Oliver always hated parties like these. Dressing up to raise money for charity was not how he liked to do things. Not that Oliver didn’t support causes. The man had a variety of charities he funded. Foundations that meant something to him. He just didn’t feel the need to put on a tuxedo, and throw a splashy party while charging a ridiculous amount of money for a seven course dinner and schmooze people into giving up their cash. He preferred the old fashion way - guilting them into doing it. But this charity was important to his mother so he was here, and in so decided he’d best make the most of his evening.
With that thought in mind, Oliver scanned the room to see if there might be at least one friendly face with whom he’d like to talk to, but alas he was coming up short in that department. Literally and figuratively. Presently, the only person that met his requirements was his petite and beautiful sister Thea.
She, besides his mother, were probably the only two women in the room who’d be happy to see him. Unfortunately, Oliver burned many bridges when it came to the female persuasion.
One in particular he noticed on the other side of the ballroom, his last girlfriend, Laurel Lance. She was here looking as beautiful as ever; but, no matter how good she looked he was not going to dip his ink in that well again - even if she would be interested. His relationship with her, albeit the longest one he’d ever had with a woman, was tumultuous and volatile at best. They fought constantly about his lack of commitment and partying ways which only fueled him to do it more. Eventually, they split after Oliver finally crossed the line and slept with her younger sister Sara. Laurel eventually moved on, but he recently heard she was back on the market; and, it appeared the rumors were true as noted by the outrageous flirting she was presently engaging in with Starling City’s current District Attorney.
As he looked past his ex, Oliver continued to survey the party, his eyes eventually locking on his bodyguard and friend, John Diggle. The man gave him an imperceptible nod letting him know that all things were clear. Oliver nodded in response. Ever since he’d taken on the role of The Arrow in Starling City, he’d been more vigilant of his surroundings and possible threats that may occur. John was his right hand man, and if there was anyone he trusted, it was him.
All at once, something did catch his attention, and it came from a rather petite, pretty blonde who was smoothly floating about the room. She wasn’t dressed as the other guests. She wore sensible black pants with a white button down shirt and black reeboks, who knew they still made those, with a small black apron tied around her slim waist. Her hair was up in a practical high ponytail, she wore little to no makeup, although even from this distance Oliver could tell even without the make-up she was attractive, and she wore thin, square shaped glasses which made her already large eyes look bigger.
She was part of the catering company that helped serve the food and drinks at the party. But the food she had on her tray wasn’t what had caught the man’s attention. No, it was how she deftly smiled at the unsuspecting male and proceeded to unburden him of his Armani wallet before heading off in a new direction.
Oliver followed her for a good thirty minutes, staying in the background, making sure he concealed his interest in the woman. She was good. Oliver had to hand it to her, for in the course of the time the Queen heir had noticed her “activities” she’d managed to relive four men of their valuables, and she wasn’t partial to wallets. Her interests varied to watches, cufflinks, and with one gentleman he noticed her lift his valet ticket. Impressive indeed.
It was time though for Oliver to have a talk with this beautiful, elfin of a thief. So he did the only thing he could think of, he approached his target and proceeded to engage her in polite small talk as he lifted a spinach puff off her silver laden tray, and allowed her to swipe his wallet from his jacket.
As she turned to scope her next mark, Oliver gently but firmly grabbed her free wrist, the one not holding the food because if that fell it would cause a disturbance he was working to avoid. She stopped, and as she did Oliver leaned down and whispered softly in her ear, “As entertained as I’ve been with your activities this evening Miss, I think it’s time we had a little talk.”
With that, Oliver proceeded to guide the wayward thief out of the ballroom and to his father’s empty study down the hall.
“Frack, frack, frack,” was all Felicity could think as Oliver Queen lead her away from the party, to some unknown, quiet location in the Queen home.
How the hell did she get caught. She never gets caught. This was so not good. She needed that money to pay her and Roy’s rent this month and....well it didn't matter right now. What mattered was how was she going to get herself out of this mess.
As Felicity continued to ponder her predicament she snuck a glance at her captor. He was taller than she imagined and broader, really broad. His grip on her arm was firm but gentle. She could tell he had restraint, and boy was he able to work that five o'clock shadow. Dammit she could not let her hormones get in the way right now. What she needed to be doing was focusing on a plan where handcuffs and jail were not in the equation. Although thinking about handcuffs and Oliver Queen in the same sentence didn't seem so bad.
"Excuse me?" Felicity heard him ask as he guided her into a room that was obviously someone's office.
"I'm sorry, what?" She responded as she turned to face him, and watched as he closed the door behind him, giving the two totally privacy.
But when Oliver moved to face her, he didn’t say a word, all she got from him was a piercing gaze and a raised eyebrow, the question he asked still lingering in his hypnotic blue eyes. That's when Felicity realized she must have spoken her thoughts aloud.
Dammit why did her nonexistent foot to mouth filter have to rear its ugly head right now. Deciding it was best not to even address what she'd said, Felicity ignored his continued inquiry and turned away heading over to the big imposing desk that was located right in front of her. As she started to nervously fidget with the red pen that laid there she heard her host address her once more.
"Just so you know I will notice if something goes missing from this room, and it would be in your best interest not to touch anything."
Felicity couldn't help but wonder if that meant him as well.
"Excuse me? Oliver asked again, and once more Felicity realized she’d said something aloud that's was best left unsaid.
Dropping the pen, and placing her hands in the front pockets of her sensible black cargo pants so as not to touch anything, Felicity timidly replied, "I think I'll just sit over here,” as she pointed and moved towards a large leather club chair flanking an inviting fireplace located on the left side of the room. Once seated she added, "and work on not speaking while you decide what to do."
"That would be best," Oliver agreed before heading to stand where Felicity had just vacated by the large ornate desk. She watched as he started to fiddle with the same pen she had, wondering if that was a calculated move to make her nervous or just an unconscious reflex.
It didn't matter, for she was nervous; and, as she tried not to fidget, Felicity drew her legs up underneath her, careful to not get the soles of her shoes on the chair as it would not be good to dirty up his home, as well as steal from his guest.
She waited for him to speak, hopeful he would give her a positive outcome on what he might do with her, and as she did, she studied his movements. He continued to move the pen back and forth between his fingers. They were long and graceful, not out of character for such a sophisticated man, but calloused as well. She could tell from where she sat. And it appeared those hands were never at rest, a fact Felicity decided to store along with other questions she had when it came to Oliver Queen.
She was so captivated and entranced by him that she unconsciously jumped, startled when he finally spoke.
His voice remained low and calm, but different from when he whispered in her ear. That voice had brought a slight shiver down her body, but this voice, this voice gave her goosebumps all over. Why did he have to sound as sexy as he looked.
“Why don’t we start off with your name.” he said, not even bothering to formulate it as a question, leaving no room for debate that Felicity would answer him.
But before she could another voice broke the silence.
“Her name is Felicity Smoak.” John Diggle announced.
Both parties turned to face the new arrival, the pair surprised as neither had heard him enter the room
“You know her?” Oliver asked.
Digg nodded, affirming his boss’s question.
“Please don’t tell Carly, John. She would kill me if she found out.” Felicity begged the older man.
“Carly. Carly knows her too?” Oliver interrupted, addressing his friend, and ignoring the other occupant in the room.
John drew his focus directly on Oliver as he responded. “She does. In fact,” he continued as he now moved his attention to Felicity, “she’s the one who helped her get the job here tonight.”
Felicity could only sink lower into the chair she resided, her guilt taking over for what she had done, even though it had been a means to an end; and, these people wouldn’t have even missed the small amount she lifted.
“That’s besides the point.” she heard John say.
“Did I say that out loud?” Felicity inquired even though she already knew the answer.
“Yes,” Digg offered.
“She has a habit of doing that, doesn’t she?” Oliver questioned.
“Yes, she does.” Digg confirmed.
Oliver eyed Felicity cautiously, and she knew he was contemplating his next move. Yet, after a few moments he turned to John and spoke directly to him.
“I need to have a word with you.”
She watched as the older man nodded in acceptance before Oliver spun to face her. “Do not move. Do not touch anything, and if you have a cellphone I’d like it now,” he strongly suggested as he held out his hand towards her.
Felicity could only stare unable to speak or move.
“Cellphone?” he asked again as he shook his hand up and down indicating she needed to give him her electronic device.
Unsure of why this was so important, Felicity reached into her pocket and pulled the phone out and handed it to Oliver.
“Why do you want my cellphone?” Felicity asked as she handed it to him and watched as he put it in his coat pocket.
“Because I don’t want you calling or texting anyone while Diggle and I go out in the hallway to talk,” Oliver explained.
“Oh,” was all Felicity could voice as she watched the two men leave the room, but just before Oliver exited he turned to face her once more.
“Also, please don’t think you can escape through that window there,” he pointed before adding, “for I will hear you, and if I have to chase you down in this tuxedo, you will not be happy with the outcome.”
Felicity just nodded in response, before watching Oliver acknowledge her acquiescence with a slight tilt of his own chin before exiting the room.
Oliver wasted no time directly asking Digg what was on his mind. "So what's this girl's story?"
John sighed in response before rubbing his hand over his face. "She's had it rough Oliver. She was set to go to MIT on a full scholarship in their computer science program when her stepfather killed her mother. He, thankfully was arrested and convicted of the crime, and is now rotting in the Nevada State Penitentiary. She's from Vegas. But it took awhile for him to eventually be incarcerated and Felicity refused to leave her stepbrother alone. She couldn't afford to take Roy, that's her stepbrother's name, to MIT with her so she turned down the scholarship. After her father went to prison, Felicity moved the two of them here hoping to somehow get a job with a tech company. I think she even tried Queen Consolidated, but without a college degree no one would even take her seriously. Carly met her and Roy at the Shelter in the Glades where Big Belly Burger provides uneaten food. The two have become friends and Carly's tried to help her find jobs to help them get by, but as you've discovered she doesn't always go about it the right way."
Oliver took a few moments to take in everything Diggle had said before responding.
"Is she really that smart?" He asked.
"Seriously Oliver, out of all that, that's the one thing you focused on." Digg replied.
"Trust me John, you know I'm not one to not consider everything so just answer my question." Oliver countered.
"Fine," he said. "I honestly don't know. I've only met Felicity a few times, getting most of my information from Carly, but to me, anyone who gets a free ride to MIT whether they take it or not, is smart. Why is this so important to you."
Oliver pointedly looked at his friend before reaching for the door, "you'll know soon enough," he offered before re entering his father's office with Diggle close behind.
As they entered, Oliver was relieved to see his thief followed directions and did not move. He couldn't help but appreciate how attractive she truly was. She had a natural beauty that he rarely saw and if he was honest with himself, quite refreshing. Plus, she amused him with that mouth of hers. That very lovely, enticing mouth. Get a grip Queen he silently chastised himself. It really had been too long since he's been with a woman.
"Miss Smoak," he said as he addressed her.
"Felicity," she offered. "Please call me Felicity."
"Alright. Then you should call me Oliver."
"Oh, I don't think I could do that Mr Queen." Felicity nervously replied.
“Well we’ll negotiate that along with a few other things, Felicity.”
“What other things?”
Oliver ignored her question and moved to sit behind the big desk. “Why don’t we start off with you placing here,” as he pointed to the surface before him, “all the things you took from various patrons at my Mother’s fundraiser.”
He noticed how she didn’t move right away. He wasn’t positive, but maybe in the back of her mind she thought he’d forgotten of her evening escapades. Not very likely.
“Felicity,” he heard Diggle say, his voice calm but also commanding. “Do as Oliver says.”
Oliver watched as the petite blonde reluctantly rose from her perch on one of his favorite chairs. He used to love coming in here as a kid and sitting in that exact spot she was in watching his father work.
“Comfortable, isn’t it.” He said to Felicity.
She looked at him, and he could tell she was startled by his comment.
“Yes, yes it is.” she replied as she moved to where he sat and ever so slowly removed her loot from her pant’s pockets, apron and even her bra. Oliver again was impressed with her tenacity.
“Diggle,” Oliver said as he addressed the other occupant in the room, “if you would be so kind to discreetly return these items to their owners, letting them know they were found and you wanted them to have them back as quickly as possible.
“Of course,” Diggle replied.
“Is that all of it?” Oliver asked Felicity before Digg left the room.
“Yes,” she emphatically replied as he arched his eyebrow in her direction. “I promise.”
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to take your word for it then, won’t we” Oliver said as he stood and escorted Diggle to the door.
“She going to be safe with you?” Felicity heard Diggle whisper to Oliver before he left.
“I promise John, she’ll be safe.” Oliver assured his friend and bodyguard before the pair watched as Diggle left the room. Once he was gone Felicity watched as he locked the door before moving around to address her once more.
“Uh, why did you lock the door?” Felicity anxiously asked.
“It’s more to keep people out than anything else Felicity,” Oliver assured her. “Please,” he said as he pointed to the chair she’d just vacated, “why don’t you sit again. I promise I don’t bite.”
“Too bad,” Felicity mumbled as she moved back to what she now considered her seat, and as she did she saw Oliver’s lips twitch upward just slightly, and immediately she knew he’d heard her.
Oliver watched as a lovely shade of pink blossomed along Felicity’s face, the color so becoming on her lovely features; and, he’d be lying if he didn’t feel a sense of male pride by her reaction. When was the last time he’d made anyone blush, if ever.
Breaking himself out of his musings, Oliver, instead of heading back to his father’s desk decided to sit opposite his thief, as they renewed their conversation. He could tell Felicity was surprised by his choice by the way she sat up straighter and her eyes grew even larger, if that was possible; and, once more he was pleased with her reaction. He appreciated the fact that she wasn’t trying to use her female wiles to get him to do what she wanted. Although it seemed to Oliver, this woman before him didn’t realize how truly beautiful she was.
Seating himself, he placed his elbows on his knees and leaned forward closing the distance between them even more. He watched as she moved back, and he sensed she was a little intimidated by him.
“Do I scare you?” he asked.
“A little,” Felicity admitted.
“Why?” he questioned. “Have I given you reason to be afraid of me?”
“No, it’s not that,” Felicity admitted. “It’s just...well, it’s not important.”
“It is to me,” Oliver softly argued. “So explain yourself.”
“Uh,...do you think we could wait till you tell me what you’re going to do with me. As much as I blurt out things, a lot of things really, stuff that should be left unsaid, I really have no desire to go to jail. Plus, I have someone who...well there’s someone, and I’m worried about what they might do if I get arrested.” Felicity quietly pleaded.
“John already told me about your stepbrother, Felicity,” Oliver reassured her. “ Although I think we might be at an impasse right now.”
“Why is that?” she asked.
“Let’s just say if I promise that I’m not going to press charges, or make anyone aware of your nefarious activities tonight, even the catering company, will you tell me why you’re scared of me?”
It didn’t make any sense to Oliver why this was so important, but it was. He wanted to know why this pretty, young woman was afraid of him.
“That seems fair,” Felicity conceded before leaning forward and whispering, “it’s because I know what you do at night Oliver Queen.”
Now that was definitely not what Oliver expected her to say. She couldn’t possibly know anything about what he was doing in Starling City. The Arrow had been very careful to keep his identity a secret.
Schooling his features Oliver innocently replied, “I’m not sure what you mean, Felicity. It’s well known that my friend Tommy and I own the night club Verdant in the Glades, that’s not something I would consider a threat to your well being.”
“No, not those activities, but your other activities,” she said as she made the sign of shooting an arrow from a bow.
“You mean, you think I’m the Vigilante?” Oliver ask, continuing to keep his features as neutral as possible. “What would give you an idea like that.”
He watched as she just glared at him with a look that said, come on really, you’ve go to be kidding me.
“Okay, Oliver. It really doesn’t take a mastermind to figure it out. Once you came back from...well from wherever you were…”
“That was the name of the Island I was shipwrecked on,” Oliver explained. “It means purgatory.”
“Oh. Well that doesn’t sound good.”
“It wasn’t,” Oliver confessed. “But that’s besides the point. Why do you think I’m The Arrow?”
“Oh, right.” Felicity replied. “Well, like I was saying, once you came back from,...Lian yu,... the Vigilante started to appear. And you don’t seem to remember but he saved my life one night when I was coming home from a job….a real legal type job,” she assured him when she saw his eyebrows raise in question, “and I got jumped by three guys in the Glades. He rescued me, and while he didn’t say anything I got a good look at him even with the hood on through the street light, and you and he definitely have similar characteristics. Plus,” she shrugged her shoulders, “I researched you after I saw you one day with John at the Big Belly Burger.”
“Diggle said you were very smart, not that I think you’re right,” he explained.
“He did?” she sounded pleased.
“He did,” Oliver confirmed. “But why don’t I remember you, and when I say that, I mean at the Big Belly Burger.”
“Oh that,” she said, “it’s because I was in the back. I sometimes help Carly with her son A.J. to make some extra cash, and needed to pick up her spare keys to her apartment. That’s when I saw you with John sitting at a booth in the diner. I lik...well, anyway that’s when I saw you.”
He was silent for a while, not sure how to proceed. He was not going to acknowledge her suspicions of him being the Arrow, but he did want to help this girl.
In his most convincing voice possible Oliver denied her claims. “I can assure you Felicity, I am not who you think I am, and I don’t plan to do you harm. What I do plan to do is offer you a job at Queen Consolidated”
“Excuse me?” the surprise evident in her tone as she replied.
“I’d like to offer you a job,” he repeated.
“But why?” Felicity exclaimed. “Not that I’m not grateful for the opportunity of course, but you don’t even know me Mr. Queen. Why would you like to offer a known thief a job at your family’s company.”
“Let’s just call in a hunch. I think you might have a lot to offer Queen Consolidated,” plus Oliver thought to himself he needed to keep an eye on this inciteful woman. “I don’t know if you know this but we have an intern program where we will help pay for your higher education if you agree to work for us for the time we supplement your schooling. It’s not MIT but I think it’ll help open doors for you in the future.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Felicity whispered.
“Don’t say anything yet. You’ll be on a probation status, and if you don’t perform well, we’ll have to let you go.”
“I understand.” Felicity replied, shaking her head up and down in acknowledgement. “I won’t let you down Mr. Queen.”
“Oliver.” she echoed. “And I won’t say anything about your nightly activities. I promise.”
“Felicity,” he softly said, “You are to forget any notion that I am the Arrow. Do I make myself clear?”
“Crystal.” she complied.
Six Months Later
“Oliver, watch your back, you have someone approaching on your left,” Felicity voiced into her comm as she watched him unarm another of Starling’s delinquents.
“Got it,” he replied as he deftly placed an arrow into the man’s thigh bringing him to his knees. “That’s the last one John,” Oliver said as he tied up the remaining man of Brick’s gang. “Have you called Lance,” he asked Felicity through the comm once they were sure the area was secured.
“Yep, she replied, “and he’s on his way. He should be there any minute.”
And as if on cue John and Oliver heard the approaching cop cars. “That’s our sign to go.” he said as he and John made a hasty exit.
Once back at the Foundry, Oliver approached Felicity gently laying a hand on her shoulder as he stopped by her work station. “Thanks for having my back out there.”
“Thanks for having mine,” she replied, and they both knew what she meant.