Step Three: Embrace the Problem

Your room. During the fireworks.

Felicity reads over the text for what seems like the hundredth time in ten minutes. That means once every six seconds if she's done the math correctly, and she always does the math correctly. She has this nervous feeling that she somehow read it wrong the first ninety-nine times. Ridiculous, yes, but she can't really focus on anything else with the stupid fluttering in her stomach that just won't quit.

Her stomach has been in a near constant knotted state since they first kissed on the beach, and every time their paths have crossed since the knots has pulled a little tighter. This is uncharted territory for Felicity. Not the kissing part because she's certainly locked lips with a few boys in her time, even had a steady boyfriend her junior year of high school before she realized how much of a loser Cooper really was. No, the uncharted territory is Oliver. He's older and extremely experienced and has a way of making her feel simultaneously at peace yet completely out of control. She's not quite sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

A loud thundering sound startles Felicity from her preoccupation as she quickly looks around to discern the source of the noise. Bright, colorful light from outside draws her attention, and she makes her way over toward the sliding glass door that leads to a small balcony connected to her bedroom. The booming increases in decibel as Felicity steps outside and onto the porch, shivering at the cool seaside breeze that greets her. A handful of sailboats bob up and down with the rise and fall of the sea off the shore, and people are gathered down below on the beach to watch the display of American pride light up the night sky in a brilliant array of colors.

Resting her forearms on the railing of the balcony, Felicity loses herself in the awesome show of power and beauty, finally settling the butterflies that have taken up residence within her. She ooh's and ah's with the crowd below, transfixed just as they are.

The moment of peace doesn't last long when a few minutes into the show, Felicity feels the presence of another person behind her. She knows who it is before she even turns around to acknowledge him, the hairs on her arms standing in awareness as she practically feels the heat of his gaze on her back. Taking a few deep breaths, Felicity slowly shifts her stance so that she's leaning back against the railing, facing him.

"Hi."

"Hey."

They stand there, staring at one another and not really sure what to say next. Oliver looks… nervous. Which is weird. Not exactly weird given the situation, but weird given that he's Oliver Queen and Felicity has never, in her life, seen Oliver Queen get nervous. Especially not when it comes to girls. However, as he shifts on his Sperry-clad feet, hands stuffed in the pockets of his American flag board shorts, everything about Oliver's body language screams nervous. Oddly, that gives Felicity a small bit of comfort and enough confidence to speak before he does.

"So… we kissed. Like a lot. And I'm pretty sure this bruise on the side of my neck is from you. That or this place is haunted and some evil spirit has it out for me, in which case we have bigger problems on our hands."

Her babbling seems to have the desired effect of easing Oliver's nerves, if just slightly. He diverts his eyes for a moment and runs a hand through his hair as he huffs out a laugh before moving away from the door. Slowly, Oliver crosses the deck to where she stands, leaving a careful amount of space between them. Probably a good thing considering they seem to be unable to keep their hands off each other as of late, especially when in close proximity.

"After all the summers we've vacationed at this place, I think we would know if evil spirits were shacking up in here."

Felicity laughs a little at that, more out of anxiousness and anticipation than anything else. She already brought up their encounters. The ball is in his court now.

Oliver licks his lips, pressing them together for a moment, gaining his composure. His features turn serious as he takes another step forward and carefully reaches for her hand. When she doesn't protest, his hold becomes more confident, his fingers threading between hers.

"First of all, I want you to know that if any of this makes you uncomfortable whatsoever I want you to tell me. You're young and Tommy's little sister and I would never want to take advantage - "

"Oliver," she cuts off the ridiculous notion as soon as she realizes where his spiel is going. "I am an adult. I make my own decisions. And stop acting like you're so much older than me when we're only three years apart. You're not some skeezebag hitting on an unsuspecting little girl."

Honestly, she's the one who pretty much mounted him on the beach. And got half naked with him in a pantry. And licked whipped cream off his abs.

That last one might have just been a product of her overactive imagination.

"Okay."

The response comes out quietly, a hint of endearment to match the soft smile on his face. His willingness to accept what she's said is a little bit startling. For as long as Felicity can remember, Oliver has always possessed a stubborn streak. She expected him to protest, if only just a little bit.

"Okay. So what's the second point?"

Oliver's smile turns into a grin at her question and he takes a step closer, encompassing her other hand in his unoccupied one.

"I want to take you to dinner."

Well that was unexpected. She thought they would maybe fool around some, enjoy their vacation together, that sort of thing. Not… date. Is this a date? Is he asking her out?

"I… Okay, I'm trying not to read too much into this, but it kind of sounds like you're asking me on a date. Like a date, date."

Felicity tries extremely hard to tamper down the hope she feels swelling in her chest, not wanting it to show on her face in case she has misread him. But Oliver just smiles wider, a small hint of that nervousness from before coloring his features. He almost looks a little shy, which somehow manages to make him even more attractive.

"Well, the implication with dinner would be, uh, that…. yeah."

She must be in some kind of Twilight Zone because she's pretty sure that Oliver Queen just stuttered over asking her to dinner. Instead of responding right away, Felicity gazes at him expectantly, encouragingly as he composes himself.

"Felicity, may I take you out to dinner? On a date, date?"

"Yes."

She barely lets him finish his request before giving her breathy reply, a smile breaking out across her face as a giggle bubbles up inside her. Her joy is mirrored in Oliver's expression as he gives a laugh of his own. His large, callused hands release her much smaller ones and move to cup her face as he leans down, intent clear in the way his bright blue eyes flicker toward her lips. Unlike before, their mouths don't press together immediately in a hungry coupling of lips and tongues. Instead Oliver pauses a breath away from her mouth and waits for Felicity to close the gap between them.

Rising on her toes, she presses her lips against his in a slow, tender kiss. This one is not rushed or desperate like the others. It is gentle and slowly building. One of Oliver's hands slides into her hair while the other palms Felicity's waist, drawing her in closer. Her own slide up his muscled torso to rest over his chest, and Felicity smiles into the kiss when she feels the racing of his heart beneath her palm.

The vague sound of fireworks booming in the background barely registers as their lips, tongues, bodies slide against one another, and even though she isn't actually watching the show, Felicity thinks it's the best one yet.

They haven't figured out what exactly this is or where it's going. They haven't talked about what they are going to say to Tommy, who is most definitely going to have a few words for them when he finds out. But that's okay. Because right now it's just the two of them getting lost in this moment, in each other. Everything beyond that can wait.

Maybe, just maybe this problem isn't such a bad one to have after all.

...

Author's Note: Alright so that's a wrap on this 'verse! I'm sorry there wasn't any smut, but I think this rounded it out pretty well. I was struggling between the physical vs. emotional development between the two of them and this helped me balance it out and set them up for hopefully a loving and long lasting relationship.

Thanks for reading!
- Bri