Letting Go - Chapter 6

The Verdant wasn’t packet as usual tonight. This was a private party. A welcome-home party for Sara Lance with only family and close friends in attendance. Not that after five years there were many true friends left, they’d all mostly moved on, but that didn’t stop the so-called friends, the gawkers, the vultures from attending. And those vultures were eyeing him with speculation and glee.

Oliver couldn’t care less. He was glad for Sara to be back in town, back among the living, glad for her father and her mother who’s recently come back to town to be reunited with her daughter. And he was glad for Laurel to have her sister back. Although he had no idea whether the two have talked everything through. He only knew Laurel would be attending the party.

He couldn’t wait to see her. They needed to talk. He’s given her some space in the past three days since she’s returned to the city, but now the wait was over. He grinned. She probably thought these past three days were an indication that he’d leave her alone. That they were truly finished. Truly done. She should know better. She was his, he was hers. Some things in life were inevitable. He and Laurel were one of those.

He’d get her to talk to him tonight if he had to handcuff them together. He needed to know how she’s discovered his identity, if she’d known it before she’d tried to trap him in her office, surrounded by those damn SWATs. Because if she had known before, he needed, scratch that, deserved a damn explanation.

Well, he deserved an explanation either way. And he’d get it. Tonight. He’d take her down to the basement, show her their base of operations...And demand that explanation.

The hum in the club suddenly dimmed and the hair at the nape of his neck stood on end. She was here. Let the games begin. He fought a smile. Because things were about to get very interesting with every single eye in the club trained on the three of them, the girl, the guy, and the other girl.

He turned and almost gaped. She’d cut her hair. Gone were the warm, brown waves falling below her shoulder. Her hair was now blond and cut very, very short. A pixie crop or so Thea had said after admiring a similar style in a magazine only last week. She looked completely different, edgier, sexier with her neck now bare to his eyes. His touch, if she let him close enough.

Even her attire matched the new hair-style. Tight black jeans tucked into flat ankle boots. But what drew his gaze was the tight, long-sleeved turtleneck she wore. A dark green turtleneck. Almost identical in color to the hood he wore as Arrow.

He was suddenly painfully hard.

He smiled as she started walking toward him, yet the greeting died on his lips as she passed him without even a glance. He turned in time to see her joining her parents and her sister. Sara smirked at him as if to say ‘You’ll have to do better than that’.

The noise level finally went up again inside the club. Whispers turned into murmurs, murmurs into the droning hum that had died as soon as Laurel has showed up.

He watched as Sara cocked her head slightly and the Lance sisters moved to the bar. He followed, not caring that many pairs of eyes followed him, one pair especially murderous, belonging to the girls’ father, Quentin Lance. He followed not caring about the whispers and rumors following in his wake.

He joined the two women at the bar, without them detecting or acknowledging his presence in time to hear Sara ask, “Have you thought about it?”

“Thought about what?” he asked, intrigued by the plea in Sara’s gaze and the stiff set of Laurel’s shoulder. There was something going on between the sisters, something more than him cheating on one with the other. Not that he would again. Ever.

While Sara jumped slightly, betraying the fact she didn’t see or hear him approach, Laurel’s shoulders didn’t relax. She’d known he was there, closing in. Interesting.

“Nothing,” Sara said brightly. “Just sisterly banter.”

Yeah, right.

“Did you want something?” she asked.

He grinned. Winked for good measure and she grinned back. “Just a dance.”

“Go ahead,” Sara said and turned to Thea to order her drink.

He noticed Laurel trying to slink away, but he stopped her with a firm grip on her wrist. “With you,” he elaborated.

She bristled. “I’ll pass.”

“Not this time.” He slid his fingers off her wrist and intertwined them with hers. “Dance with me.” He didn’t give her time to object, but pulled her away from the bar, into the middle of the club floor.

The music suddenly changed, the beat of the guitar intro of the new song slower, moodier. Sexier. Oliver grinned, and glanced toward his sister, sending her a silent thank you. Still holding Laurel’s hand, he put his other hand onto the small of her back and pulled her closer. She resisted for a heartbeat and he held his breath. Then she stilled, settled against him slightly, and let him lead her.

When Oliver heard the lyrics, listened to it, he would’ve gladly signed over his entire trust fund to his baby sister. Because she chose the perfect song for his dance with Laurel.

Kiss me like you wanna be loved
Wanna be loved
Wanna be loved

This feels like I've fallen in love
Fallen in love
Fallen in love

He didn’t know the title of the song, didn’t know who sung it, but it was absolutely perfect. For the two of them, for this moment...

Settle down with me
And I'll be your safety
You'll be my lady

I was made to keep your body warm
But I'm cold as, the wind blows
So hold me in your arms

He could not have chosen better words to convey what he wanted from her, from the two of them together.

My heart's against your chest
Your lips pressed to my neck
I've fallen for your eyes
But they don't know me yet

And the feeling I forget
I'm in love now

Not now, he’s always been in love with her. No matter what, no matter who, no matter when, no matter the obstacles in their way, his own fears...He loved her. He would always love her.

“We need to talk,” he whispered into her ear, felt her stiffen. “I need to show you something.”

She huffed. “I believe I’ve already seen everything you have to show.”

He chuckled. He couldn’t help it. She was adorable when she was pissed off. “You haven’t seen this.”

The song ended and she took a step back, tugged her hand out of his fingers. He already missed the feel of her skin. She looked at him, studied his face, and nodded solemnly.

He returned the nod, stepped aside and, a hand on her back, led her to the hall blocked by a velvet rope at the right of the bar.

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* Ed Sheeran: Kiss Me (+, 2011)