Letting Go - Chapter 22

“What are you doing?” Felicity hissed.

“Hmm?” Oliver looked down at her distractedly. “Dancing.”

She glared. “Wrong answer. You’re making a mess of everything, including my reputation that’s already shaky in this damn company.” She wriggled. “Let me go.”

“What?” Preoccupied with trying to figure out just why Laurel would dance with Diggle and what could the two possibly have to talk about that would bring such a scowl on his friend’s face, he finally noticed Felicity was trying to get away. Her statement regarding her reputation registered a few seconds later. “Has anyone said anything to you?”

If they had, they were fired. And he didn’t care if he sounded like Donald Trump.

“Let. Me. Go.”

She accompanied her request with a not so gentle stomping on his foot and Oliver immediately complied. “Sorry. Ouch.”

She glared but it somehow lacked conviction. “No one said anything, not to my face. But I’m not stupid. I have eyes.” She nodded toward where Laurel has rejoined Donner. “Don’t worry about me, though. Go over there. I can create a distraction, you know, ditzy blonde, and you can whisk her away.”

“She obviously doesn’t want to be whisked. Away or anywhere else that doesn’t involve Donner’s presence.”

She made a noncommittal sound and looked at the pair with her head cocked. “It doesn’t seem like she truly wants to be there by his side, don’t you think?”

Not truly wanting to be by Donner’s side? Laurel was hanging all over the guy, her smile dazzling, her eyes pleading. It looked like he wanted to leave, but she tried to make him stay a little longer. Why? Why did she want to stay longer? Was it to rub it in his face? To make him see how happy she was with the new man in her life? Did she want him to see what he didn’t have? He knew very well that he was the loser in this tableau. Donner had the girl. Donner had Laurel. What did Oliver have? He didn’t have shit. Except for a bruised ego and a broken heart.

He spat a soft curse. He was done with this crap. He was skipping the party. Sure, it was his party, but he simply wasn’t in the mood. Not after everything that happened. He turned on his heel and was headed for the elevators when a collective gasp filled the lobby.

“Oliver!”

The plea in Felicity’s voice made him turn. He frowned as two men in dark suits positioned themselves on either side of Donner while Laurel surreptitiously took a few steps back. It was the possibility of Laurel ending up hurt, ending up in the path of a stray bullet, that made him move, made him walk back to the center of the lobby.

“Can I help you, gentlemen?” he asked.

“We have it covered, Mr. Queen,” someone replied. Another man in a dark suit stepped forward, away from the milling guests. “No need to get involved.”

Oliver gritted his teeth. He hated it when people told him not to get involved. Especially when the situation looked like it needed someone else to get involved. At least to get Laurel away. “This is my party,” he reminded his obviously non-invited guests.

“And you will all be able to get back to it as soon as we’re done.”

“What exactly are you doing?” Oliver wanted to know.

“Arresting Mr. Donner here.”

Oliver looked at Laurel, but she kept her eyes on Donner and the three men.

Donner laughed. “What for?”

“Drug trafficking, drug distribution, conspiracy to trafficking of drugs, conspiracy to distribution of drugs—”

Donner laughed again. “You’re insane.”

“—extortion, kidnapping, conspiracy to murder, and murder,” the man finished calmly. “Cuff him, Jones.”

One of the other two men took a step closer to Donner who flinched back. “How dare you? You can’t arrest me.”

“This little badge says I can.” The man flashed his ID.

Oliver cursed softly again as he saw the acronym on the credentials. DEA. He once again tried to catch Laurel’s gaze, but she steadfastly looked at Donner and the DEA agents.

Donner was shaking his head. “Do you know who I am?”

“I know very well who you are,” the DEA agent snarled. “You’re a lousy piece of shit hiding behind a polished façade and your position in society. And I couldn’t care less. Jones!”

“I’ll sue you for everything you own,” Donner vowed. “You have no idea how many laws you’re breaking right now.”

The DEA agent smirked. “I’m not breaking any, Mr. Donner. I’m doing this so much by the book, if you'd cut me I’d bleed ink. Anything so you don’t skip on a technicality.”

Donner squirmed as his wrists were cuffed behind his back. “Here’s a technicality, Mr. Whoeveryouare. You’re required to read me my rights.”

“No, I’m not. I’m not planning on interrogating you. I’m not planning on letting you talk, period. I have your men in custody. And I have read them their rights. I bet they’ll be more than willing to talk. And I have enough proof to put you behind bars for good, even if they don’t.”

“Proof? What proof?”

They had proof? They had proof?! Was that enough to convince her he’d been right when he warned her about Donner? Oliver once more gazed at Laurel. She looked so serene, so calm, as if she didn’t care about the news.

The DEA agent shrugged. “Phone conversations, e-mails, video conference recordings.”

Donner paled significantly. “You’d need a warrant for that.”

“I have it. Anything else?”

“Yes. You’re bluffing. I would’ve heard about a warrant.”

“Not if we kept it super hush-hush. I’m not bluffing, Mr. Donner. We had your apartment under surveillance, despite all your protective measures.”

Donner was shaking his head, squirming against the handcuffs. “You are bluffing. No one can get inside my apartment that I don’t know or pre-approve.”

“Exactly.”

Donner slowly turned to Laurel and his face transformed into a grimace of hatred. “You bitch,” he spat.

As Oliver watched, she cocked her head, arched an eyebrow, and a corner of her lips curled upward. She knew. She’d known from the start. The DEA had used her as a mole.

Donner looked disgusted. “I can’t believe you slept with me to bug my apartment.”

Jesus. Oliver felt a little sick himself.

Laurel’s laughter filled the lobby. “Please, you should be so lucky.”

“It’s your word against mine,” Donner said with a sly smile.

She shook her head. “No, it’s your word against video footage. You’ve been living in Big Brother’s house, and you didn’t even know it.”

“And Ms Lance isn’t on any recording,” the DEA agent supplied.

“You’re just saying that so you don’t have to admit she prostituted herself for you.”

“Watch it, Adam,” Laurel warned sweetly, “or I might throw in charges of defamation as well.”

“And I’ll be more than happy to testify.” The DEA agent rolled his eyes. “Jones, get him out of here before I introduce him to my fist. He’s contaminated this air long enough.”

“With pleasure, sir,” the one called Jones replied and dragged a sputtering and indignant Adam Donner out of Queen Consolidated.

Oliver felt someone watching him and looked away from the door to find Laurel’s gaze steady on him. She was smiling slightly as if saying ‘see, idiot, I always know what I’m doing’. Compared to him. Damn it, he was an idiot. He should’ve known. He should’ve realized the truth. He knew her. Her reaction to learning about the DEA investigating Donner hadn’t been ‘normal’. She hadn’t even blinked. That should’ve made him see the truth, or at least part of it. Instead, he’d acted like the jealous idiot she’d accused him of being.

She’d also used her in-hindsight-non-existant relationship with Adam Donner to keep him at arms’ length, to keep him from pursuing her. And it had worked. He gritted his teeth. Boy had it worked. He’d fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

As if reading his mind her smile widened and a twinkle appeared in her eyes. He grinned back. Oh, the game was back on.

She must have realized she’s issued another challenge, because she shook her head and quickly looked away. “Agent Brody.”

The lead DEA agent nodded. “Ms Lance, thank you for everything you’ve done. We might need to contact you again.”

“You have my number.”

“I do. Is there anything else I could do for you before we go?”

“I need a ride home.”

“No problem.”

And before Oliver could say or do anything besides stand there, grinning like a fool, yet another man took her away from him.


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