Oliver peeked up from the papers that he was signing to the blonde who was working diligently outside of his door. If he were honest with himself, he loved watching Felicity work. Not only was she amazingly capable at what she did, there was something incredibly sexy about the way she would calmly and confidently bend the information of the world wide web to her will. Felicity worked with code and information with a focus that rivaled his own when he was training. She was brilliant, brave, beautiful and… disappointed in him since she saw Isabel Rochev slink out of his hotel room.

Oliver was so used to Felicity's babbling that her cordial and professional behavior toward him over the past few days was painfully noticeable. She was as efficient as ever and, for Felicity, disturbingly silent.

Oliver turned back to the documents in his hand and studied them. Isabel, he thought as he continued reading. Oliver knew sleeping with her was a mistake from the moment that he kissed her, but he also knew that not sleeping with her would be just as bad. Isabel Rochev was a cold, calculating woman and what was worse, she was jealous of Felicity. Having been the most notorious playboy of Starling City, Oliver could read women pretty well and he knew a jealous woman was a dangerous enemy. Not sleeping with Isabel would have likely caused her to look into his life more deeply and further influence rumors that the relationship between he and Felicity was less than professional.

Before the island, Oliver would have slept with Isabel Rochev because she was beautiful, willing and the jealousy thing would be a bit of a turn on. Now, everything in his life was about strategy. He was always hiding something, manipulating someone or gaining control of a situation. Taking Ms. Rochev to his bed was a distraction, stress relief, a way to get her off of his scent and, as twisted as it was, a way to protect Felicity. Isabel Rochev was a means to an end that Felicity was not supposed to see. But she had, and as much as he hated it, he was willing to take her "silent treatment" as long as he didn't have to answer any questions about his motives. There is no proper to say "I slept with the woman we both hate so she would think I was tramp and not you."

So Oliver made his peace with Felicity's silent treatment and walked to her desk with the papers that he had just signed. He hoped that doing some actual CEO work would stop Isabel from coming to his office for the time being. He knew that Felicity didn't like playing "Go-for" between he and Isabel, Isabel had her own version of Felicity just outside her office so the contact between the two ladies would be minimal.

Oliver placed the papers on Felicity's desk as she looked up at him.

"I need you to deliver this to Isabel's office," he said curtly and spun on his heel, hoping to make a quick exit.

"Why her?" Felicity asked, stopping Oliver mid-stride. Of course, Oliver thought, She finally speaks and it's the one question I don't want to answer.

Oliver dutifully turned to face her and walked back to her desk, trying to figure out how he was going to respond, being that telling her the truth was out of the question. He knew that explaining his logic out loud would only make things worse and more awkward for all parties involved.

"I mean besides the obvious leggy model reason," Felicity finished as he walked back to her desk. Oliver just said the first thing that came to mind.

"It just kinda happened," Oliver replied, "It didn't mean anything."

Felicity tilted her head at him in that way that let him knew she wasn't buying it. That was one of the things that he loved about Felicity. From day one, she wasn't afraid to call him out on bullshit and most of the time, she just did it with a look that told him to get real with her. Felicity demanded, in her own way, that he be a better man, an honest man when he was with her. She didn't fall for his playboy charm or fake smiles, but she did have a weakness. She had feelings for him and as much as he hated it, he could manipulate that too.

"Hey," Oliver said suddenly in a softer tone that he knew would get her attention.

"Because of the life I lead…" he started, taking time with his words, "I just think that it's better to not…be with someone I could really care about."

Oliver saw her eyes go through several layers of emotion before she gathered the things that need to deliver to Isabel's office. He knew his answer hurt her because he didn't answer the question "Why Isabel?"; instead he purposely answered the question "Why not Felicity?" In his own way, he loved Felicity. She was always in his corner. Of all the women in his life, she knew him best and was still around. He could trust her implicitly and that's what made her so dangerous. She was the woman that he needed to protect, to keep close and the woman that could be his undoing. In the end, this whole Isabel thing was about that old saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

Suddenly Felicity turned her heel. Oliver had turned to face her.

"Well, I think…I think you deserve better than her," Felicity said and left, leaving Oliver to his own thoughts. Oliver watched her walk away and felt a sudden loss. She was coming back, but somehow he knew their relationship would never be the same again.