Notes: Here's chapter 2 finally up. I hoped to have this up earlier and it was intended to be from Oliver's point of view, but it just wasn't working. Halfway through the chapter I realized that there was no point in continuing and restarted the whole thing from Felicity's pov. It has a happier ending and hopefully will leave everyone satisfied. I do have a few ideas for their date so if you like it and are interested in reading more, please review and let me know :) Otherwise I think this is a good place to end, yes? :)
Thanks Poetgirl925 for the beta job! :)
Two days. That's how long he takes to show up at her office, that's how long she fiddles, how long she chastises herself for her stupidity and wishes she could curl up in a hole and never come out. She needs time to think, to sort her emotions out because feelings are so much more difficult to deal with and she's never been good with them in the first place. She needs time to accept what she's done, what they had done and be in a place where she can face Oliver without feeling completely mortified.
She's missed it, being there, being around him, helping make the city a better place. She hadn't realized what a boring, quiet, colorless life she had been leading before Oliver Queen came looking specifically for her. Before blood stained car seats, fresh wounds and cracked knuckles became a part of her days, a part of herself, almost as if the thrill of the danger, the satisfaction of justice done and excitement of lives saved had been imprinted in her cells, had become part of her DNA.
She knows that even when they find Walter she won't be able to simply walk away.
Like an addiction, it's hard for her to go back to normal when she experienced what extraordinary could be. And she needs it back. Needs the high, the adrenaline, even the stress of being worried about Oliver's well-being every minute he's out there, needs to be part of something good again. Needs to be part of his life, however small it may be. She can't risk losing it for a stupid crush, for something that can end in disaster, something that can go so badly she'll never be able to work with them again. How can she go back to being the IT girl after having him in her bed?
His voice, smooth like velvet, makes her jump, and it affects her the same way it always does, fingers going still and she freezes in her seat. Her body comes alive as if responding to his presence, all shaking hands and quivering stomach and she has trouble finding her voice. "Oliver!" She can't help the blush that covers her face and she curses herself for it.
"You haven't answered any of my calls."
Right. The dozen or so time he's called on her cell and she either ignored or simply let it ring until he gave up. She didn't know what to say so she didn't pick up. "I'm really busy, sorry."
"You haven't called back."
"Busy." She points to the monitor running one of her random updates and hopes he hasn't learned much from watching in the foundry every day to see she's far from busy. Just avoiding him.
"You're avoiding me."
Touché. "I'm not avoiding you!" She tries to sound outraged but her voice is shaking and she sounds more like a child caught with the hand in the cookie jar. "I'm busy. Unlike our extra-curricular activities, which I'm not paid for by the way, I do have a day job that requires me to actually work. Not that I would charge for kissing you, obviously, who would do that!" She slaps her hand over her mouth in an attempt to stop talking, wishing there's a way to take the words back, because the last thing she wants is to bring the focus of the conversation to the fact she had her tongue in Oliver's mouth and his hands under her shirt just a couple of days ago.
He had felt good, of course, muscles pulsing a she ran her hands over them and she can't ignore the way their hips had fit so perfectly, the way his hands are the right size to cup her breasts and his lips felt like they belonged while pressing against her skin.
She's sure the red tint of her cheeks will never leave and the sudden desire pooling in the pit of her stomach makes her feel fidgety. This is exactly what she didn't want, to be reminded of what she almost had, of how good he is with his hands and mouth, of the way Oliver's a complicated and wonderful person in every context of the words.
As if he's reading her mind and suddenly knows all of her thoughts, he lets small smile play at the corner of his lips, takes a step in her direction and almost crowds her. She has to look up to stare at him. "Go out with me."
"You know I can't." She feels sucker punched at the way his face immediately falls, at the way the little gleam in his eyes and the hope swimming in them change to disappointment. He looks crushed. She can't because he can't give her what she wants, because she can't be what he wants, because when she's in, then she's all in. She can't because she isn't willing to sacrifice greatness for a moment of self-indulgence. She can't go on a date with him and show him who she really is, to give him the opportunity to know her on personal level and be disappointed, see that there's nothing else beyond the geek persona.
"It's just one date. What's the harm in that? I like you, Felicity. You're beautiful and smart and capable and…" he sighs, takes a deep breath and his eyes cloud over as if he's remembering something and she sees the moment he makes a decision. "The first time I saw you, you mocked me. You made me smile an honest, real smile. Not a front I was putting up for everyone else so they'd believe I was okay. You make me smile, Felicity, and I like that."
She feels a small crack in the armor. "Oliver…" she's at a loss for words, stuck in turmoil, between being logical and sensible and responsible and between just throwing caution to hell and giving in to what her heart is yelling at her to do. She can't do this now. She needs to think, she needs to calculate, she needs time. The words drawl out of her mouth like needles, "I can't. I…" It hurts her to say it as much as it hurts him to hear it.
He takes a deep breath, the sound knifing through the sudden silence of the room, through her pause as she tries to find the right words to say. "Fine. If you're not willing to give this a chance then at least come back to the foundry. We need you. I need you, Felicity. I can't lose you this way."
He sounds defeated, annoyance hidden somewhere under the tired acceptance as he makes one last request. She can feel the hope oozing from his pores, drifting towards her like the spicy cologne he always uses. She doesn't miss the way he shifts his weight on his feet, the awkwardness of his words fading into the raw need in his voice. She realizes then that he can have any girl he wants. He can literally walk out of this building with at least a dozen phone numbers, but it's her he's begging to come back. It's in her office he stands looking like something has been ripped out of him and he needs to put it back. It's her he wants, this boring, bland and geeky IT girl who babbles about fifty times a day, who puts her foot in her mouth more often than not, who's awkward and socially inept and disagrees with everything he says. He has to like the geek persona and not the expectation of there being something else.
Her resolve starts to falter.
"Is this your way of saying you miss me?" She expects him to be nonchalant, to roll his eyes, to throw a witty comeback at her, to copy her words from so long ago, but he goes completely off script.
That's it; she can almost hear the rest of her walls cracking, crumbling around her as she's enveloped by his utter honesty. She realizes that underneath all the fear and apprehension she really wants this. She wants them. "Okay."
The relief in his face is evident and it almost makes her smile, but she bites her lip instead.
"Good." Then he adds as an afterthought to seemingly soften the mood, "Diggle would've killed me."
This time she does smile, but the movement of her lips is followed by the roll of her eyes. "I meant the date." That catches his complete attention. "Okay. I'll go out with you."
He looks dumbstruck and she notices he's momentarily speechless, as if he had decided this was already a lost war. He recovers quickly though, giving her a smile she's come to learn is honest and real and hers. "Tomorrow? I'll pick you up at 7?"
"7:30," she throws back, still not willing to be completely compliant. She wants to make him work for it.
He rolls his eyes. "You really are a piece of work."
"And you like it this way." She doesn't mean to say it out loud but the words escape her lips before she has time to think. She feels the heat sweep up her cheeks again and chastises herself for not knowing how to flirt without being completely embarrassed by it.
"Wouldn't change a thing." There's something in his voice that tugs at her heartstrings, something she can't quite define, but she's soon distracted by his piercing gaze and the soft way he's looking at her. She looks away first, hoping the pink hue has left her face. She wonders if he has ever looked at her that way before or if their kiss sparked something in him. "I'll see you tonight. At the foundry."
She nods at his pointed words, knowing he'll expect her back, relieved that the weight has lifted from her shoulders and the distance of these past two days is finally over. When he leaves, she finally allows herself to take a deep breath and process that the hope she's been grasping at for so many months has just turned into something real and tangible.
She can't shake the giddy feeling away.