Letting Go - Chapter 18

“So...you and Donner, huh?”

Laurel paused in removing her grappling gloves. She’s been waiting for this interrogation for the entire afternoon. She was surprised Sara’s waited this long.

“Yes.”

“Want to tell me about it?”

Laurel looked at her sister. “Is this your curiosity talking? Or someone else's?”

Sara wiped her face with a towel and then slung it over her shoulders. “Mine.” At Laurel’s pointed look, she shrugged. “We’re just concerned about you.”

Laurel scoffed. “Oh, please. He’s not concerned. He’s just irked I’m not falling at his feet professing my undying love and devotion.”

Sara sighed. “Fine, have it your way. I know you wouldn’t believe—”

“No, I wouldn’t so let’s just drop it.”

“Fine, again. I’m still curious, though. What’s going on, Laurel?”

She shrugged. It was complicated, and she wasn’t at liberty to talk about it. “I’m dating Adam Donner.”

“Why?”

She looked at Sara. “He’s single. He's handsome. He's reputably employed, has a steady income—”

“That’s the reason’s Felicity listed.”

Laurel winked. “Felicity is a smart girl.”

Sara bumped her shoulder. “Those are not good enough reasons for dating someone. You told me you didn’t think of him as boyfriend material.”

Laurel sighed. Sara was persistent. And observant. And she wasn’t the only one. Even her father has been giving her grief ever since that short report about the fundraiser in the news today. “I changed my mind. And when will people stop sticking their noses in my personal life?” she demanded.

“When you’ll stop lying to them.”

One last glare, then Laurel turned and walked out of the gym. She was done answering questions. She didn’t give a damn what everybody thought. She was seeing Adam Donner, and that was that. End of discussion.

“Laurel!”

She rolled her eyes. Of course, Sara wasn’t done.

“I get it,” Sara said. “He’s not Oliver Queen.”

“Exactly.” Laurel nodded. “He’s his complete opposite.” Only not in the way everybody thought. “You can go ahead and tell Oliver that.”

“I will.” Sara sighed. “Donner is safe. He will probably never break your heart.”

No, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. Even if he wanted to. “Exactly. And I haven’t slept with him. Not yet.” At Sara’s TMI expression, she elaborated. “He’ll ask, trust me.”

Sara cleared her throat and changed the subject, “Good job in there, by the way. I hope next time you won’t hold back.”

“Sure I will.” It was an older sister’s job to take care of the younger one. No matter how badass the younger sister was—or thought to be.

“I know.” Sara snapped her fingers. “Almost forgot. We have to go out with Felicity one of these nights.”

“Do we?”

“We do. She wanted to come today, make it a girls’ night, but I didn’t think you wanted her to witness what we do on our sisterly get-togethers.”

“So you set up a date?”

Sara made a sound of confirmation. “I suggested a karaoke bar, and she already envisioned us as the Sex and the City gals.”

Laurel mock-shuddered. “I hated the second movie.”

“At least we already have a song picked. She wants to do I Am Woman.”

Laurel chuckled. “It’s just a pity you can’t hold a tune.”

Sara shoved at her playfully. “I love you, too, sis.”

Laurel poked her tongue out at her sister. “Let me know when you two want to hang out. I’m game. And wish everyone a pleasant evening and a good night.”

Sara just grinned and gave her an innocent look.

Yeah, right. Laurel knew she was going right back to the Arrowcave to report what she’s learned. Which was bubkiss, really. Pleased with herself, Laurel wiggled her fingers and slid into the waiting cab.

Λ

“Did she sleep with him?”

Felicity’s fingers stumbled over her keyboard. Sara’s barely made it through the door, and that’s the first question he asks? And people say women are the complicated ones.

“Can I catch my breath first?” Sara asked with a smile.

“No. Did she sleep with him?” Oliver insisted.

John rolled his eyes. “I thought she went there to establish why your girl’s dating him.”

Oliver glared at both, John and Sara. “Yes, she did. But I want to know if they’ve already been intimate. Is there a problem?”

John lifted his hands in surrender. Smart man, Felicity thought. Oliver didn’t look very amicable.

“Interesting,” Sara said shaking her head. “She said you’d ask me that.”

“She knows me well. And the answer is?”

“No.”

Oliver’s expression turned smug. “Then it’s not serious.”

Felicity couldn’t be quiet any longer. “What do you mean, it’s not serious? They’ve been dating for almost a month.”

He turned to her. “I don’t know why she’s with him, but there must be some ulterior motive. If she were serious about him, she’d have slept with the guy already.”

“Right,” she said through clenched teeth. “Because if a woman sleeps with a man it means she really loves him.” Of all the chauvinistic—

“Laurel does.”

“Shit,” Sara whispered.

“Wait,” John interrupted. “Are you saying that Laurel—”

“Has only been with me and Tommy?” Oliver asked. “Yes. I was her first.”

And her everything, even when he’d cheated on her. Felicity shook her head and turned back to her computer. If Laurel likened sex and intimacy with love, not feeling comfortable sharing her body with anyone, she didn’t feel deeply for, then what Oliver had done in the past year, probably even on the island, and before, when he’d been in a relationship with her...

“Manwhore,” she mumbled.

“Excuse me?”

Of course, he heard her. Fine, maybe it was time to say it. She stood and squared her shoulders. “I said you were a manwhore.”

“Felicity,” John warned, shaking his head.

“No. It has to be said. It needs to be said. You’ve though it, I’ve thought it. And I’ve had it.”

“Is there a point, Felicity?” Oliver asked softly.

“Yes, there is. How could you?” She took a deep breath. “You say she only sleeps with someone she loves, what does that make you?”

“The man she loves,” he explained.

“And what does what you’ve done make you? How many women have you slept with? Before the island.” She poked him in the chest. “And after the island. Let me think. Helena Bertinelli, McKenna, Isabel Rochev...And those are just the ones we know about.”

“Felicity.” John was still shaking his head.

“And then you wonder why she won’t take you back. How could she? A woman who equals sex with love taking back a man who claims sex doesn’t mean anything.”

“I thought we cleared that up,” Oliver said, his eyes tender. “After the thing with Isabel.”

“The thing,” she whispered.

“I told you I couldn’t be with someone I care about, because of the danger I might put them in.”

“How about someone you love?” she asked. “There’s a distinction.”

“Laurel can take care of herself, you can’t.”

“Me?” She blinked. Where did that come from? “Oh, my God,” she gasped. “You thought—You thought that I had a thing for you?”

“It’s pretty obvious, Felicity,” John explained.

She felt her face warm. “No. I mean, you’re good looking, and nice, and those abs are just about perfect...” She cleared her throat. Her message wasn’t going across explained like that. “But no. I don’t...I’m not in love with you, Oliver. I’m not even crushing on you anymore.” Maybe a tiny lie, that, but those don’t hurt.

As John smiled slightly, Oliver frowned. “Then what was all that about, with Isabel.”

“I didn’t trust her,” she explained. “Which turned out to be a very good hunch. I said you deserve better than her, because you do. You also deserve better than meaningless sex and one-night stands. You deserve someone who loves you. And I meant Laurel.”

“You still mean it?”

“Yes,” she mumbled. “But that doesn’t mean you’re not a manwhore.”

“My manwhoring days are over, Felicity.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it.”

Sara burst out laughing. “She has a point there, Ollie. If Laurel can keep it in her pants, figuratively speaking, and she has been since Tommy died, why can’t you?”

“I have,” he insisted.

“Yeah?” John eyed him suspiciously. “Since when?”

“Since Russia.” He shrugged, when all three of them gawked at him. “What Felicity said got to me. She was right. I deserve something better, but all I want is Laurel, so I’ve been keeping it in my pants. Mostly.”

“I knew it.” Felicity through her hands in the air and went back to her computer. “I knew you couldn’t resist.”

“Have you any idea how expensive these suits are? I need to take it out when I pee.”

“Idiot!”

Felicity’s laughter quickly died when an alarm sounded, and her computer screen started blinking red. “Oh, crap.”

The others were by her side in a heartbeat.

“What is it?” Oliver asked.

“You got caught?” John whispered.

“Yes!” she snapped, typing furiously. “And no. I protected the point of entry and the signal origin, but I have to shut it down quickly.” In three seconds, her computer screen went blank. She sighed and wiped her forehead. “That was close.”

“And that was what exactly?” Sara asked.

Felicity grinned. “Let’s check the data, shall we?”

Five minutes later, Felicity knew she wasn’t the only one staring wide-eyed at the computer screen and the information on it. The information that’s been copied on her flash drive before her hack’s been detected. She’s just been following some strange data streams and then—BAM!—she’s stumbled upon this.

“Call her, Sara,” Oliver urged. “She needs to know.”

Sara pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed. “Hey, Laurel. It’s me...No, it’s not about the date with Felicity.” Felicity grinned slightly at the wink Sara sent her way. She guessed their girls’ night wasn’t an impossibility. “Look, there’s something—” Sara gasped. “You’re what? No, Laurel, wait. Don’t—” She cursed and looked at the screen of her phone. “She hung up.”

“Why didn’t you tell her?” Oliver pressed.

“Because she said she was in a hurry, that she was going out.”

“Out? Jesus, with him?”

Sara nodded. “Yeah, apparently he invited her to dinner at his place.”

Felicity worried her lower lip between her teeth. Laurel was going to Donner’s place. Which meant Oliver’s theory was shot, because they all knew how that date would probably end.

“What are you doing?” John asked Oliver, who was pulling his shirt off.

“What does it look like? I’m going after her.”

“As the Arrow?”

Oliver just shrugged, donned his uniform, grabbed his bow, and left them gawking after him.

“Did he just...” Felicity began. “Did he just go to Donner’s apartment?”

“It’ll probably be fine,” John replied.

“Uhm, guys,” Sara retorted. “Oliver just went to his ex’s new boyfriend’s apartment. Armed.”

John grabbed his keys. “I’ll drive.”


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