Letting Go - Chapter 16

Laurel cursed softy, turned off the radio, and sat on her bed with a deep sigh. This was getting ridiculous. He was being utterly and truly ridiculous. Dedicating songs to ‘the love of his life’. Ridiculous. When would it stop? She’s been avoiding him for the past month, didn’t respond to his messages, didn’t thank him for the flowers...

He really needed to stop this. Immediately. People were starting to take notice, to pay attention, and that idiotic column in the newspaper didn’t help matters one bit. And while she usually couldn’t care less about people gossiping and speculating, this time she did care. The speculation was starting to spread at the DA’s office as well. She knew Doris has already made the connection between the flowers and the ‘O’ dedicating songs on the radio. She couldn’t afford more people putting two and two together and the news to reach someone’s ears. There was something bigger at stake than her or Oliver’s love lives. Something more important depended on him leaving her alone. He was ruining everything!

So what would it take for him to get the message? Maybe she should take a page out of his book and dedicate a song to him. Madonna’s Power of Goodbye came to mind, but it would probably be too subtle. And her telling him to leave her alone—again—wouldn’t do the trick either. It would take a direct hit to take the message across.

She picked up her phone and dialed Adam.

Λ

The next evening Oliver was feeling rather pleased with himself. Despite he’d earlier worked alongside Sara to bring down the latest antique smuggling ring in Starling City, he wasn’t late for the fundraiser. The smugglers were small fish looking for their share of the market, and besides being annoying, they were easily dealt with. It was almost too easy. He needed a challenge.

Beside the one he was currently working on, that is. Getting Laurel Lance back. Forever. Not to brag, but he felt that mission was going rather well. He’s sent his texts with dedication to Romantic FM during the ride to the Gell Museum and the thought of her listening to them made a smile spread over his features.

A photographer snapped a photo, but his reporting colleague refrained from asking the obvious question. He was once again attending a gala event solo. There was only one woman he wanted on his arm.

The same woman who walked into the Grell Museum main hall with Starling City’s Assistant District Attorney, Adam Donner, and Oliver’s mind went blank. Because Laurel Lance didn’t just walk in on Donner’s arm, she walked in holding the man’s hand. The hands-clasped-fingers-intertwined kind of hand holding and they both wore million-dollar smiles.

Everything around Oliver disappeared until there was just him, Donner, and Laurel. Him on one side of the lobby the two of them on the other. Him alone, them together. Happy, smiling. Holding hands. It was the hand holding that cut the deepest. He’d never seen her hold Tommy’s hand, Oliver had been the only one who had held Laurel’s hand. Until now. The image of Donner and Laurel’s joined hands was seared on his brain, and he knew would haunt him forever.

Was this why she’s been avoiding him, why she’s told him he’d never get her back? That they’d never be together? Because she’d meant it? Because she was over him and ready to move on? Laurel wasn’t a woman to play with people’s feelings. She wasn’t a woman to toy with a man. She was a woman who felt deeply and when she did, she closed her eyes and jumped. And the image she projected here, tonight, was that of a girlfriend. Adam Donner’s girlfriend. A woman who was off-limits to anyone else.

No matter how many flowers, texts, or e-mails he sent, no matter how many songs he dedicated to her over the radio, Laurel Lance was taken.

Wasn’t she?

As soon as Donner left her side, Oliver approached her. “Hey, Laurel.”

She turned toward him, and the smile disappeared from her face. “Oliver.”

He hated to be responsible for that serious expression on her face, the absence of her smile. “You look beautiful,” he said.

She did. The dark-green dress made her skin glow, and the bangs that fell sideways onto her forehead made her face look softer, younger. She was mesmerizing.

She blushed slightly. “Thank you.”

“Are you working tonight?” he asked.

She blinked. “No, why?”

He shrugged. “You’re here with Donner.”

“She’s here with me as my date, Queen,” the man in question answered and Oliver felt his heart plummet.

“Date, huh?” he asked, still looking at her. “How long has this been going on?”

“Almost three weeks,” Donner answered for her. “Laurel, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

She smiled—smiled—at the man. “I’ll be right there, Adam.”

Three weeks. She’s been dating this guy while he’s been sending her flowers, dedicating songs. Wooing her. Why hadn’t Sara told him about this? What hadn’t anyone told him about this?

“You’re dating him?” he whispered, not trusting his voice.

She scowled. “You make it sound like it’s something bad. We’re co-workers that also happen to date. It’s not a crime, Oliver.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded.

Her gaze turned frosty, and she squared her shoulders. “Because it’s none of your business.”

“Laurel—”

“It’s not, Oliver. There’s nothing between us, we’re barely friends.”

It felt like a shot in the gut. “There’s everything between us, Laurel.”

She shook her head. “No, there isn’t. I told you months ago. I told you repeatedly. You just wouldn’t listen. We are over. I’ve moved on, so should you. I hope you find someone that makes you happy.”

She was the one who made him happy. She was the one, period.

“Thank you for the flowers, Oliver. And the songs. But you need to stop. Don’t make it any worse. I’m with Adam now. Excuse me.”

She made to walk past him to join Donner, but he stopped her by clasping her wrist. He needed to know. “Why him?”

She looked at him. “Because he’s nothing like you.”

She tugged her hand out of his slackened grip and left him staring after her with his heart in pieces and his soul shattered.


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