Letting Go - Chapter 14

Laurel was developing one hell of a headache. And she wasn’t even at work yet. First her alarm hadn’t worked. Then her shower had broken while she was rinsing off, and she’d had to wipe the soap off her skin with her towel and pull her clothes on while still feeling slimy. Then her heel had broken off when she was descending her stairs requiring a quick, and wobbly return to her apartment. There were no cabs around, so she’d had to walk to work—which wasn’t that bad, she was used to it, but not when she was so late. And to make matters worse, an idiot had crashed into her as she was exiting the coffee shop, making her spill her latte, and she hadn’t dared get back in for another one. There was a silver lining though. At least, she hadn’t spilled her latte all over herself.

So this accursed morning she was late, her shoes didn’t exactly match the suit, she was slimy from the soap and slightly sweaty from her fast walk to work, she didn’t have any caffeine in her system, and she was beyond cranky. And thinking about yesterday’s afternoon ‘business’ meeting didn’t help matters. It made them even worse.

Hence the headache and the scowl she could feel creasing her forehead. Wrinkles be damned, she deserved a scowl today.

A coworker greeted her as she exited the elevator, but she didn’t respond. She didn’t trust herself to respond, because God only knew what might’ve come out of her mouth. A growl, maybe a curse. She didn’t feel very sociable today, and she hoped her coworkers would notice and leave her alone. Which went for Donner, as well. She really wasn’t in the mood.

And her mood became even darker as she noticed a bouquet of roses on her desk. Her scowl deepened. She wanted to hate it. She really did. Nevertheless, she couldn’t. Because it wasn’t huge and tacky. It was just perfect. In size, arrangement, and color. The roses, in a delicate crystal vase, weren’t the cliché red, but cream with just a touch of blush on the center petals. There was no card, but she didn’t need one. She knew whom the roses were from.

The same person who’s sent her flowers for the past week or so—yellow tulips, colorful gerbera daisies, lavender lilies, mixed bouquets, potted hydrangeas, daffodils, flowers she had no idea even existed...

Oliver Jonas Queen.

Damn the man. Why couldn’t he get the hint and leave her alone? Did he really have to be so stubborn? So obtuse? Why wouldn’t he move on, let her be?

And why did he have to do a complete about-face in his pursuit, going from stalker mode to romantic seducer? It was so much easier resisting him when he was crowding her, than when he was wielding his magic from afar.

Those who didn’t know him, the people who only knew the persona he portrayed in public, thought Oliver Queen was pretty much irresistible when he was close, when he turned on his charm and seductive prowess. But the Oliver Queen only a few people knew, the real Oliver Queen, was absolutely devastating when he decided to be subtle. When he worked from the sidelines, from afar. He seduced with a sweet text message, a small, inexpensive gift, a bouquet of flowers...He didn’t need to be close, he didn’t need to be present, what he did, what he sent, conveyed the message.

I love you. I want you. I will wait for you. I will have you.

She knew he’d used this particular tactic only once before. Many years ago. With her. And he’d succeeded. And now, he was using it again. But she’d be damned before she admitted it was working.

It couldn’t work. It shouldn’t work. She had her reasons. Maybe to some, her reasons, her reasoning may sound stupid and idiotic, but she didn’t see it that way. To her, the reasons—well, one reason, really—were valid. She might sound petty and childish, but she just couldn’t let him get close again.

She loved him. She would always love him. He was the one, but the way she saw it, there just wasn’t any future for them. Not anymore.

She picked up the vase, and carried it to DA Spencer’s secretary’s desk. “Here you go, Doris.”

Doris Vaughn looked at her with wide eyes. “I can’t accept them, Laurel. They’re yours.”

Laurel shrugged. Doris had no idea, but her apartment was full of flowers, smelling like a florist shop. Or a funeral home. She’d taken most of the bouquets to the hospital, but a few she kept. The smaller ones, the biedermeier bouquets. The ones knew she’d keep and chose the most fragrant flowers for. Damn the man.

“I don’t have anywhere to put them, and I need my desk clear.” She smiled. “Besides, they look so much better on yours.”

Doris blushed. “Why won’t you tell anyone who sends them?”

Laurel blinked. “An ex-boyfriend.”

“Ex?”

“Yes,” Laurel affirmed. “Ex.”

Doris smiled. “Judging from the flowers I don’t think he wants to be an ex any longer.”

“We don’t always get what we want,” Laurel replied and went back to her desk, but not fast enough to miss Doris’ muttered, “Oliver Queen does.”


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