Letting Go - Chapter 20

It’s been more than two weeks since he’s last seen Laurel. Since he’s left her in Donner’s apartment. His friends had picked him up a block away from the apartment building, but hadn’t asked any questions. And he hadn’t offered any explanations. He’s spent every night since in the hood, scouring the city streets.

Alone.

He didn’t want company. He wanted to be alone, wanted to be left alone.

He had quite a lot of work to do. A new type of drug was plaguing the city. It was very similar to Vertigo, and if he didn’t know better, he’d think the Count was back. But since the guy was dead and buried there was someone else financing the production and distribution of the drug that was yet to receive an ‘official’ name.

Even though he was secretly helping the police, Officer Lancemore precisely, the investigation into the new drug, that didn’t prevent him from keeping an eye on Laurel. He wasn’t going near her, not now when the wound was still fresh. If he saw her and Donner together he was liable to do something stupid, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t keep an eye on her from afar by trying to figure out just why the DEA had its feelers out for Donner. What were they looking for? Were they just covering their bases with Donner having been in close proximity to the Count? Or was there something more going on?

It was tough, or so Felicity kept telling him, to try to figure that out without alerting anyone to what they were doing. She hadn’t gotten caught yet, but she also hadn’t managed to find out what the DEA was doing investigating Donner either. Again, if they were even investigating him.

He was slowly driving himself insane with wanting to know whether Donner was really bad news, or he just wanted him to be, with wondering about Laurel’s relationship with the man, with guessing just what had happened when he’d left her that night. Not that he had much to guess, he could imagine very well.

Yes, he was driving himself insane, and the only way not to think about his problems was to concentrate on other problems. And that’s what prompted his visit to Iron Heights prison and the matriarch of the Queen family, his mother Moira.

Unfortunately, the diversion didn’t work. She took one look at him and immediately asked him what was wrong. And, instead of convincing her to talk about her, her trial, the weather, or anything else, no matter how idiotic or banal, he’d told her everything. Not everything-everything, like him being the Arrow and that sort of thing, but he’d told her everything about Laurel and his failed attempts at getting her back.

“Honey,” Moira looked at him with sad eyes and reached over the table to grasp his fingers. “I’m so sorry, but nothing is ever lost, until there’s someone willing to fight for it.”

He shook his head. “Mom, she asked me to let her go.”

“Do you love her?”

Of course, he did. More than anything. “Yes.”

“Then everybody would tell you to let her go. Let her be happy. Even if it’s with someone else.”

“What?” Was she really suggesting he let Laurel go? Let her out of his life? Maybe if it was happening to someone else he’d also be of the same opinion. But this wasn’t someone else. This was him. And Laurel. Maybe he should let her go, let her move on with her life, be happy with someone else. He just couldn’t.

Moira smiled. “But in my opinion, you’d be a fool to. I haven’t been around much lately, but what I saw when you two were here together, even on opposing sides, I saw a woman still very much in love with you.” She squeezed his fingers. “I told her once that I liked how you were when you were with her. I’ve seen that young man more often since you’ve returned from the island, but I’ve seen him every time you’re near her. She’s the one, isn’t she?”

He smiled, his heart easing. “I’d like to think so.”

She frowned. “Then what are you doing moping around? Make her see what she’s missing. Make her see you’re the one she should be with. Don’t let her go. Not until there’s any hope left.”

Oliver grinned. “Thank you, mom.”

“You’re welcome. I love you, Oliver.”

“I love you, too.”

Λ

She’d known she’d get the invitation to Oliver Queen’s impromptu party at his company’s headquarters. She’d planned accordingly. She’d scheduled an appointment at the spa, with a full-body massage, manicure, pedicure, and facial. She’d scheduled a short appointment with her hair designer, not that she needed it, but a woman needed to be prepared. She’d taken time choosing the right dress and ended up buying a sleeveless, A-line lace macramé dress with a boat neckline, and an above the knee hem. In green. Emerald green.

She was feeling fresh, relaxed, sexy, and knew she looked a knockout in the dress. And the shoes. She had no idea why—okay, she did—she’d gone to such trouble for this party, especially since she was attending it solo. Not that she could not have gotten a date, she just didn’t feel like it. There was only one man she would accept as her date. The host. Unfortunately that wasn’t an option.

Then a knock sounded on her front door, and she clenched her teeth as she felt her forehead crease into a frown. Please, don’t let it be him. But with her luck—

It was Adam Donner.

He’s been nothing but professional since that evening when she’d gotten sick after dinner, keeping things between them pretty impersonal. Which worked very well for her. And now he was here.

“Adam,” she said a little breathlessly, her mind running in fifth gear. “What a surprise. What are you doing here?”

He smiled, his eyes raking her from head to toe. And back. “You’re going to Queen’s party, right?”

She nodded.

“Well, I thought we might go together. You look beautiful.”

She forced herself to blush. “Thank you. Together, you say?”

He shrugged. “We'll get a chance to talk. Things were left rather...After that dinner.”

Right. ‘Rather’.

“I want to see where things between us could lead, Laurel.” He brushed his fingers down her arm. “I’m very interested in seeing what could be between us.”

She grabbed her purse and checked her phone. There was a text message received fifteen minutes ago. No wonder he was here. She wanted to curse, but smiled instead. “Well, Adam. Let’s see how this evening goes, shall we?”

Λ

Most of the time men either ‘thought’ with their dicks or their egos. Oliver, being a man, knew all about that. Unfortunately, that adage proved right the night of his party. The party that, thanks to his mother’s advice, he, Thea, and Felicity had quickly put together. His ego reared its stupid head as soon as Laurel walked into the lobby of Queen Consolidated with her hand tucked into the crook of Adam Donner’s elbow.

It all pretty much went downhill after that.


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