hank's deep throaty voice.
"Yeah?" he grunts. "Smoak?"
"Hey Hank. How you doing?"
"Better than Millers, that's for sure. I guess you heard the news? Sad story. It's all over town already, his mom is already planning on suing the doctors who couldn't reanimate him."
"Yikes," she winces. "but typical Joan. Hey can you do me a favor?"
"Sure. You coming down?"
"Yes, but it's going to take a few hours. Cut him off please, he's had enough right now. And make sure he stays okay and doesn't get into a fight?"
"You got it."
"Thanks Hank. I'll see you later."
He passes the phone over to Aaron who sighs drunkenly. "I'll be the one sleeping on the counter."
"I'm sure you will. Stop drinking. I'll be there soon."
"Thanks Smoaky. You're the best."
She doesn't answer, and after a moment of hesitation she hangs up the phone. But her eyes don't look up. She doesn't feel like she can handle Oliver's questions, and mood and judgment. What if he's jealous? What if he doesn't understand and wants to break things off?
"Aaron lost someone?" Oliver queries on an even tone.
But she knows that tone. It's the same one he used when he asked her about their dates back when they were a thing and he couldn't stand her boyfriend. Like he doesn't really want to hear the answer. But at least he's trying, right? That gives Felicity the strength to look at him in the eyes.
"Yeah," she replies unsteadily. "His dad died of a heart attack yelling at him. He's a mess. A very drunk mess."
"And you're going down to see him?" he presses, as Diggle walks towards the elevator to give them some privacy.
She'd forgotten about Diggle. That makes the guilt feel heavier.
"He… He's alone, and he asked me to come. It's just for support, don't worry. I'll probably stay until the funeral — it's the day after tomorrow. Or he might kick me out once he sobers up but either way…"
Oliver obviously forces himself to nod. He looks tense, but plays it cooler than she thought he would.
"I hope it's okay?" she asks in a small voice.
She knows it doesn't matter what Oliver's opinion is on the topic. She'll go to Milford anyway and try to help Aaron out because she at least owes him that. Not because she broke his heart and lied to his face multiple times. But because he's a good person that has lost his way and she can be the anchor that he's craving right now.
"Sure," Oliver shrugs. He means to say 'absolutely not', she can tell, but again: he's trying and that's all that matters. At least that prevents a fight. She feels like all the fight has left her anyway. "Rain check on our date?"
The question has a punching effect on her. Felicity knows exactly where it comes from. She has the weirdest déjà vu ever. That was the sentence that Aaron told her every time she had to cancel their plans. Because she had a Green Arrow emergency.
Now, she has an Aaron emergency, and she feels like she's acting like a jerk to Oliver who has done nothing to deserve this. Is there ever going to be a time when she doesn't feel stretched between the two? It's not even romantic. It wasn't romantic then with Oliver, and it won't be romantic when she shows up at Aaron's massive pity-party but…
"Do you want me to come?" Oliver volunteers.
Her eyes fly to meet his in surprise as she ponders the question.
Does she want him to come? Yes. They have barely spent a night apart since they started dating and it feels weird to imagine spending the next three days being the shoulder her ex cries on. Considering that she's going to be facing her stupid former classmates and Aaron's mom, Felicity figures that she's probably also going to need the support.
But does she want him to come with her, really? Meeting Madison Blanchard and her bitch-friends that will be happy to call her names, and seeing the Millers eye her while she stands at Aaron's father's funeral with her brand new boyfriend when she should have been planning her wedding with them? Does she want the attention to switch from the Millers' grief to Felicity's dating status? She wishes so often that Oliver wasn't that famous.
Does she want Oliver to discover the shitty house that she lived in and see that he feels sorry for her? No. Plus, if Felicity is contemplating the idea of seeing her mother for the first time in nine years, she sure as hell does not want Oliver to be a witness.
"No, thanks," she eventually replies. "Besides Diggle, Roy and Thea no one knows we're dating and I don't think it's the best time for us to come forward. I already ruined him, I'm not adding salt to that wound."
It's technically true, but not the only reason why she doesn't want him to come. He understands though.
"Okay, I get it."
There's a distance between them for the first time in two months. Like a physical barrier, that she can visualize and doesn't feel she has the right to cross. She clenches her fist to prevent it from trembling as she looks away in shame.
"Are you angry?" she can't help asking.
She feels anger directed at herself rise in her chest. She sounds like a stupid little girl, how ridiculous and pathetic is that? Grow the fuck up, Felicity.
Why can't she break the pattern? Why does she always feel like she has to choose, and like she's disappointing the men in her life? Oliver's obviously not over the moon that she's leaving for her hometown so she can handle her ex fiancé's grief. Not that Oliver knows. That she was engaged to Aaron, that is. She hasn't mentioned it to him, like ever. Is that even his concern, in the end? It's between Aaron and her, really.
She kind of wishes she could take it all away. Saying yes to Aaron, and hiding it to everyone. She still can't face why she never told Oliver. She can be honest with herself: she kept it to herself because she didn't want Oliver to know. She suspects why, but she can't exactly voice it. Not now. Maybe not ever.
Oliver sighs and takes a step in her direction.
"No, I'm not. Am I ecstatic that you're going away? No. But you're right, he needs you and you guys had something. I can understand and respect that. You wouldn't be you if you didn't go."
His words and calm tone wash over her, and she finds herself forgetting her stupid rules of not telling anyone they're dating as she crashes against him. Oliver wraps his arms around her and rubs her arms slowly, kissing the top of her head.
He understands. Thank God he understands. He'd do the same for Laurel. He gets it. Felicity relaxes under his touch, and gets on the tips of her toes to press a kiss on his lips. Oliver responds, but before it turns into anything too passionate, Felicity remembers her promise to Digg and takes a step back.
"Just keep your phone on, okay? I will be stalking you. And call when you get there."
"You wouldn't be you if you didn't," she chuckles faintly. "But I'll stalk you too, lay off the Green Arrow business, okay? Just for a few days."
Oliver smiles and takes her hand in his to bring it to his mouth.
"Do I get a reward if I obey?" he asks.
Diggle's lung-wrenching cough prevents her from answering.
"You might want to wait downstairs while we say goodbye, John. I'll meet you in a few minutes," she offers when Oliver grins shamelessly.
"You're worse than freaking teenagers," Diggle grunts out as the doors for the elevator close after him.
Felicity turns to Oliver, but before she can say anything he has her pinned against the glass wall, his mouth on hers. One of his hands has slid under her skirt, skimming over her thigh while the other cups her cheek. Felicity can't help the moan that escapes her, and Oliver takes the opportunity to lick her lip, his tongue seeking hers hungrily.
Felicity is taken back to the first time they had sex, on the other side of that very same glass door, on Oliver's desk. She remembers thinking that Oliver was losing it after not having sex for over a year — that she knew of but then again, he owed her no explanations at the time — and wanting to push him away because it wasn't right for him and she was worried it would ruin what they had.
She remembers being torn between feeling so good, feeling like she was finally home, like everything was fucking right for the first time in years, and realizing after that it was Oliver and that Oliver didn't do girlfriends whose last name wasn't Lance. Because of the life that he leads, Oliver doesn't want to date people he could care about that can't defend themselves like badass motherfuckers.
Then, when she found herself in the elevator, Aaron's name finally flashed in her mind, and his voice asking her about Oliver and wondering about their relationship suddenly played over in her head and she'd been devastated with self-loathing and guilt. She'd cried herself to sleep that night, thinking she'd lost everything.
She still can't believe Oliver is so eager to be with her. Obviously she's doing something right. She returns his kiss happily, biting his lip, caressing his cheek tenderly, her hand lost in his hair and fisting his shirt for balance.
When they eventually separate, Oliver's forehead comes against hers, his mouth inches from hers as he tucks a loose lock of her hair behind her ear.
"What was that for?" she asks breathlessly.
"Just something to remember me by for the next three days."
Felicity rolls her eyes at his antics. He doesn't need to play jealous, he knows that there's no one else but him in her life — Aaron dumping her for that exact reason being exhibit A of that demonstration.
"Be safe, okay?" he murmurs, and his eyes say something else.
She tends to forget how much of a stalkerish control freak Oliver can be sometimes.
"I'm going to a funeral in Milford, California. The only thing I should fear is the cheerlea-bitches that can't wait to tear me down. Lots of fun in perspective."
"You sure you don't want me to come with you?"
"Hell yes. That'd only make it worse. Friendless Felicity, showing up at her ex-boyfriend's father's funeral with a multi-billionaire as her new boyfriend? My parents brought enough soap to that opera when I was a kid, trust me. Besides, I can take Madison Blanchard any day. I was trained by a solider and an assassin, remember?"
Oliver grins at her, and kisses her once more before letting her go.
As the doors close before her, and the elevator begins its descent to the parking lot, Felicity's stomach does the same. Her dread, worry, self-loathing and guilt creep back in.
She's going to face her ex-fiancé and his family.
For the past two months, Felicity has felt like she was walking on sunshine and cloud nine at the same time. Of course that perfect bubble was going to burst into pieces. She's not stupid. The honeymoon phase doesn't go on forever. It's a miracle there ever was a honeymoon phase, now that she thinks about it.
One phone call.
In the end, one phone call made Felicity's reality crash and burn. And she realizes: that is exactly what she has been expecting. All that time. These past two months, she's been wary, scared and high on love. Because all along, she has been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
As the elevator pings for the parking lot, Felicity gulps. The other shoe is dropping hard.
Milford, California is two hours South of Starling City and as sad looking as Felicity remembers. It may always be sunny in California, but there's a choking atmosphere in Milford that's always creeped Felicity out and sucked the life out of her. Maybe it's just all the bad memories. Probably.
Felicity left her hometown on a bright day of June nine years ago, her shitty car literally vomiting boxes and clothes, as she drove to M.I.T and weather-changing Massachusetts. She came back once, for Christmas of freshman year but it turned out to be such a debacle that she decided it wasn't worth the effort and emotional distress.
She never had to come back either. She was barely done with M.I.T when Walter Steele's PA had contacted her and made her a very tempting offer.
Adam Miller's death is the cause of her return to her hometown. She can't fathom that. Honestly, Felicity was sure when she left that Christmas and vowed to not come back unless there was a real reason that she'd be back for her own mother's funeral. How ironic.
As Felicity parks in the shady parking lot of The Corner, amongst the trucks and the convertibles, a wave of unease suffocates her. She physically cannot be in that town. Every step she makes, she's weary of meeting with Madison Blanchard, or Joan Millers, or god forbid, her mother. But luck eventually smiles at her and when she takes a step in the bar that she spent so many hours in when she was in high school, no one notices her, and she recognizes nobody.
Aaron is sprawled on the far side of the counter, his head dropped on his hands, drooling on the wood. Felicity's heart hurts as she takes in the vision of her former boyfriend looking like her mother on her worst days. Would that have been his reaction if they'd stayed together? Is that what she does to people? Break them, make them want to quit and drown themselves into oblivion?
But right now, it's not about her. It's about Aaron's dad dying, Aaron's dad being a douche who terrorized his son into doing what he thought was right, Aaron losing his dad without ever fixing their relationship.
She nods a hello to Hank who smiles happily at her and goes in for a hug as he walks around the counter.
"How grown up! I'd never recognize you!" he tells her fondly.
Hank is an overweight bearded man who drinks too much but always had Felicity's back when Madison and her friends came looking for trouble. For that, Felicity will always be grateful.
"Thanks, Hank. How much do I owe you?" she asks, tilting her head in Aaron's direction.
"Don't worry about it. He's a lightweight, didn't even drink that much. It's on the house."
"Thanks," she smiles weakly. "Hey, do me another favor, don't tell my mom I'm here."
"Your mom?" Hank asks. "She's shacking up with a new guy last I heard. It's too recent for her to get her head out and check how things are."
"Well, just in case. You never know."
"You got it. Take care of him, 'kay kiddo?"
Felicity smiles at him and heads towards Aaron. He doesn't say a word and clings to her as soon as he notices that she's there. By the time they reach her tiny car, the shoulder of her t-shirt is drenched in tears.
When she drops him off at his parents' place a few hours later, in the room they made out like crazy when they were teenagers, Felicity is reminded that she has nowhere to stay. None of this even came up to her before that moment. She's called Max in the car to make sure that she wouldn't be killed off the second she parked in Milford — Max told her it was actually a good thing that she'd accepted to come — but she didn't offer to host her at her parents'.
There's absolutely no way she's sleeping at the Millers. Don't even get her started on staying at her mother's. Max and Hannah live in Vancouver and will land in the morning and Felicity doesn't feel at ease with the idea of knocking on Max's parents' door and crash at their place.
That's how at ten pm on a Thursday night Felicity is seriously contemplating sleeping in her car. Then she remembers that there's a hotel in the next town and she decides to stay there under a fake name so she's sure no one knows she's here.
Then she calls Oliver. He picks up on the first ring and offers to drive down to join her once more. She doesn't know if it's because he cares, because he's curious of her hometown, or because he's worried of her relationship with Aaron. Probably a little bit of the three. But it's Milford, California. There's no room for the Oliver Queens of the world there. There's no room for heroes and vigilantes, just barely enough for misery and shitty parents who manipulate their kids and make them feel like crap on a daily basis.
The day after, Aaron calls her and asks if she can come with him to make the funeral arrangements. His mother has barricaded herself in her room and refuses to come out. Aaron tells her his sister Hannah is the only one who can get through to her in such cases and leaves her to her sorrow mercilessly. He doesn't mention anything about them being a couple almost a year ago. He doesn't drink at all. They barely talk, and Felicity wonders what the hell she's doing there in the almost desert, hanging out with a guy who shouldn't want her there but craves her support.
That night, Hannah and Max take them out for dinner and it's the weirdest, most-awkward non-double date ever. Every one drinks too much except Felicity who wonders what she's doing there. This would have been her life, if Aaron hadn't let her go. If she hadn't answered every single one of Oliver's texts and calls. If she'd ditched Team Arrow.
Sitting at a sticky table at The Corner in the eerie calm of that dead town, Felicity feels empty and soulless and wrong.
She misses the buoyant lights of Starling City, the ear-splitting noise of helicopters roaming through the dark sky and police sirens tearing up the calming hum of the ever-present traffic. She misses the busy atmosphere of QC, the rhythm of Digg and Roy's hits during their training sessions as they banter and laugh in the foundry, and Oliver's voice in her ear when she gives him directions to save the city.
It hits her how much Aaron is not made for her. She's never realized how much of a life she has created for herself, or at least how much she adores the life that Oliver introduced her to. When she was seventeen, Aaron was everything to her. He made her laugh, he made her life in Milford so much more alive, so much easier. She could escape emotionally and physically, in ways that her computers couldn't allow. And she was happy.
It's only been a day, and she is longing for her life back in Starling. She keeps thinking about it, about waking up at 6 to go to a fake job that she shouldn't have so much fun doing, about working eighteen hours a day for secret missions with three broken bulks of men that she loves with all her heart.
Hannah, Max and Aaron are torn up by Adam Millers' death but she can see what that town does to those who live here. She knows Aaron would have wanted to settle down in the suburbs after they got married. Settle in a town much like Milford, a town that drains its inhabitants of life and desires leaving only resignation and hope of a better life for their own kids. Everything here is grey and void.
Felicity's eyes abruptly open on her own story. On how her life is so clearly divided between a before and after.
There's a life with low-hanging ponytails, long grey skirts and pale pink blouses that Oliver Queen barged into, all fake-smiles and lame-ass lies. And then there's color everywhere. Purple nails, bloodstains, green hoods and crimson scars. Bloodshed and death and bat-shit people but loyalty, exhilaration and that crazy fucking sensation of feeling alive and being fully aware of it.
Participating in that family conversation is the most awkward thing that's ever happened to Felicity. She drives the drunken lot to their ghost of a house, and heads back to her hotel. She calls Oliver and can't exactly handle the emotions that overtake her. There are too many at the same time and the distance makes nothing easier.
She's head over heels in love with that man, for so many reasons she can't even name them. She forces herself to cut the conversation short because she knows that she'll end up telling him to join her and she can't do that. She can't do that to Aaron. She can't do that to herself, depend on him that much.
The morning after is the funeral. It's the first time that she sees Joan Millers since her breakup with Aaron, and Felicity is fully aware that the only reason she's not being torn apart is because Hannah and Aaron have both told her off. Felicity tries to blend in at the last row but Aaron comes to look for her, grabs her hand and leads her to the front to stand by his side.
It's like Moira's funeral, except the son is actually there, and mourning the father figure he had and the one he wished he'd had.
"I think it's time for me to go, Aaron," she whispers when they reach his house where all the guests are regrouping, carrying food and platitudes.
Felicity has noticed Madison Blanchard in the crowd, and she just can't take that soul-wrenching feeling anymore. Aaron looks at her in misery.
"Can't you stay a little while longer? Just until this is done?"
His pleading tone makes her will crumble. But then it hits her. She opens her mouth, hating herself for what she's doing.
"And then what? This is not my place, I wasn't supposed to be in the front row. I came here as your friend. I'm not your fiancée anymore."
"I…" he begins, lamely. "I know. I just thought…"
"I should have realized sooner, it's my fault I can't…" disappoint the men in my life, she wants to say. She has daddy issues, he's fully aware. And he used it and his sorrow and his father's death to turn things around and that makes Felicity feel both angry and guilty.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to kiss you," he grunts bitterly, running his hand in his curly hair. "Not because I don't want to, but because I've seen how much of a friend you've been."
Felicity clutches her steering wheel and frowns. What the hell? How does that make her a bad person?
"What is that supposed to mean? Why do you make it sound like such a bad thing?"
"Saint Felicity, coming to rescue her miserable ex."
"Hey, you're the one who called me! I was just trying to be there for you!"
"And you can't wait to get the hell out of dodge! It's like you weren't even there, looking at your phone every goddamn second! I'm amazed he hasn't called you or showered you with texts the entire time!"
"What the hell do you want from me, Aaron? You called, you begged me to come, and I did! I dropped my life in Starling City in a moment's notice, showed up within a few hours to clean up your mess and be the friend you wanted me to be!"
"I don't want you to be my friend!" Aaron suddenly yells. "I don't, okay? I want you to fucking want to be with me and marry me! I quit because I messed up at work because you broke my heart! And now my dad's dead and…"
Felicity's entire body turns into ice.
"Are you implying that your father's dead because of me?" she asks, her tone so cold it freezes Aaron. "I broke your heart and you make mistakes and it's all on me? Screw you, Aaron. Get out of my car."
"No — Felicity, I didn't mean that…"
"I doesn't matter if you didn't mean it," Felicity articulates, her voice wavering in barely contained anger. "I get that you're hurting and that I messed up almost a year ago, and I know that I led you on and that in anyone's book I'm a selfish bitch, okay? And I am sorry. I'm sorry for what I did to you, for the way I handled our relationship. You didn't deserve this. But it happened, and you're a grown up, and you never called to get explanations…"
"Like you would've given any!"
"Maybe not. But I'm not responsible for your father's death. And neither are you for that matter. Don't blame yourself, and you better not blame me. I might be responsible for a lot of hurt to a lot a people but your father's death is not on me. Now I need to go."
"I'm sorry, Felicity. I didn't mean to imply… I…"
"Whatever. Apology accepted. I have to go."
Her cellphone suddenly rings on the dashboard and Oliver's name flashes like a burning fire. Felicity refuses to feel guilty, and pushes the creeping emotion away. But Aaron sees through her immediately and the sigh that he exhales would have worsen everything if he hadn't just basically yelled at her for things that she can't take responsibility for.
"So you and him, huh?"
"It's none of your business," she answers immediately.
She doesn't pick up but texts Oliver that now is not a good time.
"You're right," he chuckles brokenly. "Have a great life, Felicity. For what it's worth, I really am sorry."
"So am I. Goodbye."
Aaron looks at her like he wants to say more but eventually shakes his head and gets out of the car.
"Well, I guess that's what people call closure," she grumbles.
She's so lost in her thoughts as she drives out of Milford that she doesn't notice that she has parked in front of her childhood home. It looks more decrepit than it used to be. The paint on the outside walls is chipped, many shutters are now unhinged and the yard is a mess.
Felicity doesn't get out of her car. But she can see through the window her mother's thinner face as she walks around the house. It's poorly lit, but she can make out her silhouette. What she can't make out is how she feels about the view. Sadness? Regret? Longing?
Aaron and his dad had such a terrible relationship and now they have no hope of ever mending it. Felicity knows that her father wants nothing to do with her, and so far her mother has given her the same impression. But she can't help but think that she'd like things to be better than they are. Knowing her parents though… It's never going to happen.
Felicity tells everyone that her mother is crazy. It's not technically true. She's not crazy-crazy, eat-crayons-and-yell-at-strangers-in-the-street-dressed-as-a-fairy-crazy. Felicity remembers distinctly how awesome her mother was until her father left. And she remembers vividly how eventually Jessica interpreted her husband's departure as Felicity's fault.
It couldn't be her own. Nope.
It had to be because Felicity wasn't enough of a girl, because Felicity always asked questions, because Felicity was too quiet or too babbly, because she was a girl and not a boy… The reasons varied with the seasons, the amount of alcohol ingested, they barely ever made sense but they always ended up being the same.
Felicity's dad left because of Felicity.
So the only way Felicity managed then to rationalize what was going on was to tell herself that her mother was crazy — everyone in town obviously agreed anyways. She'd refused to accept that her father had left, waiting for him for years, telling Felicity that she had to be extra perfect so he would know and come back. Then when Felicity was in high school it'd probably all clicked together and she'd started having a lot of men over, to spite Felicity's dad who might have given a shit if he hadn't been in Arizona raising another family.
Jessica Smoak's life is ruled by Tony Smoak, whether he knows it, cares for it or not. Felicity thinks that her father broke her mother when he left. Or maybe she was broken to begin with and he ran when he figured it out. Felicity's mother is addicted to her husband, and she looks for substitutes any way she can. And when the men leave — because they always do — she drowns herself in alcohol and pops pills and she finds a guy worse than the one before. It's a warped pattern in an endless cycle of bad choices that Felicity has always refused to be a part of.
So Felicity stays seated in her car, and looks at the life she could have lived through the window from across the street. And she knows that she made the right choice all these years ago, leaving for M.I.T, starting a life of her own without blaming mothers and absentee fathers.
After a sigh, Felicity texts Oliver that she's on her way back and asks him to wait for her before he goes out to patrol. She desperately needs to hack into something, and she can't get away from her world of possibilities fast enough.
[NEXT: Part Two – Felicity's POV]
Author's Note : I know there was only one scene that had Oliver and Felicity together but next part is way longer, and almost only made out of Oliver/Felicity scenes so I hope you still liked it... This part was mostly to set up where Felicity is and what her (and Oliver's) insecurities are even now that they're dating. Next part will follow that scene, have smut, a shouted L-word and a surprise visitor.
I hope you liked that first part! Let me know what you thought :-) Thank you for reading.