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chapter 9

 

 

 

Felicity Smoak has had two men in her life that have meant the world to her. Her father. The man who shared a passion of technology with her. The man who disappeared shortly after her seventh birthday. Leaving a little girl to wonder if there was something… anything she did wrong. No matter her mother’s words she felt some guilt in his departure. Leaving so many ifs… possibilities… and reasons that have yet to be answered. A wound this large in a child’s life changes everything. Her daddy didn’t love her. Well… didn’t love her enough. That is the pain she has carried throughout her lifetime.

The second man to mean the world to her remains as a guy she met at a freshmen college rally. Starting M.I.T. at fourteen she knew most other freshmen would be freshly out of high school. In her case the guy she developed feelings for graduated from a prestigious prep school. It took her a long time to come clean with her age. Being a genius leaves a connotation that she is unapproachable. Being a forced hermit wasn’t something she wanted. She wanted to live, learn, experience college life to the fullest.

Oliver and his college pals were an awesome group to hang out with. Their friendship started to blossom. However, with great sadness Felicity had to witness the guy she was secretly falling for with another girl. Things changed shortly after his birthday. He asked about when they’d celebrate hers and she supplied the month and day but kept her birthyear out of it. The truth that she was still a minor was revealed months later when Oliver asked her out. That is when she feared their friendship would end.

It did in a way.

He seemed to take longer to respond to her messages. Citing he was busy. She knew better. Unfortunately for Oliver Queen. Felicity Smoak grasped Oliver meticulously. She was a gifted after all. She had two choices. Let him push her away or confront him and see if there really was no way their friendly acquaintance could continue.

Her persistence to not run away is what ultimately got him to tell her that he liked, liked her.

Hence their bond grew with time. What was affection become deeper rooted in knowing he was becoming her everything. With time it appeared that they were inseparable. When the time was right. They became lovers. He did become her everything. Their love brought three little beings onto the world.

Even with his passing Felicity could hold her head up high and tell their children how wonderful he was. How much he loved them. That he would fight for them. That he would never leave them. Not if there was life in him.

Till this day it stands true.

Oliver stands right before her. He has been active in their children’s lives. Been the father her babies deserve. He has taken to fatherhood since day one. No question at all that he’d fight and die for his kids.

It’s the other side of the man who is a son, brother, friend, and yes… once upon lover that has Felicity questioning if he is truly present. He has been keeping himself at bay. From his parents, sister, even the easy goings with Tommy. Felicity wonders where she stands in all this.

Anxious at having her find a new fragment of his life’s story. Seemly he wants her to stay away from this side of himself. She guesses he may have forgot who he once loved. There is no way she’d only settle for just a part of him. Not when her heart is all his.

“Stop?” She says again now adding a retort because there is no way she will stop from being in any part of his life, “Fat chance.”

“Felicity, please. I never wanted…”

“Don’t. Don’t you dare go on about what is best for us or any other baloney. That is why we fought that last time. You can’t make unilateral decisions for me. My life my choice.”

“I was doing what was best for our family.”

“Hogwash. If you truly believed that. You wouldn’t have left Boston to get on a yacht. You wanted validation.”

“Validation?”

The way Oliver looks confused she presses on, “You heard me. Once your parents knew about us. About our growing family. They’d get involved. The choice wouldn’t be ours… mine. I love you but you can’t not include me when I’m at the center.”

“It isn’t that easy.” He can understand her from a certain vantage point. Though now things are out of the ordinary, “Now it’s different Felicity. What I do is dangerous.”

“What does that mean?” Felicity asks but she partially knows the answer. A man in a dark hood shooting arrows debuted a few nights ago. That man is her boyfriend. What she needs to know is how that will affect them.

“Felicity, I know you’re a genius. You know exactly the ramification of me showing you this. I’m what the media is describing as the Hood. The Archer.”

“I get that. I’m asking what all this means for you and me?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?” Felicity whips her head and gives him a glare, “Is this your way of breaking up with me?” She fuming as she walks right past him, “You bring me here to what? Frighten me? Make me question your sanity? Make me question us?”

“I didn’t know how to tell you. I’ve changed. These five years living to survive changed me. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” Felicity just says disappointedly, “You think you’re the only one broken? I lost the love of my life. I became a shell. Yes, I had our kids. It was a different battle than what you endured but I had to live a lie. I had to pretend to be okay. I am as broken as you are. I just carry my scars differently.”

“Felicity.”

He tries to reach out to her, but she moves as if he’d burn her.

“Don’t touch me. Tell me this isn’t your way of breaking up with me?”

“No.” Shaking his head at visually telling her no. It’s the hands on her hips that gets him to stop. Her posture before him is of a woman who can read his bullshit. He doesn’t want to see her hurt and gulping before sadly saying, “Yes. Maybe.” He hears her snort. “I don’t know.” He can’t believe he is even saying such ridiculous cowardly words, yet he needs to tell her his only truth, “I don’t want to lose you. I…”

“You want what Oliver? Tell me? Just tell me.” Watching Oliver carefully, “What is it that you want?” Felicity doesn’t move. She needs him to finally make a stand. No more of this hot one minute and cold another.

“I want you to accept all of me.”

She says nothing as she takes the man before her in. He sounds sincere. Sounds like he means it. He is finally saying something that she can follow along to.

“I’ve been trying to do that. Yet, every inch you have given me you taken back three.”

He utters out, “I’m afraid.”

“Okay. That I can understand.” She doesn’t move closer, but she isn’t backing up when he takes another step forward. “I’m scared too. I don’t have anything as enormous to hide so I can guess at how worried you are with all this. What I don’t comprehend is you cutting me off. I really thought tonight would be about us reconnecting. I’ve made peace that we aren’t the same people of five years ago. Oliver, we wouldn’t be those people anyhow. Time changes everyone. We grow and adapt. I just want to be the one who is there by your side through it all. Maybe I am asking too much. Maybe…”

He can’t let her finish that statement as he pulls her to him. He has been listening. Her words have so much weight. John was right. He’d know if she was the right fit. Felicity is the one piece of the puzzle that has always made him strive forward. She is the light. His light. He talks about the darkness that has invaded his soul. It appears he needs to let that go. If he is learning anything. His Felicity has had her own encompassing darkness keeping her from her dreams. Being her light is strange to grasp. It seems both have suffered greatly without each other’s shoulders to lean on.

“You’re right.” Oliver wants her to understand, “You’re right about how I have been acting. I’m a mess. The only thing I know is that I can’t lose you. For the longest time…”

“Just kiss me.”

Before Oliver can respond. Felicity taking matters into her hands. Her lips brush his. It’s chaste. That is until Oliver tallies counters her own will. It isn’t as soft as the first time at the hospital. There is a pressing caress. A little bit of roughness as Felicity’s touch is demanding. A battle of sorts. Oliver yields to her. Accepting she is not going anywhere. Pulling away slightly they both just sigh in relief.

As much as this display is the best outcome that Oliver could hope for. Expecting a lot of vocal disparagements. He finds himself surrounded by the woman that is his world. There is still so much to talk about. To say.

He smiles at the way she used a trick of his against himself. Of an easier time when Oliver would kiss her when she would find herself babbling outrageous vivid thoughts out loud.

“Did you just…” He ceases to finish as she nods in confirmation.  

“It was either that or a slap across that handsome infuriating, annoying, exasperating face of yours.”

“Handsome huh,” He doesn’t wait another second as he kisses her again. In between a kiss or two he adds, “I know…” kiss, “Make it up” kiss, “To you.”

The last recent kiss has him rest his chin on her crown as she crams herself in his embrace.

“It won’t be easy.” Holding him tight, “We’ll make it.”

Oliver kisses her forehead as he moves himself a few paces back. They are on a date. It is time he displays his intent with actions, “Come on. We have dinner plans.”

Felicity already missing the comfort of being in his arms makes a whiny sound. It only gives Oliver a reason to chuckle pulling out his arm for her to take escorting her to the staircase. Being the gentleman, he stands back to let her go up first. Allowing for a good view of her backside. Did he mention how much he loves her in pencil skirts because he does.

 


 

Somewhere shortly after leaving the foundry Oliver hasn’t let go of Felicity’s hand. The weight perfectly balanced in his own. They wait in a blacked-out window town car. Neither trying to break the spell they’re under. A comfortable silence comes to an end as John heads back to the awaiting vehicle.

Oliver is out of the car and helping Felicity out.

After scoping out the restaurant John placed a takeout order. Meeting Oliver Queen in this new role. The one thing John has learned is that multitasking is a must. Especially now when dealing with the so-called Hood Guy. He is glad their friendship has helped the younger man find his resolve to go back home to his family.

Making sure Oliver will have a nice dinner with his girl. John can say he has already taken a liking to her. She is hard not to favor. With the upcoming news of Oliver’s secret family coming to light. John is keeping an eye on Felicity so Oliver can rest assure she is well protected.

With no clear or present danger. John knows his clients will be handling his food order on the way out. Especially where a few samples of desserts will be heading his way. With a very pregnant wife. He wants to make sure is happy.

“Alright, your seating is awaiting. You have a sightline to everything. I’ll be out here.” Not needing to add ‘to keep watch’.

“Thanks. Do you want something from…?”

“Oh, it’s already been handled. Just bring it out.”

Oliver nods. He’s heard how much Lyla loves the desserts from this place. He is expecting that a few boxes will be heading out with John. The man would be a fool not to take care of very special lady. Those two have helped him out in some sticky situations since his getaway from Lian Yu. Tending to his friend’s craving is the least he can do.

 

Oliver’s holding Felicity’s hand. It’s something so simple. Something many take for granted. Holding the hand of someone they love. Life is full of surprises. One moment making plans the next wondering when everything went wrong. Tonight, he could spend a night with his lady love.

“Queen, party of two.” He says with a smile to the maître d’.

“Hello, Mr. Queen, this way sir.”

They follow as they’re led to a perfect spot. A lovely vase showcasing a beautiful flower arrangement of Felicity’s favorites. At this stage it is weird to look across to the person that means the most and not know where to begin. A nervousness they both share.

Oliver finally chuckles.

“What?”

Still laughing, “Nothing. I'm just…”

“Nervous?”

With a smile and slight nod, “Yeah.”

“Line forms behind me.”

Their waiter joins them at the table and Oliver asks, “Scotch. Neat.”

“Wine. Any kind of wine. Red. White. Or rosé.” After another breath, “House red wine will be fine.” The waiter keeps his eyes trained on Felicity waiting for her to change her mind. It is until he sees a sharp look from Oliver. It is enough to nod and leave them be as the waiter puts in their drink order. Red wine for the lady and a scotch for him is what they’ll have. 

Oliver summarizing how silly it is to be so jittery, “Am I being crazy? I mean, what do we have to be nervous about?”

“Well, we've already exhausted every topic that one would normally talk about on a first date and a second date and a third date, and every date, actually, and I've already seen you shirtless.” She gulps because she has seen him totally buff naked. Being in public she keeps to the shirtless theme. “Multiple times.” She can’t seem to look at his face as she goes on. Playing with her silverware, “Well not shirtless, not since you got all…” She moves her hand to express that touching him thus far in the moments she’s been in his arms the feel of how rock solid he seems to be, “Hard.”

The waiter saves Oliver from having to reply to Felicity’s quip as both thank their server for their drinks. She can’t wait for a sip after her little shirtless fiasco. Sometimes Felicity wishes she could filter herself better.

Time for honesty. With Felicity he feels the confidence to expose himself. These last two weeks weren’t easy for them. Keeping a segment of his life from her it added a chasm in their relationship. One of the things he finds sexy about his girlfriend is how she gathers intel. She kept from ever badgering him. Unlike his sister, and a few people he has met recently. Felicity kept to her word. When he was ready, and he is now. He’d share, “There are still a few things that you don't know about me.”

“Really? Name one?”

“The five years that I was away... I wasn't always on Lian Yu.”

After John’s cryptic talk she says, “I thought so. Where were you?”

“Hong Kong...for one. And I have been thinking a lot recently about... My time there. The choices that I had to make.”

“Those years sound like they were full of a whole lot of suck.”

Hearing how she doesn’t badger for details but tells him in her own way how the situation wasn’t pleasant only illustrates how amazing his Felicity is.

Composing himself as the words get stuck in his throat, “I'm sorry.” A little choked up, “I'm just a little out of my element. The entire time that I was gone, I could never... completely trust someone. And when that goes on for so long, you stop... seeing people for people. You see... threats. Or targets. And when I decided to come home, I... I just worried that I wouldn’t be able to turn that part of me off. When I held you at the hospital…” A slight pause, “I didn’t know if you where the woman I’ve been fantasizing of reunited with again. When you said my name. It brought me all the way back to when we first met.”

“It was at a college rally.”

“Even then. There was just something about you.”

“Oh, yeah, I was taking names for a class and holding a clipboard while chewing on a pen.”

“It was red.”

For not knowing what to say. Felicity is impressed that this conversation is a soft honest one. Remembering the color of the pen just establishes that he has always taken notice of her. A small smile can’t leave her face now.

Talking further. Oliver and Felicity can feel the anticipation of things to come. The sense of familiarity. A brewing underlining fervor courses their veins. Their ready for the check. As the waiter comes to them suggesting dessert.

Oliver signals for the check and reminds the waiter that there is a takeout order in his name. As if on cue he doesn’t forget to mention to add a slice of Felicity’s favorite dessert. Just like John. He isn’t a fool to deny his woman the craving of a sweet tooth.

The bags are sent ahead to the slick town car where John contentedly takes the few bags. Ready to take the couple to one more stop before their final destination.

Leaning back against Oliver. Their fingers fiddling with each other’s. Simple though it brings forth a longing. Missing out of so much together. Felicity is just at ease in this moment. Her boyfriend has come through. For a few minutes here and there, she had her reservations that he wanted her as much as she wanted him. Glad to be proved that it isn’t one sided. Tonight, is a great night.

They pull up to a high-rise with store fronts as the vehicle maneuvers to the side of the building where a large automated door opens. Entering to what is an underground parking garage. Felicity is confused but she tries to keep the sentiment to herself. Wondering if this has to do with the Hood or Archer business. She is excited to find out.

Her head tilts as she examines the elevator. There is a lot of construction being done.

“This complex is owned outright by my family. My dad was thinking of selling it.”

“It is huge.”

“So far, the plan is to keep the first two floors as store fronts for some already exist. Like the corner deli on the south side. Then expand with more store fronts and maybe a restaurant or two when the construction is near completion.”

“Okay.”

“The building isn’t as high as Queen Consolidated but it does have a nice 360-degree view from the top.”

Felicity nods wondering where all this is going. As the elevator dings. They exit followed by John.

“My father received a license that it can also become a residential building. With the new construction we are adding to make it as safe as possible.”

“It seems your father had a change of heart on selling.”

“Well, that is the thing. He didn’t want to be bothered with what this building’s paperwork will entail. He is busy as the CEO of QC and a board member of a few businesses. This one would take a lot more of his time. Its new and needs a lot of day-to-day approval until construction is complete.”

Felicity nods. She isn’t sure what all this means. Walking beside him to a double door. As he opens it the wow factor by the sheer size and the view of the city has her jaw drop.

“My father showed me this place days ago, but he came to me today and asked me to meet him here. He is excited for my new chapter with you. My parents are still upset with us.”

“Yea, I know. Their passive aggressiveness is not lost on me.”

“Still, they want us to find each other. My dad made it explicitly clear that I’d be a fool to lose you.”

John coughs before saying, “He isn’t the only one saying that.” Oliver just gives the man a give me a break look. “I’m just saying.”

Felicity smiling at the interaction walks further into the bare bones of this place. “So, what am I looking at?”

“Our home.”

That gets Felicity to still for a second and then slowly moves about. They’re in the heart of the city. Not twenty minutes out like at the manor. She hears John say he’ll be living a few floors downstairs with his wife and newborns he then excuses himself as he’ll now wait near the elevator.

“Felicity?” She is still in a trance as her eyes view a flickering of light behind a wall. It takes his hand on her shoulder to get her to come back to him. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I mean I better than fine.” She is still enthralled with the flickering, “What is behind that wall?”

“I didn’t know if we would make it this far.” He honestly replies. Tilting her head sideway to show she’s trying to figure what he means. “It is what I have been planning for more than five years. Come let me show you.” He takes her hand and leads her to what he has fantasized on doing before he was taken from her. “I know you may not be ready. I’ve run hot and cold to many times because of silly fears. Those demons don’t hold a candle to you.”

Just like at the steel mill. The room has flickering battery powered lights. They walked deep into the large place and she wonders what part of this huge square footage she is standing in.

“This here will encase our bedroom. Around the bend will be where our kids will sleep but here. This is ours.” He watches Felicity just scope the chalk outline. As she moves about slowly. He continues, “A place I know I will whisper to you a million times how much I love you and it is where I want to…” He pauses as he just stands by her side as she is looking at the frames of just them, “I have loved you for what feels like half my life. A friend. A lover. You are my everything.” She turns to look at him, “I just want to be yours.” Kneeling while keeping his eyes to hers. Pulling out a ring his father gave him.

A ring that he has seen once or twice in his life. Even back then he really loved it. Mentioning it a few times before he even knew what love was. Funny how his father just knew. He won’t lie it was probably his mother who knew what the ring meant to him.

Felicity is in awe. Unbelieving the man before her is asking her to marry him. This isn’t what she pictured when he agreed with her to have a date. Fourteen days of going snail pace to the fifteenth where he is kneeling before her. With what looks like the most precious of rings. Never imagining it be held out for her. So much emotion is crossing her face. This man keeps surprising her and suddenly her ring finger feels bare. 

“Will you marry me?” He doesn’t have to wait long.

“Yes. Yes.” She is giddy as the man she loves wholeheartedly places what is now her engagement ring on her finger. The weight of it bringing on a vivacity, “I’m going to be your wife.”

“That is the plan.”

“You’ll be my husband.” After sounding that out again, “huhz-buhnd. I like that.”

He is a little worried that if he doesn’t mention this all this happiness could be for naught, “You don’t think this is too sudden?”

“Yes, I do but I also feel like some choices of mine prolonged us to get to this point.”

“You were young and unready. I was foolish to leave you. My time away. With each passing year I had new dreams on how I’d ask. Hoping that if I ever got back. I wouldn’t have lost you.”

 “Oh, Oliver.”

“A past me would have cringed at not making this moment romantic…”

“Oh no. This moment is perfect. For all these years I’ve had to hide my love for you. I don’t want to wait another moment. I love you Oliver.”

“I love you too, Felicity.”

Their just in the moment. Finally, just them. No secrets. The place they’re standing on bare. An outline of a floorplan that will flourish to becoming their home.  

Finally kissing her.

After fully showing her their future residence. They are mindful that John is just around the corner. Practically able to eavesdrop due to the bareness of the structure their in.

Felicity tells Oliver that she likes what is in store. Loves the scenery and how close to work it will be. Happy that there is an expiration to living with his folks, “I like it.”

“I’m glad.” He kisses her again. Loving that he can freely do it now, “I want to take you to my bed.”

He doesn’t define what he means as he’s slightly pulling her with him. No worries as the flickering lights will stop when the batteries die.

Meeting up with John. The man has a knowing smile. They are all ready to call this a night.

 


 

Felicity doesn’t know what to think as they pull up to the Queen manor. Maybe Oliver thought they wouldn’t be engaged. She certainly didn’t. That he didn’t plan a romantic night for them to connect physically.

Both wish John a goodnight. Entering the large estate. Felicity slides onto Oliver’s arms for a kiss just as he closes the door behind him. They’ll be sharing the news with the family. It is eerily quiet for this time of night.

Felicity plainly states before she makes a dash to see, “Where is everyone?”

Oliver stopping her from going on an all-out search, “They’re out.” Glancing at his wristwatch he knows no one other than the staff is home. Somehow, he manages to get her to follow him upstairs, “They aren’t due back for a few days.”

“Oliver! They’re going to be absent from school.”

He knows. His parents wanted to do something special with their grandkids this weekend. A day earlier fell in line with Felicity and Oliver’s plans for a date night.

“I know. I’m the culprit in all this. I gave my parents’ permission to take the kids a day earlier to Disneyland. That is why I made sure you had some time with them.”

Felicity knows about the Disneyland excursion for the weekend. Something she wasn’t looking forward to going. She’d have to suck it up and be happy for the kids but now… now her kids are away from her.

“It is going to be alright. The kids were looking forward to this for over a week. They’re with my parents. You for one know how overprotective they can be. They’re safe.”

That does have her cracking a smile. As much as she doesn’t like the fact. Unable to hold them in a moment’s notice. These two weeks have shown her that having people to look after her kids can be a double-edged sword. Glad his family cares for their children. The kids don’t rely only on her anymore and that is taking some getting used to.

Oliver is their father. Having as much to say in the matters of their children welfare and as much as she wants to be annoyed. She can’t. An extra day with their grandparents and aunt without her is fine. Now what makes Felicity wonder is… what if things didn’t go so well between her and Oliver? Is that the reason he sent his family away? 

“Oliver?” Following Oliver into his room.

Viewing her, “I know that look.” It’s the look of trouble, “I admit. I didn’t know which way tonight would go.” She doesn’t say anything giving him the benefit. “Either way I’d require time to show you…” He holds out his arms because he needs her in them, “How much I missed you.”

“I was expecting something cheesy like checking into a motel room.”

“One of those cheap ones we would frequent on those slight overnight trips in the past?”

She nods.

“You actually think I’d sweep you off your feet and drop you on a flimsy bed in god knows when they cleaned the room places?”

She nods yes again.

His mouth opens to let out a retort but then he shuts his mouth. It doesn’t help that his mind goes back to a few instances of those rowdy occurrences. Their middle daughter most certainly conceived in a specific motel off Newport, Rhode Island.

Felicity observing the slight schoolboy expression of daydreaming just utters, “I guess this is nice to.”

“Nice?” He goes even deeper with the acknowledgment of sleeping quarters, “Nice is the guest room you’ve been in. This bed is where you belong.” Stepping up to her, “You belong here with me.”

“Oh, so this is what you mean by take me to your bed.”

He doesn’t answer by words as his mouth and hands start to do the talking. Since he came back to his childhood home. After a stupid fight that cost them five years from each other. This is where all his fantasies would end. Not in their bedroom in Cambridge. Not a room in a yacht where he told his dad he wanted marriage with Felicity. Not a future master bedroom in a penthouse where he just proposed. Nope. All his fantasies always came back to the room where he wanted to signify that Oliver Queen was madly in love with an amazing woman named Felicity Smoak. Where they didn’t hide their love. His room meant they weren’t a dirty secret. He was hers for the world to see.

Felicity just giggles as she lands on his bed. A fantasy of hers coming true. Oliver is very much alive. She gets to pull off some suspenders she’s never thought she’d fancy this much. The man of her dreams loves her right back. Anything else that heads their way is doable. Now that they both realize. What is broken can be mended. Finding themselves in each other is the first step.

They’re worth fighting for. Together their hearts are intact the opposite of broken.