Chapter X – The Talk
Felicity intended for her mother to stay at the apartment, get some rest after her flight, but Donna wouldn't have it. Oliver and the Smoak duo made the trip to the hospital together and after making sure everything was okay with Felicity, Donna insisted on spending the day with her daughter.
"I couldn't get anyone to cover my shift tomorrow, so I'm only here for today. Is it a crime for a mother to want to spend time with her daughter more than twice a year?" she'd argued.
Felicity couldn't bring herself to say no, so off they went to Queen Consolidated. The perks of "fake-dating" the boss included being able to bring your mother to work after a traumatic experience like being kidnapped by a deranged man.
When they got to the office building, Diggle was already waiting for them at the entrance. Oliver went around the car to get the passenger door and help Donna out. The two of them took the steps towards QC's front door arm in arm with Felicity tailing them.
Diggle eyed the stranger with caution and Oliver smiled, glad he was the one who got to do the introductions this time.
"Diggle! Meet Felicity's mom. Donna, this is Mr. Diggle, my bodyguard and also one of my closest friends."
"Mom, ok." Dig remarked, venturing a look at Felicity who'd suddenly grown very quiet. "John Diggle, very nice to meet you," he said, shaking Donna's hand firmly.
"Nice to meet you too," she said with an easy smile. "Very firm grip, Mr. Diggle. Must be those arms."
Oliver thought he heard Felicity sigh behind them and his smile grew a little wider. The group made its way through the lobby and up the elevator, drawing as much attention as was expected.
Felicity and her mum settled at the assistant desk outside the office with Diggle guarding the front door as usual, and Oliver went inside to try to get some work done. Being a vigilante didn't really leave much time to be a CEO.
It was around 9AM when Isabel Rochev dropped by his office to give him the usual scolding. Oliver noticed both mother and daughter glaring at the woman's back and he had to casually cover his mouth with his hand so he wouldn't make Isabel even more mad at him by smiling to her face while being scolded.
The rest of the morning went by uneventfully. Oliver, Diggle and Felicity kept exchanging fleeting glances here and there when Donna wasn't looking, trying to have a wordless conversation about how they were going to go about their day now that Mama Smoak was in town.
As soon as Donna got in the elevator to do some wandering around the building, Diggle and Felicity moved into Oliver's office.
"You told her about us," Oliver stated.
"Us as in the crime-fighting three-person team?" Felicity asked.
Oliver didn't have the patience for this.
"Oh, you mean us as in the highly-publicized extremely-clichéd fake couple." Felicity sighed. "Yeah, I had to. My mom… let's just say she's a mayor TMZ junkie so she was going to find out anyway. Better she heard it from me."
Oliver nodded in agreement.
"Well, she is something, I'll give you that," teased Diggle. "Felicity, are you sure you're not adopted?"
"Oh, trust me, I've done the research."
Diggle answered her with the biggest grin. Oliver leaned back on his chair, resting his arm on the desk.
"I like her," he said.
"Of course you do," Felicity bit back.
"We should take her out to dinner," Oliver continued, brushing over Felicity's jab.
"Can't," she reminded him. "Her plane leaves early tonight."
"Lunch, then," he countered, and then to Diggle, "Call Lyla, we'll make it a thing."
Diggle was too entertained to chime in on the conversation. He just said "Sure" and sat back to watch the scene before him unfold with a knowing smirk on his face.
"You want to take my mother out," Felicity said.
"Why not? You've had dinner with mine."
Felicity's response was cut off by Detective Lance tapping his keychain on the open glass door. He was with Laurel who stood behind him, doing her best not to look directly at either Oliver or Felicity without much success. Oliver waved them in and Lance apologized, as much as he could apologize to Oliver, for barging in on their 'meeting'. Diggle excused himself and went to stand right outside the door.
"Detective Lance, Laurel," Oliver said. "What can I do for you?"
"It's officer now," the man corrected him. "We were in the neighborhood and I thought I'd drop by to talk to you in person. It's about your mother's trial."
Felicity was going to leave too and go back to her desk, but Lance stopped her.
"No, Ms. Smoak, you stay," he said. "I'm guessing this concerns you as much as him. SCPD is setting up a police escort to accompany you and your family the day of the trial," he told Oliver. "Damn reporters are driving me crazy. They're all over your mother's case, even harassing Laurel at the DA's office. And now with all the fuzz about you two…" Lance swung his finger between Oliver and Felicity. "It's going to be one big media circus out there."
Felicity wondered if he knew the press was not only waiting to see her and Oliver out and about but to catch a glimpse of the three of them –Oliver, Felicity and Laurel –forced to share the same space. If he knew, he didn't say, and honestly Felicity didn't know what was it that the media expected to see. A cat fight? Hair pulling? Seriously, what's wrong with these people? Plus, she was pretty sure if it came down to cat fighting, Laurel would kick the filling out of her.
Lance went on to explain the details and discuss logistics with Oliver and Felicity. Laurel only spoke up here and there to confirm a date or a place and not much else. Oliver managed to throw a few furtive glances at Laurel while they talked. He hadn't really spoken to her since he found out she'd be the one prosecuting his mother. The time before that she'd been in his office accusing him of being the Arrow; that was the day it had all started.
To be honest, Oliver didn't know how he felt about Laurel anymore. A few months ago they were supposed to be getting back together but then… well, then Tommy died. They'd agreed too much had happened and it was best to go their separate ways but still –this was Laurel, the one who had always been in the back of his mind all those years he spent away; a reason for him to come back. Was she still the reason for him to move forward? The one pushing him to be a better man? Was she the one he would come back to if he ever had to leave again? He couldn't say.
"Well, I think that's all," Lance said. "Just make sure you stay within the escort at all times until you are inside the courtroom. No 'Houdini' acts, Queen."
The young man acknowledged him with a smile.
"All right then. I'll see you when I see you," Lance finished.
Laurel smiled goodbye and they both turned to leave, but the door was blocked by Donna who'd just returned from her wandering walk.
"Oh, hi there," she said with a smile, her eyes settling on the police officer.
After years of experience Felicity just knew Lance had fallen on her mother's radar. She could almost see the wheels turning in Donna's head, planning the most effective way to 'lure and conquer' this new challenge. Oliver extended an arm towards his fake mother-in-law and introduced the pair, confirming Donna's unspoken hopes that Laurel was family and not very young competition.
Felicity and Laurel exchanged a look as their parents gravitated towards each other, now completely invested in what was clearly a flirting match. Lance was all "I didn't know your mother lived here, Ms. Smoak" without ever looking at Felicity, and Donna of course was all "Oh, I don't. I'm just visiting. I'm in Las Vegas. You should come one day, I'll show you around."
Diggle looked at his shoes to hide the smile he couldn't quite contain and Oliver decided it was all very amusing so he invited the Lances to join them for lunch.
"Yes! That's a wonderful idea," Donna seconded. "Please come," she said towards Lance, taking that chance to casually graze his arm. The officer smiled slightly looking down.
"Oh, I don't know. I, er… I don't wanna intrude-"
"Dad," Laurel cut in. "We can't. We have a meeting, remember?"
Yes, yes, don't let her catch him, Felicity thought urgently.
"You're right, sweety. I'm sorry. Another time, maybe?" Lance offered. Again mostly towards Donna.
"I'll hold you to that," said Mama Smoak with a cat-like smile.
Felicity didn't breathe easily until Lance and Laurel were gone.
"Aww, what a shame," said Donna sadly, glancing towards the hallway where Quentin had just disappeared. Half a second later she turned to Oliver with a spark in her eyes… "So, lunch plans?"
Lunch had gone over smoothly. Donna was delighted to meet Lyla and had nothing but nice things to say about the fancy restaurant Oliver took them to. Felicity could see her mom was loving the attention of being paraded around town in Oliver's arm. Donna wouldn't have been half as self-conscious as Felicity having to play this whole fake-girlfriend charade. Unfortunately, Felicity did not inherit her mother's carefree attitude towards life.
All that aside, it was nice for her to see her mom enjoying herself. Despite the many, many, differences of opinion between the two women, Felicity wasn't unaware of all the sacrifices her mother had made to bring her up on her own after her father left them. Sometimes, when she was particularly upset at Donna, Felicity had to remind herself that it wasn't just her who'd been abandoned by her father, it was her mother too who'd been abandoned by the man she loved. Because if one thing was for sure it's that Donna Smoak had loved Felicity's father with all her heart.
Maybe that's why Felicity was being so cautious about her feelings for Oliver. Having a crush on your incredibly attractive friend was one thing, but falling madly in love with a man that wasn't planning on looking at you the same way… well, that was just reckless, especially for someone like Felicity who knew exactly how badly it could end.
After lunch, the team decided it was best for them to split up for the rest of the day. They dropped Donna and Felicity off at her apartment for some mother-daughter bonding while the boys were forced to go old school and fight crime without their tech girl behind the desk for one night. That didn't go too bad but let's just say Oliver and Diggle gained a new appreciation for the third member of their team.
Felicity set the TV for some Hallmark movie she'd recorded a few days back and sat next to her mother on the couch. Donna handed her the popcorn.
"So, when do you have to be at the airport?" Felicity asked.
"Oh, I've got time. At least a few hours, enough for the movie and some girl talk."
Felicity gave Donna a glance and sat back on the couch grabbing a handful of popcorn and hitting play.
"So…" Donna started, "Oliver seems nice."
"What? I didn't say anything! Am I supposed to not like him? We can both agree it's been a long time." Felicity sneered at her for that and shoved some more popcorn in her mouth. "I'm just happy for you, honey, that's all."
After a while, Felicity decided she needed to get it out, at least part of it. She didn't take her eyes off the screen when she spoke.
"It's not what it looks like."
"Huh? What isn't?"
"Oliver and I… it's not what you think."
"You mean he's not really handsome, attentive, successful, and crazy about you... not to mention kind of rich?" she added with a complicit smile to her daughter.
"Oh no, he is… except for the crazy part. That… We… It's not exactly real."
Donna was starting to get confused. She looked at her daughter with a frown.
"What do you mean it's not real?"
"Well," Felicity turned over on the couch so she could face her mom, the movie now definitely just noise on the background. "I may be doing him a favor- No, I am doing him a favor. Oliver, er… he needed…" Felicity shook her head. She knew there was only so much she could say. "It's complicated. Bottom line is Oliver and I are just friends, we're not really dating, we only have to pretend like we are."
Donna stared at her, processing the string of information she'd just had.
"Huh," she said and turned back to face the TV.
"Wh- Mom, that's it? Just 'huh'?"
"Felicity, what do you want me to say?"
"I don't know, something! I just told you my whole relationship with Oliver is a lie."
Donna cocked her head towards Felicity.
"Your whole relationship?" she said in a soft, 'mom' voice.
She took her daughter's hands in hers and sighed.
"Look, honey, I don't know why you're doing what you're doing and I don't think I completely understand what it is you're doing, but I do know you and… I think you're only lying to yourself." "Mom-"
Donna held up a hand.
"Felicity, dating or not dating, you and Oliver are together. You can't fake that. And I may not know Oliver enough to know how he feels about you but you're not pretending."
"I can't. Oliver's not mine to take, mom, he's… First of all he's got issues," she said suddenly faster. "Like way too many issues, ex girlfriends and he was on an island and he's the most stubborn man I have ever met…"
"I know someone like that," Donna chimed in.
"The point is…" Felicity marked. She was about to repeat herself, tell Donna Oliver was terminally unavailable and that the whole dating thing was a lie, but the thought of continuing to keep things bottled up for herself was just too much. There was an opportunity for her to be honest with someone about how she felt and damn if she wasn't going to take it. "The point is I'm scared," she said quietly looking at Donna.
Mama Smoak didn't need her daughter to say any more. She knew all too well what Felicity was scared off. The younger Smoak had lost so much, one too many men had left her or been taken from her. She knew despite her ramblings it was more what Felicity didn't say than what she babbled about.
"I know it's scary and I know you have every reason to feel that way but Felicity, you can't go through life without living. In the end it's all worth it, the pain and the laughs and the cute little moments in between, that's how you know you're still breathing. I know it wasn't the best example but honey I loved your father and I know he loved me. I have great memories despite the bitter end and I have you, " she said cupping her face. "I wouldn't change that for the world."
Felicity leaned into her mother's hand and almost smiled, fighting the knot that had taken over her throat.
Donna gave her daughter a tight hug which Felicity returned, allowing herself to close her eyes for a moment. When they pulled back after a second, the two women looked at each other.
"Thank you," Felicity said.
"No problem, honey, that's what moms are for," she said tapping Felicity's hand. Felicity gave her a smile. "Now, about that cute police officer, you wouldn't happen to have his number…"
DON'T WORRY! There'll be more Smoak&Lance goodness in the future, do not despair. This chapter was short but it's all that needed to be said. I know reading this fic is worse than watching BBC's Sherlock with those long hiatus which makes me a million times more grateful that you do read it and seem to enjoy it. I promise it'll be finished, I just can't promise it'll be fast. Writer's block and real life (with a little bit of procastination mixed in there) make my posting schedule a complete nonexistent mess. Bare with me if you can, I do love you for it and I love this story as well. Leave a comment, it's always great reading u guys. Lots of love, WordaholiC.