Previously in Chapter 10: Laid Bare
After leaving Verdant, Oliver had taken Bella back to his apartment for the night since the storms were still occurring around the property and putting Bella on edge. The obvious tension that had been building between the two broke like a damn and they gave in to their carnal desires. Eventually, they shared a bit of a heart to heart, as much as two stubborn people could, and had decided to be exclusive with one another and to give their obvious attraction a try.
The following morning, Diggle is the first to learn of the change in the couple’s relationship and is amused by it, teasing Oliver frequently. Especially after noticing some of Bella’s little souvenirs she left on the man. The men discuss some business about the club and media regarding the shooting, agreeing that they would wait for Bella to wake as is known to have experience in similar dealings.
And the story continues…
Bella sat in the backseat of the car beside Oliver as Diggle drove them to Verdant. She wasn’t a big fan of personal drivers and she continued to stare at the back of the man’s head from her side of the vehicle through narrowed eyes, silently plotting some way to get something to hold over him for his intrusion that Oliver had shared with her that morning.
“I’m going to put cockroaches in his shoes,” she muttered under her breath, quite decidedly, right after he had increased the volume on the radio to distract himself from her staring.
“He’s only doing his job,” Oliver pointed out at her. “That, and if he actually doesn’t chauffeur me around, I’d never get into the office of my own free will.”
“I believe it. If I end up having to put my money into Queen Consolidated as well, I’d have to send one of my men to drive your ass into the office to make sure you get you to make me some money too,” she retorted as she shifted her attention onto him for a moment. Turning back to Diggle, she asked, “How many are at the club already?”
Diggle turned down the volume of the radio. “How many, what, Ma’am?”
“Reporters. I don’t care about the police. The issue right now is damage control for the club – which right now might be best that I handle any talking from what you all have said already. No offense to you Ollie, but we need to put the fire out quickly. They’ll see me more as the victim than you so it’ll be easier to paint that picture to get them to lay off the safety angle, considering I’ve only been in the papers for a couple weeks,” Bella explained. “I’ve been down this road already. I know their game and their cues on what they will be trying to push. With everything that just changed last night – you’ll be a live grenade for them.”
“Yeah, I know…” Oliver said with a nod. “It’s fine. I know they don’t like me,” he grinned. “It’s the usual, really. I’ll make myself scarce.”
She shook her head emphatically. “Oh no. You’ll be there – standing behind me. Supporting the woman that they had labeled you in a relationship with after such a traumatic event. When they do ask you questions, your response is to offer any support for the victims of this attack. We will do whatever we can for everyone who has been involved. In the meanwhile, Alfred – while I deal with the vultures, can you get in touch with Derek at my company and tell him to find a counselor to have on retainer so that we can offer professional services to anyone interested?”
“Sure, I was planning on calling one myself, but if you want to do this out of your company, that’s fine with me, ma’am,” Diggle smiled at her. “We’re fortunate that the only people who died were upstairs with you last night and that the party goers weren’t physically harmed.”
“It’s not like Verdant can really afford it right now with the repairs that have to be done. While no one was harmed, it was still stressful and the effects on the mind can be just as harsh.”
“I was also thinking that maybe, for a while, we’d have one door open instead of the entire wall for entrance. That way people can feel safer and can be easier checked. In case of emergency, all doors can open so everyone can leave safely.”
Bella nodded as she liked that idea. “We can look into the options available for new hardware later. Mention that to Derek as well. I know we have a few catalogs of suppliers that he can have delivered to the club. Maybe there is something in there for new doors and windows that might be useful, not just for the club but also other sections?”
“I like the way your mind works, ma’am, finally someone who I can talk to about proper security measures without giving the blank slate of ‘just do it’.”
“Queen Consolidated has a few subsidiaries that make and sell secure things, so if you want anything, I’m sure that a call from me would get us things for free,” Oliver chipped in, which was met with a raised eyebrow from Diggle. “What?”
“Let Miss Swan handle this, Oliver.”
She only sat there with a smile on her face as she looked out the window, letting the two men hash out their current disagreement. She was aware of what the problem was and knew that Diggle was familiar with her field of expertise. It made her curious as to his background and debated asking him later. But not now.
“Am I missing something here? I mean, our security has always worked, you know how I am.”
“Yes, I know how you are, that’s why you told Bella to go upstairs yesterday instead of downstairs to the more secure basement. Because you think like the Oliver who was stuck on the island for five years; the higher the ground, the better advantage you have, but it wasn’t safe.”
“She didn’t know about me being the Arrow yet, Diggle.”
“Either way, you would have taken anyone of us upstairs, admit it.”
Oliver set his jaw and crossed his arms over his chest stubbornly as if he was a small child.
“And then you start moping because you’re being told that you’re not logical,” Diggle chuckled. “Relax, Oliver, we still like you but let us handle the security of keeping you, us and our patrons safe so you can focus on other things, that’s why you retained me and adopted Felicity.”
Bella reached over and took his hand in hers as she smiled at him, trying to soothe the tension out of it as she held it in her lap. “We’ll be there soon. You’ll understand soon enough. You want me to trust you, right? Sometimes, I need you to trust me. Okay?”
“I do trust you, it’s just that…” Oliver sighed. “I don’t know…”
Diggle fake coughed. “Control freak.” The comment earned an amused smirk from Bella as she winked at Oliver, remembering their conversation on the same topic.
Letting out a sigh as the club started to come into view, she turned to him. “All I can tell you for now is that I have access to some things that not even Queen Consolidated can get their hands on. That’s what your friend here meant about letting me handle things. Trust me Oliver. I’m in this with you now. It’s not just your ass that’s on the line here. I have myself I need to keep out of trouble as well so buck up Bruce and put the big boy pants on now.”
“Alright, Babs,” Oliver smiled at her. “Big boy pants are on. You can help me get them off later.”
A devilish grin slipped onto her face as she stared forward, her hand reaching over his leg, sliding between to his groin and cupping his package. “Oh! I will,” she agreed before pulling back and straightening her face for the cameras as they were ready to pounce as soon as they pulled up to the front doors of the club.
Diggle rolled his eyes. This chick had balls, either that, or she was mentally unstable. She was going to be a nightmare for everyone, especially for Oliver. Which was good because even though Oliver was great as the Arrow, as a person, he still had a lot to learn.
“You’re mean,” Oliver smiled to her as they stepped out of the car after Diggle opened the door for them.
She shrugged her shoulder at him indifferently, but her eyes told a different story. “Showtime,” she said as she heaved a deep breath and straightened her pantsuit before taking Oliver’s arm and leading him up to a waiting officer.
The officer had lead them to Detective Lance, who was waiting for them at the bar with a cup of coffee. “So, you are alive then.”
Bella saw her cousin and grinned at the sight of him. Between the move, their jobs, and her personal issues at home that she only recently learned the truth of, she hadn’t been able to see the rest of the family since her arrival beyond Laurel. “Uncle Gordon!” she exclaimed as she broke away from Oliver and ran up to give the man a hug.
“What…” Quentin Lance said confused as he returned the hug.
“Just roll with it,” Oliver said with a nod.
“Hmm… so from the media coverage I know you two were here last night but when I arrived here, both of you were gone, can you tell me what happened?”
Bella huffed as she pulled back but stayed in a half hug with the man as she eyed Oliver. “We came to relax as I was having some issues at home that Oliver had been so kind to help me sort through. We agreed that some time away from the house might be good so we came here. We were dancing when the club started being attacked, but we managed to slip out the back in the commotion. With everything, I just couldn’t handle the stress and wanted to get away from it to decompress before having to deal with the press.”
Detective Lance had just looked at her with an incredulous look on his face as he listened to Bella. Even though she had a pretty story, a believable one at that, he wasn’t a fool. “Witnesses stated that they saw Oliver push you up the stairs to the office. Security footage seems to agree with that statement, so try again, Bella,” he smiled at her.
Statements could have been dismissed in the heat of the moment but her eyes glared over at Diggle and Chuck as they knew well aware that they should have scrubbed details such as that. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Good girl,” he smiled at her. “The gunman conveniently used a hacking device to erase all footage of them, and of the daring rescue the man in the hood came to bring. I was just curious on how the two of you are still alive because you should be dead, according to all the bulletholes in the office upstairs, not to mention that there’s a circle of bullets on the floor that’s currently puzzling our crime techs.”
“We had a riot shield. A bullet proof riot shield. Bella had given it to me as an example of what her firm has for toys,” Oliver said with a nod. “It worked brilliantly.”
Her eyebrow raised slightly with a smile to her uncle. “It’s actually a prototype so I wouldn’t doubt that one of my men took it back to the office for security reasons. I’ll have them make it ready for you if you like?” she offered sweetly as she pulled out her phone to make the call.
Lance looked at Oliver and sighed. “I’ll hand in the usual paperwork. Boom, boom, flash of green, arrows, dead bad guys. I don’t even want to know the rest.”
“That would be quite convenient, thank you,” Oliver smiled at him. “Is there anything else you require of me and Miss Swan?”
She eyed him for a moment before turning to look at her uncle, as if there was a puzzle piece there just waiting to be pieced together but she was looking at it wrong. Replaying his last words, she narrowed her eyes on the old man. “You know!” she screeched at him before turning to Oliver. “And you were just letting him play me as well! Of all the arrogant-!”
“No, I wasn’t,” Oliver laughed. “This is a prime example of how he cleans up the Arrow’s messes and he didn’t know you know so he played it safe. Now that he knows that you know… well…”
“You know?” Lance blinked at Bella. “How?”
“Yes I fucking know! I was fucking there!” she screamed. “What else do you know?!” she questioned in nearly a panic as the riot shield was a knee jerk cover that worked out rather well, and thank god she didn’t have to follow through on – so far.
“Uhm, I have no idea, but I do wish to see that riot shield when it’s fit for consumption, if it ever reaches that stage,” he said with half a shrug.
Bella fidgeted nervously as she looked over at Oliver, not sure what to say, because she didn’t know how much she should tell her own uncle if he knew about the Arrow. If she should share about her ability. Laurel knew, and she didn’t know if she had already told her father since he seemed aware of everything else so far.
“It actually shattered after the carnage so… it didn’t really work as well as they had hoped. It might be just a fluke, you never know though. Maybe in a few years…” Oliver put his hand on Bella’s back to calm her.
“Hey, that’s fine, can’t blame an old man for hoping,” Lance smiled. “Right, I think I got it all. We’ll send the crime scene report – minus the obvious things and the riot shield – to your insurance so maybe you can get a bit of aid from them to clean this mess.” He then turned to Bella. “And you, young lady, should come over so we can have dinner with Laurel and Sara as a family.”
She forced a smile on her face as she nodded. “Of course,” she replied as she glanced back at Oliver. “I’ll find some time soon, I promise. There’s a lot going on as you are obviously aware.”
Lance glared at Oliver, narrowed his eyes just a little to make him realize that they were going to have the talk – again. He then looked at Bella and smiled. “Of course, once everything has calmed down, of course.” He finished his coffee and hugged his cousin. “Have a good day, Mr. Queen, Miss Swan.”
Bella waved her goodbye as she stood still, watching him leave. She waited until Oliver finally made his way closer to her before she threw a punch into his arm for allowing his people to play her the way they did. “That was a shitty move,” she complained. “Don’t pull it again. I don’t care if you didn’t know about it.”
“Know about what? I didn’t tell him that you know, because I want you to stay safe. Anyone who knows about me and wasn’t in the basement do not require to know that you know. That conversation between me and Lance was the usual conversation we have after something like this, just for appearances sake, because he knows what to report and what not to.” Oliver put his arm around her and pulled her close. “Same as your secret, he doesn’t need to know. Yes, more people know now because they were in the basement yesterday, but whatever is being discussed or discovered there, stays there. I want you to stay safe because God knows what could happen to and with you if the wrong person ends up hearing about you.”
She nodded as she accepted his explanation, wrapping her arms around him as she leaned her head against his chest. A small smile crept to her face as she thought about her cousin that she thought more of like an uncle and Oliver’s alter ego. “I could just imagine him being completely obsessed with trying to arrest you for all of the crap you would have pulled in costume,” she grinned.
He kissed the top of her head as he held her close. “Well, he was trying to, in the beginning. And he knows about me, but doesn’t want to know so he just… you know… it’s a grey area.”
The moment was interrupted when Diggle came over, looking apologetic. “Sorry guys, but I need to borrow Miss Swan. There is some paperwork that requires your signature and Mr. Queen – your presence has been requested downstairs,” he informed them.
Oliver smiled at Bella, let go of her and headed towards the basement. “Tell me what you’ve got, Felicity.”
“Uh… Peter Warren’s not home,” Felicity said as she quickly closed a window on her computer as Oliver walked down the stairs. “Roy checked it out, he’s still there, keeping an eye on the place.”
“Alright, I’ll join him later. What were you doing?”
“Oh, nothing.” Felicity said innocently as she absentmindedly stroke the keys on her keyboard. “Any idea if Bella is going to join us now that she knows?”
“Give her some time. Now, why did you need me here?”
“I requested your presence,” Sara said with a smile on her face as she emerged from the shadows followed by Laurel.
“Don’t tell me that you’ve brought trouble with you,” Oliver groaned. “I so can not take more of it right now.”
“Well, nice to see you too, Oliver,” Sara walked up to him and caressed his cheek. “Laurel sent me a message that Bella’s in trouble, I figured you could use some extra help, so here I am.” She then snaked her arms around Oliver’s neck and tiptoed to press her body against his. “It’s funny how most of my family knows about you now.”
“Yeah, and she doesn’t know about you so I’d rather have you gone so I can tell her later when everything’s settled,” he replied, deliberately not touching her.
Bella cleared her throat from the landing on the stairs where she was watching the little show with Diggle. While she could see Oliver’s reluctance in her cousin’s presence, she still did not trust the woman for anything. No matter what the man, or Laurel, told her. She already knew that Sara, like Oliver, had survived the boat accident and learning now that she also had a mysterious life that the others were aware of – she was quickly getting in the mood to cause some harm to someone’s pretty face. Not her new boyfriend’s this time luckily, as he had saved his own by admitting to planning on telling her more truths, just not in a timely manner.
“Hi,” Sara smiled at Bella while still hanging from Oliver before looking back at him. “I was thinking about me going to the mansion in her place to draw that asshole out so you and Roy can take care of him. We’re similar height and build.”
“Yeah, sure, can you let go of me now?” Oliver asked as he started to pry her arms off of him.
Sara smiled at him and let go of him before pulling him close. “Tonight?” she asked suggestively.
“No.” Oliver turned around and had Felicity pull up his diary for Queen Consolidated. “I think that for now, we should all return to our normal duties and meet back here at 1800 hours for food and planning.”
“That sounds great. Mind if I tag along with someone because I already handed over duties today to one of my guys that I’ve been grooming for taking over one of my other branches. Figured it’s time he steps up and see what kind of balls he really has,” Bella spoke. “The paperwork and everything else that we discussed with Alfred has already been sorted out.”
“Those batman analogies really get annoying, you know,” Laurel remarked with a chuckle. “I suppose you could tag along with me, I could use some help sorting out some paperwork at the office.”
Her eyebrow twitched at the thought of unnecessary paperwork. After all, she got herself out of it for the day even though she knew she would be overwhelmed with it when she returned. She also didn’t want to hurt the girl’s feelings at the same time so she wasn’t sure how to turn her down without bringing out the bitch in her.
“Maybe,” Felicity spoke up as she saw the doubt on Bella’s face. “Maybe you need a day to just deal with what you’ve learned in the last two days, what you’ve experienced and just decompress. What do you like to do for fun, Bella?”
Letting out a breath, she smiled at the thought. “Right now? I’d really like to break someone’s neck,” she replied with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm as she turned her eyes over to Sara. “Long time no see.”
“Great, that’s settled then,” Felicity smiled. “You stay here and spar with Sara!”
“Are you shitting me? I’ll break her!” Sara whined, not really looking forward to babysitting duties or beating up her cousin.
Oliver shared a look with Diggle, they both thought the same thing; there were too many hormones in one room and too many exes. This was a dangerous place to be. Diggle had already backed away to the door, it wasn’t really fair that Oliver was currently standing in the middle of a big hormonal cloud with boobs. “No, I actually think it’s a great idea,” Oliver said with a nod. “But let’s meet for that after lunch. I do need to show my face at the company for at least a little while. You two are not going to spar without a babysitter.” He had seen what Bella could do, knew what Sara was capable of, and they definitely needed a referee.
Bella pouted as she looked at him. “Not even with weapons?”
“Definitely not with weapons.” Oliver shook his head. “And you, missy, take the morning to process the impressions and information gathered in the last few days, just as Felicity said. Go shopping or go to the spa.”
“Party pooper. I have a delusional guy capable of controlling the weather that was hired to fuck with my head who obviously knows about my biggest fears after me. What the fuck is there to evaluate?”
“Yes, make a list of your biggest enemies, the easier it will be for us to narrow down who would do this to you,” Oliver said with a nod. “But you know what? Come with me to the office, I’ll give you your own little space where you can work on that.”
She looked at him much like the first day she saw him. Like an idiot man that he might be. “You do know the kind of company I own. I make enemies every day that I never even meet.”
“Are you refusing to take this challenge? Wow, Bella,” Oliver grinned.
“It’s pointless and a waste of time!”
“No, it’s not.”
“I couldn’t find any information on Peter Warren’s bank transfers. I think he was paid with bitcoins,” Felicity said softly. “I could really use a list of names.”
Bella glanced over at her and scowled. The woman was a double edged sword in her side. She had come up with a great suggestion that allowed her to work on some of her issues with her cousin and now she was pulling this. Some way to try to make friends with her. “You and I are going to be having a discussion one of these days about taking sides,” she muttered as she dragged a chair over and pushed the girl away from the computer so that she could log onto her company’s network.
“I’ll work from here, Oliver,” Felicity said with a nod, not wanting to leave her supercomputer alone with Bella. Not that she didn’t trust Bella, it was that she didn’t trust Bella in leaving things alone and not hurt it.
Oliver made his way over to Bella and gently squeezed her shoulder as he kissed the top of her head. “Just a couple of hours, then you can beat the crap out of Sara, I promise.”
“Isn’t it going to be the other way around?” Sara whispered to Laurel.
“Maybe, but you’ll have a hard time beating her,” Laurel smiled at her sister. “She has her own security firm, remember?”
“Chateau Latour, 1999,” Bella replied to him with a smirk on her lips. “It’s going for about $600 a bottle.”
“Oh, I know what it goes for, believe me,” he smiled at her. “Alright, I’ll get us a crate.”
“On it,” Felicity said with a nod as she typed away on her tablet.
“I said that I would get me and Bella a crate, Felicity,” Oliver said gently to her. “I can do things myself too, you know,” he argued.
“Not on it then…”
He planted another kiss on top of Bella’s head. “See you later,” he said before following Diggle out.
“Hold on,” Sara said after a moment of silence, as if she had been thinking about something. “I know that look on his face.”
“Yep,” Laurel said with a nod as she gathered her things. “Come on, Sara. You’re going to help me and you can come back here after lunch.”
Bella had been sitting indian style on the desk chair as she worked on a large burger and fries that was resting on her lap as she watched Felicity typing away on the computer. “That list isn’t going anywhere you know. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit to being a workaholic at times, but even I know when it’s time to take a step back when it comes to food. Mmm, this is really fucking good…” she added as she took another huge bite.
“Yes, stay away from the sensitive areas of the computer, it was pricey to replace them all,” Felicity said as she eyed the list carefully. The names that Bella had put up there weren’t going anywhere.
“I’ll write you a check,” she shrugged in response with a mouthful. “Anything else I can help with? I feel a bit useless right now.”
“Yes, do these people know about your fear of lightning?” Felicity pointed at the screen. “Because this list is useless if they don’t.”
Bella thought about it for a moment before shaking her head. “Doubtful. I really didn’t start having issues until after high school and the problems started after we moved from Forks.”
“So what’s in Forks then?”
“I’m sure you already know enough of my history Robin,” she snorted as she dragged a fry through some ketchup.
“I know about that business man, Aaron, but he’s squeaky clean and he doesn’t have a history of holding a grudge. From your time in Forks, I only know what I could access through your high school yearbook. I know that it was probably a traumatizing experience with whatever you had to deal with, but are there people in Forks that know about your fear?”
Rolling her eyes, Bella let out a sigh as she wiped her hands and set the tray aside. “My high school boyfriend dumped me in the woods behind my house and I got lost trying to find my way home. There was a storm coming on, which was warned about for awhile that week. My father even reminded me to stay close so that I wouldn’t be caught in it, but it was Edward. Anyway, I went and of course got lost. I ended up getting pretty sick – bacterial pneumonia, and was in the hospital for nearly two weeks and spent about three months on continuous antibiotics just to kick it completely from my system. The insurance company didn’t want to cover a lot of it and by the time Edward’s dad found out and came to kiss ass, I saw red. I tried taking as much as I could from them because all that asshole cared about was his family’s money and status.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that, Bella, that sounds awful,” Felicity said empathically as she pulled up a file. “I’m glad that I was right about Edward because I had managed to piece together his family and they’re pretty shady people. Do they know about your fear?”
Growing irritated, she shook her head and shrugged. “I don’t know. I doubt it. I haven’t talked to them like that since. Daddy Cullen tries getting in contact to try to talk me into getting back with Edward every now and then, but I just have my receptionist take a message. The only one I talk to is Rosalie anymore but I know she doesn’t have anything to do with them herself after that incident because it was too much like an incident she had and she couldn’t condone their behavior so she cut herself off from them.”
“This… Carlisle Cullen is a doctor, right?” Felicity said with a naughty grin on her face and started to boot up a system that would spoof her phone number and make them untraceable. This was an airtight system, she had made it herself.
“Yeah? What are you doing?” Bella asked, eyeing her curiously.
“Gathering information. Now, shush.” Felicity said as she hooked up her phone to the computer and started to dial Carlisle Cullen’s office.
“Doctor Cullen’s office, how can I help?”
“This is Doctor Adrienne McClusky from Starling City memorial, can I speak to Doctor Cullen please? It involves one of his old patients.” Felicity said, causing Bella’s eyes to widen as she jumped from her chair and bit her lip to keep from speaking out.
“Certainly, please hold.”
Felicity looked at Bella and mouthed ‘relax’ to her as she patiently waited for Carlisle Cullen to come to the phone.
‘You’re crazy!’ Bella mouthed back to her, but was also slightly amused at the same time.
“Good morning, Doctor Cullen, this is Doctor McClusky from Starling City Memorial. I’m sorry to bother you.”
“That’s alright, doctor. My assistant said you’re calling on behalf of one of my old patients?”
“Yes sir, I need some more information on an… Isabella Swan? She’s been admitted to psychiatrics with acute hysteria. She’s catatonic and I’m wondering if you knew something about what might have caused it. As there’s nothing in her file.”
Felicity didn’t like the quietness on the other end of the phone, it was almost as if he was checking to see if there truly was a Doctor McClusky on staff at the hospital. There was, it was one of Felicity’s aliases. “Miss Swan was quite the hysterical teenager, Doctor McClusky.”
“But what could have caused this state she’s in now? I want to help her, Doctor.”
“Have there been any storms in Starling City lately?”
Felicity looked at Bella and raised her eyebrow. ‘Bingo’ she mouthed. “Yes sir.”
“Then that could be your problem, doctor. Just get her to a room with no windows and she’ll be fine in a couple of days.”
She stood there with her arms folded around her as she stared at the phone, almost as if she wished she had laser vision that she could incinerate the device after hearing what was being said. This Peter and Carlisle’s knowledge was more than a coincidence because Charlie and her had never told anyone about these problems because of the damage it could cause with her status in her company.
“Thank you for your time, Doctor Cullen. It’s certainly something I can work with.” Felicity hung up the phone and looked at Bella. “If you want my opinion, I think, with all the information I uncovered on him, he can be the one responsible. Shall I check his account for large deposits?”
“I’d be more curious for withdrawals. Look into it. How much longer until everyone comes back?” she asked, her voice more cold and detached than it was minutes before.
“Half an hour, tops, but if you want me to call Oliver to come over now, I could do that for you.”
Bella nodded decisively. “Tell him to bring me some workout clothes to keep here. I am feeling the need to do some damage right now,” she said as she walked away, heading for the stairs. “I’m going to go see if what I can do upstairs. Hollar if you need me Robin.”
Fifteen minutes later, Oliver walked into Verdant carrying a bag with sporting clothes in them. Felicity had filled him in on what had happened and he was furious. It made sense that Carlisle Cullen had hired Peter Warren, seeing as that man had continuously tried to get Bella back for his son, but to go this far? All Oliver needed now was a confirmation from Peter and then he’d go after Carlisle. He found Bella at the bar, drowning herself with a bottle of whiskey beside her. “Hey, are you alright?”
She let out a breath as she looked up into the mirror at their reflections before answering. “Let’s see. My ex-boyfriend that I haven’t spoken to since he dumped me back in high school, his father seems to have a sick obsession with me and has been trying every way imaginable drive me crazy. My cousin, who for lack of a better term, is a little whore that appears to have no shame whatsoever in front of her own sister with the same man who I happen to be sleeping with now. And you – ooh, don’t let me get started on you. I really don’t want to go there because you are so damn lucky that you said that you were planning on telling me about Sara eventually otherwise you and I would really be having problems. Now tell me where in all of this, am I supposed to be alright?”
He didn’t know where to begin with that, but instead held up the bag with the clothes. “I’ll tell you about Sara while you’re beating the shit out of me.” He knew she needed to vent her frustrations – desperately. Sex was one way to get the tension out of her system, but she was annoyed and frustrated now, so he was going to see if she liked to hit him with a bo-staff – if she was even able to. He wasn’t going to make it easy on her, but he was sure as hell going to give Bella a great workout while getting one on his own, because she had already proven to him that she knew a lot about weapons.
Grabbing her new friend Jack, Bella rolled her eyes at him as she complied. “Sure. You’re just a glutton for punishment, aren’t you? I mean, Laurel and Sara? And now you’re pulling me in there? Talk about jumping into a shark tank,” she muttered.
“You need to relax,” Oliver said as he took her hand and pulled her towards the basement door. “You have nothing to worry about when it comes to Laurel and Sara, I promise.”
“Oh I know I have nothing to be concerned with when it comes to Laurel. She’s all talk. Sara – on the other hand…I saw everything she tried to pull down there so don’t yank my chain. I’ll behave but don’t try to butter me up for her,” she warned.
“Are you jealous?” Oliver snorted as he opened the door and let her in.
“I don’t do jealous,” she said sharply.
“Yes, just like I don’t do dates.”
Bella turned to look up at him with a smirk. “Exactly. We haven’t been on any, so no worries there.”
“I thought last night would have been the perfect date, until we got disrupted.”
“Would have been – if you had asked me properly. But I seemed to recall getting away from the house was my idea.”
“You asked me, so it was a date.” He stuck out his tongue to her.
“Not a date Oliver,” she sighed.
“Alright, once this is all over, I will ask you out on a date. Flowers, chocolate, wine, the works.”
Bella smiled to herself as she stepped off the stairs to join the rest of the group. “I’m sure you will,” she said.
“Ollie will what?” Laurel piped up, overhearing the end of their conversation as she looked up at the two. “Why do you two look like that?”
“No reason,” the girl responded as she took a pull from her bottle, shooting an irritating glare at Sara who was minimally dressed as she was standing around, playing with some of her weapons.
He playfully pushed her towards the fenced off area after snatching the bottle out of her hand. “Go get changed.” He then walked to a cupboard to get some comfortable clothes as well, he was not going to do this in his suit.
“Sir, yes sir!” Bella snapped, pouting at the loss of her alcohol but grinned as she reached out to pinch his ass as she passed behind him and scampered off to change as she laughed.
Diggle couldn’t help but to let a small laugh out at the display and shook his head with some disapproval. In a low voice so that their newest addition couldn’t hear, even if she didn’t officially agree, he eyed Oliver. “As much as I like this girl, she’s going to be a real handful,” he pointed out. “While I agree that she is an extremely valuable asset in more ways than one, you need to figure out what is setting her off.”
“I know exactly what is pissing her off, Diggle,” Oliver replied softly. “And I do realize she’s a bit volatile, but wouldn’t you be with after all the crap she’s been through? Give it some time.”
“Did Bella just pinch your ass?” Laurel questioned, seemingly just coming out of the fog of not quite believing what she saw.
“Yes,” Oliver said as he discarded his suit jacket and started to unbutton his shirt.
“And you let her?”
“Yes,” he repeated and got rid of his shirt.
“Oh my god! What the hell is that on your neck?!” Laurel screeched, causing Sara and Felicity to look up from their work in curiosity and make their way over. “Were you attacked by a vampire or something?!”
“No attack and yes to the or something,” Oliver deadpanned as he pulled on his t-shirt.
Diggle grinned as he leaned against one of the pillars with his arms crossed over his chest. If only the girls knew in what state he found Oliver that morning.
Laurel continued to stare at the man as she tried to make sense of everything. It wasn’t just the bite mark. He also had a number of scratches that went down his shoulders and arms… “Isabella Swan! You told us you weren’t going to have sex with Oliver last night!”
Her voice rang out from behind the partisan while she was in the middle of changing. “I lied!”
“Bella! Why would you not call me after!” she whined.
“Because you’re being a little bitch right now and I don’t care to compare notes like I know you are thinking about,” Bella replied as she stepped out as she held her head. “I need some Advil. Your voice is giving me a headache.”
“Bella,” Laurel repeated, softer this time.
“Harley,” Bella mocked back. “You’re irritating me. Shut up.”
“Oh my god,” Felicity said. “The both of you, shut up! I can’t believe I’m the only woman in this room who hasn’t had sex with Oliver!”
“Who had sex with Ollie?” Sara said confused as she looked at her sister, who nodded towards the hidden Bella. “No way! Bella, you need to be careful around him, you know.”
“For the love of God, get out.” Oliver said with a whine as he changed his pants. “What are we, in high school?”
Laurel pouted before throwing more fuel on the fire, “And she gave him one hell of a love bite.”
“Laurel!” Oliver warned her as he turned around and looked at Sara and Laurel. “You two stop it right now if you want to stick around here, you got that?” he threatened.
“I’ll have you go a round against Bella.” With that, he took two bo-staffs and headed to the arena where Bella was waiting for him. “How drunk are you?”
She looked at him with a bored expression. “Not enough to deal with these idiots. Am I going to get you underneath me again or what?” she smiled sweetly.
“Okay, good,” Oliver said, ignoring her remark as he threw one of the bo-staffs her way. “Catch.”