A/N: After watching committed, the Oliver scenes really stood out to me and made me wonder just what the hell was going through his head, so of course I had to write a fic about it.
Def: the act of giving a false appearance
When news of the break-up spread, hordes of gossip columnists prepared to write long sympathetic articles about the heartache the popular billionaire suffered.
To their dismay, the charming Oliver Queen managed to avoid a burdensome broken heart and emerged unscathed from his most recent split. Sure, there were more nameless women by his side than before the ill fated affair, but that was to be expected when such a notorious playboy finally found his freedom once again. And if his face graced the tabloids with more frequency- always accompanied with an amusing tale of debauchery, he was simply enjoying the life he had been denied for months.
Stunning socialites welcomed him back into their world, and beds, with open arms. With the same eagerness they had shown him, Oliver embraced the new direction of his life, and found surprisingly enough, that it was a pull from the past that was guiding him.
Once again being faced with Tess- Mercy, whatever she was calling herself these days, had thrown him for a loop and left him reeling. Though he had expected it, the justifiable anger she still harbored for him was biting. After being one of the good guys for so long, the guilt of his misdeed felt unfamiliar and weighed him down.
He wanted to explain that he wasn't that selfish boy anymore, that he actually stood for something these days; he had changed. For a woman that barely resembled the the girl he had once known, the concept seemed foreign to her. Her indifference to his claims sparked a determination within him that was usually reserved for his time spent in green leather. No matter what it took, he was going to prove that he was not the same man that had hurt her. Even if he couldn't right the wrong from years past, he could regain the trust he had so carelessly thrown aside for one moment of lust.
Without any real thought, Oliver found himself standing in front of closest jewlery store, unsure of his next move. Would Tess appreciate a gift from him as she had in the past? Or would this been seen as a cheap ploy to buy back her affection? The woman she had become was one he could no longer predict and always managed to leave him off kilter.
Maybe that was what drew him to her once again. His taste of women had always leaned toward stubbornly complicated.
Still undecided on how his gift would be perceived, Oliver walked through the glass door, his attention immediately drawn to the sparkling display cases prominently laid out. Making his way further into the store, he stopped at the unexpected sight in front of him.
Of all the people he would expect to run into at a jewlery store, Lois and Clark had never even made consideration for the list.
As his eyes settled on the unlikely pair, he had stood in bafflement, wondering why they would be at such a place, all the while praying that neither would ask what he was doing there. Even though he and Lois had manged to find a way to co-exist, they were not nearly at a stable enough point to flaunt their new conquests in each others faces- and announcing he was buying another woman expensive jewlery was definitely considered off limits.
The uneasy silence made him shift restlessly as he watched the two share what could only be considered deer in the headlight looks with one another. Apparently, they hadn't expected to see him here either.
Before the conversation could somehow be centered on himself, Oliver asked quickly. "What are you two doing here?"
Raising his eyebrows at the higher pitch of Lois' voice than he was used to hearing, Oliver watched in fascination as Clark dropped his head, wondering just what would cause such a reaction in both of them.
"Didn't get the invitation yet?"
The question was not what he had been expecting. Resisting the urge to turn on his heel and make a quick escape, Oliver couldn't stop the curiosity from taking over his system as he asked. "Invitation to what?"
The meaningful glance Lois threw the man beside her made Oliver uneasy. Instinct told him that he wasn't going to like whatever secret they had- one that he was clearly going to be clued in on very soon.
"Tell him, cupcake."
He could have laughed at how rightly he had predicted the course of the conversation if her last word hadn't knocked him senseless. Since when did the two people in front of him call each other anything other than Smallville or annoying?
Self preservation dictated that he brace himself for whatever was about to come because judging by the nervous and slightly apologetic look Lois was giving him, it wasn't going to be anything he wanted to hear.
"Lois and I are…" Clark hesitated, as if weighing his next words.
At the slight pause, Oliver waited with abated breath, his mind whirrling with possibilities. They were what; helping Chloe shop for her wedding? Lost? Robbing the place? Anything seemed more reasonable than what his mind was slowly starting to circle around.
"…we're getting married."
An incredulous chuckle bubbled from Oliver's mouth, beyond his control to stop and he wondered briefly where the hidden cameras were. This had to be some twisted prank.
Realizing they weren't sharing in on his humor, Oliver took a closer look at the pair, unable to stop his eyes from darting between the two and noticing their silent exchange.
Comprehension came slow, but as Lois moved her hand up into his line of vision, any lingering traces of laughter died on his tongue. Just like that, old wounds were torn open and left stinging.
Words failed Oliver as his eyes remained glued to the sight of the sparkling ring on his ex-girlfriend's finger. Stepping forward, he flickered a glance between the apparent couple, searching for some explanation, anything that would shed light onto this new development in their lives.
Resentment bubbled inside of his chest as he directed his gaze to his friend and in a deceptively light tone asked. "You're just full of surprises lately, aren't you Clark?"
As Clark opened his mouth to respond, Lois took charge of the situation, her tone chipper. "I know, right?"
The rest of her words sounded like buzzing in his ears, only snippets making it through the droning noise. At the mention of a magical night, Oliver supressed a snort, images of months old security footage flashing through his mind.
"Is this true?" Oliver turned his attention to the silent man by Lois' side, silently calling on the bond of their friendship for the truth. He didn't know why they would lie about this, but it was the only explanation.
Looking directly into the other man's eyes, Oliver felt his heart stop at the verification of Lois' story. His mouth opened, but all sound refused to come out. Too many questions flooded his mind, all of them sticking in his throat. Before he could manage to regain any thought process, Lois had already brushed past him, Clark in tow.
Standing like a fool, Oliver watched the two sprint towards the exit hand in hand, cringing inwardly at Lois' farewell words. "See you at the wedding."
Mind still reeling, Oliver pointed blindly at the nearest glass case. "I'll take that one."
As he watched the jewler box up the bracelet he had apparently picked, Oliver felt a pang of dissappointment that he hadn't been given the chance to reveal his proof of moving on. It probably didn't matter anyway, the new couple seemed too intent on their own little drama to notice what he was here for.
Hours later, Oliver strolled into the Luthor mansion, eager to push thoughts of his day from his mind. The appeal of losing himself in a fight was a temptation he couldn't resist.
The years spent apart from Tess had made her impossible to read and he glady immersed himself in her complexities rather than dwelling on another woman just as baffling.
Oliver let out a bitter chuckle as he walked into the Daily Planet the following afternoon. Over the past two days, a definite theme was starting to emerge when it came to his love life. It seemed that not only was he prone to falling for tenacious women, but also ones that had the uncanny ability of moving forward with no regard for him. Of the three women he had ever felt a deep connection with; one was getting married, another seemed to think of him as nothing more than an itch-scratcher and the third, Oliver sighed, he didn't know what had become of her, but he prayed that she was taking care of herself and keeping a low profile in the independent life she was now leading.
Stepping into the frantic bullpen, Oliver scanned the room and immediately spotted the reason for his visit to the crowded newsroom. As if sensing a pair of eyes on him, Clark looked up, shock and something that looked suspiciously like guilt flickering across his features as he motioned for the other man to the copy room.
Apparently they were going to have this conversation in private.
Crossing the room at a brisk pace, Oliver closed the door behind him and bypassed polite greetings with a strained look. "Still haven't gotten that invitation."
That little fact had niggled at the back of his mind since the moment he had checked his mail this morning. Ego still bruised from the verbal slap Tess had dished out, Oliver had mentally prepared himself for the sight of the little card that would announce the impending nuptials, only to find that it wasn't there.
With a nervous shift, Clark cleared his thoat. "Um, about that. We…"
Oliver was really starting to hate those hesitant pauses; his mind swarming with possiblities. They what, called off the engagement? Eloped?
"It was a, um, a cover for a story."
This was not how he had expected the conversation to go, his prepared talking points were now rendered useless.
Although taken back by the revelation, the tension in his chest disappeared and once again allowed him to breath properly. The relief that plagued his system was startling and he felt a grin creep unbidden onto his face. "Really? Must have been some story."
Just as swiftly as the relief had come, it morphed into annoyance at the realization he had been kept out of the loop on something so important. It didn't help that apparently neither Lois or Clark had felt the need to enlighten him once their charade had ended, allowing him to believe their lies for much longer than necessary.
"You have no idea." Clark stated, his eyes clouding over with resurfacing memories.
At the darkening expression of his friend, Oliver let his annoyance slip away. Clearly the fake couple had been dealing with something far more traumatic than he had expected and judging from Clark's mood, it was something that wouldn't be forgotten anytime in the near future.
"You and Lois…?" Oliver began, unable to form the rest of the question for some reason. He had meant to ask if they were okay, had escaped unharmed from whatever ordeal they had been through, but the words simply refused to come.
Panic, disappointment and confusion all swirled together on the young journalist's face as he struggled to find the right words. "Lois and I…it's- we make a good team."
Oliver smiled tightly at the hesitant defintion of the pair. Only two days ago, it was sure to have been a clear and precise label of friends- when Oliver had been dating Lois there had been an obvious reluctant infront of that word. Yesterday, it was a plastic cover of lovers, now though, it seemed that neither knew to what to make of their relationship and had merely settled for referring to themselves as a team. Even if it wasn't as drastic as an engagement, there had been a shift in the bickering pair's relationship.
He wondered what they would be termed in a few years from now. They would probably still be going with team, only with a far more meaningful definition.
It was only a matter of time. Next time though, when they made the same announcement, he wouldn't be taken by surprise.
The door slammed open as a brunnette tornado stormed in and without preamble started speaking rapidly. "Smallville, get your ass in gear. There was an attack over at the Drake theater. Seven dead, five critically injured and no clue what the hell happened."
Finally taking notice of the other person in the room, Lois stopped short, her eyes bouncing between both men quickly before giving a small nod of her head. "Oliver, hey."
Either Lois was too hyped up with a new story in her sights or had already met her quota for uncomfortable moments and was unwilling to partake in any more for the day- Oliver figured it was probably a mixture of both- because she breezed past the awkward tension hanging in the room and sent Clark a impatient glare. "Are you in this or not?"
The question was pointless since Clark was already adjusting his tie as he walked towards the door. With a casual bye thrown over their shoulders, the pair strode out of the room already discussing their latest story.
It was for the best anyway since, Oliver mused, he wasn't in the mood for yet another stilted conversation. Besides, he was too tired to deal with any more revelations being around those two might throw his way.
After he had begun to recover from the shock of the unexpected news, Oliver had been able to concede that this was something he had predicted long ago, even taking to dropping teasing hints at the oblivious pair. He had thought it would help, be enough of a barrier to shield him from the pain when they finally did open their eyes to whatever was between them.
He had been wrong. The news, even if had turned out to be fake, still stung and left him off balance.
Still, that didn't mean when the time came he wouldn't be able to share in their joy, hopefully. He had already started to make some progress in that department. Oliver let out a little chuckle as he pictured the pair's reaction when they saw the early engagement present he had sent to the farm earlier this morning.
He was sure they would find a use for the green chaise- eventually.
Exiting from the Planet, Oliver pasted on a brilliant smile, showing the world what they expected. He was the charming billionaire without a care in the world, immune to the pesky trials and tribulations of love.