ByFelicity Queen, writer at

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Thea Queen trotted down the plush red staircase of the Queen Mansion. Reaching the bottom, she noticed her brother on the tan couch across from the big-screen TV. "Hey Ollie?"
He started from his slumber, snapping up like a spring.
Thea giggled. "So tired from chasing girls all night you couldn't make it to your room?"
He gave her a look, brow furrowed, eyebrow raised. "I thought you were staying with Roy."
Her face fell. She swallowed her amusement. "We had a fight." She glumly admitted. She stared at the floor as she sat down beside him. "And you?"
Oliver's frown deepened. "I don't know what you're talking about." "Come on." She made an exasperated sigh. Her eyes glowed knowingly. They were filled with a kindred feeling. Rejection. Oliver stared at the the ceiling before meeting her stare. "Okay." He let a heavy lungful of air, irritated that his sister knew him so well. "I finally get this date with Laurel and, well,... I totally blew it." "How?" Thea pressed, leaning towards him on her palms, eager for more.
"Our parents should've named you 'Gossip Queen'." "Really, Ollie? Quit beating the poor bush to death and say it. Spill the deets!" "It wasn't her...It was me...I uh, was distracted. I've been up all night trying to think why. On the island....those five years..."
Thea touched his hand comfortingly. "It's okay."
Oliver's eyes squeezed shut. "The only thing that kept me going was her. Laurel. I had this picture of her with me... It got destroyed, but all those years, I carried the memory of her right here." He pointed to his skull. "She kept me going. The memory of her laugh, her smile, her frown... How it felt when we were together. I replayed those things in my mind every day. And I told myself---no matter how bad it got, I had to make it back. For my family. For Laurel."
Framed with brown curls, Thea's milky-white face was pretty but concerned. A smile consumed the lower half. "We're all glad you're back, Ollie. Please don't ever forget that. Its just... Things have happened. A lot of things. Tommy died. A girl needs time to process. To figure out how she feels. I wouldn't be surprised if---"
Oliver pulled his hand away. His head shook. "You don't understand. It's not Laurel. It's me. I--"
Thea frowned, straightening. "You what?"
"I don't know." Oliver decided this conversation with his little sister was pointless. If not dangerous. "This isn't going to help anyone."
Thea seemed to read his thoughts. Oliver felt a hand on his back. "I might be America's Gossip Queen," She teased, then earnest. "But I do know how to keep a few secrets. And I recently discovered a couple things about lover's quarrels. Especially the fact that talking things out with a good friend...or mildly tolerable sibling, often helps clear brains." She paused. Her tone descended. "Who is she?"
Oliver's head snapped to the side. "Huh?"
"It's a good thing Mom's second child was a girl." Thea rolled her eyes. "You need HELP."
His face was a blank slate.
"Think man!" She blurted, bouncing in place on the sofa.
"If you don't feel the same about Laurel...or at least the way you thought you did....That means those emotions had to go somewhere." She paused, mouth open, to let the thought sink in. Oliver frowned and cocked his head. He leaned close. What was she getting at? Thea leaned towards him. Her chin rested on a small fist. "Just between you and me." She smiled wide, eyes bright. "Who is she? This wonder woman who's stolen my big brother's heart?"
Oliver stood quickly, as if he'd sat on a tack. His arms folded and he stared at the dark TV. "NO. Uh-uh."
"WHO?" Thea pried, nearly shouting. A giggle hung in her voice. She tsked her tongue. Adjusting an invisible pair of glasses, she stared at an imaginary clipboard in her outstretched arm. "Hmmm...The patient is evasive to questioning." Thea said with a German brogue. "This clearly points to a deep seated fear of women buried within the inner pysche... Perhaps brought on as a youth by one very strong headed irritating sister."
Oliver almost laughed. He shook his head. "Thea, I-"
"Fine. Don't tell me." She stood, looking towards the kitchen. "I've got to go put some gas in the old tank. See ya'." "Wait." Oliver waved her back. "Say there is... someone. She doesn't ca---I mean, how do I know if she feels the same way. If I did like her."
Now that he wanted her advice, Thea played it cool. She walked backwards with a coy smile. "Thea!" Oliver growled just as Moira walked past on her way to the kitchen. "Don't yell at your sister, Oliver."
Thea's eyes flashed wickedly. Payback.
As soon as their mother disappeared she offered him a contrite look. "Remember what I said; 'A girl needs time to process.' Tell her how you feel. See what happens."
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Felicity awoke with a start. The first thought in her mind was; "Where am I?"
She glanced around the room. It was tinted in soft colors. Yellows, pinks, oranges, and the like. The decor was elegant and traditional, but also fun and interesting. The carpet was a light shade of yellow. Not so yellow that it clashed with her dark blue drapes that framed the windows. A happy, sunshiny yellow like the sunlight pouring through the glass.
Felicity frowned. "Why is everything blurry?" She slapped her forehead, turned, and grabbed instinctively for her glasses. Sure enough, there they were on the bedside table.
"It must have been a dream." The blonde thought as she pushed back the light pink covers of her bed. She slung her legs over the side. "I knew it. I couldn't have been that mean to Oliver." She said aloud. It felt good to hear her own voice. "I mean, I could...if I wanted to. Which I wouldn't. Especially if he was just trying to help...Something like that could only happen in a, or nightmare. Yes, that was definitely a nightmare....Hmph. What day is it? I---"
A white-hot stab of pain knifed into her left side. Felicity screamed out. The pain zapped from deep inside her heart to travel, like a lightening bolt, down her left arm. "No." She gasped. Her right arm hugged her chest. The room began to sway. A numb, tingly feeling eclipsed her body. It started from at her forehead and went down. All the blood in her body felt like it was dropping into her toes.
Felicity responded by sinking to the floor, panting, trying to make her blood pressure snap out of it. "Go." She ordered herself. It took a minute for her brain to respond. She crawled, on hands and knees, like an infant across the carpet.
The urge to lie down. To rest, washed over her slowly moving body. Also, oddly enough, the nauseating impulse to hack. Felicity pushed herself until she reached her dresser. Her iPhone began to buzz annoyingly just as she grasped the bottle of Bayer.
"Hi. This is Felicity. I can't come to the phone right now. I'm on the floor having a heart attack!! Sorry I missed you. Please leave a message at the sound of the beep....On second thought, wait! Call an ambulance!!!"
A few minutes and one Bayer later, Felicity felt the intense stabs subside. Soon as the lightheaded feeling faded away, she pulled herself up into a standing position. Her right hand, still pale and trembling, reached for the iPhone.
~ Missed call ~
Oliver Queen's dashing profile lit up the screen. She couldn't help sighing inwardly. Some days she was almost positive he cared for her. Other days, he was chasing down bad guys and his beautiful ex-girlfriend; Laurel. Talented, smart, beautiful, confident... not to mention well-versed in the Queen family history---who could compete with that?
Felicity's eyes fell on the square black clock ticking away on the dresser. "Bedknobs and broomsticks! I'm late. Ohhhh. Where's Mary Poppins when you need her?!"
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The evil minion approached his boss's large desk.
"Well?" Slade asked.
A grin played at the underling's lips. "It's done. Everything is going as planned."
"Excellent." The man with the eyepatch said deeply. He leaned over his desk. "And if you see him?"
"He won't be harmed. You have my word."
"I'll have more than your word if he is!" Barked Slade. "Oliver Queen must suffer. Slowly."
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Diggle sat in a chair in the Arrow cave. He watched Oliver pace the concrete and smiled inside with amusement.
"She's not answering her phone."
"You're not the only one who does work around here. Felicity probably slept in. Like I did. You should try it."
Oliver cast a glare in his direction. "Until 6pm? She didn't show up at Queen Consolidated either." He moved to the high-tech computers. "Check the tracking device again. I want to know where she is."
Diggle shrugged. He humbly did as he was told.
~ bleep ~
"Cell phone signals pinpoint her at her apartment."
"Or that's where her phone is." Oliver muttered worridly. He reached into the clear case for his bow.
"Whoa. Hold it, man." Diggle spun the chair around. "You're totally overreacting. She's fine."
Oliver scowled at his friend. "Well, maybe---"
"Good evening, everyone." Felicity said brightly, moving down the stairs and towards the computer station. She wore a long, sleveless blue dress, wedge heels, and carried a matching blue handbag. "I checked at Queen Consolidated. Since you weren't there, and, obviously you're here, I---" "Where have you been?" Oliver asked with more feeling than he meant to convey. "I've been worried sick." He didn't have to say the rest. The sentence hung in the air. Thick as Starling City smog.
Felicity blinked twice. "Hello to you too, Mr. Queen, sir. I had something come up. Sorry I'm late." She hit the question, rolled, and kept on going. "What's on the agenda for tonight? Or should I say who? Dig, hand me that pen, will you?"
"Your phone is at home." Oliver said pointedly. Felicity lifted her eyes from the computer screen to peer up at him through her glasses. "So?"
Oliver continued to stare.
"I was in a hurry. It got left behind." She blurted in explanation, the beginnings of irritation appearing on her face.
Oliver and Felicity's blue orbs locked. Equal determination masked their expressions.
"Desmond Lockwood." Diggle intervened. (Someone had to keep things rolling.) "Former partner in a loan shark group, but it looks like he's clean. Also happens to be on your father's list, tho."
Oliver considered the facts a moment. Someone was shipping drugs into The Glades and also stealing them from the hospitals again. They needed to be stopped.
Always the optimist, Diggle raised a hand. "Not to sound like a broken record, man, but not all roads lead to Rome. 'Did some checking... Lockwood and his wife run a respectable uptown restaurant. Is it possible that he's not inv---" "The Arrow will pay him a visit anyway." Oliver said in his deep voice. He nodded, glancing at Felicity. "To be sure."
"Anything I can do?" Felicity piped up. Oliver noticed the red pen tucked above an ear. Her usually ponytailed blonde hair was wrapped into an attractive braided bun. She stared at him patiently. He felt the urge to touch her silken cheek. To brush his fingers through her soft golden hair. "Oliver. Speak!"
Then the idea hit him. "I'm going to get dressed. Be right back."
Diggle and Felicity watched him leave. He didn't take his green Arrow suit. They swapped puzzled looks.
Felicity shrugged to Diggle. Whenever unsure or worried, Felicity turned to what she did best. Computer work.
"At least he forgot about last night. At first I wasn't so sure, the way he was staring at me like Darth Vader." She thought, fingers rapidly tapping the keyboard. "He sounds like his old self." She glanced at her golden wristwatch. "This ought to give me enough time to..."
Oliver cleared his throat. Felicity looked up, clearly surprised to see him back so soon. He wore his pressed black suit from the other night. Standing there, tall and handsome, he painted quite a few women's picture of the perfect mate. Felicity was determined not to let her emotions show. She shook her head. A wisp of blonde hair wiggled loose to tickle her cheek. She swiped it behind her ear.
"I'm going to put a cow bell on you, sir." She declared without thinking.
Oliver let his eyebrows lift. In the background, Diggle laughed and mumbled something about it being a good idea.
"Felicity." He thought fondly. "She never says what I expect."
If he was brutally honest like Thea, he could admit the truth. Things with Laurel were... regular. He'd heard her father; Quentin, once joke that Laurel was as predictable as a grandfather clock. "Funny I never believed that. Until now. Maybe Thea is right."
Felicity moved from around the desk with its multiple high-tech computers. "You know, ring-ring. A bell? Sort of flat." Her voice nagged him from his reverie. "Well, no, more retangular. Actually, they come in different sizes..."
They moved towards the steps. He was amused as she babbled on about something he had no comprehension of.
"It started way back in the 18th century...or was it 17th century? Anyway, wolves or lions or panthers or whatever would come along. And---Moo." She imitated a cow, making ears with her pointer fingers. "A cow might take off. If it didn't get eaten, how would the owners find it? Well, some genius....Maybe my Great-great-great-great Grandma or Grandpa, decided a bell might help. Also, did you know the leader of the herd usually wears the bell. So---" She paused, craning her head to catch his eye. "You weren't listening, were you?"
They were ascending the steps together.
Oliver stopped and turned. The intensity of his stare made Felicity squirm in her own clothes. "What? Is there something on my face?"
He didn't speak. "Tell her how you feel." Thea's words whispered in his ear.
"Wait. Where am I going?" Felicity glanced around, wondering why she'd gotten so caught up with a one-sided conversation about cowbells.
Oliver smiled warmly. This opportunity was too good to pass up. "Get your purse. We're going to dinner."
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