Chapter 9

I crumpled up the note in my palm and tossed it behind me.

"So safe to say you heard all of that."

Oliver nodded, gesturing his hand towards the door. "Lois slipped out once the video started."

Bringing my gaze to his face on the computer screen, I smiled remembering his words. "Where did that speech come from?"

"I made it up on the stand, ready to make the speech and face the backlash. Then, for a moment, I thought I saw you in the crowd. You were shaking your head and you turned to walk away. It was then that I realized what I was doing. I remembered what you said, about earning my good press... and rolled with it."

"So the only difference between yesterday and today is that instead of letting advisors running your company, you let an inexperienced journalist run your life?"

Oliver chuckled before responding, "Something like that. However, I'm hoping to earn the respect of my employees and not just the press. "

I grinned. "For what it's worth, I'm proud of you."

"It means more than you know."

After biting my bottom lip, I said, "Well... I appreciate you stopping by... it was nice to see you again."

"Do you want me to leave?" I could see the disappointment in his eyes, but it never crossed my mind that he came by to do more than just say goodbye or thanks.

"Um... you don't have to... it's just I said, you probably have more important things to do."

"I didn't before Lois told me to stop by."

My eyes widened as I took a step back. "Oh."

"But no one's forcing me to be here Chloe."

Raising an eyebrow, I took a couple more steps backwards. "You sure? Knowing Lois, she probably barred the door."

Closing the gap, Oliver grinned. "Good."

"Excuse me?"

"Forces you to face this." He reached out for my hand to stop me, but I quickened my pace, afraid of what might happen if I let him touch me.

Finally stopping within inches of the wall, I bowed my head. "I did face it... I had all week to face it." Peering up, I asked, "You didn't help her plan this did you?"

Oliver raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"I've been stuck here for the past week. She took away ever possible option of me leaving."

He quickly shook his head. "I hadn't seen Lois since leaving the farm. She somehow convinced my publicist to let her through and she told me what you said to her."

"Which was?"

"Something that you'll deny the moment I say it."

Initially, I started to panic, because Lois could have told him one of many embarrassing things, but I remembered nothing could top the confession he just heard, causing his words at the conference to ring in my ear.

"What's keeping you here? You could handle things from California, why would you stay in Kansas?"

"The truth?"

"If you don't mind."

He sighed before looking at me once again. "Face-to-face is a lot easier than conference calls, but even if I hadn't made the decision to re-examine the scenario, I'm not sure I could have left Metropolis."


Oliver opened his mouth to say something, but instead he gestured in my direction.


"There's something here, you just admitted to it."

Averting my eyes from him, I looked towards an empty corner in the room. "But, your life is in Star City... it's your home."

"Despite what the papers say, Star City hasn't felt like home in a long time."

"Look Oliver, this is…"

"Something I don't want to give up so easily. I feel comfortable around you Chloe, and I don't want to lose you." He brought his hand up to cup my chin, trying to get me to look at him, but I squeezed my eyes shut, still unable to face him yet.

However, I managed to admit, "I don't know if I want to lose you either."

Oliver dropped his hand and took a couple steps back. "I'm not looking for a full-blown relationship Chloe. I'm not looking for anything you're not willing to give. Sure, the press will likely print something, but I'm willing to wait for you if that's what it takes."

I didn't know what I was thinking, maybe I wasn't, but when I saw the slight defeat in his eyes, I quickly closed the distance between us as I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him.

Once he realized I was serious, he put his arms around my waist and returned the kiss. As it lingered, I could feel his arms tightening around me as I felt lips slowly part.

He backed me up against the wall and lifted me up to level the field. Eventually breaking apart, gasping for air, we leaned our foreheads together and smiled at each other.

Oliver broke the silence. "What was that?"

I was so dazed that I didn't know how to answer that question. "That... was something I had to do."

He lowered me back down and took a step back. "Something you'd be willing to do again?"

I thought for a moment, the moment of being in his arms and letting go of everything. I felt alive, like I belonged there. Slightly tilted my head, I dryly remarked, "I don't know. Let me think about it. I mean..."

Oliver cut me off by pushing my lips towards his. I guess I should have seen that coming, but he let go of me soon after and gave me some space.

"Baby steps."

"Thank you." I looked around the apartment momentarily, as it suddenly felt a lot less empty with Oliver around.

"You okay?"

Shaking from my reverie, I smiled. "Yeah, but I put my cooking on hold because Lois said she had pizzas coming. You wouldn't actually happen to have pizzas would you? I don't know about you, but I'm starving."

He followed me to the stove with narrowed eyes. "You're cooking?"

Looking back slightly at him, I shrugged. "I had to do something."

Oliver walked around me and dipped his finger in the sauce. "Let's see what we have, shall we?" After cleaning off his finger, he smiled in approval. "Not bad, Sidekick."

I poured the pasta into the water, which was still surprisingly warm. "Oh come on, I thought you were going to stop calling me that?" Granted, it was growing on me.

I turned to get some peppers out of the fridge, when he pulled me in front of him. "Get back here."

I grabbed the wooden spoon from the spoon rest and began stirring the pasta when he placed his arms over mine. After a minute, he closed the distance between us, and I found myself holding back the gasp as a result of feeling his body's warmth on my back.

As the night went on, I have to admit, we got a little silly. In fact, I don't think I committed as many romantic clichés before that night: spreading sauce on his clothes and on his nose, feeding each other pasta, and even throwing bubbles as we did dishes.

It's funny; you'd think we'd known each a lot longer than a week. But we knew each other better than we could have imagined. Sure, not all of our deep and dark secrets came out while at the farm, but we had time for that.

I pulled the bottle of scotch back out and poured it into a couple glasses. I downed my first glass quickly because part of me was still a little bit nervous. Unfortunately, Oliver saw me and let out a chuckle.

"Don't drink too much. You have to drive me home."

Raising an eyebrow, I handed his glass while pouring more into mine. "How did you get here?"

"You know the delay on your car?"

Of course I did, the better question was how he knew. "Oliver... what did you do?"

With a grin on his face, Oliver settled on the couch. "I may have taken it to a junk yard."

"Explains why Bryan had been avoiding Tammy." I saw Oliver's expression change, so I asked, "What?"

"She knew exactly what was going on, but she had to be here for you."

I punched his arm lightly. "You big liar. You did help Lois."

Oliver grabbed my arm to pull me onto his lap. "Actually, I had no idea about what she was doing. I had planned to stop by... Lois just gave me an easy way in."

I shifted my body off his lap and brought my legs up on the couch. Oliver brought his arm around me to bring my head closer to his chest and I was almost ready to relax when I realized he didn't exactly answer my question. "So wait... if my car's in the shop and you don't have a car... how...?"

He didn't say anything; he didn't have to as I saw the sparkle from the silver keys falling on my lap. I picked them up and blinked a couple of times, trying to come to any other conclusion other than the obvious.

"You bought me a car?"

"It's the least I could do." The way he said it made it sound like he bought me a pack of gum, but I knew there was no way I could refuse it.

It was a gesture that left me speechless for a couple of minutes. "I... I can't give you anything back."

His finger moved a loose curl from my eyes before he kissed the side of my forehead. "You gave me everything I could have wanted."

I tried everything not to roll my eyes, but it was useless. "Okay... that was bad."

"Admit it... it worked."

I held up my glass and said, "To stupid clichés," before titling it back to finish the remaining scotch in the glass. Unfortunately, it caught me a little off-guard, so I started coughing.

Oliver laughed as he took the glass from my hand. "I thought I said to hold back on the alcohol."

Once I had regained my normal breathing pattern, I titled my head to look up at him. "Who says I have to listen to you? Besides, have you noticed the weather? I don't want to wreck my brand new car before I have a chance to show it off to Lois."

His eyebrow lifted in curiosity. "So let me see if I understand you correctly... you want me to stay?"

At this point, I knew I had said too much, but it was what I wanted, even if I didn't really want him to know that. Looking outside at the rain, I whispered, "Maybe."

"Something on your mind Sidekick?"

I tried to find the words, but I was never great at the sappy stuff. "I... never mind... it's stupid."

"I don't think that's possible."

Looking outside the window, I thought of the countless nights I had spent protecting Clark and everyone else and helping them advance their love lives. The truth is, I had been lonely since Jimmy died. Sure, I didn't really do anything to help my case, but having someone who saw me was a refreshing change for my status quo.

I looked at him, patiently waiting for me to speak. "I've spent so long by myself that..."

He interrupted me as he patted his hand on my knee. "It's okay, I'm not going anywhere."

I smiled at him before we both turned to marvel at the storm brewing. After all, rain had played its part in all this.

Usually rainy days represent sadness, which maybe represented the day we met. The loneliness, the frustration and the misunderstandings that encompassed our lives.

However, rain is also responsible for making and maintaining natural life, so it was only fitting that it was responsible for replenishing our lives. All it took was a taking a chance... actually it took taking multiple chances, but that's not the point.

Both Oliver and I had become used to living life in the fast lane that taking time to appreciate the moment felt right.

Sure, there were things against us. Sure, I'd probably be front page news on the society page. But for once in my life, it didn't matter to me what tomorrow, or next week, or even next year would bring. As I stared up into his sleeping eyes, I couldn't help but smile. This wasn't about holding onto the past or being worried about the future. This was about now, living and breathing in the present, which has made me happier than I've been in years.

As the patter of rain hit the roof and streamed down the window, I nestled my head on his chest and let myself fall asleep against his shoulder.

A/N: I am considering a sequel, but no guarantees... I have other fics I want to write first. Hopefully you enjoyed it!