“Hi,” she said, poking her head into his office, a bright sunny smile on her face. She was wearing what looked to him like a knitted red dress. Felicity always looked amazing and it wouldn’t surprise him if she looked amazing in a potato sack (actually those bare toned legs peeking out of a hessian sack would be a sight to behold) but he couldn’t help feeling a sense of relief and almost lightness in seeing her wear colour again.
Her wardrobe had been swamped with dark colours of late, coinciding with the events that had taken place over the last few weeks. It wasn’t something he would ever dare to comment on but it was nice to see the bright colours returning once again.
Everything that had happened with Chase, with Helix and their time being trapped in the bunker had been worth it to see the joy and light in her eyes again and to have her drop in on him for multiple impromptu visits lately.
“Hi,” Oliver responded, pushing his chair out to rush over and greet her. Wanting to leave no doubt as to how happy he was to see her, he leaned over to give Felicity a big hug before suddenly pausing in limbo, worried whether this was all too fast too soon. They were in a good place, taking baby steps towards being a stronger and more mature version of “them” but Oliver couldn’t help being constantly plagued by doubts as to whether he was giving her enough time and space to make her way towards him again. His awkward pause lasted for a few seconds before Felicity put him out of his misery, standing on her tippy toes to throw her arms around his neck.
“Hi,” she smiled a second time, looking up at him shyly, that beautiful smile causing his heart to hammer inside his body. He wondered if all the years of physical activity had taken a toll on him and he was going to drop dead right here with her arms around his neck. Considering who he was and how he had always thought death was inevitable for him, it would be quite a way to go.
Lunch?” he offered still grinning at her; it was the only word that he could coherently form at the moment.
“No!” Felicity responded before correcting herself quickly as Oliver’s face fell. “I meant I have no time for lunch. Today! Because I’m busy! Preparing for dinner!”
Seeing his confused look Felicity took a deep breath before speaking again. “What I meant was I came here to ask you to drop by my place, tonight for dinner. It’s your birthday and I know you don’t like celebrating it because…. well you haven’t always had a good day on your birthday. Anyway I didn’t think you would want to go to a restaurant tonight so I was just going to slap together a meal for us at my house and then after dinner and some wine you can unwrap your birthday present and maybe it won’t be such a bad birthday after all.”
She leaned in towards him and unconsciously patted his chest as she said this. In recent weeks it were almost as if a dam had burst within her. They still weren’t officially together but they were no longer the distant and tragic version of themselves either. Felicity had begun initiating physical contact with abandon.
Suddenly feeling buoyant and wicked (and because it was his birthday after all) Oliver couldn’t resist leaning in and whispering into her ear “Unwrap my present? Sounds veeeeeerry promising Felicity.”
“Nonono not that! Not me! I didn’t mean unwrapping me if that’s what you thought I meant. Although…” Seeing the laughter in his eyes, Felicity gave him a disgruntled huff, before swatting him playfully. “You know perfectly well what I’m talking about Oliver Queen! So dinner? 7.30 pm?”
She looked thoughtful for a moment before adding “And don’t you worry about the food! It’s an assembly job! I’m not cooking! That’s why I need to drive around town this afternoon to pick up all the bits and pieces.”
“Felicity I wouldn’t miss dinner for the world,” he smiled a hopelessly smitten smile at her. “And I’d still turn up and eat it all even if you were cooking.”
“Wow you’re very serious about giving us a second chance aren’t you, if you’re willing to eat my cooking,” she quipped cheekily. “I have to run! See you tonight!” She cupped her hands around his face and gave him the equivalent of a face pat, something she hadn’t done for a good year now, before sailing out of the room in a flurry of activity.
“SURPRISE,” they all chorused when Felicity opened the door. Oliver could barely contain his disappointment at the sight of his colleagues, John and Thea, all hovering around Felicity’s loft, beaming at him expectantly. He chastised himself for being ungrateful, after all they were here because they loved and cared about him and pasted a smile on his face as he thanked them for their birthday wishes.
Oliver had spent the better part of the afternoon fantasizing about spending time alone with Felicity. Four, possibly five glorious hours alone with Felicity in the loft. He had viewed it as a fundamental stepping stone to the rebirth of their relationship, their second “first date” so to speak. It was going to be the best birthday ever. Except now he was here trying to celebrate in front of his team and trying to hide his disappointment from Thea’s sharp and prying eyes.
His sister had an uncanny ability to read him it seemed. Thea pulled him aside, sending Curtis away firmly but politely under the pretence that she needed to spend some time bonding with her big brother after having been away for several weeks.
“Oh Ollie, was it really that hard to pretend that you were happy to see us?” she glowered at him. “I know we’ve spent some time together since my return but you don’t have to look so miserable at the prospect of seeing me at your party.”
“I’m not,” he responded defensively at once. “I just wasn’t expecting so many people.”
“You were expecting a cosy night in with Felicity,” Thea shot back triumphantly; looking part pesky, part smug. It was going to be a long night. “I knew it was a bad idea for her to invite everyone! I told her just as much but she insisted she wanted to give you a proper party. I told her to just buy some lingerie and a plastic cake to jump out of. That’s all you would have wanted but she insisted on this instead.”
“Thea!” Oliver practically yelped at his sister, looking scandalised and trying desperately to push the image of a lingerie clad Felicity crawling from a cake out of his mind.
“Oh Relax Ollie! I’m here to help! We’ll all eat a few bites of food, you blow out the candles of your cake and I’ll get rid of everybody. You can stay behind to help Felicity clean up, employ a bit of the Queen charm and get the girl back into your arms.”
Before he could pull another disapproving face at Thea, Felicity wandered up to them looking vexed as she waved a packet of frozen dim sims in their faces. Oliver noticed that she was looking rather fetching in some sort of shiny orange dress. The pattern of the dress itself was hideous and reminded him of some old drapes they had once had at Queen Manor (not that he would EVER admit that to Felicity for as long as he was alive) but the dress was short, hugged her tiny curves in all the right places and had strategically placed cut outs in the most delicious spots, revealing bare patches of lily white smooth skin that he had not seen in what felt like an eternity.
“There you are! I was hoping you could help me out with a cooking conundrum,” Felicity beamed at him.
“I thought you weren’t cooking!” Thea responded, looking slightly scared at the prospect of eating Felicity’s cooking.
“I ordered platters of sushi and I’m just reheating a few things,” Felicity waved her off good-naturedly. “Which brings me back to this. Oliver, it says on the packet that I am to steam these but I figure boiling is as good as steaming right? Can I just boil these dim sims?”
“No it’s not the same honey,” he responded fondly, the honey slipping out before he could stop himself as he recalled all the times she had come to him with a theory for some cooking shortcut that was doomed to fail. He reached out and plucked the dim sim packet gently from her hand. “Let me take care of this Felicity.”
“I’m going to leave you two to sort out the catering,” Thea said cheerfully, giving them both a jovial pat as she made a beeline for Dinah who was at the other end of the loft.
“I’m beat,” Felicity sighed as she threw herself onto the large plush leather couch in the lounge room. Oliver, who was just right behind her looked around uncomfortably as he wondered where he should sit. Felicity swiftly lifted her feet up and motioned for him to sit down, depositing her feet onto his lap once he had comfortably settled on the couch.
“Thanks for staying behind to clean up,” Felicity sighed contently. “You shouldn’t have since it’s your birthday but thank you.”
“I wanted to,” he responded quietly, giving her a soft smile. “Thank you for the cake. I know you worked hard on it. I love it.” Oliver was referring to the twelve inch iced monstrosity that vaguely resembled a lime green shaped arrow. It was the poster cake for one of those “Nailed It” Pin Interest Memes. Felicity had apparently worked on it for days. Still he had never been happier about anything in his life than to receive that rock hard, poorly ice cake. Every dry dense crumb, every uneven patch of slightly melted icing was a testament to how much Felicity loved, or rather still loved him. He had stoically refused to eat Digg’s back up Black Forest birthday cake with everyone else, instead opting to chalk down a slice of the lime green creation while beaming heart eyes at its creator.
“It was almost inedible,” Felicity sighed sadly. Her cooking attempts always left her a little crest fallen. “But it was made out of love.”
“I know,” Oliver smiled. “And I love you all the more for it. Thank you Felicity. For the party. For the cake. For everything.”
“In hindsight I should have listened to Thea,” Felicity peered up at him sheepishly. “You looked so upset after you opened the door and saw everyone. Next year! Just you and I next year I promise. Come here.” She rolled onto her back and beckoned him over with a lazy smile.
“Err…are you sure Felicity” Oliver responded, unsure as to what was happening or how to proceed.
“I meant come over here and lie next to me. It is your birthday after all,” Felicity wiggled to the edge of the couch and motioned for him to lie down in the space beside her. “Relax Oliver I’m not going to seduce you,” she giggled at him as he scurried over and buried his head into the crook of her arm. It was his favourite place in the world. There was nothing but happiness when he was lying in Felicity’s arms.
“I’ve got no objections to being seduced,” Oliver couldn’t resist teasing her.
“If you think you can handle it, I might let you unwrap your present later,” Felicity whispered cheekily pulling him snugly into her arms and kissing the top of his head.
Yes it was the best birthday ever and for once Oliver felt hopeful that his future birthdays would be even better as long as he had Felicity to love and be loved by.