Banner By: Kyra_and_Co
Chapter Six: The Informant in The Teacher
‘The Friend in the Confidant’
Oliver made his way through the crowded restaurant towards a table in the back room. It had been a long hectic morning and between training with Ian in the early mornings, work at Queen Industries and the almost nightly meetings with the team to get their plan up and running he was exhausted.
Worse of all Hal had come back to town with Dinah and AC to spend some time with him and out of the week he’d been in Metropolis, Oliver had only seen him a hand full of times. He maneuvered his way through a few more tables and spotted his friend at the booth in the back.
Hal waved and Oliver nodded in his direction before slipping into the booth across from him wincing slightly. “Sorry I’m late, my meeting ran long.” Hal took note of the tension in his friend’s body and he nodded giving him a reassuring look. “Its fine, not a big deal…rough morning?”
Oliver lifted the menu not glancing in Hal’s direction as he spoke. “It’s been busy…Ian and I trained for close to two hours this morning and then I had a meeting at nine…and it’s been one thing after another…how about you? I trust your morning has been more pleasant.”
Hal pursed his lips as his friend avoided his gaze. He’d play along for a little while…see if Oliver brought it up on his own. “Right you are…slept till 10, went for a jog, grabbed breakfast and then spent the rest of the morning with AC.”
Oliver finally looked away from his menu and at his friend a tense smile on his face. “That sounds nice, what did you guys wind up doing?” Hal sighed and leaned back in the booth, eyes boring into Oliver as he spoke quietly.
“How long are we going to ignore why I invited you to lunch…Oliver look at yourself, you’re running yourself ragged and though you’ve always been very gung ho about getting the job done and making sure plans are full proof…you’re never this intense.”
If it was possible Oliver’s body went even more rigid as he slowly lowered his menu and glanced at Hal. He shrugged, voice steady, but short. “What exactly do you want me to say?” Hal shrugged. “I don’t know…something…anything. You put on a good show for the people around you…but I’m your best friend.”
When that didn’t seem to budge Oliver from his immovable state Hal tried a different tactic. “I saw Chloe earlier today.” Oliver met his friend’s eyes eyebrow raised. “Oh?” He nodded as he lifted his water to his lips and took a sip to try and moisten his throat. “Yeah, have you seen her today yet?”
The blonde across from him pursed his lips before speaking quickly. “No…she didn’t spend the night yesterday and I’ve been busy.” Hal sat there for a couple of minutes letting the silence fester before he let out a long breath as he shook his head.
“Today isn’t a day you two should be avoiding each other if anything maybe it’s a day you should forget about everyone else and spend together.” Oliver snorted before shooting a frustrated look Hal’s way. “Why? So we can throw a pity party together?” His voice softened at the look on Hal’s face and he sighed. “Look…after everything that happened…I just…I don’t deserve to be there for today Hal…She doesn’t want me around and I don’t blame her.”
His throat tightened when the words were out of his mouth and he swallowed hard as Hal’s face softened and he inclined his head, voice soft when he spoke. “Man…you have to know that’s not true…I’m sure she wants you there.” He paused and then tried a different tactic when he didn’t get a response from his friend.
“Oliver booking a dozen meetings in one day…keeping yourself busy every second…it’s just another way of avoiding what today is. You need to talk to Chloe…tell her what’s been brewing inside of you…get it out finally…It’s been a year man.”
Oliver shook his head as his shoulders slumped slightly, voice still strong. “I messed up Hal...you don’t even know how bad. I wasn’t there when the woman I love needed me the most…why would she want me there now?” Hal frowned and Oliver pursed his lips before continuing. “Look it’s just one day…it’s not a big deal. Things with Chloe and I are in a good place…they’ll be back to normal tomorrow.”
Hal frowned at his friend and pushed aside the menu that Oliver had picked up again. “No Oliver, if the two of you can’t get past this together you know eventually in the future it will cause issues. You know I’m right. You’re in a better place than you were in last year…but how long do you think that’s going to last when you still have so much guilt eating away at you? Neither one of you are fully healed and you won’t be until the two of you sit down and talk about what happened…”
Oliver could feel his chest tighten as his throat dried. He knew Hal was right, but he didn’t know how to fix it. He’d spent a year trying to put things back to the way they were, but it wasn’t possible. He shifted sinking back into the seat as he spoke, voice filled with confusion.
“Don’t you think I know that? I don’t know how to talk about it Hal…I’ve tried…I’ve tried every approach I can think of. But I keep thinking if I tell her…if I share the thoughts that went through my head when it happened…then she’ll hate me. Not just because I wasn’t there for her like I should have been…but because we lost something so special…something she wanted so bad and that moment defines everything she does now. You know she won’t even move in with me…because when I asked it was because…”
His throat closed up and he couldn’t get out the word. His eyes burned and Hal spoke softly finishing his friend’s sentence. “…she was pregnant.” Oliver nodded quickly and cleared his throat. “I mean…yeah that was the only reason I asked at the time…but that was then. This time…it’s for us…And now…I’ve been trying not to push, but we’re ready. I know we are. It’s time to take our relationship to the next level but we’re at this impassable stand still and I don’t know how to get us past it.”
Hal pursed his lips and studied the lost look in Oliver’s eyes. He remembered the day Oliver told him he was going to be a Father. He’d never forget the mixture of apprehension and fear on his friends face. He hadn’t been ready to take on that kind of commitment…he hadn’t wanted a baby at all.
Hal had spent a good portion up his time sizing up his best friend and his girlfriend and he’d come to a conclusion. He’d only known Chloe for about a year, but he was pretty confident in the fact that he knew her well enough to give his friend some advice.
“Oliver…did you ever think that maybe you’re going about trying to fix things in the wrong way?” Oliver’s brows furrowed as he glanced at his friend. “What do you mean?” Hal took another sip of water before placing the glass back down. “When you think about what today is…what do you feel?”
Oliver made a face, but swallowed heavily and answered the dark haired man’s question. “Anger…relief…guilt…the worst part is…I know Chloe wonders what if…I don’t…ever. I feel loss, an ache in my chest that’s dulled and hasn’t gone away, but at the same time…I’m happy we don’t have a baby…what kind of a person does that make me?”
Hal nodded and felt his chest tighten at his friend’s words. “It makes you human…what happened...it was horrible, but Oliver you weren’t ready and I think you would have resented Chloe if she had that baby and I know how much you love her…sometimes things happen and they’re for the best…as horrible as that sounds.” He hesitated before speaking slowly.
“Have you ever asked yourself what Chloe’s feeling?” Oliver frowned. “I assume she feels the loss as well.” Hal eyed his friend and shrugged. “Maybe…but did you ever think that maybe she’s feeling resentful herself? Maybe even alone in how she’s feeling? You didn’t exactly hide your discontentment with her being pregnant…”
Oliver’s frown deepened. “So what? You think she’s angry with me? Because we had different reactions to what happened?” Hal shook his head and shifted in his seat. “No, I think she’s feeling like what she’s going through didn’t matter…you didn’t want the baby Oliver…and that’s perfectly understandable and I can see that you feel horrible about that, but Chloe…she wanted that baby.”
They were interrupted by their waiter and Oliver glanced over the menu quickly ordering a burger and a coke. Hal ordered the same thing and the waiter left to grab their drinks. Oliver turned his attention back to Hal as he continued speaking.
“I saw her after it happened,” Hal winced at the memory, swallowing hard as he continued speaking in a low voice, “and she was…so broken…she knew all along that she wanted that baby…and the person that should have been comforting her despite his relief in the situation...wasn't.” Oliver blinked he’d never thought of that. He knew Chloe was having a hard time dealing with things, so was he, but lately things had felt more normal than usual and he figured it was just because they were moving on, but really maybe they were just repressing feelings that needed to be addressed.
He let out a long breath a slightly startled tone in his voice. “I can’t believe I never thought of that…all this time and I never thought she could be feeling that way.” He ran a hand through his hair and shook his head. “I’m a horrible boyfriend…”
Hal shook his head and patted Oliver on the back. “You’re not…I could be wrong this is just a theory it’s not like she talked to me about it…I just hate seeing either of you hurt and I know how much you love Chloe…I just want everyone to be happy…and I think the best way for that to happen is for you to talk to your girlfriend.”
He gave his friend a stern look and Oliver chuckled lightly. “You’re right…I’ll call Chloe after lunch…” Hal grinned. “Damn right I’m right…” The waiter came with their drinks a few minutes later and after he moved away from the table while Hal was pulling a sip of soda into his mouth Oliver turned to him and gave him a small smile.
“Thanks Hal…” The other man arched an eyebrow and tilted his head to the side. “For?” Oliver shrugged and played with his straw. “For being there for me…helping when I didn’t realize I needed any.” Hal nodded a smile on his face. “That’s what friends are for Oliver…to knock some sense into when no one else will…”
Oliver grinned Hal was right, that’s what friends were for and he was thankful he had the air force pilot in his life because there wasn’t a better friend in the world.
Clark made his way into Watchtower several different flower samples in hand as glanced around at the empty room and frowned. Where was everyone? “Chloe?” He called out and when there was no answer a wave of worry filled him. It was close to two in the afternoon and Lois had said Chloe was working at Watchtower today.
He placed the flower samples on her desk and moved into the room, concentrating on the sounds around him. He tilted his head and caught the hint of someone blowing their nose. He could hear tears and he sped towards the bathroom in the back room and pushed open the door quickly.
The sight in front of him made his heart clench. He swallowed hard and spoke softly trying not to startle his friend. “Chloe…” She glanced up from her spot on the covered toilet seat and wiped her eyes frantically, voice slightly hoarse when she spoke.
“Clark…I didn’t hear you come in…what are you doing here?” There was a gust of wind and then he was holding out a tissue for her. She glanced at his hand and took it, blowing her nose again. He shrugged. “Lois wanted me to get your opinion on some flowers for the wedding…but it’s not a big deal, it can wait.”
Chloe waved him off and stood giving him a teary eyed smile. “No it’s fine…I’m fine. I’ll take a look.” She went to move out of the bathroom but Clark blocked her exit and frowned. “Chloe…you’re crying in the bathroom…that doesn’t exactly scream fine to me…talk to me.”
She pursed her lips and shook her head. “It’s nothing Clark…I’ve got a lot of work to do…so if you want me to look now’s the time.” He stared down on her as she tried to once again push her own pain aside. His features softened as he spoke quietly. “It’s the day isn’t it…because of today?”
She hesitated and he knew that was the answer. He’d been her best friend since they were thirteen years old, he knew when something was wrong and he wasn’t stupid. Clark knew what today was…he’d tried to get in touch with Oliver earlier, but he’d been in a ton of meetings. It hadn’t occurred to him until right now why his girlfriend had sent him to Watchtower with flower samples.
Lois knew Chloe probably better than he did and she had known that there was a chance Chloe would need someone today. His fiancée was an amazing woman. Chloe’s voice broke him out of his thoughts and had him refocusing his attention on her.
“I don’t want to talk about it Clark…” He frowned. “Chloe--” She shook her head. The only person she wanted to talk about it with was Oliver…but he obviously didn’t care and so of course he was off avoiding her just like he had a year ago…. All she wanted was for the ache in her chest to go away.
“It won’t help okay? I’ve tried to talk about it…” She shook her head cutting off her own words. “Just show me what you came here to show me…” Clark pursed his lips brows furrowing as he crossed his arms over his chest. “I refuse to move from this spot until you talk to me…or if you’re not comfortable talking to me…I can go get Lois.”
Chloe hesitated and Clark continued talking. “We’re worried…about you…about Oliver. There’s so much going on right now with the mission and the team…we know its piling up. You can talk to me…you’re my best friend Chloe I’m here if you need an ear…but if you’re more comfortable with Lois…I know she’d be here in a second…”
Chloe knew things had been crazy lately and believe it or not that had helped. Keeping busy so there wasn’t a lot of time to think about what she and Oliver had lost…it made things easier. Most days she could push the issues to the back of her head.
She could be happy with where she and Oliver were in their relationship and not let the bad things that had happened in the past taint what they had now. But today wasn’t that day. For a year today she’d been carrying this overwhelming resentment and loneliness with her and maybe just maybe talking about it even if it wasn’t with Oliver would make the need to explode fade and help her get things into perspective.
She swallowed hard, voice quavering slightly as she spoke quietly. “Can you bring Lois here?” She looked at Clark with hopeful eyes and he felt his chest tighten. He nodded, pulling her into a one-armed hug and kissed the top of her head.
“I absolutely can. I’ll be back in a minute or two.” She nodded and he gave her arm one last squeeze before disappearing in a gust of wind.
Ian gave Mia a sideways glance as they stood in the kitchen slicing assorted vegetables. He cleared his throat and concentrated on the pepper in front of him as he spoke. “So, tell me again why we’re making dinner…”
Mia smiled as she diced the onion in front of her on the cutting board. It had been a long day and she spent a good part of the morning at Watchtower with Chloe. She could tell that the older woman was having a bad day, but knew bringing it up would only serve to upset her so instead she had offered Chloe a much needed distraction.
After that she met up with Ian for lunch at a diner near the penthouse before they met up with Carter at the abandoned museum. He told them he had given the note to Gabe and Suki and they’d given him one back for her and Ian.
Carter had made his last appearance at Tower Prep now that the school was practically on lock down, but he’d given Gabe and Suki a com so they’d known when the team was coming and would be ready to move out. She pushed the onion aside and grabbed a zucchini. “Because…today isn’t a good day for Oliver and Chloe…so I thought we’d do something nice for them…maybe make their day a little easier.”
Ian frowned as he paused in his cutting and turned to Mia. “Why’s it a bad day?” Mia hesitated before lowering the knife and glancing at him, voice soft as she spoke. “Last year…Chloe and Oliver lost a baby…I mean there’s a lot more to it and the situation that went down…but the outcome was the same. It was a year ago today…”
Ian’s face softened as he shifted and wrapped a comforting arm around Mia. “That’s horrible…” She leaned into him and nodded. “Yeah…it was pretty bad….for a while I wasn’t sure they’d make it through that…last year…well it was just a really bad year.”
Ian rubbed comforting circles on the small of her back a pensive look on his face. “I can’t imagine how hard that was…plus it’s probably worse for you since you can read emotions and what not…it was probably really intense.”
Mia winced and moved away from Ian causing him to frown at her. She bit her lip before glancing up at him, pausing slightly before she spoke. “About that…I’ve been meaning to tell you, but to be honest I sort of forgot about it…my ability…the Perception…I don’t actually have it.”
Ian frowned. “What do you mean?” She sighed and moved so she was leaning against the counter facing him. “I mean I don’t have any abilities. Before I infiltrated Tower Prep I took a two month intensive course on reading facial expressions and body language and then Chloe and Emil, he’s the teams doctor and sort of scientist, were able to rework the Corvus H-40 to enhance that ability in me.”
Ian opened and closed his mouth not sure what to say and so she continued. “I got shot’s of the new Corvus H-40 every three weeks so that I’d be able to use the ability while I was at the school…but it’s completely gone now. I haven’t had a shot in over three weeks…”
He pursed his lips. “So you don’t actually have any abilities…” She shook her head and shrugged looking down at the floor, voice quiet. “No…I guess I’m just sort of average that way.” Ian could see the insecurity on her face even though she wasn’t looking at him and he took a few steps forward, putting a finger under her chin and lifting it up until their eyes met.
He gave her a small grin his expression soft as he spoke. “You could never just be average Mia…I think you’re amazing.” Her face brightened as her hand come up cupping his cheek and brushing a thumb across his skin lightly. He turned his head, eyes locking with hers as he kissed her palm.
Mia inhaled deeply as soft lips brushed against her palm sending a rush of excitement through her body. She sucked in a deep breath but before she could say anything the timer on the stove beeped making them blink several times as he unwound his hand from around her waist, not even remembering putting it there to begin with.
He gave her a sheepish smile and pointed to the counter. “The oil’s heated…should we toss in the vegetables and put on the pasta?” Mia nodded pushing away from the counter as she walked towards the oven and shut off the timer. “Yeah…we can stir fry the vegetables while the pasta cooks and the chicken grills then we’ll toss everything into the stir fry pan…sound good?”
He nodded with a smile. “It sounds great.” They worked side by side for the next fifteen minutes quickly chopping up the rest of the vegetables and tossing them in the lightly oiled pan. The penne didn’t take long to cook and when it was finished Mia tossed half the pot into the stir fry mixture while Ian checked on the grilling chicken.
Once everything was in place Ian moved around the kitchen pulling open the cabinets and grabbing plates, utensils and glasses for everyone before setting the table. When he made his way back into the kitchen he leaned against the island and watched as she stirred the food in the pan, her hair in a messy ponytail, faded blue jeans hugging her curves, with a plain white tank top that fell to the waist of her pants. She didn’t have any make-up on…and she wasn’t dressed fancy in the slightest, but for some reason in that moment he thought she looked more beautiful then he’d ever seen her look.
An idea struck him and he grinned as he made his way over to the counter and started piling up the left over green peppers before turning towards Mia and chucking one at her. It hit her lightly square in the shoulder and she jumped slightly giving him a startled look when she realized what happened.
Ian lifted his hand ready to throw another one in her direction when Mia chuckled and dodged the flying pepper that he sent her way. “You’re making a mess.” He laughed as he shifted away from the counter, mischief dancing in his eyes as he moved in her direction. Her eyes widened slightly and she shook her head. “Ian…”
He launched himself at her and she jumped out of the way. She ran around the counter but he was quicker and she squealed when his large arms wrapped around her. Mia spun around in his arms so her body was pressed against the front of his and she swallowed hard.
His hands tightened their grip on her hips, her heart slamming against her chest as she glanced up at his darkened eyes. Mia could feel her body move into high alert at the proximity of his presence and her tongue darted out over her lips drawing his eyes down.
Ian leaned forward and hesitated for a second before closing the distance between them. The minute his lips hit hers she groaned wrapping her arms around his neck as their lips molded together, Ian gently coaxing her mouth open with his as he deepened the kiss.
Mia could feel his kiss all the way down to her toes. He set her entire body on fire. His kiss was rough without being forceful and passionate without being overpowering…it was nothing like the first time they kissed. Compared to the way he was devouring her right now…it wasn’t even a blimp on the radar.
They pulled apart both breathing heavy and he slid one hand up her body cupping her cheek before capturing her lips again. She gripped his body the muscles in his neck moving as she shifted against him. She heard his sharp intake of breath before he pulled back slightly staring at her for a second before moving forward.
Ian gripped the backs of her thighs and part of her ass hoisting her up onto the counter. Mia automatically spread her legs making room for him to stand between them as she gripped the back of his neck pulling him towards her as their lips crashed together.
Mia couldn’t remember the last time she just made out with a guy and as inexperience as Ian had claimed to be in Tower Prep she was beginning to think he was lying. There was no way someone who kissed as good as he did had only kissed one girl before.
His hands touched her wherever they could stroking her back lightly, cupping her cheeks, caressing her neck. She was soft and warm and she made him feel things he’d never felt with anyone else. Not that he spent his spare time making out with a bunch of girls…but still Mia was different…she was more than some random girl to him.
Mia and Ian were so preoccupied with each other that neither heard the chime of the elevator or the telltale sign of shoes hitting the marble floor until it was too late. Oliver followed Chloe into the apartment as he loosened his tie. He had called her after lunch with Hal and asked if she’d mind spending the night at the penthouse because he wanted to talk to her about something.
She had seemed slightly hesitant at first, but agreed and told him to pick her up on his way home which he’d done. The drive from Watchtower to his place was pretty quiet, but the silence between them wasn’t strained which made him feel better.
At least she hadn’t been pulling away from him. He’d make them some dinner and then they could sit down and talk. He was knocked from his thoughts when he slammed into Chloe’s petite body from behind. He frowned gripping her hips as she swayed forward from the force of him knocking into her.
“Give a guy some warning if you’re gonna stop short in front of him Sidekick.” Chloe’s eyes were wide and he turned his head to see what she was looking at and his mouth dropped open. Mia was sitting on the kitchen counter next to the stove Ian between her legs as they practically ate each other’s faces.
He glared his grip on Chloe’s hip tightening as he pushed her to the side and moved forward voice stern and slightly irritated. “What are you doing?” His voice boomed through the kitchen startling Mia and Ian. They broke apart and she glanced up as he looked over his shoulder eyes hazy.
Oliver gave them a once over taking note of their completely disheveled appearances. Ian gave him an embarrassed look before moving out from between Mia’s legs and scratching the back of his head. She blinked twice a frown marring at face, her kiss swollen lips attempting to form words. “I…we…”
She cleared her throat and pointed to the stove. “We umm…made you guy’s dinner…” Chloe bit her lip to keep the smile off her face. They looked so guilty and yet she couldn’t help but smile at the fact that Mia looked so dazed. It took a lot to surprise the teenager in front of her and the look on her face right now, well it sort of reminded Chloe of the look she got when Oliver kissed her senseless.
Oliver motioned between the two teenagers. “This is unacceptable.” Mia frowned and slid off the counter crossing her arms over her chest. “I’m eighteen years old Oliver…” He grimaced trying to remind himself that he couldn’t treat Mia like a child, but at the same time wanting to protect the virtue he knew she’d tell him she didn’t have.
He let out a grunt brows furrowing as he glared between them. “I know that…but that doesn’t mean you can just…go at it on the kitchen counter.” She shrugged. “Why? You do it…” Ian’s eyes widened as he shook his head and glanced at Oliver. “No…we weren’t…I mean…we were just kissing…we weren’t going to….”
He swallowed hard and scratched the back of his neck as Oliver narrowed his eyes at the younger man, Ian’s voice coming out slightly higher than he intended as he continued speaking. “…have sex. No…definitely not…that’s not at all what was happening…”
His voice trailed off and Mia frowned as she turned in his direction. “We aren’t children Ian…we don’t need to hide anything and you don’t need to pacify him.” Ian gave Mia a look of confusion as he spoke. “I wasn’t…I mean…that’s all we were doing…”
He gulped when Mia’s angry gaze was suddenly directed at him. “What is the thought of having sex with me that horrible that it didn’t even cross your mind?” Ian floundered with a response. What the hell was he supposed to say to that. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Mia, but did he really want to admit that of course he thought about having sex with her, on several occasions, with Oliver and Chloe standing right there?
He glanced at the adults in the room and Chloe was shooting him a sympathetic gaze as Oliver crossed his arms over his chest giving him a hard stare almost daring him to answer the question. He swallowed hard as his hand went to the back of his neck again.
“Mia you seriously want to have this conversation now…I’m a teenage guy…” his voice lowered slightly as he leaned in her direction, “of course I’ve thought about it…but…contrary to popular belief it’s something I’d like to discuss with you…alone before we actually take a huge step like that…I care about you…we haven’t even defined what this thing is…are we together? Are we dating cause if that’s the case I’d actually like to take you out somewhere…”
Chloe placed an hand on Oliver’s arm a complete and utter look of adoration on her face and Oliver sighed. He was definitely going to be a minority when it came to keeping Mia and Ian away from each other. He could see it already; Chloe would definitely be plotting a way to help them sneak around if he forbid them to see each other.
Mia’s face softened and she titled her head to the side and gave him a shy smile, voice light. “Really?” Ian grinned and took a few steps towards her his hand coming up to caress her face. “Well obviously…there was just something about you that drew me to you since the first day you bumped into me outside the main building of school.”
She laughed lightly as he continued talking. “Maybe it was the attitude you gave me pretending to be the rule abiding good girl…or maybe it was the look you tossed over your shoulder when you thought I wasn’t looking…either way…hook line and sinker.”
She scrunched her nose and rolled her eyes slightly as she moved away from his hand, but her face was bright with happiness as humor danced in her eyes. “Mmm flattery will get you nowhere Mr. Archer.” Ian raised an eyebrow amusement settling on his features as he watched Mia walk over and turn off the stove.
“Really? Cause I’m pretty sure flattery got me pretty far on the counter before….” His voice trailed off and she took the dish towel and flicked it at him as he dodged out of the way while chuckling. “And you call me horrible? We’ll see if you get anymore kissing after that comment.”
Before Ian could say anything Oliver broke into their bickering. “Seriously…do you two not see us standing right here?” They paused and glanced back towards Oliver and Chloe who was rolling her eyes lightly. “Ollie come on…Mia’s right she’s an adult…” He sighed and pursed his lips together before studying the hopeful expressions on both teenagers’ faces.
He let out a dramatic breath before he spoke. “There need to be rules…like no tainting my kitchen counter…only I can do that….and no being in each other’s bedrooms with the doors closed, yeah yeah spare me the adult bullshit…you live under my roof and I’m still responsible for your well being. If you want to make out you can do it like normal teenagers on the couch…or in the car…or somewhere else I’m not around to see it.”
Mia grinned and bounced over to Oliver before pulling him into a hug. “You’re the best…because I would have honestly felt bad sneaking around behind your back…now I don’t have to!” Oliver frowned. “Real nice. Good to know you would have disregarded my opinion so easily…”
She shrugged and moved back over to the stove grabbing the spoon as she spoke over her shoulder. “Ian go get the plates so I can put the stir fry on them.” He looked over at Chloe and Oliver as he spoke softly. “Isn’t she cute?” He gave them a silly grin before moving inside to grab the plates for her. Chloe smiled and nudged Oliver.
He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. “Come on…you know they’re adorable…don’t even try to play it off like they aren’t.” He snorted while rolling his eyes. “He’s a stubborn little punk…who wants to corrupt our Mia…and he’s the worst kind because he won’t admit it. Cocky little…he reminds me of those high school boys who date a bunch of girls…players…”
Chloe chuckled, pulled her jacket off and tossed it aside, her problems momentarily forgotten as she moved towards the fridge to grab the drinks and help out. She turned smirking at Oliver, humor on her face. “Really? Cause you know…he kinda reminds me of you.” He gave her a light glare as she moved into the other room to the table. He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. It was going to be a longer night then he thought.
Dinner was more pleasant than Oliver had thought it would be and surprisingly it was the first time all day he hadn’t felt like there was some sort of black cloud looming over his head. He was just grabbing hold of a dinner plate when Mia popped up beside him.
He glanced over and arched an eyebrow at her before going back to lifting the plates off the table. “What’s up?” She leaned against the table and tilted her head to the side. “Ian and I are going to run to the ice cream place do you want anything?”
He shook his head and stood up, all the empty dishes in hand. “No, I’m good…Make sure you ask Chloe though, she might want something.” Mia nodded and smiled holding up a small piece of paper. “Already did. We’ll be back in a little bit.”
He nodded and watched as she walked over toward Ian who was standing by the elevator hand out, smile on his face as he waited for her. He watched as Mia took his hand and Ian immediately entwined their fingers as they stepped into the elevator, the younger man whispering something in her ear that made laughter bubble from her throat.
The doors slid shut and Oliver sighed as he made his way into the kitchen catching sight of Chloe by the sink washing out the glasses. He slid up beside her and placed the dishes next to the sink as he got out the dish towel and started drying the things she’d already washed.
Chloe took the one of the dishes and started washing it. She took a deep breath and spoke. “You mentioned earlier wanting to talk about something?” He nodded and reached out stopping her hands. She glanced over at him and he motioned to the island. “Can we sit and talk?”
She inclined her head and placed the half clean dish back in the sink before shutting the water, wiping her hands on the towel and following him towards the kitchen island. They sat across from each other and for the first few minutes it was completely silent.
Neither was sure how to start the conversation, but Oliver figured since this had been his idea then he should probably be the one to break the ice. He cleared his throat, met her eyes and spoke quietly. “I haven’t been in many relationships in my life and the ones I have been in…well they’ve ended badly. But the thing I love so much about you and me is we don’t need to worry about the problems that I dealt with in other relationships.”
He paused making sure she was still with him and when she nodded lightly shifting on her seat but not taking her eyes off him he knew she was. “You and I…we know practically everything about each other. The good, the bad…we were friends first and I think that really helps. Plus we have an honesty with each other that quite frankly I’ve never had before you.”
Chloe nodded, her voice cutting through softly. “Me either.” Oliver gave her a tight smile his eyes boring into her as he spoke his next words. “And I want to keep that honesty Chloe…I don’t want there to be things between us that could hurt what we’ve created here. That being said…”
His face softened as he gripped her hand in his, voice lowering even more than before as he felt her body tense. “I’m sorry…I’m so sorry that I spent the day avoiding you…avoiding this conversation. We’ve had a rough year and we’ve gotten through the worst of it, but I haven’t been there for you the way I should have…I know how bad you wanted this baby…and how hard it was when you lost it…”
He paused gathering his thoughts as he continued speaking. “There’s this gap between us Chloe and I know that a lot of it is my fault…I’ve been so afraid to tell you what’s been going on with me because I’m scared you’ll hate me for it…but I realized today that if I don’t tell you…we might never get past this and I don’t want that…”
She swallowed hard brows furrowing. “Tell me what?” Oliver glanced down for a second before looking back up and speaking. “When I first found out that you lost the baby…I…I was relived…I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to feel that way and it’s been eating away at me all this time…I feel like a horrible person…especially when I know how bad you’ve been feelings because of the opposite reason…I’m sad we lost something just like you are…but…I can’t help feeling like maybe it just wasn’t the right time…”
When his voice trailed off she could feel the tears gathering in her eyes and she sniffled lightly, voice low as she spoke the words she’d been holding in for close to a year as well. “I feel like you don’t care…I know you didn’t want our baby…but Ollie…I did…so bad…I wanted a family…and I thought…it just hurts so bad, but what’s worse is feeling like you don’t even care…like it means nothing to you…”
Her voice faltered as she glanced down at the table a tear sliding down her cheek, voice shaky when she spoke again. “I’m sorry…I don’t want to keep fighting, I can’t fault you for your feelings…just like you can’t fault me for mine…but a part of me can’t help resenting the fact that you aren’t here in the same boat as me.”
Oliver frowned and reached out a hand tilting her chin up so he could see her face. “Chloe…I care…of course I care. I hate seeing you hurting…I just…I know how hard this is for you and I felt like I didn’t have a right to be there…like because of the way I felt, my being there would somehow undermine how you felt and what you were going through…but don’t for one second think I don’t care…because I do.”
She brushed her tears away and met his eyes. “Oliver…no…I didn’t feel that way at all…this whole time the only person I wanted to talk to…to be with is you…” She paused thinking about the conversation she’d had with Lois and how her cousin said if things were ever going to work with Oliver she had to tell him what she was feeling instead of pushing it aside. She took a deep breath, met his eyes and spoke.
“I was scared when I first found out…but happy…and at the same time I was hurting because I could tell that having a baby wasn’t what you wanted. I was so afraid that we wouldn’t last…and I didn’t want to lose you. And then when everything happened…I just wanted you to be there…” She sucked in a shaky breath and he felt his heart clench at her words knowing he’d let her down.
He opened his mouth and she cut him off. “Don’t…I don’t need apologies or excuses…I just need you to be here…” She pursed her lips, trying to gather her thoughts and put into words what she was feeling so that he could understand. She glanced down as his thumb started rubbing calming circles on her palm and she once again continued speaking.
“I’m not angry with you anymore and I’m sorry you’ve been feeling guilty and I haven’t been there, but you haven’t really let me…”
He nodded and swallowed heavy, eyes glittering once again with unshed tears as he met her eyes, voice barely a whisper. “I didn’t realize it Chloe…how much it would hurt…I feel like a terrible person…”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth she shook her head. “You’re not Oliver…you could never be a terrible person…I don’t want to fight anymore…I really need you…I…” Her voice trailed off and she broke down right there in the kitchen and in seconds Oliver was walking around the island and pulling her into his arms.
She buried her head in his chest hands clutching at his shirt as he rubbed her back, soft words of comfort falling from his lips even as his eyes teared up. Hal had been right. Getting the flood of emotions off his chest and her not hating him for it…had eased some of the guilt in his shoulders.
He hadn’t been there to comfort her a lot of the times she’d broken down, but not anymore. When her tears finally slowed he pulled back slightly, hands cupping her cheeks as he gazed down into her eyes, voice low when he spoke.
“Chloe…it’s okay. Is this how you’ve felt the whole time? Why things were tense?” She nodded as the pad of his thumb brushed her tears away. “Yes…” He shook his head and let out a short breath. “Why didn’t you say something?”
Chloe shrugged meeting his eyes. “Why didn’t you?” He nodded and let out a breath as she licked her lips her hands tightening on his hips. “God I really wanted our baby.” His heart broke as he mated their foreheads together. “I know…but Chloe…” He made sure she was looking at him before he continued, “I’m not going anywhere this time…I’m in this for the long haul. You and me…we’re the real deal. We’ve got our whole lives ahead of us…We’ll get another chance when the time is right.”
She gave him a teary eyed smile and as Oliver returned it realizing that he actually meant the words he was saying. “One day you and I are gonna make beautiful babies Sidekick…when the time is right we’re gonna have that family. Until then we’ve got the team, we’ve got two teenagers…and we’ve got each other.”
She laughed lightly through her tears catching sight of the love in his eyes. “The rest of our lives is a long time…” Oliver grinned. “It sure is…think you can deal with me for that long?” She smiled. “I think I might be able to handle that…” His hands slid down her body and wrapped around her waist. “Good.”
He leaned in pressing his lips against hers softly. She reached up her hand cupping his cheek as she deepened the kiss. When they pulled away she let out a breath and opened her eyes tilting her head to the side and addressing him.
“Any chance your offer still stands?” He arched an eyebrow in question. “What offer?” She motioned around the house as she nuzzled her nose against his chin. “You and me…cohabitating…” He moved back eyes widening slightly. “Really?” She nodded and his face brightened. “It most definitely is…”
Chloe smiled as she pushed him back gently nudging him in the direction of the bedroom. “Good…cause I’m thinking…I spend more time here then at home anyway.” Oliver nodded as he took her hand and tugged her down the hall with a snort.
“I’ve been saying that for weeks.” She chuckled letting him lead her to his room, her chest for the first time in the past year feeling lighter than she could remember and even with everything going on she couldn’t help the happiness that filled her.
Chapter Eight: The Predator and The Prey