Letting Go - Chapter 29

I’ll be late tonight. Don't wait up.

Laurel smiled as she read Oliver’s text. It meant he would be doing some Arrow business later, but they’ve settled on describing it as him being late. It sounded more like running late due to a business meeting instead of running late because of dealing with thugs or criminals.

She felt her smile turn into a grin. She just couldn’t help it. She was happy. Happier than she remembered ever being. She loved and was loved in return. She was loved the way she always wanted to be. Unconditionally, completely. The way she loved him.

These past days were, for lack of a better word, perfect. Nevertheless, she knew they were more an exception to a rule, an anomaly, really. She didn’t kid herself their life together would always be like this. They were both too stubborn, too strong-willed, too independent for them never to fight, never to argue. But until then she would revel in the perfectness of their renewed relationship. They were still getting their bearings, feeling their way, rediscovering one another and themselves in the process.

They weren’t the same people as before. They weren’t teenagers anymore, they were adults. And it showed in their relationship that was growing stronger every day. The experiences they’ve lived through have shaped them, changed them, matured them, made them more aware of what and who was truly important. They spent every moment they could together. When she didn’t have to work late, or he didn’t have to ‘work’ late, they’d go out to dinner or eat it in front of the TV curled on the couch in each other’s arms. They had impromptu lunch dates, met for coffee, went to the movies...

And they trained together. Although she couldn’t do the crazy pull up thing—the salmon ladder, he called it—and she had no intention of even trying, she could admire him do it. They sparred, they jogged together, they went to the gym together, worked out on Adam’s obstacle course—he and Adam had become as thick as thieves—and he’s started teaching her archery. She’d take her gun over a bow any day, but it was fun and strangely relaxing.

They also had fun with the Arrow gang. She’d gotten to know Felicity and Diggle a whole lot better, and they were a real hoot to be with. And Sara, Felicity and she had finally had that date a-la Sex and the City and did the whole karaoke thing. Laurel smiled again remembering how the three of them had gotten tipsy on Cosmos that evening. So tipsy, in fact, they had to call Oliver to come and pick them up. He hadn’t been particularly happy with the car-pool service, but she’d made it up to him later.

She blushed as she thought about that particular aspect of their relationship. Sex has changed, too. Or rather, lovemaking. They always made love. Either slow, long, and tender or fast, hard, and frenzied, it didn’t feel like sex. They made love. Oh, boy, how they did. Oliver has obviously picked up a trick or two during his stint on the island—she didn’t contemplate on the hows and whys—but he hasn’t lost his magic touch, thank God. The ability of making everything seem intimate. A single touch, a deep look, a brush of his breath against her skin...

She sighed. She couldn’t wait to see him. Because she would simply ignore the second part of his message. Of course, she’d wait up, fretting, wide awake until he returned home.

Home.

He’s been calling her apartment home ever since that evening when he’d snuck up behind her as she’d confessed her fears to Sara. Ever since he’d convinced her to give them a second chance. He’s practically moved in the next afternoon. And she was more than happy to let go of a few drawers and half of her closet.

They didn’t talk about the future, about what would happen next. They didn’t talk about their living arrangement, they didn’t make plans. They didn’t know whether they’d get to fulfill those plans, get to decide whether to live in her apartment or move into the Queen mansion. Although Adam hasn’t been able to learn anything more, although there were no rumors about the League of Assassins being in the city, that didn’t mean the threat was gone. The threat was still there, an entity in their relationship, hanging over them like a shroud.

She shook her head. She refused to think about it, dwell on it. What needed to happen would happen, fretting about it would just make it worse. She’s decided to live in the moment and she would. By God, she would. Starting with booting down her computer and heading home.

She glanced at the wall clock and frowned. She hasn’t realized it was already this late. She should hurry if she wanted to make it home before dusk. If Oliver learned about her walking home alone after dark, he’d have a cow. If her father found out, he’d have a cow, although he didn’t know about the death threat—at least she hoped he didn’t. If Adam found out, he’d have a cow as well. And as much as she loved all three of them, them filling a barn because of her, wasn’t a prospect she was looking forward to. She might as well get a cab, which would give her plenty of time to pick up dinner as well.

Her mind made up, she waved to a member of the cleaning crew, and went in search of a taxi.

Λ

Oliver unlocked the door to Laurel’s apartment. It was great to have a key, to have a place to return to at night and have someone wait for you. Although he hoped she didn’t wait for him tonight, he was later than usual. A few days ago, John had stumbled upon a lead about a new arms dealer trying to take over Starling City’s recently-vacated ‘market’. The investigation had come to fruition tonight as he, John and Sara had taken down the budding business and the would-be big fish. They’d handed him and the evidence over to Lance and his new partner and Oliver had finally been free to get home. To Laurel.

Home.

He didn’t really care where he lived, her apartment, the mansion, a shack in the countryside...He couldn’t care less as long as she was with him. She was his home. Laurel was his home.

And she was probably waiting for him, sitting cross-legged on her bed, staring at the door. He’d walk into the bedroom, and she’d jump off the bed and into his arms. He loved it when she did that. She’d demand he tell her everything that’s happened, then she’d ask him if he was hungry—thank God for takeout, although he had to admit that lately, whenever she cooked the food actually tasted like food—and then they’d make love and fall asleep in a tangle of arms and legs. He loved waking up with her draped all over him.

He closed and locked the door behind him, frowned at the darkness in the apartment. She must have fallen asleep after all. He smiled as he contemplated whether to wake her up or simply snuggle beside her. He might just let her sleep. She needed it having waited up for him every single night he’d gone out on a mission as Arrow.

In the dark, so as not to wake her, he silently crept to the bedroom and frowned at the empty bed illuminated by the soft glow of the waning moon. He turned on the light. The bed was untouched. Where was she?

He would’ve taken it for a simple warning, like the last time, if it wasn’t for the golden necklace hanging from the hilt. A golden necklace with an arrow pendant that he’d given to Laurel a few days ago.


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