I blame this on everyone else that's done something similar. I've been toying with a new style of writing, and I figured there'd be no harm in combining the two ideas and seeing how they pan out.
(Also: Just realized this is my 100th fic on . So booyah.)
Your greedy eyes upon me
And then I come undone
I could close the curtain
But this is too much fun
- "I Get Off," by Halestorm
Rolling her shoulders back, Felicity had to acknowledge the love/hate relationship she had for the basement at Verdant. She loved the work she did there, especially when she was able to help Oliver and Dig, but there were some nights when she was so damned tired she wanted nothing to do with the basement. Or foundry. Whatever. The boys sometimes referred to it as that, but she totally called it the lair. In her head. But come on. There was no way this place wasn't a lair.
She needed a break from the computer, which as an IT geek meant she had spent entirely too much freaking time sitting there. She had tried to keep her posture perfect, but after nearly 24 hours of straight staring at a screen, she could feel the ache in her shoulders and lower back.
Sighing, Felicity stood up, stretching her arms over her head. When that wasn't enough, she locked her hands behind her back, stretching them towards the ceiling as she bent over. She pushed until her shoulders reached as far as they were going to go, and then she heard a satisfying pop followed by a smaller one. Groaning in satisfaction, she let her arms hang over her a little longer as the tense muscles unwound.
"You okay?" Felicity blinked, turning her head in the direction of Oliver's voice. He had been busy practicing some latest arrow technique while simultaneously demolishing all the dummies. They worked so well on their own, she sometimes forgot he was in the room. She assumed it worked vice versa for him.
Oliver set down his arrow, observing her curiously as she stood up straight and let out another little sigh. She was an efficient worker, and she was almost silent, aside from the occasional moment when the computer wouldn't bend to her every whim and she muttered darkly under her breath until she'd sorted it out. It was why he enjoyed having her in the foundry, because she was almost never a distraction but when she was it was always amusing, not annoying.
With a wince, she reached back and yanked the band out of her hair. If she was going to stretch, she might as well take as much advantage of it as possible. Keeping her hair up was more practical when she was working because it stayed out of her face, but after a while it did a number on her scalp. "I'm fine," she finally told him, acknowledging his earlier question. "I'm just sore from sitting in the same position for so long. I needed a stretch."
She glanced back at the computer, fluffing out her hair as she attempted to work some blood flow back into her scalp. She was running diagnostics on the laptop Oliver had given her earlier in the night. She was fairly certain it involved someone on The List, but she had been so distracted with other things that she wasn't really paying attention when he first told her.
Logically, he knew he should return to his training, because he hadn't quite perfected that maneuver and the sooner it was done the better. Rather than follow his own logic, something made him stay, watching her as she stood there with one hand in her hair and exhaustion written across her face.
When she turned back, she noticed that Oliver was still standing by the table with a bow in his hand. Yet again he had foregone a shirt, but she chose to focus less on that and more on the reason he was staring at her. "It'll probably take a few more hours before the computer is done with the laptop," she explained, assuming he was waiting for an update. "Considering it's already… 1 am, I'll probably stick around for another hour or so before heading home."
She sighed again at the thought of staying for another hour, but knew she had to in case anything went wrong with the program. She had come over straight from work, and stupidly hadn't thought to bring a change of clothes with her. One of these days, she really needed to pack an overnight bag of sweats and essentials and leave it in the lair. She was tired of working in business clothes and heels.
At some point during the night she must have kicked off her ridiculous, brightly colored shoes under the desk because she was barefoot, a sight which struck him as strangely homey. Just by standing there she made the place seem more lived-in, and less like another tool he used to further his agenda.
Felicity had removed her cardigan earlier in the night, and rolled up the sleeves of her blouse. She tugged the hem of the shirt, untucking it from her pencil skirt. She was tired of looking professional, she thought with a pout as she continued to stare at the screen morosely.
Scooping up her hair, she pulled it into a haphazard bun, not worrying if there were any bumps or knots. It was out of her face but in a looser hold than her ponytail. And as pretty as Oliver was, she had given up any hope of looking attractive around him. Besides, it was too late for him to expect her to have her shit together.
She must've assumed that he went back to work because she had turned her back to him. Felicity tugged her shirt out of her skirt, inadvertently flashing a strip of smooth, pale skin along her lower back. Despite the eccentric colors, she always dressed practically, and somewhat modestly. What he never expected was that small amount of exposed skin would do something strange to his attention.
Felicity spent so much time at the foundry with them, and he found himself taken her presence for granted. In particular, her presence as the only female member of the team.
Yes, he knew she was female, and he knew she sometimes got distracted when he worked out, but he couldn't remember ever feeling this distracted by her. And she wasn't even paying attention to him.
She was going to sit down in a minute and go back to working, but just standing there felt so good that she wanted to draw out the sensation in her muscles a little longer. She rolled her shoulders back once more, pleased to note the lessening ache between her shoulder blades. If she had the energy, the first thing she was going to do when she got home was take a hot bath. Mmm. And sleep. Lots of sleep.
Felicity rotated her neck, pressing her fingers into the muscle where her neck met her shoulders. Her eyes drifted shut, the pull for sleep almost too strong to ignore.
Setting the bow down, Oliver walked over to her. Her hair was so rarely in a bun, he wasn't used to seeing the blonde locks curling around her neck. She looked rumpled, but not in a bad way. Rather, in a way that made him wonder what she would look like in a men's shirt. Particularly, one of his.
The thought was a startling one, because he never thought about Felicity that way. At least, not until now. And the way that button-done hung loosely about her frame wasn't helping matters, either.
Her eyes opened as she tilted her head back, letting go of her neck as she eyes the complex network of beams and concrete that made up the ceiling. "How's the training going?" she asked over her shoulder. She didn't want to distract him, but she didn't mind a little small talk during the break.
She didn't know he was walking towards her, either from his natural stealth or her own propensity to be unobservant, or maybe a combination of the two. He stopped a few feet from her, and even from there he could smell the faint scent of her floral perfume. Daisies. "I decided to take a break, too."
Felicity jumped, eyes going wide. She had no idea when Oliver came up behind her, and her face flushed brightly in humiliation. Turning slowly, she colored even further when she saw how close he was to her. "Uh, hey," she said softly, shifting uncertainly from foot to foot under his unyielding gaze. "Didn't hear you."
Oliver smiled slightly, taking a step forward. Consciously or not, she took a step back in return, causing him to grin wider. "I figured as much," he replied, close to teasing. "How's your break going?"
For whatever reason, Oliver continued to walk towards her, even thought they were already in perfectly good speaking distance. Granted, they invaded each other's personal space semi-frequently in the past, but she couldn't remember there ever being a time when he looked at her like that while doing so. "It's been good," she told him, her words coming out in a nervous rush. When he stepped closer this time she stood her ground. "Like I said, I needed to give my muscles a good stretch."
She looked a bit like a deer caught in headlights, which he figured was appropriate given the way she was staring up at him with big doe eyes. "I get that," he said with a nod, leaning closer than what was socially acceptable. From here he couldn't miss her light perfume. "Happens pretty often when I push myself too hard."
Felicity smiled at him, leaning back until her butt his the side of the desk. Not that it did any good. He was so close to her that an extra two inches of space did next to nothing. She could count the stubble on his jaw if she wanted. And that wasn't even including everything south of his chin. If he wasn't so damned attractive she would still have enough of her wits about her to get the hell out of there.
Swallowing, she felt the urge to word vomit coming up. "I wouldn't say it's exactly the same," she replied, fighting her nerves as he continued to watch her with that inscrutable expression that only made her want to squirm more. He never looked at her like that before, and she didn't know what to do. "I mean, I spend like 24 hours a day in front of a computer. Not to say that it's harder than how intensely you work out. Because it's not. Totally different."
Her mystifying ability to ramble unendingly only made him smile more. "Naturally," he replied with a tilt of his head. "I just wouldn't want you exhausting yourself. You're a very valuable member of the team."
Words of praise from Oliver Queen. Her lips parted as she inhaled. Not sharply, but something in his expression told her that he had heard it all the same. "Thanks, I think," she answered, her voice lowering almost to a whisper. "And I'll be okay. I should probably head home soon is all."
Except she had no clue how she was supposed to get home with him surrounding her like that. Any closer and he was basically on top of her, and that was a potential mental image that was too humiliating—and kind of hot—to even consider. But she really couldn't be held responsible for any dirty thoughts when she was barely inches away from a very muscular, excruciatingly sexy man. Add that to the fact that he was a strangely caring boss and she had been harboring a schoolgirl crush on him for the last several months… well, to say she was 'screwed' pretty much only began to cover it.
"That would probably be a good idea," he said, studying her as her breathing grew shakier with every passing second. He needed to step back and give her a little room to breathe, but he had a difficult time mustering up the will to do so when all he could think about was her perfume and her big eyes, and what she would look like in one of his shirts. Considering this was the first time to his memory that he had thought about her this way, his subconscious didn't seem to have any problem supplying numerous worthwhile suggestions of what he and Felicity could do together.
"Right," she whispered, chewing on the inside of her lip thoughtfully. If she tipped her head forward no more than an inch, her lips would be touching his. As tempting as that fantasy was, she couldn't imagine ever going through with it. She wasn't that kind of girl. "So I should… go… now…"
He nodded. Tonight was not the night to start something with Felicity, that much he knew. He needed time to process this newfound lust for her, and not haul her against him like his instincts were demanding. The pull to touch her was strong, and before he stepped back—because he needed the space as much as she did, unfortunately—he brushed his hand along her upper arm, eager to feel skin but stopping just short of doing so.
A warm shiver snaked up her spine as her whole arm erupted in pleasant tingles. He had a tendency to be tactile, but that usually only pertained to a hand on her shoulder as she worked or moving in close when she went on one of her rants. Those touches never felt like this one, like an intimate caress.
Before she could do something especially crazy—like tackle him—he stepped back, giving her enough room to take a deep breath and make her escape. "Well, have a good night then," she murmured. He looked almost disappointed that she was finally leaving, but she chalked that up to a trick of her mind.
Felicity's whole body was shaking, from nerves and hormones, but she somehow had the presence of mind to collect her things before bolting. She didn't know if she should make eye contact with him as she left, but when he say goodbye she managed a smile that hopefully didn't look freaked out and beelined it for the stairs.
Holding her shoes in one hand and purse and jacket in the other, Oliver watched as she made her way up the stairs, hips swaying enticingly, highlighted by the loose fabric of her blouse. Either the worst or the best part—he couldn't decide—was that all he wanted to do was wrap his hands around those hips and kiss her until she moaned his name.
…And now he was definitely never going to be able to concentrate around her again.
Felicity, meanwhile, was able to make it all the way into her car without incidence. Of course, the moment the door was closed and locked, she let out a pathetic little whimper and dropped her head on the steering wheel. If asked, she could not explain what the hell happened between her and Oliver in the last twenty minutes. All she did know was that it left her feeling very hot and very bothered.
Oh. Right. And she was going to have to go back tomorrow. Because she had conveniently forgotten to check on the program after Oliver started looking at her with… well, frankly, with hunger in his eyes.
Holy crapsicles. There was no way she was not having dirty dreams tonight.