A/N: This is a companion piece to 'Somewhere Between the Thirty-Second and Thirty-Third Floor'. It's possible to read it as a stand alone, but it'll make a lot more sense if you read both. :)
Enjoy! And I'd love to hear what you think.
It wasn't hyperbole to say that Oliver Queen had been through more than most men. However, that morning laying in bed and watching the love of his life sleep next to him with his ring on her finger it also wasn't hyperbole to say he didn't know how he survived those nine minutes, or the nine that followed.
They'd only been in bed for three short hours when the alarm blared, waking him from a fitful sleep. Since he'd been with Felicity his nightmares had subsided significantly, but a rough night like the one they had just had usually left him on edge.
The clock was on her side of the bed and he blinked open heavy eyes to see one slim arm reach out and hit the snooze button giving them nine more minutes of uninterrupted quiet. Some mornings those nine minutes could feel like hours.
That morning wasn't one of them. He tried to close his eyes but he knew it was futile. With a sigh he rolled to his side and looked at her. With her face slack in sleep, hair mussed, no make up or glasses she looked so young. Her head was turned towards him, the hand she'd used to shut off the alarm laying limp across her middle over the blankets.
Oliver was out of the bed and searching through a drawer before he fully recognized what he was doing. When he stared down at the small box in his hands he thought his heart might stop. But all it took was one more look at the woman who had turned her entire world upside down for him, had stayed by his side when he didn't think he'd deserved it, and had eventually shown him he was allowed happy stories, for him to know he couldn't go one more day without her truly knowing what he wanted for them.
With his pulse pounding in his ears, more nervous than he'd ever been before in his life he slid back in bed and gently picked up her hand. Her fingers were loose in his, and all she did was let out a heavier exhale, her lashes didn't flutter, she didn't pull away from him, she just slept on.
The ring that winked back at him had sat unworn in the Queen vault for decades. He'd remembered Thea had pointed it out when they were younger and when he'd gone in to retrieve it he knew it would be perfect. It wasn't the overly large seven carat rock the public would expect him to give her, but he also knew she'd hate that. The ring wasn't small by any means, but it was several diamonds instead of one and it wouldn't get in her way while she typed and he knew she'd appreciate the family history.
Certain she'd open her gorgeous blue eyes any second he slipped the ring from the box and began to slide it up the correct finger. It was the right moment. He couldn't explain why it was that day or that morning but he knew it was time.
When the ring was fully seated he flicked his eyes to her face to see her still sleeping. Every nerve ending on edge he sat, lightly holding her fingertips as he waited.
The blare of the alarm for the second time took him so off guard he jumped and cursed, but still she didn't wake. Her hand moved from his and reached over once again to smack off the offending noise. He watched, in dazed shock as the light caught the ring, sending sparkles all over the walls of the room and the cover of the bedspread. She never woke up.
For nine more minutes he sat and watched her. His pulse eventually returning to normal. As he waited and watched he wondered if he should wake her and show her but he wanted her to see it for herself. He wanted to see the ways her eyes would shine when she noticed it, the way her lips would curve into the broadest smile he'd ever seen.
So he waited.
The third time the alarm sounded he was ready. She never hit snooze more than twice. With a groan she turned it off this time and then rolled back, finally blinking open her eyes to see him propped on his side staring down at her.
"Is it really morning already?" she whined, curling sleepily into his chest as she resisted getting up,
He let out a low laugh and smoothed tangled hair from her face, "It is,"
"Ugh," with an exaggerated grunt she flung herself to her back and ran her own hand through her hair. Her left hand. His breath stilled as he watched the fine golden strands get caught up in the prongs of the setting but she didn't notice. She shook her hand out and threw the covers back, already halfway to the bathroom before Oliver came out of his stupor.
The rest of the morning before they left the house he was waiting for her surprised gasp to come at any second. When she brushed her teeth. When she put her make up on. When she stood at her dresser and selected a necklace to wear. With each action he waited, certain the next would be the one where she finally spotted the ring.
But she never did.
By the time Digg pulled up out front to pick them up he'd gone from nervous to amused. Now he wondered how long it would take her and the delight he was going to feel when she finally did.
Digg saw the ring as soon as he got out to open the door. He'd known Oliver had picked it up, but he didn't know when he was going to give it to her. A quick shake of Oliver's head out of her sight line had Digg's mouth closing with a snap and him sending Oliver a questioning look. 'Later' he mouthed, and the other man nodded. A smirk growing when she began to go on about something she needed to do at the lair that night, and didn't mention the massive change in their relationship at all.
When she demanded Digg stop so she could get coffee Oliver tried to go with her, but she shoo'ed him off and told him she'd be right back.
Digg was laughing before the door was shut.
"She has no idea there's a Queen family heirloom worth a few hundred thousand on her finger right now, does she?"
Oliver just shook his head slowly, lips pressed tight, "Nope,"
"Oh man," Digg laughed again, already pulling out his phone, no doubt to let Roy in on the latest development, "I hope I'm there when she spots it,"
Oliver dropped his head, trying not to look at her, hoping she didn't see it for the first time waiting in line, or having it pointed out by a stranger.
"You really ready for this?" Digg asked, voice far more sober than it had been,
"Yes. Definitely. Yes." he answered immediately,
"You think she is?"
Oliver's eyes shot forward, expecting to see some sort of reservation on his friend's face but there was none, only a trace of amusement.
"No worries. She's been the one since the minute you met her. She's ready," Digg assured him and Oliver made a noise of agreement.
Two minutes later there was a small knock on the window and he looked up to see her at the door, hands holding a drink tray, giving him an exasperated look.
By the time they reached the office he'd seen enough texts go through Digg's phone that he knew some sort of wager was being made between the members of their team; the ones present and the ones who only dropped in now and again.
Olive's apprehension began to grow as they walked through the lobby. Now the chance of someone else seeing it and pointing it out before she knew could have adverse effects. He resisted the urge to take her left hand in his as they crossed to the executive elevator but he knew there was no way she'd be able to miss the ring if it was being pressed into her hand by his palm and they certainly couldn't have that talk in the midst of the morning rush.
Luckily she seemed to spend the majority of their walk digging through her bag for something. Once they stepped on board she gave up her search and transferred her coffee to her left hand.
And for thirty-two more floors he waited.