Letting Go - Chapter 11

“Dig, I need to borrow your car.”

Diggle looked at him with a puzzled expression. “Don’t you have your own? And a bike?”

Oliver nodded. “I do, but Laurel knows what I drive. I don’t want her to spot me.”

Diggle shook his head. “You’re gonna tail your ex? Why don’t you just bug her?”

“I’m not bugging Laurel,” Oliver scoffed. “It wouldn’t feel right.”

“But secretly following her is just so right, right?” Felicity asked from her sport behind the computer.

Oliver looked at her. “Well, yeah.”

“You could just ask her where she goes,” Felicity retorted.

“She’s not talking to me. She’s avoiding me.” Damn, that pissed him off. He’d thrown the gauntlet the other day and apparently she’d picked it up. She was damn good at giving him a run for his money. He just couldn’t pin her down. And Sara refused to help. She’d actually told him he was a big boy and if he wanted Laurel he had to work for it or else he didn’t deserve her. Ha-ha.

“I’m sure she has her reasons,” Felicity replied sweetly, making Diggle chuckle.

“Everybody’s a comedian these days,” Oliver replied dryly. “I don’t see you offering any help either,” he reprimanded.

Felicity shrugged. “You’re more than capable of getting her back on your own. But you should sweat for it. She’s a great woman. So if you want her, you’ll have to step up your game. Because at the pace you’re going now, we’ll all be old and grey when you finally get the girl.”

Oliver gritted his teeth. Wasn’t this just perfect? Even Felicity’s turned against him. Laurel saved her once, once, and Felicity was all for girl-power. How many times has he saved her? Shouldn’t she be on his side?

But he refused to mope and he refused to wallow. It had never been his strong suit, he much preferred being proactive. Which meant figuring out where Laurel has spent the better parts of the afternoons since she’s left the hospital.

“Diggle,” he snapped.

Diggle shook his head. “You’re not getting my keys.”

“Fine.” Oliver wrestled him onto the floor and fished the keys out of his jacket pocket. “Thanks, man,” he said as he walked to the door.

Λ

“Fuel it up before you return it!” John said before Oliver disappeared, but of course, the man ignored him. He was probably already making plans for how to best tail Laurel.

John shook his head. He should find it funny that his friend was so completely and hopelessly lovesick, but he didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t manly to admit it, and he would die before saying it aloud, but he found it heartwarming and sweet. Yeah, he’d never say that one out loud, for sure. He thought romance or feelings like the ones Oliver obviously had for Laurel existed only in rom-coms, sappy chick-flicks, and romance novels his mother swore by. He was happy—and a little envious—to be shown otherwise. Because there was no denying what was in Oliver’s eyes and in his expression every time he thought of or talked about Laurel. John hasn’t had much opportunities to see Oliver interact with the woman, but what he’d been able to glimpse had been humbling.

There was always this mixture of love and longing in Oliver’s eyes, mixed with despair for having to lie to her, having to push her away. Now, with her knowing the truth about his alter ego, that despair was gone, replaced by determination. But the love and longing persisted.

Muffled grunts and sounds of fists hitting flesh interrupted his musings and he turned, seeking the source, finding Felicity engrossed by a video playing on her computer.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Research.”

“Researching what?”

“Martial arts.”

Intrigued, John sat beside her, and looked at the video. What she was watching didn’t look like martial arts. At least not like any oriental martial art. What she was watching was more along the lines of street fighting. Dirty fighting with blows below the belt—literally. The man in the middle of the melee used everything and anything available to him to fend off his attackers.

It was brutal. And brutally efficient. And he’s seen this kind of fighting before.

“What are you watching?” he asked.

“Krav Maga. Though it doesn’t look like what JLo did in that movie.”

Oh yeah, John has seen this before. In real life, in real time. And live it looked even more brutal. Yet efficient. When he’d asked one of the men his unit had worked with how quickly he could bring his opponent down, the guy had just smirked, and said, “Two seconds if he’s untrained. Four if he is.” The man had been Israeli, IDF, the elite Sayeret unit—though John had always suspected that hadn’t been the entire story. But John hadn’t pried, and he’d also never seen the man again after the mission had ended.

“Why are you watching this?”

Felicity paused the video and looked at him, while pointing at the stilled image. “Because this looks like what Laurel Lance did to the man in the warehouse.”

John shook his head slightly. The fact Laurel Lance had taken self-defense lessons, that she still trained sporadically, was a well-known fact. But there had been no mention of Laurel being proficient in Krav or even knowing about it. She wasn’t a celebrity, but she was a rather prominent figure in Starling City. If she’d enrolled in a Krav program, someone was bound to speak about it. There were only three gyms in the city offering Krav Maga training, with instructors that have actually trained in Israel, and they were very selective.

“That’s impossible, Felicity.”

She shook her head, her eyes almost imploring. “No, I’m telling you, John, this is what I saw. Sure, I was crying and everything was blurry, but this looks like what I saw her do.”

“Felicity.” John put her hand around her shoulders, squeezing slightly. She’d been upset that day, under shock, and, as she said, crying. Laurel could’ve done some fancy MA stunt, but Felicity’s imagination and fear had turned it into something that wasn’t.

“John, it took seconds. And the guy was on the floor. He must have had 100 pounds on her, yet she knocked him down like it was nothing.” She bit her lower lip, staring at the still paused video. “She killed him,” she whispered. “She killed him in seconds. With one punch.”

It could’ve been a lucky shot, but somehow John doubted it. He didn’t know Laurel from Adam, but what he did know and what he had seen so far, there was steel underneath that beautiful, seemingly soft exterior. What had struck him the most was the protective streak he had glimpsed from time to time. She protected those dear to her—her father, her sister, her mother, Tommy Merlyn—she protected Oliver’s secret no matter what happened between them. And that day with Helena Bertinelli she’d protected Felicity.

Felicity had told him and Oliver that Laurel had been completely calm throughout the entire ordeal. She’d knocked down Helena’s sidekick in a heartbeat, took his gun, and aimed it steadily at Helena, Felicity had claimed. In John’s opinion that wasn’t a reaction of someone unaccustomed to using enough force to possibly kill a man no matter the training. Such calm and steadiness wasn’t a common reaction for a damsel in distress Laurel Lance had come across ever since he’s start working for Oliver Queen.

So what game was she playing? If it even was a game. It looked to him as if she usually refrained from using her apparent knowledge—according to Felicity—in order to prevent something bad from happening. Like killing someone?

If that was true, if what Felicity had deduced and almost convinced him of, then Oliver Queen wasn’t the only one keeping secrets. Laurel was keeping one from him as well.


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