A/N: Thank you al for the support you continue to give this story. I really appreciate it. The reviews for the last chapter were surprising - in a good way! - because I'm so caught up writing chapter after chapter, it can make it hard to judge the impact of each individual chapter until people start responding to it. That said, please don't hate me for the...complication that I'm about to throw at you. And Oliver. :-)
"I have to get to the office," Julian said reluctantly, pulling his mouth away from Felicity's. "But I'll see you later, right? I was thinking I could pick up some Chinese and we could stay in and watch Sherlock."
"That sounds fun," Felicity.
She bit her lip.
"But I already have plans for tonight," she said. "Tomorrow night, though?"
"Actually," Julian said. "Tomorrow night is that dinner that the name partner's are having for the junior partners. I was hoping you'd be my date."
"I would love to be your date," she said.
Julian grinned back at her.
"Excellent," he said. "Call me tonight when you finish…whatever it is you're getting up to."
Felicity nodded and Julian kissed the tip of her nose before sliding out of the booth and grabbing his briefcase.
"Bye, beautiful," he said.
Felicity sighed as she watched him go.
"Looks like it's getting serious," Carly observed, stopping by the table to pour Felicity some more coffee.
"Yeah," Felicity said. "It's been two months already which is…crazy but good."
"And have you…" Carly trailed off and gave Felicity a knowing look.
Felicity flushed but she was smiling again, which was all the answer Carly needed.
"I'm happy for you," Carly said, squeezing her shoulder.
"I am too," Felicity said. "Not happy for myself. Just…happy."
Tracy had been the one to introduce her to Julian at one of her firm's cocktail mixers. To Felicity's surprise he'd seemed pretty taken with her and had asked her out to dinner within an hour of meeting her.
She'd accepted without really expecting anything to come out of it but it turned out that they had a lot in common and even where their interests varied, they were both open minded enough to go with it.
"I should get to work," Felicity said. "Thanks for breakfast."
"Anytime," Carly said.
The day passed relatively quickly for Felicity as she managed one mini crisis after the other and then got into an argument with the company's CFO about why they needed to upgrade their servers again. If they'd listened to her recommendation the first time, then none of this would be necessary.
Felicity made a mental note to speak to Oliver about it. Normally, she wouldn't ever trade on their relationship to get her way but when her computers were involved…
After tying up a few loose ends, Felicity shut everything down and made her way home. She changed into a pair of yoga pants and a tank top and then ordered a large pizza – half veggie for her and half pepperoni, sausage and onion for Oliver- from Massimo's. Oliver would pick it up on his way over.
They'd established this routine as a way to start rebuilding their friendship and Felicity was pleasantly surprised at how well it was working. So far they'd made it through the first two seasons of True Blood and the first season of Game of Thrones. Tonight, they were going to start Mad Men.
More than filling in the gaps of Oliver's pop culture education though, these nights in had allowed them to get comfortable with each other again, something Felicity hadn't been convinced would happen.
The fact that Oliver seemed so much more at ease in his own skin these days probably accounted for a lot of the progress they'd made but Felicity knew that her own mindset had a lot to do with it too.
She still loved Oliver and a part of her probably always would but she'd genuinely accepted that there was no romantic future for them and she'd moved on. What's more, she was happy with how she'd moved on.
Julian was good to her and good for her and she was excited about where their relationship was going.
The knock on the door brought Felicity out of her mental musings and she crossed the living room to answer it.
"Hey," Oliver said.
"Hey," Felicity said.
She bit her lip as Oliver crossed the threshold and he laughed.
"Can't make up your mind whether you want wine or pizza first?" he surmised.
"That obvious?" Felicity said. "It'll depend on the wine. Whatcha got?"
"1996 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon," Oliver said.
"Definitely wine first," Felicity said.
Oliver handed her the bottle and she crossed into the kitchen to get the bottle opener. He set the pizza down on the dining room table and then leaned in the kitchen doorway.
"Got a call from the CFO at QC earlier," Oliver said. "Something about that little blonde upstart in IT trying to mess with his budget."
Felicity practically growled.
"It's not my fault he didn't listen to me the first time," she said. "This could easily have been avoided if he'd just done what I originally told him to do."
"I don't think he'll be making that mistake again," Oliver said.
Felicity glanced at him.
"Thank you," she said. "I appreciate that."
Oliver gave a small shrug.
"Owning the company has to be good for something," he said.
"You mean something other than making you obscenely rich and powerful?" she teased.
"Right," Oliver said.
"Have you given any more thought to actually getting involved in the day to day?" Felicity asked, freeing the cork from the bottle.
"Eventually," Oliver said. "But the time isn't right yet."
"I'll take your word for it," Felicity said, handing him his glass of wine and moving towards the pizza.
Oliver joined her at the table and snagged a slice.
"Thea called today," he said.
"How is she?" Felicity asked.
"Loves New York," Oliver said. "Wants to go to fashion week in Milan during her spring break instead of coming home."
He swallowed a bite.
"I know technically she's an adult with access to her trust fund and everything," he said. "But I feel like I should be providing structure, setting limits. The problem is…"
"She's got you wrapped around her little finger?" Felicity offered.
Oliver gave her a look.
"I just…think of everything she's lost," Oliver said. "It makes it hard to say no when the things she wants are so…simple. In the scheme of things."
"I can't speak from personal experience since I don't actually have a brother," Felicity said. "But if I did, I'm pretty sure I'd want him to be like you. I mean, Thea knows you love her and that if she does something stupid or crazy you'll be there to intervene. Right now it just seems like she's enjoying her life and I don't think it's wrong of you to let her. Even if it means letting her go half way across the world by herself."
"Not by herself," Oliver corrected. "With friends. And with a private security team hand picked by Dig."
"All the more reason not to worry about it," she said.
"Did you ever wish you had siblings?" Oliver asked her.
"When I was really young," Felicity said. "I remember being about five and telling anyone who would listen that I wanted a little sister for Christmas."
She rolled the stem of her wineglass between her fingertips.
"Then I got old enough to realize that my mother had a problem," Felicity said. "And I was extremely grateful that Santa hadn't listened to me."
"Do you have any good memories of her?" Oliver asked. "Your mother."
"Not many," Felicity said.
She polished off her first slice.
"And I am officially changing the subject," she informed him. "Time for your pop culture pop quiz."
"I was really expecting this novelty to have worn off for you by now," he said.
"Not a chance," Felicity said. "Lady Gaga, first three things that come to mind. Go."
"She wore a dress made of meat," Oliver said. "Killed that blond vampire guy in one of her music videos and has beef with Madonna. Or Madonna has beef with her. Whatever."
He shook his head.
"You have no idea how alarming it is that my brain is actually retaining this kind of information," he said.
Felicity just smirked.
"Crazy In Love," she said. "Sung by Beyoncé, Britney Spears or Rhianna?"
"Beyoncé," Oliver said. "Although I was around back when Britney and Justin were a thing and I can tell you that she can literally be crazy in love."
Felicity burst into a gale of giggles.
"What is so funny?" Oliver wanted to know.
"Just picturing you as part of the Mickey Mouse Club is all," Felicity said, catching her breath.
"That's mean," Oliver accused.
"But hilarious," Felicity countered. "Fifty Shades of Grey."
"Sorely tempted to put an arrow through whoever agreed to publish that," he said.
"They're going to make it a movie," Felicity told him.
"I think the Hood might need to hit up Hollywood," Oliver said. "Make some people see the error of their ways."
"Then they'd make a movie about you," Felicity said. "Well, about the Hood. Christopher Nolan would totally direct it. But who would you want to play you?"
"Someone unexpected," Oliver said.
"Well that makes sense," Felicity said, reaching for another slice of pizza. "Pretty much everything about you is unexpected."
Oliver finished off his wine.
"I'm not sure if that's a compliment," he said wryly.
"Depends on the day," Felicity said lightly.
"You're unexpected too, you know," Oliver said.
"Compliment?" Felicity questioned.
"Maybe," Oliver teased.
Felicity rolled her eyes.
"Come on, Madison Avenue awaits," she said. "I think you'll like Don Draper."
"Why?" Oliver asked.
"Because he's complicated," Felicity said.
"You think I'm attracted to complicated?" Oliver queried.
"In a word?" Felicity said. "Yeah."
"You're not totally wrong," Oliver allowed.
"Genius, remember?" Felicity said, pointing to her head. "Rarely ever wrong."
Oliver smiled and decided not to point out that her IQ had little to do with why she understood him so well. They were hanging out and it was a simple pleasure he planned to savor.
There was absolutely no reason to complicate it.
No reason at all.