Once Oliver was back at his abandoned building, he felt the need to hit stuff. Fortunately, the makeshift mannequin was still there but as he was punching it he realized it wasn’t actually making him feel better. If anything, it only made things worse.
“So that was the same girl from the Jitters?” Barry’s voice sounded from the doorway. His usual upbeat voice was a little softer as he took in his friend’s stressed appearance.
“Yes,” Oliver replied as he kept hitting the dummy, envisioning his own face plastered on it.
Nodding, Barry ran a hand through his hair. “Wells wants me to bring her in as soon as she’s willing. I told him that I’ll ask her but I didn’t give him any information as to who she was. He’s not happy but I don’t care. He’s even more curious, wanting to see if the kid is affected too. I had to tell him.”
“Whatever, as long as he doesn’t get his hands on her son. Like you said, a vial of blood is enough.”
“But if it shows something Oliver?” he questioned, concern dripping in every word. “She is right to back down right now until she knows more herself. Her – ability – is just wow. So how do you know her?”
“You can talk to her yourself tomorrow if you like,” Oliver grunted as he punched the mannequin again and again. “She’s someone I used to know.”
“Maybe you should go get that friend she offered up. If you are worried about her and the kid, I can go keep an eye on her place tonight for you while you punch out a shapeshifter on her behalf,” he offered, narrowing his eyes.
“Joe told you?”
Barry shook his head. “I work in forensics and deal with the Lab. I’m not stupid. I know he’s trying to keep me out of the action because of Iris’s boyfriend,” he spat. “If I can’t do anything there to help you, then I can make sure her ex doesn’t pull anything tonight.”
“I’m not worried about her. She can protect herself and her son. Her father is an ex-cop and-”
“Dealing with a shape shifting gang? That can turn into mice and God knows what other animals that a regular human might not be able to fight off? Oliver.”
He punched through the dummy’s face and stared at it for a second, realizing what he had done. “Yeah, fine, I’ll round up some of his buddies. Just make sure she stays away from me.”
Before Barry could even think of a response, his friend stormed out, leaving him speechless. All he could do was wonder about the relationship between the two because he had never seen the man so unraveled before. He had to contact Joe to get Isabella’s address and quickly made his way over to watch from the rooftop across from her apartment complex.
Through the windows, he frowned as he watched her check in on a boy that looked oddly familiar as he slept in his bed. He was tempted to get a closer look, but he didn’t want rock the boat more with her as she had clearly been uncomfortable with him earlier. All he could do was settle in for a long night, knowing that the idea of watching over the girl was pointless, but he wanted to do something to try to help his friend’s unknown problem.
It was fun to go after Paul. Sure, the guy hit like a ton of bricks and got a few punches in but it was fun seeing as Oliver returned the favor. Nothing beat a real person to fight with. He punched him out and brought him to the doorstep of the police office before disappearing and texting Joe that he may have to find a room where there’s no escaping for this guy.
When he returned to his makeshift home, he felt knackered enough to attempt to sleep a little on the floor.
During the night, near dawn, Central City Savings & Loan alarms went off. By the time the police, and the Flash, got there, the perpetrators were gone, leaving Joe and Barry, once he changed back into his street clothes for work, looking at one another knowingly. Shaking his head, the detective walked off, sending a message off to the Arrow to inform him of the latest with the gang that they learned about, while Barry went to work.
As he started in on gathering a list of the account holders for those that had safety deposit boxes in the room that was affected by the break-in, one name popped up that caused him alarm. Pulling out his phone, he dialed Oliver, closing his eyes after checking to make sure that no one was paying attention to him as usual.
“Come on, pick up…Stop talking to Joe, I need you now…” he muttered into the phone as it continued to ring.
Oliver listened patiently to Joe as he told him about the break in at yet another bank and his suspicions that the same group of people were responsible. When Oliver wanted to tell Joe that he was finished, that for some reason he couldn’t finish the job, Joe told him that he didn’t want to hear it and that he was angry with Oliver for Barry having been out all night as the Flash while he should have laid low.
When he hung up on Joe, his phone rang again. “What is it, Barry? I just got off the phone with Joe.”
“I know. That’s the thing. I’m here too. Um, you are going to be getting an official call later from the bank,” he said, looking around again. “There is a safety box here in your name.”
“That’s impossible,” Oliver said as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. “I don’t keep safety boxes in banks.”
“I’m just telling you what I see here. It’s your address at your old house. It was opened… Hang on… Last year.”
“Can you tell by who?” Oliver got up from the floor and walked to his bag to get his civilian clothes out as he was still wearing his suit.
Barry hesitated for a moment, looking up as he continued sorting through the signatures and papers, trying to look as official as possible while on the phone. “Yeah. Um. It was Moira Queen.”
“Mom…” Oliver said softly. What had she done now? “Thanks Barry, I’ll just wait for that phone call then.”
“No problem. We’re almost done here with the police so expect it soon. They will be wanting their customers coming in to check to make sure things aren’t missing to add to their claims. They have a small window for it.”
“Got it. Heading into town anyway for some breakfast.” Oliver said as he hung up and got changed before hopping onto his bike and headed into the city. He’d managed to set aside his anger and sadness from the night before and he was going to ignore it until he had forgotten about it. He was going to have breakfast in the city until the bank called, deal with that and then maybe head to S.T.A.R. Labs to request a couple of spaces in their prison for the shapeshifting pack of criminals because he was going to get at least a handful of them tonight.
Seeing as he didn’t really fancy Iris’ chippy personality this morning, Oliver went to a small café for breakfast. He blinked when his phone beeped that there was a message. He noticed it was from Laurel.
How are things in Central City? I’ve just checked in on everyone, apparently Roy saved the day yesterday! How great is that?
Roy is great, Laurel. I had no doubt. Things are a bit messy over here but I’m handling it.
Messy? Need help?
No, I’m good. If I need help I can always rely on the Flash.
Right. Okay. Back to work for me.
Oliver smiled as he shook his head and took a sip of his coffee before the waitress brought him his breakfast made out of eggs, bacon and toast and upon first bite, he noticed how hungry he really was and might go for another plate. He really needed to pay more attention to feeding himself more often when he was on his own.
It was a couple hours when the call came. The representative from the bank bored and tired on their end when the phone was answered. “Hello this is Darshan from Central City Savings and Loan calling for Oliver or Moira Queen.”
“You found him,” Oliver replied as he was walking his tenth round through the park. “What can I do for you?”
“I’m calling to inform you that we unfortunately had an attempted break in during the night and your safety box may have been tampered with. We would like you to come down to inspect the contents to makes sure everything is inside or report anything missing. ”
“Yeah sure, I can be there in ten minutes, will that be alright?” Oliver managed to sound chipper and concerned at the same time but he had no idea what was in it. For all he knew his mother could have planted a bomb in that box and it would explode when opened. He knew she loved him and that she would do anything for him as she had done in the past but her methods had proven to be questionable. He still missed her though, sometimes her advice was just what he needed.
“That would be most acceptable. We will see you soon Mr. Queen. Please feel free to ask for me and I will be happy to assist you once you arrive,” Darshan said before disconnecting.
He stared oddly at his phone for a moment before turning around and heading towards the bank. If this truly was a box opened by his mother, why would she have gone through the trouble of opening it in Central City? If she didn’t want anyone to find out about it, why put it in her or his name? More importantly, why didn’t the box show up on the list of assets he had received when he lost everything?
When he arrived at the bank, he asked for Darshan and he showed him to his safety box before Darshan left him alone again to check the contents. Oliver took a deep breath and opened the box, finding stacks of money in it, a file and a letter. Opening the letter first, Oliver started to read.
My dearest Oliver,
I am glad you are reading this letter because that means that I finally picked up the courage to tell you how wrong I’ve been. That my decisions hadn’t been always the right one. At this point in time I can see that you’re not doing all that good either, you’re not talking to me, for good reason, and the company isn’t doing great either.
So, in case Queen Consolidated gets away from you, I’m leaving some money in this box for you to use. It should be enough to get you situated again. Two million dollars should be enough for you, don’t you think?
I am sorry for what I’m about to tell you and I realize that you will probably cut me out of your life completely as this is as big of a lie as I kept about your sister. And despite my knowing this, I love you too much to continue to keep up the lie. You deserve the truth and I hope that me realizing that I wasn’t always the best person in your life, that it will count towards something.
When you came to me about Bella being pregnant with your child and not Laurel, I did what any good mother would do for her son who wasn’t mature enough to handle a child. I wanted the best life possible for you and I also knew that it wouldn’t be that way with a child in your life. I convinced Bella to leave, to tell you that she had lost the baby. However, I have made sure that the child had been well cared for over the years since he is, after all, your son. I gave her money to ensure that she stayed away, and she took it. When I told you that girls like her were only interested in the money that families like ours had, I did not lie. Now it is up to you to do what you want to do with this knowledge. If you wish to fight for your son. Connor is a handsome boy and looks so much like you.
I have also opened an account in this bank under Connor Queen’s name with you as a beneficiary, that way if you need to access additional funds, you may do so. There were so many things going on that I feared the worst and hope won’t come to pass. But still, I am planning for you and Connor’s future together.
I love you.
He wasn’t sure what to expect, really, but this was a whole new level of craziness from his mother. He wouldn’t believe that Bella would simply accept the money and leave, but then again, his mother once told him that mothers would do anything for their children but Moira had taken it to extremes.
Was the child that Bella had referred to all night theirs? She had only mentioned having one child and she did mention that Jacob was like a father but not that the kid was his. He opened the folder, seeing a fully detailed account by some private investigator about Bella and Connor – and Jacob Black – with pictures and couldn’t believe his eyes.
He realized that he couldn’t get emotional over this; he had to get the facts straight before going to Bella and getting angry with her for not telling him what his mother had done. For not allowing Oliver to be in his son’s life, despite him being gone for five years on that island. While he was stuffing the contents of the box in his bag for safe keeping – he’d ask if he could leave the money with Barry for the duration of his stay in Central City – he dialed Felicity’s number on his phone.
“Yellow,” she answered with a lollipop in her mouth.
“Are you busy?” Oliver asked her. “I mean, you’re probably at work and all but can you do something for me?”
Felicity had been in his old office at Queen Consolidated in fact and looked up, eyeing Ray as he was distracted by his project at the display table. “A bit, but it depends on what you need.”
“Could you go through the financials of Bella Swan for me, please?”
“She’ll probably have the account name under Isabella Marie Swan.”
Felicity raised an eyebrow curiously as she pulled the lollipop from her mouth. “Uh, okay. How soon do you need this?”
“Preferably now,” Oliver said as he closed the box and went to Darshan to cancel his box because ‘he no longer felt his belongings were safe in his bank’.
“Hold on,” she said as she turned to Ray. “Hey um…Is there any chance I can take an early lunch? I need to run a favor for a friend. I can stay later after to make up for it if I don’t get back right away.”
“Of course you can get an early lunch, you’re one of the few in this company who don’t have to answer for your absences, you know,” Ray said with a big smile on his face. “I’ll see you when I see you.”
She smiled at him as she stood and grabbed her purse and coat. “Thanks Ray,” she said before getting back on the phone. Once out of earshot of him, she was more concerned about her friend. “Okay, this is something I’d rather do from the computers in the Arrowcave. Now tell me what the hell is going on? Isn’t this the girl you ran into when we were in Central City a few weeks ago?”
“Yes,” Oliver said as he left the bank. “She’s an old friend of mine and I think she might be in trouble so please, when you get to your computers, check her financials for me.”
“Yeah sure. Is there anything specific I should be looking for?”
“She might have gotten a huge amount of money in her account about eight years ago and I want to know how she spent it.”
“That doesn’t sound like trouble Oliver. That sounds like spying on your friend,” she complained, clearing not liking what he’s saying.
“She’s an acquaintance of one of the guys I’m supposed to catch for Detective West. If she has a lot of money, she’s in danger.”
The little detail might have helped five minute prior. “Oh, well, okay. I’m not that far from the club if you don’t mind hanging on. What are you doing right now anyway? How are things going up there?” she asked as she sped through town, trying to get to her destination faster as she enjoyed her crime fighting tasks a bit more than the boardroom.
“Well, I don’t know. I just emptied a safe deposit box my mom left me,” Oliver said with a slight chuckle in his voice. “Uhm, I realized that whatever happened last night with this girl I used to know was probably a way to push me away… and I might have spooked Barry by my aggression against the target mannequin we made last time we were here. So yeah, things are going swell.”
Felicity had pulled up to the club as he finished speaking and blinked in silence. “Oh, wow. Okay, I’m here, just hang on and I’ll get you some answers in soon.”
It took her a bit to avoid the club employees as she made her way downstairs and settled in her chair with her phone on speaker beside her. Pulling up the information, and getting into the banks, it took a couple minutes of quiet typing before she was able to find her accounts. “Okay, I found her. And wow. Yeah. She received $2 million eight years ago from Queen Consolidated, but once it cleared, she transferred almost all of it. I mean that literally, only left a couple hundred in her personal account, and opened a trust fund for Connor Swan with very strict terms on how money can be withdrawn. It could only be used for school tuition, extracurricular activities for the child, or emergencies. She withdrew from it maybe twice from that I can see to use for rent. There was another $1 million sent to her after…a few months later. When you disappeared. She put it in the trust account as well. Umm..”
Before he could say anything else, she went on with anything else she could find. “Her apartment isn’t fancy. It’s a two bedroom, just enough for a mother and son. She doesn’t drive anything flashy. In fact she bought it used and from what it looks like, from her earnings as a writer that she had used from a savings account. She’s on the up and up Oliver. Why was Queen Consolidated paying her $3 million?”
“Because I made a mistake and ran to Mommy,” Oliver simply replied. He knew that Bella wasn’t with him for the money back then, she was better than that and this proved it. And it also proved once again that his mother was a manipulative bitch. It was hard to love his mother and hate her at the same time, but this made him lean more towards hate than love, if he had to be honest with himself. She was fortunate that she was already dead and that thought actually spooked him. “Thank you, Felicity.”
“Sure,” she murmured uncomfortably. “Hey. You okay? I can blow Ray off and come up there if you need me to help with this Bella girl.”
“This is something I need to take care of myself, Felicity, but thanks… it kinda makes sense now that she blew me off yesterday after I accidentally uhm… lost my temper with her and revealed myself to her… ”
She turned to the phone and blinked. “You did what? She knows who you are? How the hell did that happen?”
“Like I said, she’s involved in this case and I… well. Fucked up.”
“What? How?! Oliver!”
Oliver sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Her ex-boyfriend runs the group of metahumans that have decided to go and rob banks. She was trying to make them stop last night and instead I stopped her and lost sight of the whole thing.”
“Because of your personal history with her? You’ve never lost it like this. Even with Sara. I don’t care what you just said, I’m coming up there because you do need help if you can’t stay focused. We’ll figure this out together and I want the whole story when I get there or so help me I will – I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’ll do something!” she snapped as she started grabbing her things and a laptop. “What the hell was she doing going up against a bunch of metas for? She’ll get herself killed!”
“She’s one herself and a quite impressive one. She even used it on me. Stay home. I’ll sort this out.”
“Forget it. She’s going to need a woman that’s caught up in this mess that understands it now to talk to. You men are idiots.”
“She doesn’t like Barry much…”
“You got Barry involved?!”
“Yeah, I mean, she’s scared and he knows more about this metahuman stuff than me and… I thought it was the right thing to do.”
“Wells is going to be all over this girl, Oliver.”
“Yeah, I know. I didn’t care much about that last night, thanks. She pushed me away and I figured she’d moved on.”
Felicity shook her head as she stormed out of the back entrance of the club, to her car as she tossed her things in the back seat. Having him still on speaker, she rolled her eyes as she heard his last comment. “From what I saw and that she dated only that one idiot that I could find, I doubt she really moved on if she was trying to push you away that hard. She’s afraid. Whatever your mother did, fucked with her head. You need to find out what threats your mother made against her because my money is that she wants her to stay away from you because she was more than eager to get away from you at the coffee shop too.”
“Did you at least ship me the extra arrows?”
“They were on my desk. I have to go back to tell Ray that I have to go out of town again. I’ll bring them with me, so you’ll have them tonight instead of tomorrow.”
“I thought you’d send them overnight.”
“It was busy!”
“Fine. See you in ten hours.” Oliver sighed, knowing that he couldn’t stop Felicity from coming to Central City anyway and he actually liked her coming over because there was no way he was going to talk to Joe or Barry about this. “And thank you.”
“Anytime,” she said softer. “About Bella? How did you find out about this?”
“It was in a letter my mom left me in the safety deposit box. I’m on my way to her now with it.”
“Good. Good. She’ll need to see it as proof that she was manipulating you just as much as her. You need to make a decision on what you want to do about her. Preferably by the time I get there so that I can help you. I’ll back you in whatever, but I hope that you think about yourself for once. Just saying. Let me go and deal with Ray right now so that I can get my things together and get on the road sooner. See you later.”
Oliver sighed as he shoved his phone into his pocket and bought a new bag at the shop he was passing. He put his personal content in there with the letter and the file before texting Barry that he needed to take the other bag with the money somewhere safe and not at S.T.A.R. labs. After Barry came and didn’t ask questions, he continued his walk towards Bella’s apartment and rang the buzzer downstairs.
Bella had stayed in after taking Connor to school, not even able to get her mind on her work. All she could do was think about years past, and the night before and all she learned. When the buzzer rang, she nearly jumped up from the couch, making her way to the door to the intercom. Pressing the button, she was confused as she called out. “Hello?”
“Bella? It’s Oliver, can we talk? Please?”
Closing her eyes, she let her head fall to the wall. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. You need to go back to Starling City.”
“I know what my mother did. I want to talk.”
Her eyes teared as they opened and her breath caught in her throat. Swallowing hard, she knew she couldn’t deny him, and his knowing – she’d be unable to fight. He had more power and influence that she’d never win, which made her more careful in her life choices. Jake being her biggest mistake.
When she stayed quiet, he sighed. “It’s okay if you don’t want to. I understand. I just want you to know that I understand now and I want to apologize.”
She didn’t understand though, and how he knew, so suddenly when he obviously didn’t the night before. Taking in a deep, shaky breath, she bit her lip as she pressed the buzzer to open the door downstairs so that he could come in. “9A,” she said in a broken voice before disconnecting the intercom and unlocking the door to leave it open slightly.
Making her way into the kitchen, she went straight for a bottle of wine that she kept in the back of the fridge and poured herself a generous glass while she waited for him to make his appearance. Bella practically finished it by the time she heard footsteps near the front door before swallowing the last mouthful, quickly refilling it for extra liquid courage.
He knocked on the open door before he stepped inside and closed it. He didn’t quite know how to handle this, if he had to be honest and focused on her modest apartment. He liked it, it was small and functional. “Hey,” he greeted her as he found her in the kitchen, staring at him like a deer caught in headlights. “I’m not here to hurt you or anything…”
“Okay…” she whispered as she nodded slightly, but still unable to move from her position where she had the kitchen island safely between them, and several kitchen knives within arms reach. Her nerves made her shield unpredictable, so it was the only area where she felt somewhat safe.
He had decided to stay on the other side of the kitchen island, since she was obviously spooked and he didn’t want to upset her even more. Oliver had to be the one to keep it together and stay calm so that she’d calm down too. He could do that. “I uhm… last night kinda sucked and I didn’t understand why.”
“You didn’t know last night,” Bella pointed out. “What changed?”
“Your ex-boyfriend decided to break into another bank where, as it happened, my mother had a safety deposit box for me, which was news to me.”
She closed her eyes as she set her wine glass down and pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. Letting out a painful groan, she already could see where this was going.
“Bella, I want you to know that since I returned, I realized that my mother – my mother made some bad decisions. I mean, I love her as she’s my mother but she kept secrets and the wrong ones at that. Hell, she even ruined Thea’s life.”
“Your mother…was more than willing to give me money to stay away from you,” she said scornfully as she glared at him.
“I was a scared boy who ran to his mother for help and she helped in the best way that she knew but that doesn’t mean that it was the right thing to do and I am so sorry that she did that.”
Bella shook her head as she felt herself crying again. “Oliver – you weren’t the only one scared! I was scared too! How do you think I felt to be knocked up by the famous Oliver Queen who so happened to be cheating on his girlfriend?! I didn’t want the money! And your mother was a bitch!”
“I know, Bella.” He took the letter out of his bag and pushed it towards her on the kitchen island.
She glanced at it but made no move towards it. “What does it matter now? You would’ve gone back to her anyway and I’d end up here in the same position. Your mother paying me off for my silence.”
“What makes you think that? No, Bella, I would have gone to Laurel to end things with her because she didn’t make me feel things you made me feel. You were-.”
“You said it last night. She was the one. Now it doesn’t matter. My only concern is Connor and that this mess doesn’t mess him up.”
“I said that I thought she was, I wanted to leave her for you and I wanted to tell you that the day you told me you were pregnant and I freaked out,” Oliver said softly as he ran his hand through his hair. “You were the one I was willing to stick with and not treat as poorly as I did with Laurel. You made me honest. You made me see that there was a good life to have outside the pearly gates of the mansion.”
She stared at him, not knowing what to make of his confession. Blinking she gaped at him, trying to find words that never came as she remained pinned against the counter by his eyes as he stared back at her while he continued his pleas.
“The only reason I held on to Laurel for so long was because I felt guilty. Deep down I knew that I was wrong for her and I held on to that, thinking that it was love. But what I felt when I was with you… how I felt… I never felt like that again and when you left I tried looking for it but… I don’t know, Bella. I don’t know how to explain.” He pointed to the letter. “I’m not here to take Connor away from you. I just wanted you to know that I understand now, although I’m not quite sure why you’re so scared. You know me, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.”
Swallowing, Bella slowly stepped forward as she reached out for the paper tentatively. She kept her eyes on him until she had it in her hands and begun to read it. When she reached the part where his mother implied how she’d so willingly took their money, almost as if she wanted or asked for it herself, she was pissed as she threw it back across the counter. “I never asked for a cent. She told me to stay away from you, to never contact you or she would take him away from me herself. If she wasn’t around, then she’d have the lawyers do it for her. I know I’ve been followed by private investigators a couple times over the years. Dad has seen them a time or two tailing me.”
Oliver placed the file on the kitchen island. “I know that you’ve put the money somewhere for Connor, my mother thought that she could fix everything with money, that girls who were into me were just in it for the money and sure, some of them were, but you weren’t. You saw me as Oliver. Not as the son of Robert Queen and I liked that.”
“You don’t belong in that world,” she said, staring at the photo of herself where she was looking somewhere, barely blocking her son in her car.
“I’m no longer in that world seeing as I’ve lost everything,” he explained with a shrug. “They thought it was a good idea to put me in charge of the business after five years away and no college degree. And as always, I fucked up. The five years away helped me a lot too, I only miss the money to fund my … hobby.”
She looked up at him, knowing that he was referring to his vigilante persona. Frowning slightly, she repeated their mutual question from the night before. “Are you happy?”
Oliver groaned for an answer. “I am happy that I have friends around me who support me in whatever I do and who aren’t afraid to tell me that I’m being an idiot when I’m being an asshole. My sister asked me to move into her penthouse with her heaps of money but I find that I’m happier sleeping in my hideout… I think she pities me anyway.”
She couldn’t help but to smile at his comment, but knowing that he was avoiding the same thing she was. Perhaps for the same reason. Taking a deep breath, she straightened her back as she looked up at him now that she was more comfortable that he wasn’t going to do what his mother would have, and that he would help protect them from what devices she left behind. “Do you want to meet him?”
Oliver smiled softly. “That is up to you, Bella. I just want you to know that if there’s anything wrong or if there’s a problem, I will try to help you out the best way that I can. For one, I’ll track down those lawyers my mother bought and will have them stop hounding you so you can continue to live a nice life with him without having to worry about making a wrong move or anything.”
“You’re the one that sought me out, not the other way around. That should be a loophole enough right now,” she replied as she looked at the clock. “He’s getting out of school soon if you want to come with me. We may have to ease into the whole Dad bit, but I don’t see why you can’t meet him as my friend for now. Although, he may just figure it out on his own pretty fast…”
He nodded. “He’s a smart cookie?”
“You have no idea. It’s been hell trying to find a school that suits him. They’ve suggested homeschooling but I don’t like it because he needs the social interaction. At the same time, I am not a fan of the prestigious, over priced schools either.”
“I happen to know a handful of geniuses who might know someone, if you’re considering home schooling.”
“In Central City or Starling City?” she asked peculiarly.
“Wherever you want,” he smiled at her as he opened the front door for her. “Are you thinking about moving back then?”
Bella shrugged as she pulled her coat on. “It’s a possibility. I can do my job from anywhere and Connor hasn’t been happy with school lately, though he has refused to tell me why. I’m hoping to get something out of him. I’ve been taking him to the park to cheer him up after school because he’s been depressed when he comes out. I don’t know.”
“What’s in the park that lifts his spirit then?” Oliver asked as they walked towards the stairs to walk down. “I met this kid once who liked to point out that I wasn’t able to do the laundry on my own so I had him teach me and he took pleasure in doing so.”
“The park has a bit of everything I suppose. But, um, I should warn you,” Bella grimaced as she paused outside her car as she unlocked it. “Connor has a thing for the Flash and the Arrow.”
Oliver’s grin grew wide. “Really now?”
“Well, I’m a fanboy myself, so maybe he and I can act it out in the park today.”
She rolled her eyes as she snorted. “Now maybe I’ll dip into his trust to pay for pictures of that. The tabloids would really love those,” she teased as she got into the car.
He got into the car and stuck out his tongue to her. “Won’t make you any money anyway.”
“It’s all about the fangirling. You should have seen Iris drooling after you in the coffee shop that day.”
“Barry, my uhm, police friend, told me that my arms are twice the size of his, according to Iris.” Oliver shook his head. “Luckily she… well she used to be a Flash fangirl. Oh god, what if I’m next on her hit list?”
Bella eyed him curiously before glancing down at his arms. “Well, they are nice arms. And I read about the Flash incident in the papers. He was a little nuts or something? You had to take him down?”
“He had a run in with a bad metahuman, it wasn’t pretty.” Oliver sighed with a nod. “He couldn’t help himself and was just really angry towards certain people.”
“Huh… did he have red glasses?”
“I was in the bank when he was there. Well right before. I remember him walking in, I was on my way out and I remember he tried looking into my eyes but I felt nothing. I heard about it after, and thought I was lucky to just miss it,” she explained.
Oliver was quiet for a moment, thinking about her words and her ability to shield herself and manipulate it. “I know that I said that I had people in Central City who could help you understand what you’re going through with your shield thing but uhm…”
“What is it?” She asked concerned as she turned the corner.
“The only person I trust from that group is the Flash, really. Those people are responsible for the explosion and all, and sure, they want to help out anyway that they can to understand it more but I don’t trust the man running it. I know I have nothing to do with your life and I don’t want to tell you what to do but I want to ask you to stay away from them. You could get unwillingly exploited and… it’s not good.”
She nodded knowingly. “That’s what I wanted to avoid with Connor if he’s affected. Like I said, I don’t know if it shows anything later. Especially if it’s genetic. I may have read him too many X-Men comics which is making me paranoid.”
Oliver smiled. “Luckily, should you ever want answers, I do have someone who’s not affiliated with that lab and she’s as bright as they come and more than willing to answer questions you might have. She’s on my team, she can be trusted.”
She glanced over at him, her expression hopefully unreadable as she wasn’t sure what this woman was to him. “I’ll think about it. Like I said, everything I do, is to put Connor first.”
“As it should be,” Oliver said with a nod.
Bella pulled up two blocks away from the school as she knew she wouldn’t get a parking space closer. “We walk in from here. They close the street for parking during certain hours. Avoids accidents,” she said vaguely as she pocketed the keys in her jeans.
“That’s a good idea,” Oliver said as he put his hands in his pockets. “So apart from the Flash and the Arrow, what does he like?”
“He’s a video game junkie. If I didn’t force him outside, he would be in his room all day. But he also likes to read, which is good. He does have a hard time making friends, which had me worried. I had him tested, but it turned out he was just advanced for his age group, which is why they recommended home schooling. Hence my problem with school and socialization. He needs kids his age but the work bores him.”
Oliver nodded. “Do you have any friends?” He knew how fearful Bella had been last night and earlier and even though he was far from being an expert, with kids it was usually the case of monkey see, monkey do. Or in this case, kid sees his mother without friends and doesn’t want his own.
The school was a huge modern building with wide open windows and parents were waiting outside. The way the parents were dressed reminded him of his own school days, these people were loaded. “Fuck, Bella, this school must cost an arm and a leg.”
“Thank your mother. That’s the only reason why I deposited the checks was for him to get the best future,” she said as she looked at him wide eyed and terrified. “I did have him in public school for awhile but he placed out of everything that they couldn’t keep up with him that he ended up acting out because he had nothing to do. What else was I to do?”
He looked at her and blinked at the terror shown upon her face. “Relax, I’m not angry, I’m just really impressed, Bella. I was just worried that you were paying for this yourself rather than using the money.”
“I know, but I just don’t know what else to do with him. There are only so many other options left,” she whispered as they had gotten closer to the other parents.
“I can help you figure it out, if you want,” he smiled at her and could feel eyes on his back. People were looking at him. “Don’t come here often with a male friend, do you?” he softly laughed.
Bella snorted. “No. Not since Jake and even then, it was only a couple times. I didn’t want it to be a habit because I didn’t see it lasting. Connor liked him and insisted that I bring him, but then the changes started and you know how that went down.” She went quiet for a moment as she turned her head towards him to hide a smirk. “Incoming. You may want to take a shower when we get back after this.”
Oliver blinked when all of a sudden there was a child around Bella’s neck, smothering her in kisses, holding her tightly as if he was holding on for life. This continued for a minute or so before the kid let go of Bella.
“Hi Mom,” Connor said as he looked at Oliver. “Who’s he?”
She brushed his dark blond hair away from his face to find his eyes puffy from having been crying. “He’s an old friend that came to visit. First, tell me what happened baby,” she said as she ran her finger under his eye over the sensitive skin.
“Nothing,” Connor replied as he looked up to her, wincing. “I can handle it, can we go to the park now?”
Bella instantly looked up at Oliver, a smirk on his lips as the phrase sounded oddly familiar from someone else. “Sure baby. We’ll go to the park. Do you mind if Oliver joins us?”
Connor’s eyes darted warily between Oliver and his mother. “Do you? He’s kinda tall.”
“I’m okay with it. You’re the one that seems upset today so I’m asking you,” she pointed out.
“Your mom told me you like the Flash,” Oliver said as they started to walk towards the car. “And that other dude, uhm… what do you call him?”
“The Arrow,” Connor replied as his eyes revealed a twinkle in them. “They are so awesome, I mean, the Flash is really really fast and the Arrow beat him a few weeks ago when the Flash was crazy, so he’s awesomer.”
“Well, I happen to like the Flash too,” Oliver said with a nod. “Imagine what you could do with his speed… stay late in bed and be at school in a blink of an eye… or you know, get dressed in a matter of seconds.”
Bella smirked as she shook her head. “Don’t go there,” she said as she pointed her finger at him. “He’s only seven.”
“How far away is the park?” Oliver grinned at Bella.
“A couple blocks. We can walk it from here,” she said as she nodded in the direction. “Maybe, if someone is good, we can cheat and get some ice cream before dinner.”
“Awesome,” Connor smiled widely before tugging on Oliver’s sleeve. “Do you want to play the Arrow and the Flash with me?”
“Oh, I don’t know, you should ask your mom.”
“Because you know, I totally think that the Flash could carry the Arrow and run around with him on his back or something with his super speed,” Connor said as he looked at his mother.
Oliver was surprised to see that Connor was already somewhat at ease with him, probably because Bella was and eyed Bella with a grin on his face as he handed her his bag.
Bella had pulled out her cell phone and grinned at the two. “By all means, go ahead. I’m all ready to record the blackmail,” she smiled at the man. “I’m sure your friends will love it if I meet them one day if you want me to speak with them.”
“Uhuh… as if they haven’t seen me do weirder things,” Oliver replied with a grin and lifted Connor up so he could ride on his back. “Are you comfortable, Mr. Arrowman?”
“Just Arrow would do, Flash.” Oliver could hear the eyeroll in those words.
She couldn’t help but grin as she watched, and recorded, them as they took off. Even if he didn’t know he was playing with his father, she was relieved that he seemed to have accepted him as her friend at the moment. She moved to the bench to sit and watch them, laughing as they continued to run around before they moved further away but still remained in sight and sighed, wishing that history hadn’t happened as it had.
“Can she hear us?” Connor whispered in Oliver’s ear.
“I don’t think so,” Oliver said as he stopped and helped Connor off his back. “Something wrong?” He asked as he squatted down in front of him.
“I don’t know you, but my mom seems to trust you. What’s your deal with her?”
Oliver blinked. The kid was seven years old and he was not afraid to voice his opinion, apparently. “Your mom and I are very old friends.”
“Then why haven’t I seen you around before?”
“Your mom and I are very old friends with a complicated history that you won’t need to know about,” Oliver replied as he looked at him. He could see a lot of Bella in Connor’s face but there was no doubt that Connor was his son.
The boy frowned, a scowl that matched his mother’s. “You’re lying.”
“It’s not my place to tell you what that history is, Connor, but know that I only have good intentions and am trying to make things right for your mother.”
He narrowed his eyes as he tried to understand and make sense before nodding once. Looking over his shoulder, he smiled brightly at his mom and waved before looking back at the man a little more nervously. “Can you keep a secret? I don’t want my mom to know. She feels bad enough about everything.”
“I know, that’s one of the things I want to try to change for your mother and I’m really good at keeping secrets, I promise. Whatever you’re going to tell me, it will stay between us, unless it’s a life or death situation you’re going to inform me about.”
Connor hesitated, accepting his words. “I don’t like my school. Everyone knows that Mom used to date Jake, and that he’s a criminal now.”
“Is that how you got that shiner?” Oliver carefully asked him as he looked up to him. “Are they bullying you?”
He nodded, trying not to cry. “I ignore them but I don’t want to go back there. I know Mom wants me in the best school, but I don’t like them there. I’d rather be around nobody if they are going to call my mom and Uncle Jake names. He just got really sick last year and hasn’t gotten better.”
Oliver nodded. “I hear you,” he said as he thought for a moment. “Have you talked to your mom about not liking the school?”
“She doesn’t want to take me out. I heard the school suggest it already. Why ask her again?” he said, looking at him stupidly.
“Because, she heard it from the school. She heard it from another authority figure,” Oliver replied. “There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for you, Connor. I think she’ll change her mind if she hears it from you.”
He shrugged a shoulder. “Maybe. I’ll think about it,” he muttered.
Oliver tried not to laugh. The shrugging was all his, but the thinking about it was all Bella. “You’re not that miserable at school then if you have to think about it,” Oliver said with a wink.
Connor sighed and looked over at his mom again. “She’s not happy here,” he revealed. “She misses my dad. Would you help me find him?”
He swallowed hard and nodded. “What do you know about him?”
“Not much. She doesn’t talk about him. I’ve asked but she just starts crying. Grandpa only gets angry at her about him.”
“Yeah, your grandfather is a force of nature and to be feared,” Oliver smiled knowingly. “Well, where does your dad live?”
He pulled out an old postcard from his pocket that he had kept after he found it in his mother’s things from Starling City and handed it to him. “This is the only thing I’ve found. If I can only get them in the same room, maybe she’ll be happy. Not just about me. Maybe she’ll take us and move from Central City? Away from that school! You think?”
It was funny how in some ways Connor was older than his seven years and in others, mostly the emotional side, he was definitely acting his age. Then again, Oliver wasn’t really good with his emotions either. “I’m going to do my best,” he eventually said and held up the postcard. “Can I hold on to this for a while?”
“Don’t lose it,” Connor said, growing worried as he eyed it like it was a prized possession.
“Okay, hold on.” Oliver took out his phone and took a picture of the front and back before handing the postcard back to Connor. He remembered sending Bella that postcard when his mother had taken him and Thea on holiday. He also remembered that she was the only one he sent a postcard to that vacation. It was heartbreaking to see that Connor really wanted to find his father. “Alright, enough serious stuff. I’m going to help you and that is a deal. Want to play some more? See if we can get your mom be the Canary?”
“Playing cops and robbers?” Barry interrupted, eyeing his friend curiously as he stood at the edge of the playground. “Can I join in?”
Connor looked up to the man and eyed Oliver for a second. “Can we trust him, Flash?”
Oliver grinned as he looked up to Barry from his position on the floor.
“Flash?” Barry repeated, almost choking on his words.
“I have no idea, Arrow,” Oliver said as he got to his feet. “You’d better jump on my back for safety so we can run away from this man if we have to.”
“Oh, this is golden,” Barry laughed as he took out his phone. “Wait until Felicity hears about this, you will not live this down, Oliver. Since when do you pick up random kids anyway?”
“Shut up, Barry,” Oliver said, rolling his eyes at his friend as he started to walk back to Bella with Connor on his back.
Following his friend, he was busy texting his friend, not paying attention to who else was with him until they got closer. “So what’s the deal with the kid?” he asked until he looked up, finding his mother standing there waiting. “Oh – hello there…” he blinked.
“Bella, meet Barry. Barry, this is Isabella Swan and this is her son Connor. We were just playing out Connor’s favorite superheroes.”
Barry immediately looked over at Oliver but the forensic scientist in him kicked in and noticed the resemblance at seeing the three together. “Oh – ohhh – oh…. Oliver…You never -”
“Don’t,” Oliver said as he shot Barry a look that warned him that the next time he’d have arrows on him that one was destined for his knees.
“Uh…um…” he stammered, not sure what to say because now he seemed to have been caught by surprise with this revelation. He had even momentarily forgotten why he’d come out to find his friend too.
“What kind of friends do you have? Are they all so weird?” Connor whispered in Oliver’s ear before he lowered him down to the ground.
“Hey, don’t judge me, little man. This friend happens to be someone who can help the both of us with our little secret.”
“Shh!” Connor hissed as he alarmingly looked at his mother. “It’s not a secret if you mention the secret in front of the person we need to keep it a secret from!”
Bella raised an eyebrow at the both of them. “Do I even want to know?” she asked, looking up at Oliver for a moment, unsure of what was going on with his friend joining them now. Her defenses seemed to be raised with him, though she didn’t know why and she pulled Connor in closer to her.
“Bella, it’s okay, this is the friend I mentioned earlier… uhm… in both ways of the mention of only trusted people in here…”
She raised her chin as she realized the double entender of his words, eyeing the man, before meeting Oliver’s eyes. “I see. Well, I think I am going to pass on their offer after all.”
“I can’t believe you told her, man,” Barry complained as he looked at Oliver before looking at Bella and nodded. “I completely understand. Know that without having left your name that you’re in the clear of purchasing.”
“They know we exist so it’s a problem.”
“Oh my god, grown ups.” Connor rolled his eyes.
“Connor,” Bella scolded, before sighing and giving him a gentle shove off. “Go on and monkey around. I’ll let you know when we’re done boring you.”
“When you’re done being a grown up, can you join me again?” Connor looked up to Oliver with hope in his eyes. “The Flash and the Arrow still have the bad guys to catch.”
“Yep, definitely,” Oliver said with a nod and saw Connor run off. He then turned to Barry who had the biggest, goofiest smile on his face. “What?”
“I don’t know man, just you… and the kid… just… priceless.” He then looked at Bella. “Please tell me you recorded him or something.”
Bella smirked and waved her cell phone. “Definitely. Couldn’t miss this for reasons that I won’t share with you. What do you want with Oliver?” she asked as she moved to stand beside him defensively.
“Right. There’s another trivia night tonight at the Jitters. Iris says she’s going to kill us if we don’t show up again.”
“I can’t, Barry.” Oliver said as he looked at his friend. “I’ll be out tonight. And so are you. I don’t care about Eddie, I need your help.”
“What do you two need to do?” Bella asked, interrupting them.
“Right,” Barry said with a nod, ignoring Bella and sighed. “Joe is going to kill you.”
“He doesn’t have to know. I just want things wrapped up before I can focus on other things.”
“Fine. But you’ll tell me how that goes, right?” Barry remembered the state Oliver was in last night and it hadn’t been pretty, he was wondering how on Earth he changed around so fast.
“You suck. See you later.” Barry said before nodding to Bella and walked off until he was out of sight and sped off. She stared at the spot he was in, ready to say something to him before he disappeared before growing more pissed and turned onto the one remaining but he seemed distracted.
Oliver sighed as he fingered his phone. “Connor is very exceptional,” he said slowly. “He’s aware of more than you think.”
She glared at him, not appreciating being ignored. “I know he is. He gets that from you, though sometimes I have to question it. Oliver, what the hell was that about? I can help you. Charlie can watch Connor and I can come help and no one can touch either of us with my ability. I’ve been practicing it a lot over the past year with douchebag and his merry pack of mutts.”
“I know you can help and that you want to help, but it could be dangerous. I mean, I have a friend who’s recently become a father and I’m not even allowing him to come with some things even though I know he wants to.”
“Does he let you tell him no?” she asked him evenly as she met his eyes.
“Nine out of ten times… no,” Oliver sighed.
“What makes you think I’d let you do the same with me. Is he like me Oliver?”
“No, he’s not.”
Bella nodded slowly as she stared at him, not saying anything for awhile as she made her way closer, trying to figure out what was going through his head. “Then what is your reservation? You’ve seen that I’m capable of holding my own… What is your problem?” she whispered harshly, not wanting Connor to overhear her anger and distress with his father.
“You are,” Oliver said softly as he met her eyes. “I can’t focus with you around and I need to be able to focus to do what I do.”
“Why can’t you focus?” she asked, confused. “That doesn’t make sense. I can just knock you around until some sense comes to you if you’d like if you feel that would help, but I’d rather not do that around our son.”
“It makes as much sense as bursting into tears whenever our son asks you about his father.”
Bella froze as she stared at him, immediately taking a step back and putting space between them. She looked over to where Connor was happily making his way across the monkey bars and let out a breath. “He spoke to you about that?”
“He let me in on a few secrets of his, yes,” Oliver said with a nod. “He knows you’re not happy. He thinks that it can be resolved by finding his father and putting you into one room with him.”
“I need to take away Disney movies,” she muttered as she pulled back her hair and turned away from him because she couldn’t look at him.
“He’s seven,” Oliver said with a shrug. “He then asked me if I could help him find his father so he could make you happy again.” He looked at Bella and put his hand on her shoulder. “Was he wrong?”
She’d grown pale and felt like everything was closing in around her as she bent over to put her head between her legs. “He’s seven,” she breathed out, trying to dismiss his reasoning. The excuse empty to even herself. “He doesn’t understand.”
“Bella, I’m being honest with you. Could you please be honest with me?”
Standing up she glared at him. “What the hell do you want me to say Oliver? That I want you back? That there is any chance of a future for you and I? There isn’t. I know it. Why should there be any hope be raised or given to him just to be crushed for something that won’t happen?”
“Why isn’t there a future for you and me?” Oliver countered, trying to reel in his anger, they were in a playground after all with their son luckily out of earshot. “I’m not who I was, Bella. Ever since we ran into each other at Jitters you’ve been on my mind and -”
She stared at him and closed her eyes, shaking her head. “You want me to be honest, but you can’t even say it yourself. Just – don’t. I can’t handle it Oliver.”
“I still love you. Never stopped.”
Bella’s eyes snapped open and she stared at him blankly, unable to react. She opened her mouth but it was dry and hurt to speak any more. “Oliver?” she choked out, a tear rolling down her cheek. Her eyes, questioning him.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” he said as he quickly closed the space between them and kissed her tenderly. He had wanted to hold himself back because of all the children but right now he didn’t really care.
The kiss hadn’t lasted very long but she slowly accepted him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, crying as she let out the feelings she held in for years. It may take some time for them to find their place together, if they were to pursue whatever they were, but she knew if he wanted to try, she would take everything she could. The only thing she was confident in was that she knew he wouldn’t do anything to intentionally hurt Connor.
He caressed her back as she cried. “And that’s why you can’t come along tonight,” he said with a whisper. “We’re both emotionally unhealthy.”
“We need to tell Connor,” she said as she wiped her eyes, trying to compose herself. “How did he know?”
He opened his phone to show her the pictures of the postcard that Connor had showed him. “He found it in your box with stuff from Starling City, figured it was his dad’s and he’s carrying it in his pocket.”
She sighed as she looked across the playground where the boy was watching them carefully. She couldn’t make out what he was thinking but if he saw them kiss, she knew he wouldn’t be happy. “If he saw us, we have to tell him fast. Otherwise, you made yourself an enemy right after he trusted you with this.”
Oliver rubbed his eyes. “Yeah… why don’t you get him and I’ll get us some ice cream, surely there’s a quiet spot here somewhere.”
Bella looked around and pointed up towards a corner of the park that was often empty. “We’ll wait for you over there. He likes chocolate with marshmallow topping,” she said as she squeezed his hand. “I’ll talk to him in the meanwhile to see how much he saw.”
Oliver nodded before walking towards the ice cream stand, his mind boggling with the current state of affairs. His life was going to change so fast that he was a bit afraid, but he wasn’t really. He knew his friends would be happy for him and most of importantly, he had Bella back. And he had a son.
“Why were you crying?” Connor asked as he walked over to his mother. “Did he hurt you?”
Bella smiled at him as she reached out for his hand. “No baby. Come on, let’s go over there so we can talk. Oliver told me some things that I didn’t expect to hear, and – I don’t know how things are going to go now. They are good I think,” she said, her face confused but she smiled as she looked at him.
Connor frowned. “Is he going to take us away from Central City?”
She canted her head as she eyed him curiously. “Do you want to move?”
Connor nodded, it almost looked as if he was a bobblehead character. “I don’t like this place.”
“Why baby? Why do you want to leave?” she asked as she pulled him to her as she held him close as they sat on the bench.
He sighed deeply and put his head on her shoulder. “I don’t like my school and you don’t like it here either. Maybe if we moved, you’d feel better and that’s good.”
She ran her fingers through his hair and pressed her lips to his head. “What makes you think I don’t like it here? Where do you think I would be happy?”
Connor shrugged. “You only go outside to bring me to school or pick me up or do the groceries. Or to go to grandpa. You need to be where you were happy.”
“I’m happy with you,” Bella said, wondering how she would try to turn the conversation to Oliver.
“Yeah, but I’m a kid, that’s what mothers are, happy with their children.” Connor looked up to his mother and sighed. “Find my dad and you’ll be happy again.”
She looked at him curiously. “Why do you think your dad is the answer?”
“Mom, please,” he rolled his eyes again.
“No, I’m really wondering why you want me to find him so much,” she insisted.
“It’s obvious. You cry whenever I ask about him and grandpa gets angry when I make you cry and… I don’t know… having a father would be kinda cool.”
“Grandpa is angry about the situation that was surrounding your father, why he wasn’t around when you were born. He – didn’t like him very much, but he didn’t know him either. You father is a good man, and yes, I missed him very much,” she said as she ran her hand over his cheek, frowning as his black eye was slowly bruising worse. “You really are having a hard time in that school, aren’t you?”
Connor nodded. “Please home school me. It’s not like I have any friends anyway.”
“Depending on how things go, it’s a possibility,” she said, nervously. “If you are okay with what we tell you, we might be moving, but that is between you and I. I don’t want Grandpa to know yet. Okay?”
Connor looked at Oliver who was walking over to them with ice cream in his hands. “If he’s not my dad, I don’t want you to date him. I mean, he’s cool but he has some weird friends.”
Bella pulled back slightly, amused at him. “Why wouldn’t you want me to date him? Aside from his friends?”
“I don’t know… it just… it looked like he was lying when we talked.”
“You and him being old friends with a very complicated history.”
“It’s true though. We ended our – friendship in a difficult manner. We saw each other for the first time in eight years only a few weeks ago. There are things that he only just learned about that he needed to know, but also that I needed,” she explained, glancing over as he was getting closer and leaned into whisper. “And that you need to know as well.”
“Are you going to tell me a secret?”
Bella kissed him carefully on his forehead because it was the side that he had the black eye on. “Oliver is much more important to us than just an old friend. You were telling him much more than secrets when you were talking to him before baby,” she whispered. “We both don’t know what we are doing right now, what is right, or wrong, in how to handle this…”
“Chocolate and marshmallow, right?” Oliver asked as he handed Connor his ice cream before handing Bella hers.
She smiled up at him for the interruption and took a deep breath as she let go of him so that he could claim his ice cream hesitantly as well as her own. “Thank you,” she said as she pulled the lid off of hers, and looked up at him. “You remembered?”
“Of course,” Oliver smiled at her. “I don’t forget a lot of things like… you’re a blanket hogger.”
Connor looked at Oliver before opening his ice cream. “If this is an apology for lying to me earlier when I brought up my father, you’re forgiven,” he muttered as he put a spoonful of ice cream in his mouth.
Bella looked from Connor up to Oliver, unsure of what to make of the boy’s comment and shrugged. “Are you able to join us for dinner or do you have to work?” she asked, biting her lip as she too started on her ice cream.
Oliver blinked at the boy before looking at Bella. “Food is good,” he said as he took a spoonful of ice cream. “I’d love to.”
Connor just smiled to himself as he enjoyed his ice cream. He liked unnerving adults because sometimes they could be so dumb or think that he was oblivious to things. “I should ignore the both of you for lying to me but the ice cream is just too good.”
“Uh, what? Connor?” Bella asked slightly accusing but hurt and confused by his behavior now. “What have we lied about?”
“He’s not just an old friend and my search ended the moment I saw him at school today. It’s kinda obvious.” When he found both adults stare at him blankly, he sighed dramatically. “Hello, have you seen his face? It’s the same as mine,” he said as he took another bite of his ice cream. “It’s kinda obvious that he’s my father.”
“He has your attitude,” Bella grunted as she sat back with her ice cream, shoving a bite in her mouth and looked at Oliver innocently.
“And your flair for drama,” Oliver said with a nod.
“And still here.” Connor said with his mouth full, feeling quite full of himself now. Mission accomplished.