Title: Until I wrap myself inside your arms (I cannot rest)
Series: If I Were a Better Man
Graphic Artist: dhfreak
Chapter Rating: PG-13/Teen
Overall Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Notes: This is a sequel to a story based on an AU idea where Felicity and Oliver met before he was stranded on the island; it's pretty important that you read that too or you'll be confused.
Polyvore: Felicity's outfit 1, Felicity's outfit 2
Word Count: 6,192
Summary: Oliver Queen has returned from an island of purgatory to avenge a city in need of justice. Finding balance in his life is made all the more difficult with a book of names to strike off and a remarkable woman to convince he's worth her time. Fighting crime as the Hood keeps him busy, but getting Felicity to fall in love with him? Now that'll take a whole new level of dedication.
Until I wrap myself inside your arms (I cannot rest)
"You're avoiding me."
Felicity went still, standing in front of her desk, going through a folder of papers. Her shoulders tensed as she turned around to face him. "'Avoid' is a… strong word."
"I've tried setting up a lunch with your assistant three days in a row, but he said you were in meetings all week and I should try next month." His lips twitched in a smile, but she could tell it wasn't happy. "I don't know what to call that other than avoidance."
She crossed her arms over her stomach and shrugged. "I'd call it busy."
He stared at her searchingly. "On Friday, at the party, I… thought that we were reconnecting."
"We did." She shook her head. "And now it's Wednesday and I have work, so…" She turned back around to face her desk, but she didn't hear his footsteps leaving.
Instead, far quieter than anybody should be, he managed to get close enough to press a hand to her elbow, asking her silently to face him.
Blowing out a sigh, she turned, finding him at her side, staring down at her searchingly. His fingers were still on her elbow, or they were until she turned, and then they dragged down the underside of her forearm so lightly, so slowly, that she felt a shiver spread through her body that finished with a catch in her throat. She swallowed it down and looked up at him, trying to maintain the aloof façade she'd practiced all weekend.
"Please don't shut me out," he asked sincerely.
And just like that, she felt a crack in the wall she'd erected. Her gaze fell for a moment, though when it settled on his mouth she quickly looked away.
"Can we go somewhere? It's your lunch break now, isn't it?" He tipped his head a little, a tinge of amusement lacing his expression. "Unless you have a meeting?"
She bit the inside of her bottom lip when a smile threatened to break out. "Yes, it's my lunch, and no, I don't have a meeting." She looked back at him. "This can't become a habit."
"I prefer the term 'tradition.'"
She shook her head slightly and licked her lips, but that only drew his gaze down and the intensity of it made her stomach tighten. Taking a step back from him, she moved to gather her jacket. "Where were you thinking?"
"I'm still relearning the city. A lot has changed. So where would you like to go?" He shook his head. "Anywhere in the city?"
She grinned slowly. "Anywhere?"
Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting on a bench in Starling Park, eating hot dogs from a vendor named Lou.
He shook his head at all the toppings she'd dressed hers in. "How are you even going to eat that?" he wondered, amused.
"I've fit bigger things than this in my mouth." She paused. "That didn't come out right."
He folded his lips to hide his smile but a choked laugh slipped out anyway. At her glare, he waved a hand. "I'm sorry."
She elbowed him before leaning back against the bench and taking a bite off the end of her hotdog, covered in mustard, ketchup, relish, sautéed onions, and sauerkraut. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye as she bit off a larger chunk without any sense of modesty. He grinned as he bit into his own much more conservative hot dog, wearing only ketchup and a thin strip of mustard. Felicity was happy to devour her lunch, her cheeks puffed out as she chewed.
The park was busy with people, some walking, others skateboarding or roller blading. A few people were walking dogs, all eager to sniff everyone they walked past. There was a man playing guitar across the way from them, his case out to collect money, and a mime entertaining a few tourists in another part of the open square. There was a large fountain sitting in the center, full of coins and wishes, and dressed with a few birds walking around its edges, searching for scraps of food or shiny wrappers to peck at.
"So, why here?" Oliver wondered, balling up his napkin and wiping it over his mouth.
"Because I know you, and if you had your way, we'd be at some fancy restaurant where they don't put the cost on the menu and the staff would all stumble over themselves to please you…" She shrugged. "I see it all the time with Tommy and it's… unnecessary. I mean, sure, sometimes it's nice going to the front of the line instead of having to wait, but sometimes it's better to just be anonymous."
"So it doesn't impress you?"
"Technology impresses me." She licked her thumb of a dab of relish. "Two of my best friends are billionaires. You forget to be impressed when you see them with bedhead and remember they're just people. And everyone fawning over them, that's not impressive, it's just a barrier after a while."
He hummed, watching her thoughtfully for a moment.
Swallowing down a bite, she looked around uncertainly. "What?" She reached for her mouth. "Do I have something…?"
He reached for her and brushed his thumb over her bottom lip, staring into her eyes with the kind of intensity that she couldn't help but think was not often connected to park hot dogs. Her tongue automatically slipped out to help, accidentally meeting the swipe of his thumb, and she felt a hitch in her throat.
"Got it," he said, drawing his hand band. He turned to face the park once more but Felicity hesitated, still staring at his profile. "This is the first time I've convinced you to leave the office with me for lunch," he said, half-smiling.
"Well, don't get used to it," she told him, mimicking his position as she returned her attention to the bustling activity of the park.
"I like our lunches, Felicity… I like spending time with you." There was a pause before he continued, "I know you need time, and I know we still have a lot to talk about, things that are bothering you about… before. And I'm willing to talk about them, whenever you're ready."
"You sound like you think you're going to change my mind about those things." She frowned. "I'm not sure there's anything you could say that would."
He sighed, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "Everything that happened with you, all that time I spent trying to get to know you, to convince you to date me, I don't regret that…" He shook his head. "There were days on that island that remembering you and how you always put me in my place, it got me through. Days when I was tired and I didn't want to fight anymore, and I'd remember what you said once, about how there's always a chance, that help could show up the next day and I wouldn't be there for it…"
One of his hands balled up into a fist, his forefinger scraping at the edge of his thumb anxiously. "When I left, when I got on that yacht, I was a different person. I… I told myself that if I could just… If I made just one last mistake, just one last party, one last girl, then when I got back, I'd be what I should be. I'd be who my parents wanted and who you deserved and I'd be the person that I could see myself being when I was with you. Because…" He let out a heavy breath. "Because I did see that. I know I didn't show it, and I know you don't think I took it seriously, but I saw myself being happy with you. I saw a real life. I just… I wasn't ready. I didn't know how to be that, and I was scared that if I tried, I wouldn't be able to." He dragged a hand down his face and smiled bitterly. "I've always been good at disappointing people. I screw up, I apologize, and life goes on. That's what I was expecting."
She was quiet, staring at him, trying to take in everything he'd said. It felt like a flood of words and they were all just rattling around in her head, needing time to be processed.
"And then you were there… And you were smiling and you were telling me that all I had to do was stay out of trouble and that life that I wanted was going to happen. And I wanted to take it back. I wanted to go back to the night before and tell Tommy I couldn't go out. I—I had to be up early and having a hang-over wasn't going to help. But I couldn't. I already made that mistake. So I told myself I'd fix it later. I'd come back and I'd show you that I was different now. I was ready now."
He swallowed tightly. "But then the boat went under and I was just… I was on that life raft for days, I washed up on that island and for five years I just… I fought to survive. That person that I was, the guy that just wanted one more mistake, Felicity, he died on that boat." He sat up and turned to her, looking so earnest, so serious. "He died and the person the landed on that island, he… He won't make those mistakes. He won't take you for granted. He knows how much you matter and he won't run at the first sign of growing up or commitment."
He stared at her searchingly. "I know I need to prove that to you. I know you need time to get to know me again and to see that I'm serious. I just… I'm still learning how to be here and I might not always do or say the right thing, but I know what I want. I know that I'm ready. And I'll do whatever you need for me to show you that I'm a better man."
Felicity felt tears bite at her eyes and she quickly blinked them back. Suddenly no longer hungry, she folded the wrapper around her hot dog and tossed it into the garbage can nearby. Standing from the bench, she hauled her purse up onto her shoulder and stepped in front of him. "Oliver, I already thought you were a good man. I didn't want to change you then, and I don't want to change you now… We didn't fit. We didn't want the same things. You thought you were ready and you were wrong. You got scared and you ran and you didn't get a chance to clean up afterwards." She shook her head. "And I get that you're different now, I get that you went through a lot, there's no way you didn't after five years on that island, but… You're right, you're getting used to being back, and maybe you had an idea of what life would be like when you were gone that you're trying really hard to make happen now. But until you're settled here, you don't know what you really want. You know what you wanted when you were stranded on the island with nobody else around you but the people you missed." She reached out, her hand cupping his cheek, and let her thumb rub back and forth. "I won't be the girl waving you away from port forever. You're going to get used to life here and you're going to figure out who you want to be and what you want to do, and that might not include me."
He opened his mouth to protest but her hand slid down, thumb pressing to his lips.
"I said 'might,'" she told him, her brows hiked meaningfully. "Whatever happens, I'll be here for you… As a friend." Her thumb rested on his chin. "Just don't make promises, okay? Because I'm still working through the last one you broke."
His eyes closed, a muscle in his jaw ticking, but he nodded.
"Good." She smiled then and bent to kiss his cheek. "Thank you for lunch." As she stepped back, she offered, "You can talk to Rudy about setting up something for lunch tomorrow if you want. I have it on good authority that I won't have any meetings…"
He swallowed thickly and offered a smile, but it was small and uncertain.
"You're not losing me," she told him.
His smile turned sad then. "I'm not sure I ever really had you."
A lump formed in her throat. "I don't know… Maybe for a minute, when we talked about souvenirs… I felt like you had me then."
He stared up at her, blinking a few times against the sheen in his eyes. "I'm not giving up."
A faint laugh escaped her. "You wouldn't be you if you did." With that, she turned on her heel and walked away.
Funny, she thought she'd been shutting the door on something, but she felt more like she opened one.
Oliver took his frustration out in the foundry, spending hours on the salmon ladder and breaking the arms off of wooden dummies. He worked up a sweat so thick it sprayed off of him as he trained, ducking and attacking an invisible opponent. When he was finally finished, he fell back to the mats, panting, his fists pressed up against his forehead, his teeth gritted.
It'd been stupid to think that he would just explain everything and she would forgive him. The old Oliver relied on that same logic and it hadn't done him the right kind of favors. Some part of him even respected her more for not just accepting that it was the past and moving on. He'd made promises to her, he'd convinced her that she mattered to him and then he spat in the face of that. It had to be hard for her to trust him in any capacity, let alone to invite him back into her life. She had every right to be upset with him. He just wished it was different. He wished this one thing could be easier than all the rest.
He could still feel her hand on his cheek, her thumb on his lip, and he missed it. He missed her touch. He missed her smile and her laugh and the way he felt when he was with her. Not like the old Oliver, but like this version of himself could be at peace with her. He'd already told her more about his time away than he had anybody else. Yes, it wasn't a whole lot of detail, but when he'd opened the door to that, to all those days spent adrift in the life raft, he almost felt like he could tell her more. He could tell her about the island and the terrors he'd faced there.
But would she look at him the same?
Would she pity him or be disgusted with what he had to do to survive?
She understood he changed, she understood that he couldn't be the same person as before, but she had liked him then. Even if he made a lot of mistakes and never quite fit the image of what she wanted in her life. So how could she like this version of him when he was nothing like that? How could she like a man who killed people? Who hunted down people and put arrows in them to make them pay for their sins?
And even without knowing that, some part of her had to know that. She was protecting herself. She was keeping him at a distance because, somehow, she knew he was not who she needed in her life.
His brow furrowed so tightly it hurt and his hands unfurled to slide down, fingers pressing against his eyes.
"You wouldn't be you if you did."
He sat up, scrubbed his face and shook his head.
He could be a better man.
He wouldn't stop trying until he was.
The following morning, Oliver woke up with a headache. He wasn't sleeping well. Not a surprise; nightmares had plagued him for five years and, home or on the island, that wasn't changing.
A knock at his door had him shouting for whomever to come is as he tucked an arm behind his head, lifting him up to see.
Thea walked into his room smiling. She was dressed in her school uniform, her hair falling in curls around her shoulders. "Hey," she said, walking toward him. "So I was thinking, if you wanted to take the day off, spend a little time catching up, I wouldn't say no to playing hooky."
A faint laugh escaped him and he sat up. "Sure. Why not?"
As he tossed away the blanket and climbed from his bed, something fell to floor.
Thea's eyes immediately followed it and, before he could kick it out of view, she was already there, picking it up. She really did live up to her old nickname.
Holding up the faded piece of wood, she rubbed her thumb over it curiously. "What is this?"
"It's nothing." He reached for it, but she held it out of reach.
"Really? Because it looks like a key chain." She squinted at the writing. "What's it say?"
He sighed, his hands on his hips. "I picked it up out of one of the souvenir shops when we were in port before…"
She went still, staring down at it a long moment, and then looked up at him. "Before the boat went down. You picked up a keychain for someone. But… Why hold onto it?" She shook her head. "I mean, sentimental value? Your own personal Wilson? What?"
He swallowed tightly. "It was a gift… And as long as I had it, I knew I still had a chance of getting home."
Her face softened. "Oh, Ollie…" she sighed.
His feet shifted as he held a hand out for it.
She took one last look at the worn down edges and then put it in his hand.
He quickly put it in his bedside table and then put on a forced grin. "I'll shower and get dressed. We can get breakfast while we're out, okay?"
She nodded, but her eyes kept drifting back to the bedside table. "Sure." She turned on her heel and started back for the door.
Oliver let out a heavy sigh as soon as the door closed and made his way into the bathroom. He hoped, for the first time in her life, Thea would just let it go.
"Wait, so he said he was ready for a commitment?" Tommy asked, from where he sat at her kitchen table, a cup of coffee in his hands.
Felicity, meanwhile, was hurrying around, trying to finish getting ready for work. "Well, he said, 'He's ready for commitment.' It was kind of a third-person kind of thing, but he meant the Oliver that was back from the island. He… I guess he feels like the old him died when the boat went down."
Tommy hummed, sipping his coffee. "You know how big this is, right?"
She rolled her eyes, digging through her shoes for the black boots she liked. "I know that I'm going to be late for work and you're not helping."
"Felicity, you know shoes aren't my thing. Now if there was a particular piece of lingerie you needed help picking out, I'm your guy. I've seen enough of it to know what works." He hid his grin behind his coffee mug.
"Aha!" She fist-pumped when she found the boots she wanted and quickly put them on. Hurrying into her kitchen once more, she dug around for a Poptart. She wouldn't have time to stop at her favorite coffee shop this morning.
"You can't avoid it," Tommy told her, watching as she put her breakfast in the toaster and then checked her purse to make sure she had everything. "This is just like when he met you. Do you remember how stubborn he was? Nine months and he was in your office, every lunch break. The man is tenacious. He doesn't give up."
I'm not giving up.
She paused and offered a brittle smile. "He wouldn't be Oliver if he did."
Tommy's smile dipped. "Felicity…" He reached a hand out and, though she sighed, she crossed the space between them and took it. "I just want you to be happy."
"And you think Oliver will make me happy?" she asked, genuinely curious about his reply.
He stared up at her. "I think the Oliver I used to know was head over heels for you. And it was a first for him, so he didn't know what to do. Which makes it no surprise that he screwed it up."
"Now I think he's still head over heels for you, and he's a lot more serious about it. He knows he screwed up and he's trying to fix it."
She shook her head. "What if he can't?"
Tommy frowned. "I don't know." He lifted a shoulder. "Honestly, I think if you told him flat out that you were done with him and you didn't want him to fix things, he'd listen."
"You just said he was stubborn and wouldn't give up!"
"Yes, but that's because I think he thinks you're still leaving that option there… and I think you are."
Felicity bit her lip. "I shouldn't have to spell it out for him."
"You're right, you shouldn't, but what exactly are you trying to spell? Because sometimes I think you're done with him, and other days, I don't know, the way you talk about him…"
She sighed, lifting her free hand to her face. "I don't know. I don't know what I want. I thought when he came back that it would be so cut and dry. I… I didn't even think he'd remember me. And now…"
He squeezed her hand. "Do whatever you think will make you happy, and I'll support you."
She smiled at him softly before leaning down to wrap him in a hug. "You're a good friend, Tommy."
He rubbed her back. "You're right. I deserve a plaque or a small trophy."
Rolling her eyes, she let him go and walked to her toaster just as it popped. Wrapping her poptarts in paper towel so they wouldn't burn her hand, she hitched her bag onto her shoulder and looked down at him. "I have to get to work. But you and me, tonight, we're going to that movie, okay?"
"And no town car," she ordered as she crossed her apartment to her door. "We'll take my car."
"All right, all right, we'll take your car."
"Thank you." She waved a kiss back at him as she walked out. "Be good!"
Just another average work morning, she thought to herself with a smile.
"Okay, I can't take it anymore. Who was the keychain for?" Thea folded her hands atop each other on the table and leaned in eagerly. "I mean, it has to mean something, right? You held onto it for five years. Shouldn't you give it to the person you originally bought it for?"
Oliver cleared his throat, staring down at the mostly untouched spinach and cheese omelette on his plate. "So what do you have planned for after breakfast?" he asked, offering a stilted smile. "We could go down to the batting cages. You know I remember when you were little, you used to beg me to show you how to play baseball… You came to all of my little league games. You were the loudest person cheering." He laughed. "You had a serious set of lungs."
"Yes, and I'm going to use them if you keep dodging the question." She stared up at him, her eyes wide. "Ollie, come on… I know you don't like talking about the island, but… Can't you just tell me this?"
He licked his lips as he turned his head away. "There was a woman before the island… Someone I cared about… a lot. In fact, she was the main reason I even went on that trip with dad." He nodded. "I was planning on turning my life around and… cleaning up my act."
"Because of this girl?" she asked, her brow furrowed.
"Because…" He sighed, shaking his head. "For the first time in my life, I wanted to be more than just who I was. I wanted to try. And it wasn't because she told me I should or that I had to. She accepted me for who I was, she just… She thought we were too different to work. And I…" He smiled, but it was devoid of joy. "I really liked her… I wanted her to like me, too. I wanted to be enough for her. So I decided that I would be. And I asked dad if I could go with him for the deal."
"Did you tell her?" Thea wondered.
"I did. I asked her to say goodbye to me on the dock and I promised her I would stay out of trouble and I'd prove to her that I was worth a chance. And she told me…" He let out a shaky breath. "She told me I would get a date if I just brought her home a keychain… So after we left, we stopped in a port just before the storm hit, and I saw this souvenir shop. And they had a wall of just keychains. And there was one, it was cheesy; it just said, 'I'm not me without coffee.' But it fit… We met over a broken coffee pot."
"Oh, Ollie…" She eyed him momentarily before saying, "It was for Felicity."
He offered a wan smile. "I keep forgetting you two are friends."
Reaching across the table, she squeezed his forearm. "And you sleep with it, every night…"
"It grounds me," he said, shrugging.
"You have to tell her!"
"I've already talked to her. She's… She doesn't trust me. She has no reason to. And she doesn't believe that my feelings are genuine; she thinks it's just a product of being isolated for so long…" He laughed humorlessly. "It took me nine months to convince her I was serious last time. And I didn't have the fact that I ran off on her with a complete stranger after promising her I was going to change."
Thea smiled sympathetically. "You really care about her, don't you?"
"I promised myself when I was on that island that I'd do everything I could to get back to her and show her I was different… and I will. But she's not ready to believe that. She's not ready to hear about the keychain."
While Thea didn't look like she agreed, she did nod. "Okay. If you think you should wait, you should." She shrugged. "Just… make sure you don't wait too long."
"Trust me… I'm working on it."
She smiled. "Good." She wiggled her eyebrows. "Because the sooner I get a sister-in-law, the sooner I get to be cool Aunty Thea."
Oliver choked a little, which only made her laugh. And, while it was at his expense, he couldn't help but appreciate it.
They met for lunch every day for the next three days.
Felicity thought he might using it to re-learn the best restaurants in Starling since he always had something new with him. And, admittedly, he might be winning bonus points for always bringing extra for Rudy.
"Thai this time? Good choice," she said, as she hung up her phone and eyed the bag he put down on the edge of her table.
"I made sure they knew about your peanut allergy, so I think it'll be fine."
"Well, if it isn't and I panic, I've got an epi pen in my purse and a back-up on the book shelf."
"Really?" He cast his eyes toward the huge shelving unit. "Could you be more specific?"
With a laugh, she stood from her desk and circled it, curving a finger to ask him to follow as she made her way to the center shelf and pointed to a long, wooden box in the middle, and took off the top to show him the epi pen lying on a bed of red satin inside. It was placed directly in front of the complete works of William Shakespeare.
"Tommy actually gave me this as a gift, which is why it's completely over the top."
With a fond smile, she explained, "It was 'Treat Your Friend Tuesday.'"
He quirked an eyebrow curiously.
"When we first started spending time together, he had this habit of buying me things." She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "We went shopping with Thea once and he literally bought everything I showed any interest in… Anyway, I talked to him and told him that it was unnecessary and I didn't need him to buy me things. So he agreed to cut his spending down to holidays and birthdays, but… Well, he's Tommy, so he enacted this 'Treat Your Friend Tuesday' thing. Sometimes it's small things. Like he bought me this little glass figurine of a dog because I was reminiscing about the dogs we had on the farm. And this other time he got me a lighter because I have a ton of these awesome green apple scented candles all over my apartment but I can never fight matches to light them…" She shrugged. "I think my already bursting closet appreciates the reprieve."
He stared down at her a long moment, a faint quirk to his lips. "Sounds like Tommy…" he murmured before reaching up to tug on his tie.
Her eyes fell to stare at it a moment before her eyebrow quirked. "You never used to wear those. You were always about the open collar…"
He smoothed his hand down the green fabric. "Thought it might look better, visiting the family company and everything." He shrugged. "More respectable."
"Hm." She reached up and loosened the knot, tugging it down a little. "It's just me and you here, Oliver. You don't need to impress me."
He swallowed tightly, staring down at her hands, which still rested on his chest, low, over his ribs, her thumb on the fabric of his tie.
Clearing her throat, she stepped back, bumping the bookshelf. "It's a nice tie though. Green looks good on you."
His mouth twitched and he finally raised his head to look at her. "We, uh, we should eat. Food's getting cold."
"Yes! Right." She pointed at him before folding her hands together and moving toward her desk.
Just as she was about to sit, he said, "You look good in green, too."
She looked down at herself. The green dress she was wearing was splashed with orange and blue and had a triangular cu out across her upper chest. It was one of her favorites, and she'd been feeling particularly nostalgic that morning.
"Thank you," she said, sinking into her chair. "I found it in a little shop in Coast City when I was visiting Penny a few months ago. She moved there last year, so I try to visit as much as I can." Tucking her ponytail behind her shoulder, she reached for the bag of Thai food and started separating it between them. "Tommy mentioned you had a date with the courthouse tomorrow… You're having your death certificate repealed?"
He cleared his throat, shifting in his seat. "I am."
She nodded, focusing on her food for a moment, before she finally asked, "And are we… nervous about that, or…?"
His mouth twitched. "We're okay."
"Are we?" she wondered, eyes narrowed as she stared at him. "Because that's pretty big. I mean, the press will be there and they'll want you to tell your story, and I know you're not really ready for that. Who would be, right? I mean, you lived it, it's probably not easy hashing that all out." She shook her head. "I got lost in a supermarket when I was eight and I couldn't talk about it, or go into the Piggly Wiggly, for at least a month after." She paused, her eyes widening. "Oh my God, not that I'm comparing my three-hour childhood trauma to your five years on a deserted island…"
Oliver's eyes were soft and his smile genuine as he ducked his head, a deep chuckle leaving him. Shaking his head, he leaned back in his chair and looked at her a long moment. "Thank you."
"For what?" She tossed a hand up in dismay. "That was a terrible attempt at cheering you up."
"Yeah, it was," he agreed, nodding, "but it was genuine."
"Genuinely awful," she groaned.
He shook his head, grabbing up his fork once more and looking down at his food, a smile still etched into his lips.
"Okay, but on a serious note, if you want to talk about it or anything…" She twirled her fork. "I will try everything in my power not to undermine the seriousness of what you went through… again."
"I think I'm okay. Maybe tomorrow, after it's happened, I'll take you up on your offer."
Smiling lightly, she nodded. "Okay."
A few minutes passed before he asked, "So a Piggly Wiggly, huh?"
"Three hours!" she declared.
And thus began a much lighter conversation.
Thea was looking at her funny. She'd come over specifically so they could hang out and watch a few of their favorite shows, but so far all she'd done was stare at Felicity with a peculiar look on her face.
"Do I have something on my face?" Felicity wondered, reaching up curiously.
"Hm? Uh, no. You're fine." Thea directed her eyes back to the TV screen, where the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars was playing.
A few minutes passed before Felicity felt it again and looked over to find her staring again. She raised an eyebrow. "Seriously? What is going on with you?"
"Nothing! Sorry, I'm just… thinking about... something." She shrugged, settling back in the couch.
"Thinking about what?" Felicity wondered, grabbing up the remote to hit mute as a commercial started playing. "I know you were worried about Oliver's court thing tomorrow… We talked about it earlier. He says he's okay, but I guess we'll see. Tomorrow might be different, right." She shrugged. "Anyway, I told him if he wanted to talk I was here, so…"
"You guys have been spending a lot of time together lately," Thea said, eyeing her curiously.
"Just the last few lunches. Nothing big."
"But you guys… talk? You've been getting closer? Mending bridges? That kind of thing…" she prodded.
Felicity cocked her head. "Thea, what is this about?"
"Nothing, I just… I hope you know you can talk to me about things with Ollie. Like, if they change at all." She hiked her brows. "I mean, I don't need dirty details, ever, but if you want to tell your favorite person about how you and Ollie are getting closer or bonding or maybe he gave you something and it's causing you to have a lot of feelings… I'm here."
Felicity blinked at her. "I… Uh… Thank you?" she said, awkwardly.
"Sure, just know I'm here, when you want to talk, about anything… at all."
Smiling, she nodded. "Duly noted."
They turned back to the TV as Felicity flicked off the mute, barely a minute had passed before Thea asked, "So there's nothing? He didn't say anything? Do anything? Give you anything?"
"Lunch, Thea. He brought me lunch. And we talked, about you and Tommy and, well, pop culture, because he has a lot to catch up on." She shook her head. "What's this about, exactly?"
"Uh, nothing. Nope. Don't worry about it. I'm just… you know, trying to be supportive. Of you, and my brother, doing whatever it is you're… doing."
"Again, we are having lunch." Felicity stared at Thea, brow raised. "Anything else?"
"Nope." She turned back to the screen. "Unless you have something to share…?"
Shaking her head slowly, Felicity said, "I don't."
"Fine." Thea settled back into the couch and focused on the screen. "But you would tell me if you did, right?"
"Yes, Thea," she sighed, amused. "I would."
"Great. Now, can we get back to the show?"
"Sure." She sat forward, smiling as she grabbed up the bowl of popcorn and dug in.
Not long after, Felicity found herself deep into the plot of show and Thea's weird behaviour finally stopped. But later, as she was lying down for bed, she couldn't help but wonder what Thea was going on about. She resolved herself to ask Oliver if he knew anything about Thea's behavior and why she seemed to think he was going to give her something. With that, she turned over in her bed and hit the light. She hated mysteries, and this was one she wanted solved as soon as possible.
[Next: Chapter Seven.]
Author's Note: Sorry for the wait on this one. I've been a little distracted with a few other stories, but I'm excited to get this out there and to share the next chapter with you. I hope you enjoyed this. The beginning finally delved into some of the issues between Felicity and Oliver. While Felicity can understand what he's saying, she's still learning to trust him and she wants to start with friendship. There will be more exploration of her feelings about what was said next chapter for anybody curious.
Thank you to everybody who reviewed last chapter. There was an issue with FFnet that meant I wasn't able to post until a few days after I'd put the chapter up elsewhere, so hopefully we won't run into that problem again.
Please let me know what you all think! Looks like Thea might've said something into motion that Oliver doesn't want quite yet... ;)
Thank you for reading. Please leave a review; they're my lifeblood!
- Lee | Fina