“It’s just so good to see you again.”
Felicity’s chuckle sounded more like a choking sound as Sara hugged her so firmly that she could barely breathe. Sara might be almost as short as Felicity, but she had a lot of strength in every single inch of her. If the firmness of her hug was anything to judge. Felicity guessed that she wasn’t the only one who had missed her friend.
“I am so happy that you are here,” Sara said eventually, pulling back a little to look Felicity up and down quickly. “You look good. Still cute actually.”
Still cute. Felicity couldn’t help but smile at Sara’s words. They reminded her of the good, old times when they had liked to fool around, saying that maybe one day they would be together. They had always been perfectly in tune as friends and roommates which would have probably made it easy to be romantically involved with each other. Felicity even considered herself open to any kind of love that would come her way. It had just never clicked between Sara and her, not even during that awkward kiss while they had been spinning the bottle.
“You look great too.” Felicity tugged at a strand of Sara’s blonde hair. “I guess you are glowing like every bride does. Or is it blushing?”
“If you don’t know, how am I supposed to know?” Sara chuckled. “Anyway, not every bride might actually glow or blush. I am very sure that Nyssa is none of that, and nobody would even dare to claim anything else.”
Perking up her eyebrows, Felicity turned her head to where Nyssa was standing in the frame of the door. She had her arms crossed in front of her chest. Her body posture was tense, and her lips were pinched slightly. Smiling, Felicity realized that Sara was right. Nobody would ever dare to call Nyssa a glowing or blushing wife, not if they were somewhat sane.
“It’s not like I am not looking forward to the wedding,” Nyssa said a little grumpily. “I am just happy on the inside.”
Nyssa looked at Sara intensely. Though she almost seemed angry or annoyed about her fiancée’s words, the moment Sara flashed her a smile, the corner of Nyssa’s lips started twitching too. Nyssa might not be the most talkative person, but she was a good soul, and she was completely in love with Sara.
“As long as you two are happy, that is all that really counts.” Felicity let go of Felicity and hugged Nyssa. “I’m happy that you are happy.”
After a brief moment, Felicity let go of Nyssa and took a step back. She knew that Nyssa wasn’t really comfortable with too much physical affection other than the one was shown by Sara. Felicity respected that.
Looking Felicity up and down, Nyssa frowned. Her eyes narrowed down on Felicity, and her lips puckered even more.
“Sara is right,” she said. “You do look a lot better than you did when we visited you in Hub City six months ago and way better than you do on the tiny displays of our phones.”
Although there was a bit of a compliment in there that she didn’t doubt was actually meant honestly, Felicity knew that there was a little bit of a reproach in Nyssa’s words too. It was her work at Helix Dynamics and her refusion to come to Starling City that was to blame for the six months they hadn’t seen each other in person.
Sara cleared her throat and quickly stepped towards Nyssa, wrapping an arm around her waist. “What Nyssa is trying to say is that we are very happy that you came here to celebrate our wedding with us. Right?”
Nyssa pressed her lips together for a moment before she put on a smile. “Right.”
“Well, I wouldn’t have missed your wedding for anything.”
“Good because I would have killed you otherwise.” Sara nodded towards the inside of the apartment. “Now come in, or I’ll start feeling like you are on the run.”
Felicity followed her friends into the open living space where kitchen, dining room and living room were joint into one large area. The walls were at least five-meter-high, and the wall toward the terrace and garden was covered with large muntin windows that reached from the floor up to the ceiling. The dark hardwood floor was a contrast to the light walls and furniture. Everything looked incredibly elegant and expensive.
“Wow,” Felicity said. “I knew that OJQ isn’t paying badly, but I never thought that they would pay you enough to afford something like this.”
“They don’t,” Sara admitted honestly. “Moira promised that, once OJQ is really running with the big dogs on the fashion market, we will be paid more. So far, we earn a little less than most models do.”
“But you don’t mind,” Felicity said, not having to ask.
“Of course not. The Queens have been my family since dad died, so…”
Sara shrugged her shoulders. Felicity could see the glance of sadness in her eyes. Through the years it had become less, but it was still always there when she talked about her father. She really missed him since they had been very close and so very similar.
“So, how do you afford this?” Felicity asked. “The rent doesn’t pay itself, right?”
“Actually, it does.” Sara shrugged her shoulders once more. “It’s property of the Queen Family. Robert suggested that we would live here without paying rent. We should take that as a bonus for being the face of OJQ.”
“Which doesn’t mean that OJQ pays that badly that we wouldn’t be able to afford a place of our own,” Nyssa explained, dropping into the cushions of the couch. “It’s just that we could have never found something this beautiful.”
Felicity shot Nyssa a brief smile, nodding her head. She was sure that an apartment like this was a rare treasure to find here. She remembered how hard it had been when she had tried to find a place to live here in Starling.
Quickly, Felicity pushed the thought aside. It was too painful as searching for a place to live had been the beginning to the end. Maybe she would still call Starling City her home if it hadn’t been for that.
“So, how are things going with Ray?” Sara asked, letting herself fall onto the couch over the backrest. “Is everything still good?”
“We broke up.”
Sara’s smile dropped. “Oh.”
Smiling, Felicity shrugged it off. She seemed to have much less problems with the break-up than most other people did. Maybe it was just the fact that she had had some more time to think about it. Robert, Sara and Nyssa had heard about it the first time now here.
“It’s not that bad,” Felicity explained. “There was no big fight and no heartbreak. We just realized that we didn’t work as a couple. I mean we could tell each other everything about work, and we could work together constructively, but it wasn’t what a relationship should be like. We are better off being friends.”
“It’s good you realized that now before it’s too late.”
When Sara shot Nyssa a glare, she rolled her eyes. Felicity bit down on her tongue. She didn’t want to get into this little conversation between the soon-to-be weds. It was amusing to see them so in tune with each other though. Sara and Nyssa had always been the kind of couple everyone else was looking up to.
“So, what else are you doing?” Sara asked. “I mean what do you do all day in Hub City?”
“Work.” Felicity shrugged her shoulders. “I guess.”
Nyssa’s voice left no doubt that she was being sarcastic. While Sara shot her another glare, Felicity couldn’t be angry with Nyssa. She was right. Her life sounded incredibly boring. It probably would be if she didn’t love her job as much as she did.
Clearing her throat, Felicity changed the subject. “So, tell me everything there is to know about the wedding. I want to know everything.”
Sara and Nyssa exchanged a look that left no doubt how deeply they were in love with each other. Sara scooted a little closer to Nyssa on the couch and put her hand on Nyssa’s knee.
“Robert’s paying for the wedding.”
Felicity faltered briefly. She had expected a lot of first information to get about this wedding, but she hadn’t necessarily expected this to be the first thing Sara would tell her. She guessed most people would have talked about the location, the food or maybe the dress.
“Well, you did grow to be family to the Queens after your dad died,” Felicity said. “I am sure you made him very happy when you agree to let him pay for the wedding.”
“Yes, he offered again and again, and eventually, we just agreed,” Sara replied, nodding her head. “I wouldn’t have needed him to pay for the wedding, but it was a good feeling to know that he wanted to do so because he felt like he was my father, at least a little bit.”
Felicity smiled, knowing exactly what Sara meant. Robert Queen was the most generous person she knew, and he gladly invited everyone who was interested to become a part of his family. He had done so with Sara after her dad head died and she had had nobody else. He had done so with Nyssa when she had been abandoned by her father after he had found out that she was into girls. Once she had started dating Oliver, he had welcomed her with open arms too, and he would have still considered her family even if she had worked for his concurrent.
“Well, of course that means that they can also control the media,” Nyssa added, “but I think we found a good compromise on that.”
Felicity perked up her eyebrows. “There will be press attending?”
“No, we could convince Moira that we didn’t want that,” Sara replied. “We hired two of our usual fashion photographers though, and some selected photos as well as a joint interview will be printed in the next issue of the Vogue.”
Felicity whistled out a breath of impression. “That’s a big thing.”
“A lesbian and a bi that work as the faces of the same fashion label getting married in an extraordinary ceremony,” Nyssa said. “That is a big thing.”
“True.” Felicity nodded her head. “The media wouldn’t be interested if you weren’t this good at your jobs.”
Nyssa couldn’t hide the proud smile on her lips. Becoming a model hadn’t been easy for her as she had had no support of her family. She often seemed like she didn’t care about a lot of things, but Felicity knew better. Nyssa cared deeply.
“So, is anyone of your family attending the wedding?” Felicity asked Sara. “Like your mom or Laurel at least?”
Nyssa put her hand over Sara’s at the question, offering silent comfort. It was a rare occasion when Nyssa was the one pushing for the touch. She knew that Sara needed it, so she offered it gladly.
Felicity didn’t know what exactly had happened between Sara, her mother and her sister. All she knew was that their relationship had broken apart when Sara’s parents had gotten divorced. Laurel had moved to Central City with her mother. Sara had stayed in Starling with her father. It had been a difficult situation, and they had never really recovered from it. When Quentin had died on duty, the split through the Lance Family had only deepened.
“Laurel and my mom will come for the rehearsal dinner and for the wedding,” she replied a little tensely, and not even her smile could cover that she wasn’t comfortable talking about it. “I only found the courage to call them up and invite them after you agreed to be my maid of honor. That way I could have a reason why I didn’t ask Laurel to be my maid of honor. It made things easier.”
“You still don’t want her to take over the task?”
“No,” Sara hurried to say and shook her head firmly. “It’s going to be a challenge to have my mom and Laurel there for the wedding as it is. The less time I spent with them alone, the better.”
Felicity smiled at her encouragingly. “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.”
“I know you do.” Sara released a sigh of relief, her fingers tightening around Nyssa’s hand. “And I already have Thea.”
“I guess she still loves organizing parties?”
“That and celebrating them,” Nyssa replied. “The little Queen is full of energy.”
Felicity smiled, thinking about how much she had missed Thea too. She didn’t have any siblings. While she and Oliver had been together, she had loved to see Thea as her sister though. They had been incredibly close, the way good sisters were, and Felicity had felt more than relieved that Thea had stayed in touch with her even after she had moved to Hub City.
“She is full of energy,” Felicity agreed, nodding her head, “but she usually manages to leads her energy onto the right paths. I am sure she got a lot of great ideas when it came to the wedding.”
“Yes, she did.” Sara nodded her head firmly. “It was her idea to use the Queens’ garden for the wedding ceremony, and she drew sketches of how to set up the tents and everything.”
That sounded a lot like Thea, Felicity thought to herself. Oliver’s younger sister never did anything half-heartedly. She loved to throw herself into new tasks headfirst. If she did, she always made the best of it. She never gave up easily, and she had the power to convince people of her ideas.
“She once mentioned that she always imagined planning your wedding with Oliver that way.”
Felicity’s heart stood still for a second. It didn’t go unnoticed by Sara, who threw her fiancé another angry glare. Felicity lowered her gaze, trying to ignore it. She didn’t want to think about what could have been between her and Oliver. Maybe in a couple of years she could laugh about it, but she wasn’t ready to do so yet.
Clearing her throat, Felicity lifted her gaze. She put on a smile that she knew didn’t reach her eyes. She could see it in Sara’s eyes. Her friend was looking at her with worry, wordlessly asking if everything was okay. Everything that had even remotely referred to her past relationship with Oliver had been a big taboo these last years.
“I am sure that Thea and I will make a good team.”
“That’s good to hear.” Sara smiled. “Maybe you could call her up and ask her if she needs help for our masquerade ball tomorrow.”
“A masquerade ball?”
“It’s ridiculous,” Nyssa mumbled, “but it was two against one.”
Sara pushed her elbow into Nyssa’s ribs playfully, and she dropped her head back on the top of the backrest with a groan. Felicity could still see the smile on her lips. As grumpy as Nyssa seemed, she was exciting for her wedding and whatever that masquerade ball was.
“Nyssa and I decided to share our bachelorette party because we have the same friends, and it would have been stupid to make them choose which party to go to,” Sara explained. “You know I was never a fan of those games or running around and selling kisses or anything. At first, we considered inviting everyone to dinner and going into a club after that.”
“I guess Thea had different plans?”
The corners of Felicity’s lips twitched. She couldn’t imagine that Thea would ever accept a bachelorette party like that. The youngest Queen had an extraordinary taste, and she knew exactly what was needed for an unforgettable party.
“She said we should pep it up a little.” Sara chuckled, knowing as well as Felicity did that it had to be an underestimation. “She organized everything at the Queen Mansion, and she designed dresses for Nyssa and me. Speaking of dresses, your dress for the wedding has to be fitted.”
Felicity nodded her head. “I know. I have that covered.”
Sara perked up her eyebrows. “Is Thea going to-?”
“No, Oliver will do it,” Felicity replied and hurried to continue, so there wouldn’t be any awkward pause. “I met Oliver at Queen Consolidated yesterday, and he invited or rather ordered me to his atelier tonight.”
“Maybe if I ask Thea-“
“Oliver would never let anyone touch his designs,” Felicity interrupted Sara, shaking her head. “Don’t worry. If Oliver has ever been professional, it has been during work. It will take fifteen, maybe thirty minutes. I can handle that.”
Sara looked at her intensely, and Felicity had to lowered her eyes. She couldn’t deny that her stomach tightened whenever she thought about this dress fitting tonight. Knowing how thorough Oliver was with his work, he was going to get very close to her. Felicity didn’t know if she would be able to handle that. She had only managed to find her freedom at some point in the last three years because she had known that Oliver was thousands of miles away.
With Oliver back in her reach, she felt her old anger embracing her, and she had never liked what that anger had turned her into. Still, the anger was easier to focus on than it was to focus on the heartbreak.
“Felicity, what happened between you and Oliver?”
Looking at Sara, Felicity put on a sad smile and shrugged her shoulders. “It’s a long story.”
* * *
“This loft is one of my favorite realties. I don’t get the chance to show it to clients often. The happier I am about the opportunities to show it to you.”
The realtor – Felicity had tried without success to remember her name in the last thirty minutes, and she didn’t care enough to keep trying – pushed open the door. A brief glance inside proved to Felicity what she had suspected long before already. This was in no way in their budget, at least not the budget she and Oliver had agreed on.
Puckering her lips, Felicity shot Oliver a glare. Unimpressed by her anger, Oliver grinned. He laced his fingers through hers and lifted her hand to his lips. Taking the first step into the loft and pulling her inside with him, he kissed the back of her hand.
“The house was built in the 1920s by a local company that used it to provide living space to their industrial workers. Later, it was a normal apartment complex for the middle class. Last year, it was bought by one of Starling’s own property tycoons. He renovated the entire building, going as far as demolishing almost the entire inside to create fewer apartments with more space and luxurious appointments. The penthouse loft is the best example for that.”
Felicity looked around the spacious area. Kitchen, dining room and living room were combined to one. Over two metal stairs you could reach the gallery upstairs. Five doors led away from it to separate rooms, while there were open areas at the sides, so you could look down from upstairs. Through the windows that reached from the floor to the ceiling and covered three of the four walls, allowing her an extraordinary view. She could even see the harbor in the west of the city.
Squeezing Oliver’s hand, she let go of it to turn around herself and take in every inch of the loft. The dark flooring alone looked expensive. Combined with the brick walls and metal pillars, there was an industrial touch to it. It looked modern and old at the same time.
To Felicity’s surprise, she actually liked the loft, and that didn’t sit well with her.
“There are nearly 3100 square feet for you to spread yourself out,” the realtor added. The loft features soaring ceilings that allow the open construction over two floors with the spectacular gallery. The wide-plan hardwood floors are luxurious and work nicely into the industrial style that reminds of the old times of the building.”
Felicity flashed Oliver a brief glance. When he caught it, Felicity could see that he was biting back an amused grin. Neither of them was particularly fond of any kind of sales conversation which was why they had rejected the idea of hiring a realtor in the first place. Since their apartment hunting had been without success these last couple of weeks, they had figured that a realtor was their best choice of finding an apartment. Their first home together.
“You have a large fireplace in the living area and a luxurious designer kitchen over there. Are you interested in cooking?”
“Hell, no.” Felicity groaned at the idea of cooking and pointed back over her shoulder to where Oliver was already heading towards the kitchen. “He’s the cook in our relationship.”
“A man that can cook.” The realtor smiled at Oliver. “That’s impressive.”
“It’s just a hobby,” Oliver replied, shrugging his shoulders. “But I do need a good kitchen nonetheless.”
While Oliver and the realtor took in the kitchen, Felicity headed over to the living area. The fireplace looked indeed beautiful. She could imagine sitting in front of it during cold winter nights, working on her laptop while Oliver was drawing new sketches for his designs. Their feet would touch
Realizing that she could actually see herself living here, Felicity scrunched up her nose. The loft was nice. She couldn’t deny it even if she tried. Living here would be a dream come true – not necessarily her dream, but maybe the dream of eight-year-old her and definitely Oliver’s dream – if it wasn’t for the fact that she knew that they could never afford this.
Well, she could never afford this as she didn’t have millions of dollars in her account that was transferred to it from her escrow account when she had turned 21 years old. She hadn’t been born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her parents weren’t billionaires.
She saw the exposé of the loft on the small table next to the fireplace where glasses and some water were prepared for the clients. Sitting down on the edge of the table, she brushed through the magazine.
In addition to the data and facts they had gotten from the realtor, exposé informed her that there were six apartments in the building. The loft was the most luxurious one, but the other lofts got the same opportunity of using the 24-hour house staff, the fitness room and courtyard in the back of the building.
That alone was scary, so Felicity was afraid of reading more. This life of luxury was nothing she thought she would ever get used to. She barely understood how people could live like that.
Continuing to read, she learned that there were four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The master bathroom even featured spa-like elements like a rain shower and a whirlpool, the master bedroom had a separate area that was already furnished with custom closets and parts of its ceiling consisted of glass. The office was constructed by an icon in the tech-field, so it was designed for the work with several computers and monitors. The balcony led from the northern over the eastern to the southern side, catching some sunlight all day and offering enough space for small parties.
Long story short, the entire loft was like the modern version of a castle. It was beautiful, extraordinary, and it matched both of their demands for a good living and work space. It might be more Oliver’s style, but Oliver had quite a good style.
That still didn’t solve the problem that it was nothing she could afford. Glancing at the last side, Felicity almost fainted at the prize as well as the fact that this wasn’t a loft to rent. It should be sold for a cool 2,250,000 dollars.
“So, what do you think?” the realtor asked. “Should we go upstairs and take a look at the rest of the rooms?”
“Actually,” Felicity said before Oliver could answer, “I’d like to talk to Oliver for a second.”
“Of course.” The realtor’s smile widened although Felicity could see a little bit of frustration behind the smile. Felicity guessed that she had realized within a couple of minutes that Oliver was the one she had impressed more easily and Felicity was the one who needed more convincing. “I will wait outside.”
As soon as the door had closed behind the realtor, Felicity lifted the exposé.
“For sale for more than two million dollars?”
Oliver rolled his lips into his mouth and cocked his head, admitting defeat. With a sigh, Felicity dropped the exposé to the table. They were short on time when it came to finding a new home as it was. Now they had lost some more time and-
“Okay, listen,” Oliver interrupted her thoughts and hurried towards her, grabbing her hands. “I know we decided to rent something, but we haven’t found anything we liked. I figured that maybe we should try something else.”
“This is definitely something else.” Felicity chuckled dryly. “Oliver, this is a modern palace, and it is beautiful in all different ways, but it’s too expensive.”
“Two million dollars are peanuts.”
Oliver already opened his mouth and took in a deep breath to reply when he realized that he didn’t know what to say. Sighing, he puckered his lips and brushed the knuckles of his fingers over her cheek.
“Is that still important?” he asked eventually, frowning slightly. “What’s mine and what’s yours? We want to live here together, and this place could make us both very happy. Can’t things just be ours from now on?”
Felicity felt her heart warming at the suggestion. For Oliver, it would really be that easy. He would just buy the apartment and make her feel like it was theirs every time of the day. He would never mention the money again, not even when they were fighting which they rarely ever did anyway.
For her, it just wasn’t that easy.
Moving in together with her boyfriend was a big thing as it was. Moving in when your boyfriend payed the apartment felt too big of a step. She knew that she wouldn’t really depend on him as she was still earning her own money, but it still felt like she was making herself a little dependable of Oliver and his lifestyle. She wasn’t sure if she could do that.
“Okay, come here.” Oliver tugged at her hand, pulling her against him, so her back was resting against his chest. Turning her towards the living space, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and rested his chin on her shoulder. “We could place a fluffy carpet in front of the fireplace, so we can make love in front of the fire in cold winter nights. We could place a long wooden table over there where we have dinner together every night and tell each other about our days. Maybe that area upstairs could be used as my space to work from home, and you use the office. The loft is the perfect place to work, to live and to love.”
With resentment, Felicity realized that she could indeed see all of that. She could see where the furniture was placed, and she could see Oliver working in the open area upstairs. She could even hear the heels of her shoes on the metal stairs when she was running towards the door, late for work after Oliver had kept her in the shower for a little longer than her schedule would have allowed.
And still it didn’t believe the unwell feeling in the pit of her stomach when she thought about the costs of the loft. She didn’t want people to think that she was a gold digger. They thought that already, and they would certainly consider it proven if she moved into a loft that she could only live in because Oliver payed for it.
With a facial expression that she was sure showed how much she was caught in a dilemma, Felicity turned around to Oliver. He perked up his eyebrows, wordlessly prompting her to say what she was thinking. When Felicity bit down on her bottom lip instead, he chuckled softly.
“Let’s head home and discuss this,” Oliver suggested, freeing her bottom lip from the maltreatment of her front teeth by brushing his thumb over it. “We will find an agreement, I am sure.”
No sooner said than done, Oliver and Felicity left the loft. They told the realtor, who looked anything but happy, that they would call her and stepped outside on the sidewalk. Hand in hand, they headed back to Oliver’s apartment where they were staying most of the time.
“So, is the money the only reason you are against buying that loft?” Oliver asked eventually. “Or is there anything else?”
“I just never expected to live in something like that.” Felicity gestured back to the building. “Eight-year-old me who lived in an one-room apartment over a Turkish fast food restaurant would have loved that, but that version of me was just too much influenced by the fact that my dad left and pushed my mom and me into that kind of life.”
Felicity sucked in a deep breath. She didn’t like talking about her dad and being left by him. More than a decade had passed since then, but the pain was still deep.
Oliver squeezed her hand, offering silent support. Felicity smiled softly and leaned against Oliver’s arm even more. She knew that she could always tell him what was on her heart. He always listened, and he always caught her when she fell. It was one of the many reasons why she felt so safe with him.
“I always imagined something smaller and cozier,” she added eventually, “like a townhouse.”
“It’s still the townhouse that was shown to us by the owner last week, right?” Oliver asked, squeezing her hand. “That is why you can’t say yes to the loft.”
Smiling, Felicity rested her head against Oliver’s shoulder and sighed. It still amazed her how well he knew her. He had the talent to voice what she was thinking because she had found the right words to say it. She was feeling as understood as she had never felt before, and what was even more surprising was that Oliver still loved her.
The thought made Felicity’s smile widened, and her stomach started prickling. They had been together for two years now. While their love for each other had certainly grown stronger with time, she still had a giant crush for this big, grumpy man, who turned into a teddy bear when they were alone.
“If I am allowed to think ahead, I think the townhouse might make sense.” When Felicity shot him a glance, he added, “A home with a garden will be useful if we have a dog or maybe a kid one day.”
“I still have great plans for my career,” Felicity reminded him, but she couldn’t help her heart to beat twice as quickly as before at the thought of spending the rest of her life with Oliver. “There is no time for a dog or a kid right now. I still have a hundred things to do before I can even think about taking on tasks that have nothing to do with work. I mean I want to have a name like my name at the façade of some building like your father has with Queen Consolidated before I have a baby. If you want to have a baby and-”
Felicity hadn’t realized how quickly she had spoken until Oliver had suddenly stopped walking, framed her face with his hands and made her shut up by kissing her lips gently. It took her a moment before she let the feeling of his soft lips against hers and the tickling of his stubble around her mouth relaxed her. With a sigh, she melted against Oliver’s broad body and answered to the kiss.
When they broke the kiss, Felicity moved her tongue over her lips, chasing the last bit of Oliver’s taste on them. Opening her eyes, she found Oliver’s gaze already on her. He was smiling softly, soothingly even.
“I know that,” he told her with a gentle voice. “I meant one day far down the line, not now. We both have plans where for our careers, and we should follow them before we follow other plans, especially having a baby.”
Felicity nodded. “A dog would be nice though.”
“No way!” Chuckling, Oliver put his arm around her shoulders as they continued their way home. “A dog is only going to mess up with my designs.”
Felicity rolled her eyes, shaking her head. She doubted that there was a lot to mess up given the way Oliver worked. He loved to create chaos all around him while he was working. He claimed that there was some structure to his chaos, but Felicity doubted it. She kept her thoughts for herself though.
“Now, as for our new home, I guess that someone has to give in.”
Felicity nodded her head. They had seen uncountable apartments, and they could take a look at another hundred ones. They would never fully agree on anything. They came from two completely different lifestyles, and they had very contrary tastes. They needed to decide.
“Either the townhouse or loft,” Felicity thought out loud, nodding her head. “It will be one of those two, but someone has to give in.”
“And I guess we both know who it will be.”
Felicity nodded her head, repeating, “We both know who it will be.”
They just had to share a look for them to know that they didn’t have to say it out loud. They already knew who was going to give in. In those two years they had been together, Felicity had been the one to give in for the sake of freedom most of the time. Besides, she could see them living in the loft more than Oliver could probably see them living in the townhouse.
Felicity didn’t mind giving in though. A lot of things had changed for her in the last years, and there had been a lot of things she had never thought were good for her had turned into something great for her nonetheless. Having a boyfriend for one was not half as distracting from her career as she had thought it would be. Oliver supported her in everything he did, and he was wonderful in a million different ways. After eighteen months of doing a long-distance relationship, moving in together was the right move for both of them.
Their gazes met. They were both smiling happily that the first step to moving in together had finally been made. There was finally getting movement into the whole thing. Finally, finally, finally.
When Oliver suddenly wrapped his arms around her waist and scooped her up from the floor, swirling her around, Felicity chuckled. She put her arms as tightly around his neck as possible, holding onto him for dear life. While she was soon feeling dizzy from the swirling, she couldn’t stop laughing from joy.
Oliver kept his arms wrapped her around her tightly when he set her back to the floor, making sure that she wouldn’t lose her balance. He looked at her for a moment before he captured her lips in a hungry kiss. It told her all Felicity had to know although she knew it already. Oliver was looking forward to living with her just as much as she looked forward to it.
“We should sign the contract as quickly as possible.”
Felicity nodded her head. “Absolutely, but only after the first of April. I have-“
“-some other things to take care of, so you can start your new job at Merlyn Global in May.” Oliver pecked her lips. “I know.”
“The third of April would be perfect,” Felicity explained, remembering that it was a Monday. “At around eight.”
“Okay.” Oliver cocked his head. “I guess the loser can also make an appointment.”
Felicity hummed in agreement. It was better if she made that appointment anyway. Oliver might actually forget. He would never do so on purpose, but he just wasn’t that organized. There was a good reason his mother was the CEO of his company and not he himself.
“I am really happy we are moving in together,” Oliver whispered, moving his hand from the crown of her head back to her ponytail and wrapping it around his fingers as he loved to do. “Finally.”
Felicity smiled. “Finally.”
Oliver laced his fingers through hers as they continued their way home. Felicity rested her head back against his shoulder and put her free hand onto his bicep. She loved how her hand was just big enough to cup the muscle.
“We should celebrate our decision tonight.”
“I can’t. I’m going out with Sara and Nyssa for some drinks.”
Oliver groaned, reaching into the pocket of his leatherjacket to pull out his cigarettes. “I should have gotten involved with someone who wasn’t that beloved. Maybe that way my girlfriend would have time to- hey!”
Frowning, Oliver watched Felicity steal the cigarette from his lips before he could light it up. She trashed the cigarette in the first trashcan they walked past and quickly snatched the rest of the cigarettes from him too. With a triumphant smile on her lips, Felicity looked at Oliver, who was still frowning.
“You promised me that you’d stop smoking if I moved in with you,” Felicity reminded him. “That was the deal, Honey.”
When Oliver just grumbled again, Felicity chuckled. She was sure that she was going to suffer as much as he would these next few weeks until he had gotten used to the lack of nicotine. She was the one who would have to endure his moodiness that would probably come with the deprivation.
She didn’t mind. Oliver was worth it. What they had with each other was worth whatever struggle they might have to face to move in together as Felicity had never been this happy. For the first time, she felt like she was exactly where she was supposed to be. For the first time, she had a real home.
* * *
With a shake of her head, Felicity pushed those memories away. It wasn’t like she had forgotten all the good times she had ever had with Oliver. She knew that they had had a great time together. Otherwise, he would have never been able to hurt her the way that he had. The way he had ended things between them should just overweight whatever nostalgic warmth embraced her heart at the memory of good times.
Standing in front of OJQ, Felicity felt the mix of anger and sadness playing inside of her that had taken control of her the moment the plane had landed in Starling yesterday. She was sure if she didn’t get a hold of it soon, she would probably grow an ulcer in theses few days that she stayed here. She couldn’t have that.
Felicity shook her head once more. After three years, one might think that you got over the anger of a break-up. She had never been a resentful person, but she was resentful when it came to this she guessed. The betrayal coming from the person you had trusted the most was always the first after all.
Taking in a deep breath, Felicity tried to distract herself from her anger. She hated the idea that she was the angry girlfriend, and the last thing she wanted was to cause a scene. She was an adult and a successful business woman, so she would behave like one.
From what she could see of OJQ so far, Felicity guessed she wasn’t the only one who had become quite successful in the last three years. Back when she and Oliver had still been together, he had just started his own fashion label, and he worked in a tiny shop. By now, the administration of OJQ had moved into a modern office building, while the creative department was working in an annex.
Felicity knew that Oliver liked to have noises and movement around him. He could never work all alone in a wide room. He did, however, hate to be annoyed by people from the administration while he was doing his job. He wanted to focus solely on his designs.
With a glance at her watch, Felicity decided to go in. The longer she would wait, the harder it would be. The sooner she started, the sooner it was finished though.
The front desk wasn’t staffed, so Felicity just strolled through the annex. The industrial style reminded her a lot of the loft they had planned to rent. The thought made her heart tighten painfully for a second, but she pushed the thought away quickly.
“Oliver?” Felicity called out. “Oliver, I’m here. Come on, let’s get this over with quickly, so we can all go back to-“
Felicity stopped when a hulk of a man with arms like the trunk of a tree approached her. He could easily be frightening if it wasn’t for the warm smile on his face.
“Ms. Felicity Megan Smoak,” he said and spread his arms. “It’s great to see you again.”
Chuckling, Felicity stepped into John Diggle’s arms and let him hug her. When his arms wrapped around her small body, she thought about how easily he could crush her. She knew that he would never do that. John Diggle was a gentle giant and a person you could trust blindly.
“You look great, John,” Felicity told him when she pulled back. “Really great.”
“So do you.” John squeezed her fingers. “Are you here for the wedding?”
Felicity nodded her head. “Yes, I just arrived yesterday, and now I gotta fit my dress. He is lucky that Sara convinced me that I had to wear one of his designs. I would have definitely fought him on that, but I don’t fight with the brides. It’s their day, so I do whatever they need me to do, even if I have to be here for that.”
John hummed vaguely. In his eyes, she could see that he knew exactly that these next thirty minutes wasn’t going to be easy for her. Maybe Oliver had already told him about it.
“I was just about to leave, but now I wonder if I should stay in case you go at each other’s throats. Sara’s and Nyssa’s dresses aren’t through the last fitting yet either, and I am sure the sudden death of the designer and the maid of honor that short before the wedding would overshadow the occasion.”
“I hope it won’t be that bad.”
Felicity mumbled the words. She couldn’t deny that there was a real chance that that might actually happen. Three years of bottled up anger could easily lead her to claw out Oliver’s eyes. She wasn’t proud about it, but it was the truth.
Before John could ask his question, Oliver came from one of the rooms. He only shot Felicity a brief glance before he looked away. His facial expression darkened, and his muscles tensed.
“You’re here.” His voice sounded as tense as his body looked. “Hurry up and put on the dress. I don’t have much time.”
With that, he disappeared behind a curtain. Felicity shot John a glance and saw that he sighed. She guessed that he had been on the receiving end of Oliver’s mood most days. If John hadn’t the patience of a saint, he would have probably quit his job years ago.
“I will leave you two to it.”
Felicity nodded and hugged John once more, whispering into his ear, “If they find his dead body tomorrow, I hope you testify in my favor because it will have been out of self-defense.”
John chuckled and kissed her temple. “See you soon, Felicity.”
“Yeah, see you.”
Turning her head back over her shoulder, Felicity watched John leave. She took in a deep breath before she followed Oliver to the area behind the curtain.
The area was separated to only one side, so there was a clear view to the workplaces of the dressmakers that weren’t occupied right now. A giant table made of wood was placed in the middle of Oliver’s working area. Bales and shreds of cloth as well as papers with half-finished designs were lying around on the table and the floor, creating the usual chaos Oliver loved to work in.
“You can change in there.” Oliver nodded his head towards a curtained area in the back of his atelier without looking at her. “The dress is already there.”
“Of course, your Majesty,” Felicity mumbled to herself. “Your wish is my command.”
Rolling her eyes, she hurried towards the changing room, put away her purse and opened the clothes bag where her dress was kept. Felicity took a step back and puckered her lips, taking the dress in.
The long dress had a delicately lavender color. The skirt was made of several layers of flowing fabric. The top was made of a half-transparent fabric. Thanks to the embroidery with sparkling pearls, it still covered most of the skin. It formed a sweetheart neckline, so the cleavage, shoulders and arms were just covered by the transparent fabric. A small belt accentuated the waist.
Felicity liked the dress which angered her more than she had thought. Oliver shouldn’t be able to meet her taste that easily after three years.
Swallowing down her anger or annoyance or whatever it was, Felicity changed into the dress and looked herself up and down in the mirror. The dress looked even better on her body than it had looked on the hanger. It suited her figure, making her look a little slimmer than she was. It didn’t scratch her at all like she had feared it would. It was actually kind of comfortable.
“Are you getting ready today?” Oliver asked from outside. “Or don’t you know how to put on Haute Couture?”
Felicity rolled her eyes, pushing the curtain aside. She had a snide answer on the tip of her tongue, she didn’t get to voice it. The way Oliver looked at her, his pupils blown wide and his lips slightly opened, made every word die on her lips. She knew that expression, knew what it meant, and she couldn’t prevent it to cause a prickling in her center. Nobody had ever looked at her with so much desire like Oliver.
She glanced at his lips. They looked heavenly kissable, and kissing they could. That was what she remembered. She didn’t remember what had been their last kiss. She didn’t remember exactly what it felt like to kiss them. All she remembered that she had loved to kiss them.
Taken aback and even overwhelmed by her reaction to the way he looked at her, Felicity quickly lowered her gaze. She sucked in a deep breath, doing her best to push away whatever she had thought and felt a second ago. She had come to Starling for Sara and Nyssa, and she was using her trip to the forbidden city as she liked to call Starling for work. Those were the only reasons she had come here, just as it should be. After everything that had happened between her and Oliver, she had to focus on her anger if that was her only chance at withstanding him.
Only chance at withstanding him. The words echoed in her head. Oliver was handsome, hot even. He wasn’t irresistible. She had just underestimated her reaction to seeing him again which had made her weak for a second. It had confused her. If she just focused on his many bad traits, that little bit of weakness she still had for him would soon be forgotten.
“Get on the pedestal.”
His moodiness was certainly a good starting point. Oliver could look at her like he wanted to devour her in one moment and order her around coldly the next. She guessed the expression in his eyes had been directed at his latest design rather than the person in it.
Not surprisingly, the thought relaxed her a little.
Sucking in another deep breath, Felicity stepped onto the pedestal and let Oliver walk around her, to take in the dress. His face was completely focused. When he was at work, he was always completely focused because Oliver loved his job as much as she loved hers.
When his eyes met hers briefly, Felicity hurried to look away. She just focused on the dressmakers’ work stations. Some of them were arranged neatly. Every reel and every pincushion had its place. Others were just as untidy as Oliver’s atelier. Felicity was sure that those were the people Oliver preferred working with.
Getting closer to her, Oliver started working on the seams. He pinned it at her hips, at her waist and some other parts. Like it usually was when he was working on his designs, he was very thorough and absolutely focused. He ordered her around, making sure he got the access to the dress he needed.
Felicity just followed his orders, distracting herself by going through some reports mentally. Oliver wasn’t the only one who could focus on work after all.
It wasn’t until Oliver had worked his way to the front of the dress and started working on the neckline of it, Felicity felt her focus waver. Oliver’s face was so close that she had trouble not staring at him, no matter how hard she tried looking away. Oliver’s hands were brushing against her cleavage as he pinned the neckline. His breath was ghosting over her skin, causing goosebumps to spread there.
Felicity pressed her lips together, taking deep breaths. She tried not to let Oliver notice how much his close presence affected her. She wished she herself hadn’t noticed it.
Why did he have to smell so good? Under the biting scent of nicotine on his skin, Felicity could smell the scent that was truly Oliver’s. It was indescribable, but it made a flood of warmth go through her. His smell brought back the feelings of the good times, but Felicity couldn’t have that.
When she had finally agreed to come to Starling, she had thought that she could finally make a real cut. She had imagined running into Oliver, swallowing down her anger and finding the strength to forgive him. She had thought that would be the final step to making peace with what had happened between them.
Obviously, she had been wrong.
Oliver’s fingertips grazed against her skin purposefully now, following her goosebumps. A blush spread across her skin wherever he touched her.
Swallowing down the lump in her throat, Felicity met Oliver’s eyes. Just like when she had stepped out of the changing room, his pupils were blown wide and his lips were slightly parted. The sight made her breathing falter until it got stuck in her throat.
Felicity told herself not to do it. These last three years, she had found her peace. There had still been uncountable unanswered questions, but she had almost accepted that she would never get the answers. She had learned to live with it. If she drew a line here, maybe she could still go back to Hub City without feeling like she had to start all over before she had allowed her anger to cover the pain.
If she crossed this line, she possibly risked all steps of recovery she had already managed to take. Crossing this line was going to be a mistake.
It didn’t matter how many times Felicity told herself that. She repeated the words in her head again and again and again. Yet, she started moving at the same time Oliver did like some invisible power was drawing them towards one another. One moment they were still looking at each other intensely. The next, their lips were already clashing together.
That was what it had always felt like to kiss Oliver Felicity thought to herself when she felt like a thousand little fires were lightened up inside of her. They spread through her veins like wildfire, consuming every part of her. She was almost that embraced by the feeling that she could barely enjoy the feeling of his soft lips moving against hers, his tongue dancing with hers and his stubble tickling the skin around her lips.
All thoughts and all other emotions washed away as desire flooded through her.
Oliver’s arms wrapped around Felicity’s body. Strong as he was, he embraced her so tightly that she could feel his body oh so well. His biceps pressed against her sides. His hands roamed over her back. His abs pressed against her stomach. His hips urged towards her.
With a deep sigh, Felicity moved her fingers into Oliver’s hair. She pressed herself closer to him and stroked her tongue deeper into his mouth. Oliver moaned into the kiss in response. His fingers dug into her skin slightly like he was trying to hold onto her for dear life.
The little voice that had warned her of this before tried fight itself to Felicity’s consciousness, but all her sensations distracted her too much. The feeling of Oliver’s lips against her, the taste of his tongue, the vibration that went through his chest when he moaned against her lips. All that distracted her way too much to listen to any doubt. She was caught in the moment, unable to think about what had been or might be.
Soon, Oliver’s fingers were taking hold of the zipper at the waist of her dress. Without breaking the kiss, he lowered the zipper and brushed his fingers against her skin. The touch was featherlight at first. When Felicity arched her back, pressing her chest even stronger against him, he seemed to become braver. His hand moved into the small slit of fabric until it rested against the small of her back.
Felicity sighed into Oliver’s mouth. His hand was wonderfully warm, and that warmth spread across her skin now. Oliver’s fingers moved along her spine, making her melt into him even more. She could feel how calloused his fingertips were, especially against her soft skin.
More was all Felicity could think. She wanted more. She needed more. Everything inside of he was aching, demanding to fill the void those last three years had left with her. Her imagination or maybe her memory or even both had been sparked by, and she knew there was no going back now.
Quickly, Felicity grabbed the hem of Oliver’s shirt and pulled it up his body. It took a moment before Oliver pulled back and lifted his arms over his head, so she could take it off. Before she even got the chance to just drop the piece of clothing to the floor, Oliver’s lips were already on hers again, ravishing her.
Felicity put her hands to his shoulders. His skin was soft compared to the tight muscle it embraced. Felicity couldn’t withstand the desire to dig her short fingernails into his skin gently and scratch them down his back. Oliver growled against her lips in response, and Felicity couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Just you wait.”
Oliver mumbled the words against her lips, and Felicity already considered pulling back to tease him, but Oliver was quicker to react. He grabbed the skirt of her dress and pulled it over her head. Felicity could feel the pinups scratching over her skin, but to her surprise, neither of it pricked her too badly.
With a carelessness that Felicity had never seen when it came to how Oliver treated his designs, he threw the dress across the room to the floor. For the break of a second, she wondered if they had to pin it again now.
Oliver pushed his hands behind her knees and lifted her against him, making her focus switch back to him and only him. It was easy to focus on him because her naked chest was pressing to his chest now, her nipples rubbing against his heated skin. That fact that with her legs wrapped around his hips, she could feel his hardened member pressing against her panties only made her focus on him more.
Her hips started moving against him, rubbing her aroused sex against the zipper of his jeans to get the friction she needed so much. It offered some release, but not nearly enough. Her movements quickened, trying to get even more. Oliver groaned in response. His front teeth grazed against her bottom lip.
There was something raw to the way they moved together on instinct, following their need for release and nothing else. The rawness of the moment made them only drive forward even more purposefully. They were tearing at each other’s clothes, trying to get the last barriers away from between them.
While Oliver pulled his pants and boxer briefs down in one go, Felicity got up on her knees and got rid of her panties. As soon as Oliver had rolled the condom onto his cock, Felicity crawled to hover over him. Oliver positioned his cock at her entrance. Their eyes locked. Slowly, she sank down on him.
Her lips fell open at the feeling of how he eased into her. His cock stretched the slick walls of her channel, already fluttering around him. As much as she needed him to fill her immediately, she enjoyed the slow penetration too much to hurry up, especially given how tense Oliver’s jaw was. He was just as torn between the need of a quick relief and the enjoyment of slowing things down as she was.
Once his cock was buried deep inside of her, Felicity stilled. They looked at each other intensely, breathing the same air as they were panting from the arousal that was already taking hold of them. Desire and need were written all over Oliver’s face.
He was the one to move first. He shifted his hips, thrusting shallowly. The movement was all Felicity needed to have her need for more overweighting the enjoyment of slowing things down. It didn’t seem to be different for Oliver.
They moved together in perfect synch like it hadn’t been years that they had had sex the last time. When Oliver’s hips lifted off the floor slightly, Felicity pressed hers down onto him, making him go particularly deep. Their movements were quick and fast. Skin slapped against skin and filled the room, mixing with their heavy panting and low moans.
When Oliver leaned his head forward, Felicity wanted to meet him halfway, but Oliver had different plans. He avoided her lips and brushed his lips against the side of her neck instead. He kissed, licked and nibbled her skin, making Felicity bite down on her bottom lip to strangle her moans.
Soon, Oliver’s lips traveled further down. He kissed a long path from the side of her neck over her cleavage towards her breast. His lips were so close to her nipple that they brushed against it whenever Felicity took in a deep breath. Teasing her, he stayed just out of reach until Felicity couldn’t wait any longer. She moved her fingers into his hair and pulled his head towards her breast.
The choked moan escaped her lips at the rough feeling of his tongue moving against her nipple relentlessly. Her breathing became shorter, and a jolt of pleasure drove through her core. Her hips moved down onto Oliver’s even harder.
It felt good having him surround her and inside of her, so incredibly good. His strong arms kept the coolness of the room away from her. His chest helped her balancing her movements. His cock was filling and stretching her just the right way, hitting all the sensitive spots that increased her pleasure quickly.
Indeed, it didn’t take long for her pleasure to rise to a height. She could feel it in the way her lower stomach tingled and her inner walls fluttered even more around Oliver’s cock. She was sure that Oliver could feel it because he suddenly angled his head back and looked at her, his iris darkened and his pupils dilated.
With a long moan, Felicity came. The pleasure spread through her, causing her muscles to spasm from the energy running through her. Even in her haze, she could see the way Oliver looked at her. The expression on his face was intense.
Just when the last waves of pleasure ran through her, Oliver’s hips stuttered. He came with a deep groan, resting his head forward against her chest. His warm breath ghosted over her breast, causing her nipples to harden even more.
They continued moving together lazily, riding out the last waved of their pleasure while they were trying to catch their breaths. Felicity was still holding onto Oliver’s shoulders that were covered with a thin layer of sweat now.
Wrapping his arms around Felicity’s back tightly, Oliver leaned back until his back rested against the floor and Felicity was sprawled out on his chest. Her head was resting against his shoulder, her right leg was lying between both of his.
Carefully, Felicity shifted her hips until Oliver’s cock slid out of her. They both moaned lowly at the feeling of being separated. Oliver’s arms only wrapped around her more tightly.
They lay together quietly. Neither of them said a word. Neither of them moved. Felicity didn’t even dare to look at Oliver’s face. All she would have to do was angling her head back to look at him, but she didn’t dare to do so. Instead, she kept her eyes on her hand that was resting against Oliver’s lower stomach were a thin line of hair ran from his belly button down to his lap.
Now that the haziness of desire and pleasure started to slowly fade away, that little voice that had already told her that she would regret this reported itself back to her. The doubts that had been washed away by her desire before came back with force and caused her heart was still pounding in her chest from her orgasm, was racing even faster now.
This had been a mistake, a terrible mistake even. Oliver had been her first great love, the person who had made her believe in love, but she had been burnt so terribly by being with him. She knew that she couldn’t have that happen to her again, especially since she had proven to fall for him so easily. He was like a drug that she couldn’t resist if it was rubbed in her face.
“So,” Felicity said carefully, and the tremble in her voice gave away how tense and nervous she was, “that happened.”
At her words, Oliver’s muscles tensed. Hesitatingly, Felicity angled her head back to see that his face showed the same tension she felt in his body. His eyes were darkened, but it was a different kind of darkness there than before. It didn’t come from passion or arousal. It came from anger and regret.
At least they could agree that this had been a mistake that should never happen again.
“I will make sure the dress is ready for the wedding,” he said, straightening up. “I will bring the dress to my parents’ house, so you don’t have to take care of anything.”
Oliver grabbed a large piece of clothing that he handed to her. Quickly, Felicity wrapped it around her breast to cover herself, watching Oliver gathering his clothes and getting to his feet. He stood in the middle of his atelier, obviously unsure what exactly he should do now.
Since the situation was already more awkward than Felicity could endure easily, she cleared her throat and whispered, “I’ll get dressed and find my way out.”
She could see Oliver biting down on his tongue. He looked uncomfortable, but she couldn’t and wouldn’t take that away from him. Sucking in a deep breath, she got to her feet and disappeared behind the curtain where her clothes were waiting for her.
Holding her breath, she listened to what was happening in the atelier. There was a long moment of silence. She couldn’t even hear Oliver breathe, and she wondered if he was holding his breath the way she did.
“Fuck,” he whispered eventually, his voice so low that she could barely hear him, and released a long breath. “Just fuck.”
A couple seconds more passed in silence before she heard footsteps and knew that Oliver was leaving. At least that way she hopefully didn’t have to see him again when she left.
“Terrible mistake,” Felicity whispered, hurrying to put on her clothes. “Stupid me.”