Banner By: Kyra_and_Co
Chapter Five: Sometimes
“Do you understand who I am? Do you wanna know? Can you really see through me now I am about to go. Just tonight I won’t leave, and I’ll lie and you’ll believe. Just tonight I will see It’s all because of me.” –The Pretty Reckless
The elevator came to a stop and Chloe groaned as Oliver rolled his eyes placing his hands on her shoulders and guided her out of the small metal box. “Come on, no moaning and groaning I want to show you something.” She raised a hand to her mouth to cover a yawn as she let him guide her towards the double doors of Watchtower.
Chloe was exhausted. She had started school last week and it was taking up a lot more time than she had intended it to. Hours of class and then even more hours of studying had her wiped out and being woken up at seven thirty in the morning and subsequently dragged to Watchtower by a very awake Oliver did not make her happy.
“Why are you so awake at this ungodly hour of the morning, better question why did you wake me up at this ungodly hour?” He gave her a bright smile, eyes slightly mocking. “I’ve been up since five…I worked out…had a little me time and then got ready for work all before you were even awake.”
She scrunched her nose and moved away from him. “Eww…is having a ‘little me time’ code for I spent the morning with my hand? If so that’s definitely too much information to be sharing with your current roommate.” Oliver ignored her question and paused dramatically in front of the door. “Close your eyes.”
She frowned. “Oliver--” He cut her off with an exasperated sigh. “Chloe, please.” She studied him for a second before closing her eyes and giving him a ‘well’ expression. He pushed the doors open before moving behind her and walking them into the room.
He had stopped by yesterday to check on everything only to find out they had finished the renovations a week ahead of schedule. So in the past two days he’d had all the equipment that she’d be needing sent over and set up. Watchtower was officially ready to be activated.
His voice was soft when he finally spoke. “Okay…open your eyes.” Her eyes fluttered open and she gasped slightly as she gazed around the room. She barely recognized the room from the last time she’d been in it. There was one large glass desk to the left of the open door with several filing cabinets and storage units behind it.
Past that further towards the left was a small kitchen area with what looked like a coffee bar espresso machine included above one part of the counter. In the middle of the room was a computer console with several large monitors and a couple of small ones on stands around it.
In front of the circular stained glass window there were two parts of a reddish pink couch separated by a small wooden table between them and a larger glass table in front of both couches. To the right in front of the couches was a drink cart with a tumbler and several glasses.
Chloe took a step forward and rested one palm on her slightly swollen stomach glancing up at the flat screen monitors paneling the top level of the room. She was in awe. She had never seen so much equipment in her life. Oliver pursed his lips watching her reaction not sure what was going through her head.
He had added some last minute details to things she’d picked out and possibly upgraded a few of the things she’d asked for. He even had them add in a coffee bar because half of the time Chloe spent at the penthouse she spent complaining about the lack of coffee in her system.
She said that he and Emil were slowly killing her with the way they rationed her favorite beverage so he figured he’d get one installed here that way once the baby was born she’d have her very own supply handy. Oliver was anxious it was important to him that she liked it, he just wasn’t sure why.
He took a couple of steps forward until he was standing next to her nudging her slightly not able to wait any longer for a reaction. “Well…what do you think?” Chloe opened and closed her mouth several times, water pooling in her eyes as she spoke softly. “I think it’s amazing.”
She turned to glance at him and shook her head her tone slightly reprimanding, but the look in her eyes soft. “You added extra things to my final list.” He shrugged. “Sue me…do you want to see the upstairs?” She nodded quickly and he motioned towards the spiral staircase as he spoke.
“The bedrooms are on this side. The other stair case just leads to more computers, one more desk and a little first aid center of sorts.” He motioned for her to go first and she held a hand to her stomach as she walked up carefully in her heels. Oliver made a noise behind her and she glanced over her shoulder eyebrow raised. “What?”
He frowned pressing a hand to the small of her back when she teetered slightly. “Be careful…and I was just thinking that putting the bedrooms up this staircase might have been a bad idea for when you gain--” She glared and he changed his sentence immediately, “get more pregnant…”
She made her way up the last few steps and made a ‘hmm’ sound as he motioned to the small hallway and she spoke. “Don’t think I don’t know what you were going to say. You think I’m fat.” He sighed. In the past two weeks Chloe’s hormones had been driving him crazy.
One minute she was being nice to him, the next she was crying and seconds after that she was practically biting his head off. It was strange and at times it got on his nerves more than he liked to admit. But when that happened he would either go work out or go on patrol, that way he could get his aggression out somewhere.
All though it actually wasn’t horrible coming home from work and knowing that someone would be there. Their conversations were getting less awkward and he was pretty sure he’d learned more about Chloe in the past two weeks than in the entire two and a half years he’d known her.
It was surprising how easy it was to talk to her under the cloak of darkness when it was just them and the TV or the sounds of classical music floating through the apartment while she studied and he read. Dare he say it was nice to have the company of another human being instead of always being alone.
But that didn’t mean she didn’t drive him to drink at times, because she most definitely did. He cleared his throat and gave her a stern look. “You’re not fat, you’re pregnant and before you even say anything I’m not arguing with you…this is supposed to be a happy moment…now shut up and open the first door on your right.”
Chloe glared at him, but turned and pushed open the door walking inside. She stopped and looked around the room. It was perfect. Exactly what she’d wanted. The color of the walls offset perfectly with the molding and the old fashioned desk in the corner near one of the circular windows was beautiful.
The bed was a Queen size and moderately decorated. She moved forward running a hand against the bedspread and she knew right away Oliver had picked out the bedding. She moved towards the closet and pulled open the door surprised that she could walk inside and move around.
She came out face flushed with pleasure eyes bright as she spoke with a hint of excitement in her voice. “It’s perfect! I love it.” He gave her half a smile and nodded. “Good, I’m glad. Come on one more place to check out before I show you how your computers work.”
She followed Oliver out of the room and let him lead her to a door a couple of feet down on the right hand side. He pushed it open from the side allowing Chloe to walk in and when she saw the inside her mouth dropped open, hand flying to her stomach as her eyes teared up.
It was the nursery. There was a circular window above the baby’s crib and flanking the crib on each side were built in book cases that were circular on top and came halfway down the wall with a square bottom. There was a rocking chair and ottoman on the other side of the room with several plush animals and toys.
The room was decorated with a mixture of greens and yellows. There was a small old fashioned rocking chair in the corner and a rug in the middle of the room covering half the wood floor. It was truly a breathtaking sight to behold.
She didn’t even remember giving the decorators such specific details, but it was amazing. Oliver stood in the doorway hands in his pockets as he watched her take in the room. He shifted on his feet slightly uncomfortable as a tear streamed down her face.
He wasn’t sure what had possessed him to intervene when he’d seen the floor plans for the baby’s room, but he had just felt it was to plane. He thought Jimmy’s kid deserved better. So he had them tweak it and he added a few things here and there.
The end result was pretty awesome, but a thought struck him as he was looking at the room. It sort of looked like his nursery from when he was a child. He hadn’t even realized he remembered that until just now. It was strange how things like that happened.
He was knocked from his thoughts by Chloe standing on her tip toes in front of him and wrapping her arms around his neck pulling him into a hug. He paused unsure of what to do before he hesitantly wrapped his arms around her, patting her back lightly as she spoke.
“Thank you Oliver…you don’t know how much this means to me…it’s beautiful…I really do love it.” She pulled back a minute later wiping her eyes and biting her bottom lip as he scratched the back of his head. She hadn’t hugged Oliver since the day of Jimmy’s funeral and it was awkward and slightly weird, but at the same time, dare she say comforting.
They stood there silence settling over them neither sure how to break the tension that had suddenly settled between them. She cleared her throat quickly and spoke. “You said something about computers?” Relief crossed his face. “Yes, I can show you them if you want…”
She nodded. “Please.” Oliver took her downstairs and for the next half hour he showed her how the computers worked and the different features she had around the tower having to do with the equipment. He motioned to the computer and pointed to an icon on the screen.
“There’s a state of the art facial recognition software on here, so you can start searching for Lois now…or rather keep searching on a larger scale.” She nodded slightly distracted as she let out a small ‘thanks’ while continuing to type.
He tilted his head to the side studying her relaxed demeanor and figured he might as well bring up the next thing on his agenda while she seemed to be in a good mood. He glanced over some of the papers on the desk flipping through stuff as he spoke nonchalantly.
“So…I’ve noticed you haven’t exactly been sleeping great lately…is everything okay?” Her body immediately tensed and he knew he’d hit a nerve. He wasn’t sure how she would respond so he prepared himself for the worst case scenario. Her tone was clipped when she spoke.
“What, have you been watching me lately? You know they have a name for that.” He let out a frustrated sigh. “Whatever Chloe, it was just a question. You don’t want to answer it you don’t have to…” He pushed himself away from the main consol and took out his phone glancing over it and checking emails.
She let out a puff of air and stared at his back. She opened her mouth getting ready to tell him what was wrong when his cell phone rang. Oliver pressed the button and lifted it to his ear. “Hello?” He frowned at the loud noises that were coming from the other end of the phone and he turned frown on his face. “Hello?”
“Mr. Queen? It’s Annabeth…while I would never tell you what to do, since you’re my boss, I think you should come into the office immediately. There’s some sort of issue…half the board members are angry and yelling about something…I keep telling them you aren’t in yet, but…excuse me Mr. White I’m going to have to ask you to stop right there. You are not to go into Mr. Queen’s private office without his person am I clear?...Thank you.”
His brows furrowed as he spoke. “I’m sorry about that Annabeth I’ll be right in…any memos or emails that bounced back and didn’t make it to me that could possibly explain the sudden impulse for board members to flank the office?” He heard papers rustling before her voice came over the line. “No, not that I can see here.”
He sighed. “Alright I’ll be right there.” They said their goodbyes and he hung up the phone before meeting Chloe’s eyes. “I need to go take care of something at the office…why don’t you familiarize yourself with everything and I’ll try to make it back by lunch time to take you back to the penthouse…I don’t mean to leave you without a ride…”
His voice trailed off and she waved him off. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you later Oliver.” He stood there for a couple of more seconds before letting out a long breath, turning towards the door and heading out. Sometimes finding out what was going through Chloe’s head just wasn’t worth the argument.
Oliver sped through the city making it to his office in record time not wanting to leave Annabeth to the wolves longer than necessary. The elevator chimed and he walked out and as soon as he was spotted several board members stood and starting talking at once.
Oliver held up a hand and spoke in a loud voice. “Gentlemen…if I can have your attention please. I’d like you all to follow Annabeth to conference room B I’ll be joining you in just a moment at which time we can discuss what exactly has you all appearing in my office and harassing my secretary at ten to nine in the morning.”
They grumbled as they followed the brunette down the hallway leaving alone to head into his office and toss his things down on his desk. He already had a headache and was dreading spending the next couple of hours pacifying the board for whatever stupid issue was bothering them now.
He booted up his laptop, typed in the password and he moved over to his drink cart grabbing a blue glass bottle and pouring himself some water. He had just brought the glass to his lips when there was a ping on his computer.
He walked over pressed a few buttons and glanced at the updated stock holder’s info in his inbox. He double clicked the link opening the message and his eyes went wide, the glass falling from his fingers as he moved in closer to the screen to make sure he was reading things correctly.
There was no way this was possible…no wonder the board members were freaking out. How the hell did something like this happen without him beyond notified until after the fact? He took a deep breath and yelled. “ANNABETH!”
Seconds later the young woman practically ran into his office, face startled as she spoke. “Yes Mr. Queen?” Oliver was furious and he jaw was clenched as he spoke. “Get Tess Mercers office on the phone now…I don’t care if they say she isn’t available you tell them if they know what’s good for them they’ll patch you through.”
She swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes sir.” She moved out of the room quickly and he plopped down in his chair ignoring the broken glass on the floor. He glared at the screen in front of him mind swirling in several different directions. Why in the world would Tess sell all her shares of Luthor Corp?
Better question who had that kind of money to buy them from her? First those abandoned warehouses were bought for what seems to be no reason at all and now this? Something wasn’t right. and Oliver wasn’t going to stop until he got to the bottom of it.
It was nearly one and Chloe hadn’t heard from Oliver since he left a little after eight. She moved from monitor to monitor going through the system and inputting all of Lois’s data into the facial recognition software so she could start the search.
She was in the process of adding the last of the information when there was a knock on the door. Chloe frowned unsure of who knew she was there. She moved away from the computers and walked toward the double doors opening them cautiously.
Her shoulders relaxed when she saw Joe standing there. He smiled pleasantly and she motioned for him to come in. “Hey there Miss Sullivan, I was just coming by to drop off your boyfriend’s receipts and final paperwork.” Chloe shook her head and laughed lightly.
“Oliver isn’t my boyfriend…far from it, but thank you I really appreciate it. You guys did an amazing job…I especially love the nursery. I don’t remember the details being that intricate.” Joe gave the younger woman a small smile. “That’s because they weren’t. You’re friend altered it slightly and added a few things.”
Surprise flittered across Chloe’s face as she raised an eyebrow at the older man in front of her. “Oh?” He nodded as he handed her some papers. “Yeah, he said something about it needing more.” He shrugged. “Either way I’m real glad you like it. Some of the guys and I were hopin’ you wouldn’t be too mad that we let him change what you told us you wanted…he’s pretty persistent that friend of yours.”
Chloe smirked and nodded. “He most definitely is.” Joe motioned towards the door with his head. “Well I should get going…enjoy the new place and good luck with the baby.” She smiled as she walked him towards the door. “Thanks Joe…have a good one.”
She waited for the elevator to close before she shut the double doors and made her way back towards the monitors unfolding the pieces of paper in her hand. She couldn’t imagine what the remodeling had set Oliver back. She almost didn’t want to know, but as always curiosity got the better of her.
She glanced over the papers looking for the price when her eyes caught something underneath the information for the building and permit to remodel. Her heart sank in her chest as she glanced at the name of the owner of the building, where Jimmy’s name should have been listed, but instead in big bold print stood Oliver’s name.
Anger and a hint of betrayal filled her as she glared down at his signature. When had Oliver bought Watchtower and why had he spent all these weeks lying to her about it? Angry tears pooled in her eyes as she gripped the papers tightly, folded them and shoved them in her pocket before moving towards the computers and shutting down the system.
She shook her head. She didn’t know why she was surprised, this was just like something Oliver would do. Well she was sick of it and she certainly wasn’t going to just let him keep lying to her. Once everything was off she made her ways towards the door and into the hallway slamming the doors shut behind her.
He could come back whenever he wanted, either way she’d already be gone. She thought Oliver was finally starting to see who she was, finally being honest. She’d opened up to him more than once lately and he returned in kind and Chloe finally thought they were maybe starting to become friends, but he had to go and throw that away. Tonight she’d tell him exactly where he could shove his help, she was done.
Oliver was in a semi-state of panic as he burst out of the elevator and into his apartment. He was tied up at his office until about five attempting to smooth things over with the board members as he tried to figure out what the hell was going on with Tess. Not only did Annabeth have no luck getting in touch with her, but he’d called every personal number she had and there was still no answer.
It had struck him as odd so when he had finally left work he’d made his way over to the Luthor Corp building and no one there was any help. They said Tess had left on Monday and hadn’t been back in the office since. That she’s been doing all of her work through emails, which made no sense to Oliver.
When he hit a dead end there he’d gone back to Watchtower to pick up Chloe only to find that she was gone. He’d search the entire structure before calling her cell phone which she hadn’t answered. He searched all the local coffee places thinking maybe she snuck out for some caffeine since he and Emil didn’t let her have much, but nothing.
He called Emil to see if maybe Chloe had gotten in touch with him, but she hadn’t. He was starting to think something was really wrong and a voice in the back of his head that he hadn’t heard in weeks screamed that he’d once again failed and she was probably out there hurt and it was all because of him.
The apartment was dark and he didn’t bother to turn the light on as he dialed Emil’s number again while walking down the hallway. As it rang while he waited for him to pick up, the light in the living flickered on. He blinked twice before he saw Chloe sitting in one of the plush chairs, a bottle of water at her side, legs crossed as she watched him.
He shut the phone and stood there staring at her as if she had two heads. Had she been at his apartment the whole time? Now that he could see his worry was for nothing, anger sparked inside of him as he took a few steps into the living room and pointed at her.
“What the hell are you doing here? I was supposed to pick you up at Watchtower.” She arched an eyebrow her voice deceptively calm. “Yeah for lunch…I got tired of waiting.” He glared at her. “And what you lost your cell phone? I’ve been calling you for hours…you weren’t where you supposed to be…I was worried.”
As soon as the words left his mouth he saw a flash in her eyes and he could finally see the furry coming off her in waves. She stood slowly and when she spoke her voice was no longer calm, but loud and livid. “Worried or pissed that you were no longer controlling the situation?”
He frowned, “What the hell are you talking about?” She walked forward and shoved the papers at his chest. His hand came up gripping them as he moved them away from his shirt so he could read what they were. He glanced over it and his chest tightened.
They were the receipts from the remodel listing that he was the owner of the building. Her voice broke through his thoughts as she pointed to the papers. “When? When did you buy the building Oliver?” He sighed. “Does it matter?”
“Yes! Why would you do that?” He glared at her and tossed the papers on the small table in the living room. “Because…if I didn’t you were going to lose the place okay? The paperwork never cleared before Jimmy was killed…they put it up for sale a couple of days after the funeral. I did it so you could keep it.”
She shook her head arms crossing over her chest. “I don’t believe you…if that was the case why wouldn’t you just say something to me? Why lie about it? All this time…all the talking we’ve been doing…I finally thought…I mean…”
She paused and he swallowed hard before speaking. “You thought what?” She glanced up and met his eyes tears pooling in her green orbs. “I thought we were finally starting to become friends…..”
Oliver felt his throat close up for a second at the pain in her eyes, but less than a second later his face hardened. Anger was always easier to deal with then pain and thinking he’d disappointed her yet again was something he just didn’t want to deal with.
He let out a loud grunt, voice hard when he spoke. “Oh would you cut the bullshit? So I keep some things from you…you’re not exactly an open book either Chloe. I can’t ask you a single freaking question without you jumping down my throat.”
She shook her head as she spoke quieter than before. “That isn’t he point…I don’t expect you to tell me everything, I do expect you to tell me the things that involve me. I told you when I said I’d give you a second chance that you had to be honest…no more drinking to get wasted and to always include me in decisions that will affect me and you can’t seem to do that.”
He rolled his eyes as he spoke. “How exactly does this affect you aside from keeping a roof over your head for free I mean…” She glared at him taking a step forward and poking him in the chest. “You listen to me Oliver and you listen good. I have never asked you for money and I never will. You’re the one who can’t stop throwing money at me because you feel guilty.”
She watched him wince and she arched an eyebrow at him. “What’s the matter don’t like it when it’s someone else throwing the truth out instead of you?” He bit his tongue and took a deep breath turning on his heel and walking towards his bedroom.
Chloe shouted out to his back. “Where are you going? We’re not done.” He turned, his voice carrying throughout the apartment when he spoke. “We are…because if I stay out here any longer with you I’m going to say something I know I’ll regret tomorrow. You want to throw my shit in my face? Fine…but take a good look around, because I’m not the only person using someone here…you’re just as selfish as I am even if you won’t admit it.”
Her bottom lip trembled as he pulled open his bedroom door and she spoke quickly before he went inside. “I’m leaving…I’m moving back into Watchtower…” He paused his heart clenching slightly, but he refused to look at her. “That was always the plan Chloe…you staying here was never a permanent thing…”
She wrapped her arms around herself his words hurting more than they probably should. She didn’t want to be all by herself again. These past few weeks with school, Watchtower duties and her and Oliver finally getting along enough to get to know each other…Chloe was finally starting to feel like her old self again and she was terrified of going back to that dark place she’d been before.
She nodded despite her thoughts. “Fine…” He shook his head and mumbled a ‘great’ before slamming his door shut. Chloe glared in his direction before heading to her bedroom and mumbling “Oh yeah well I can slam my door too asshole.”
Oliver heard her words and the resounding thud as her door banged shut. He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes taking a deep breath. He had messed up again, but this time there were no second chances just a lie he could tell himself to get through the night.
Chapter Seven: Ashes and Wine