When he turns 21, Oliver Queen is sure of two things. He is very drunk, and in love with his best friend. Felicity is dancing with him, shouting the words to a song he doesn't know. She is still underage but is already two tequila shots ahead of him, dancing without a care in the world. It's the most beautiful sight.
They are both in Boston, him in Harvard and her in MIT and it was her idea to go out to celebrate his birthday even though they both have finals in a week. They order another round of shots and go sit. Felicity sits on a stool while he stands, and even sitting she is shorter than him. They do the shots and start giggling, then their faces are too close. Oliver is drunk but is aware of his actions and he leans in and kisses her. Her lips are soft and taste like lipstick and alcohol and she is reciprocating and he is smiling. They break apart and she tries to stand up, then falls face down on the floor.
The next day when he visits her at her campus, she has a bruise on her face, is completely hangover. She asks him to forget all about the previous night and reluctantly, he agrees.
The next week after their finals, he asks Laurel Lance on a date and watches Felicity's face fall when he tells her.
She stays behind in Boston to attend summer school and avoid her mother while he goes back home to Starling City to intern at his father's company and be with Laurel.
She tells him she is dating Cooper, a guy she met during summer school when he returns the next semester and blushes when she tells him that she lost her virginity to him. He doesn't tell her that he slept with Laurel's sister and is planning to drop Harvard.
He spends his next birthday with Laurel and her friends and looks for Felicity every second. She is in her room studying for finals and he understands because she wants to win that internship in that company in Silicon Valley. That night Laurel tells him of her plans to move in together and he calls his father the next day to agree to go on his business trip to China and drops out of Harvard a week later.
Felicity is teary eyed as they stand before one another at the airport. She pulls him and hugs him desperately, mumbling into his chest things he can't hear. He gives her a keychain with an arrow pendant, reminiscent of their conversations about how she wants to shoot into the world and she gives him a photo of the two of them together lying on the grass and laughing at something. They hug again and their faces are close and she is about to close the distance when he pulls away. He kisses her cheek and looks at her a final time and doesn't see her again for five years.
Felicity looks at the stick and shouts. Life is unfair. She is about to leave Boston in two weeks for her dream internship, but the stick shows positive. Just one time they forgot to use a condom because Cooper couldn't put it on, and now she is sitting on the toilet seat in a pharmacy, pregnant and alone.
She calls her mother, crying and scared and the arrangements to Silicon Valley are canceled. She packs her bags and travels to Las Vegas instead, already dreading the summer heat. Her mother is surprisingly understanding of the fact that her daughter is knocked up and helps her with social services. She can do it. She can give up the baby and continue her life like nothing happened. Then she turns on the news and Oliver's face shows up and when she faints, it's not because of hormones or the desert heat, but because her best friend is lost at sea.
Eight months pass by in a blur of hormones and putting on weight and crying and mourning for her best friend and finding the perfect family for the baby. When the nurse asks her if she wants to hold the baby before the social worker arrives, she looks at the little hiccupping boy and never wants to leave him.
She is checking the video feed in the security room with little Connor sleeping on her lap when she sees his face on the screens. She calls her mother and asks her to check on the toddler and she goes to the floor and catches Cooper Sheldon counting cards. Before she gets to kick him out of the casino, he tells her that he knows about the baby and that he wanted to be caught counting cards so he could talk to her.
Her mother doesn't mind looking after Connor when she goes on a date with Cooper. She does mind it, however, when she decides to leave Las Vegas for Starling City with Connor and Cooper to work at a technology company.
A month into living together, she finds out that Cooper is cheating on her and kicks him to the curb and a month later agrees to go on a date with Ray Palmer who works for the competitor. He is nice and smart and funny and gets her and loves Connor and she finally has a decent sex life. Two years into dating, she agrees to marry him. Two days into their honeymoon, she learns that Oliver Queen is alive.
She is sitting at her cubicle, chewing a pen when she hears her name being called out. She looks up and is immediately on her feet, then in his arms. Tears just flow down.
"You're alive, you're really alive and here." she mumbles through the tears. "And you're big. You were always taller than me, but wow, you're huge now."
He laughs and she commits that sound to memory. "You were always on my mind, Felicity." he tells her and she believes him. "I can't believe you're working for my family's company."
"I can't believe you're alive, standing before me."
They go to lunch and she has so many questions and he is reluctant with answers. She doesn't know why she hides her wedding ring from him and never brings up Connor. She doesn't know why he keeps avoiding questions about the five years he was missing. They fall into their old rhythm regardless. She is laughing so hard her stomach hurts and his eyes shine so bright that she thinks he is happy.
She is shopping with Connor and Ray one day when they run into Laurel Lance. Felicity knocks down a stand displaying hats trying to avoid her. Just with one look Laurel learns about the life Felicity tries to hide and Felicity with one word lets Laurel know that Oliver is back.
When her mother is sick with cancer two years later, it's not Ray who shows up at the hospital, but Oliver. He is carrying a huge, stuffed teddy bear and holds her as she cries. Connor walks into the room and hugs Oliver, the man he has known only from stories, like he has always known him. She watches as her two boys acquaint and become quick friends and forgets for a moment that her mother and her marriage are slipping away from her.
Ray shows up three hours late to the funeral and then screams at her when he sees Oliver hugging her. She is too upset to fight so she pulls away from Oliver and lets Ray pull her away. She catches a glimpse of Oliver at the airport as they are about to board their plane, but then Connor falls and her mother instincts take over.
She learns that Ray is embezzling money and having an affair on the same day when he forgets to lock his computer account. Several email alerts disturb her when she is having a nap and she goes to the computer and ends up reading the emails. She storms to his office and punches him, then files for divorce the next day. While she is throwing away his things and packing away Connor's and her things to move out, she finds a letter in his desk drawer addressed to her.
You know me, I've never had good timing. I was always late to classes, always late to meet you and now I'm late to your life.
I remember that day at the airport. We were standing and you were giving me a bone-crushing hug that I'm pretty sure bruised some ribs and I looked at you and never wanted to leave you, but you had dreams and a life I didn't want to mess. I always messed things up, and then got stranded on an island. You smiling at me at that airport and the photo you gave me kept me warm, gave me hope for five years.
I know I'm late and you are married and have the most amazing son, but if there is a chance… if Ray doesn't love you like you deserve and I'm sure he doesn't, just call me. You're my best friend and the only person who gets me in this world. I've always loved you and will always love you. You deserve the best and I can give that to you. Just give me a chance.
She cries and sinks to the floor and grabs her phone and dials his number. She skips on her feet while she waits for an answer and just before she is about to hang up, a woman answers. It's Laurel Lance and Oliver is in the shower.
He wakes up from nightmares almost every night and finds himself in an empty bed. Laurel is too scared to sleep in the same bed with him, but shows up to have sex every morning. She finds a box in his sock drawer hosting a ring that's meant for someone else, and he doesn't argue when she gives the ring a home on her finger.
He is the CEO of his family's company despite lacking any degrees and the most important employee of the company resigned three weeks ago, the day he informed her of his upcoming marriage.
Some days Oliver looks out the windows of his office out to the city and he doesn't know how he got there. One day he was sitting with his back against Felicity's twin bed in her dorm room, then the next day, he was sleeping in a cave on an island with her photo in his pocket. He has been back in civilization for three years and every day is a challenge just to get out of the bed and be part of the life that got built around himself.
He eyes the church doors, waiting them to open and for Felicity to burst in, but it never happens and he says the words. Their eyes meet outside the church and he stands next to his family and his wife.
She is his best friend and it is fitting to have her as the matron of honor, something Laurel asked her, claiming it was her who brought them together, but he can't silence the voice in his head telling him that it should be her sitting next to him as his wife. She is wearing a green dress and her hair is in curls and Connor is sitting next to her in a tux and a girl in a pink dress is sitting next to him. When the time comes, Felicity stands and holds notecards, then puts them on the table and starts rambling instead.
"I was 17 when I first met Oliver Queen." she starts. "I was too young to be in college and was miles away from home in a city I didn't know and he just smiled at me and gave me directions. From that day forward, we were inseparable. I was on a scholarship, he was on a trust fund but he never made a big deal out of it. I was the geeky girl obsessed with computers and he was in a fraternity. He bought me my first drink even though we were both underage at the time."
Their eyes meet. She gives a shrug and continues. "Oliver can hold his alcohol to inhuman degrees. Have you ever had one night that everything just blacked out for you? That was his 21st birthday for me. I was so drunk, I don't remember anything." she says and Oliver realizes that she doesn't know that night was the first and only time they ever kissed. "I have too many drunk stories of Oliver to share, but I'll spare you all the details."
"I lost my best friend for five years." she goes on. "I spent so many nights just crying out for him, not knowing what to do. One day I was saying goodbye to him at the airport, and then he was gone. I missed him every day and would tell nighttime stories about him to my baby." She looks at Connor. "Connor didn't meet Oliver until he was 7, but already knew him very well when they finally met."
A tear falls down her cheek. Oliver wants to rush to her and wipe it away, but Laurel's hand is heavy in his. "Oliver. Choosing a person you want to share your life with, your partner is one of the most important decisions any of us will make. When it's the wrong person, it just turns your life upside down." She pauses to take a deep breath. "Then you wake up one morning and realize years have gone by. We both know about that Oliver, don't we?" she asks, her voice shaking. He gives her a half smile.
"Your friendship meant everything to me. It's been there for me even through the worst times. And I'm the luckiest person alive for that. And I want to thank you, if I never did it before." She looks at him. "Sometimes you just don't realize that the most important person is right there before you. But that's fine, I'm okay with it. I just want you to know that no matter where you are, or whomever you're with, I'll always love you." she says, looking right into her eyes and all the air in the room is gone. He hears gasps around him. His mouth twitches and tears almost fills his eyes. "Like a sister. Or a best friend." she adds hastily. "I'll always be there for you and your dreams, or nightmares." She raises a glass. "Please join me for a toast."
She closes her office door and sits down at her desk. She did it. She owns her own company, has her own office, and is making profit. She owns a house, a car, she doesn't owe anyone any money and she is sending Connor to a private school. Everything is great.
She looks at the flowers and the cards in the room and tries to hide her disappointment when none of them reads the name she wants to see. It's fine though. He is the head of a rival company. She officially opened her office just a day ago.
She turns some music on and closes her eyes when there is a knock on the door. Jerry, her assistant steps in. "Felicity, there is someone to see you." he announces.
Felicity, who has a free agenda for the day and doesn't expect any visitors, is surprised and allows Jerry to send the person in. Oliver steps inside in a green flannel shirt, a contrast to the suit he was wearing the last time she saw him. He is carrying a bouquet of tulips and walks towards her in uncertain steps.
"Oliver." she breathes out his name and accepts the tulips. He looks somewhat shy and she can read his face easily to know that he wants to tell her something. "You didn't have to come all the way to the Glades to give me flowers."
"I wanted to see you." he says. "I like what you've done with the place. Congratulations, Felicity."
"Do you want some coffee? I got one of those fancy machines." she says.
"I'm good." he declines. "Do you remember my 21st birthday?" he asks abruptly, taking her off guard.
"No, I don't." she replies. Even after years, everything is just a giant blank in her memory.
"You were drunk and so happy." he starts. "I remember watching you dance without a care in the world and just thinking about how much I loved you." he admits and watches as her mouth forms a circle. "We did another rounds of shots, I think it was your seventh then I leaned in and kissed you."
"We kissed. Then you fell off your stool." he explains.
"Is that why… why you asked Laurel on a date? Because I asked you to pretend nothing happened?" she asks.
He finds himself nodding.
"Oliver… I had no idea."
"I just messed up everything Felicity, I'm so sorry." he says, grabbing her hands. "You were all I wanted and I thought you wanted to pretend the kiss didn't happen. I didn't know until…"
"Until my speech." she finishes the sentence for him.
"Laurel and I aren't together anymore." he starts. "We both knew it wasn't right and got a divorce a few months ago."
He steps towards her. "I had this dream the other night."
"Let me guess, it became a nightmare?"
"No." he shakes his head. "I was me and you were you. You were here in your office and I came in and told you how much I loved you and how much I wanted to be with you and you hugged me and we kissed and we both remembered it and then we were together and we were happy."
"That sounds like a great dream." she replies as she leans in for a kiss. That kiss, she remembers for the rest of her life.
A/N: Yeah, yeah, I should be studying, instead I am writing again for these two. I watched "Love, Rosie" last night and it was so cute that it inspired me to write yet another story about these idiots. Hope you all enjoy it! Please leave a comment, it makes a sad grad school student's life!