emilia clarke | instyle uk, april 2014
Oliver’s not sure exactly what he’d expected from this meeting, but outright hostility probably wasn’t it. Possibly he’s missing something important. Possibly he’s been an asshole without meaning to. It wouldn’t exactly be the first time.
"So, do you kidnap and detain all the women you sleep with, or am I just lucky?" Felicity waves away the water he offers, folding her arms protectively across her chest. Her dress is blue tonight, with black lace sleeves, and this little hat thing perched on the back of her head. She looks like an extra in a Stevie Nicks video from 1985, the whole effect is ridiculously charming.
"Very lucky," Oliver says, neglecting her glass to pour himself some water instead. He’s definitely going to need it. "Seven grand lucky, tonight alone. Quite the take."
"I’m good at blackjack."
"Incredibly good," he agrees. "Over a hundred total, in the past four months. That’s incredibly, amazingly good."
Felicity shifts in her seat slightly, her first sign of a flinch. “Uh huh.”
“Counting cards good, one might even say.”
"Oh." She blinks once, twice, scraping her teeth across her bottom lip. Oliver tries not to stare. "So this actually isn’t about—um—"
"How you slept with me, then snuck out of my room before I woke up and disappeared for three weeks?" Oliver shrugs. "Not technically."
Felicity sniffs disapprovingly. “If you’re about to make some gross blackmail offer thing, I’m gonna stop you right here, buddy—”
"I only meant that I’ve been cutting you a lot of slack," he said pointedly. "Anyone else would’ve been arrested weeks ago."
"Arrested, right," Felicity says flippantly. "That’s why you keep interrogation rooms below the casino floor? Anyone else would’ve been dumped out the back door with a broken nose by now, more like."
"This is a file room,” Oliver says, sort of offended. “The table’s for my security guys, they play cards down here when they’re on break. This isn’t Ocean’s Eleven, for fuck’s sake.”
Felicity blinks again. “Oh.”
"The bouncers are real, though." Oliver shrugs. "Can’t be a real casino without some wise guy types."
Felicity taps one fingernail against her arm, eyeing the door. “Right.”
"And I didn’t kidnap you."
"I beg to differ!"
"It was a very—light kidnapping,” he insists. “Look—that’s not the point, my point is—stop stealing from me, Felicity. If we’re not going to flirt anymore then it just looks bad.”
"Who said—I mean." Felicity looks a little flustered, the first time he’s seen it since that night, clutching at the lapel of his suit and jabbering nervously about nothing. “You knew all along?”
"Of course I did." Oliver sighs, taking a long drink of water. The room feels somewhat oppressive, especially with the table so small, he can feel the hem of her dress brush against his leg when she moves. Maybe she has a point about the interrogation room thing. "I rather thought you did too. I thought it was part of…" he gestures helplessly, unable to come up with a suitable phrase to describe the…whatever the hell it is that they’ve been doing for the past four months.
(Digg’s term for it had been “fucked up rich white people flirting.” Oliver thinks that’s about as close to accurate as it gets.)
"Oh. No." She bites her lip again, looking distinctly nervous now. "No, I was just stealing from you."
"Yeah." She fidgets a little. Oliver really wishes he didn’t find it that cute. "I mean—if it makes it better, it’s for my mom? She’s sick. I needed—there’s this treatment that could help her, but it’s sort of experimental and insurance won’t cover it. I was kind of desperate."
"She’s sick?" Of course she is. "What does she have?"
"Huntington disease." Felicity pauses. "Look, I’ll—I’d give the money back, but I already used most of it for the hospital bills. I can do something else, though, I’ll…work it off or something, but please don’t send me to jail, okay, if I’m not around they’ll put her in a home or something, and—"
"I’m not going to send you to jail," Oliver says irritably, definitely offended now. "And I’m not going to make you work it off, either, at least not…the way you’re apparently thinking, Jesus.”
"Well, I don’t know," Felicity says, flustered, "I just—"
"Watch too many movies?" Oliver scowls. "Obviously."
"I’m sorry," she replies, kind of small and ashamed. Something in Oliver’s chest flinches. "I really am. I didn’t—I didn’t know what else to do."
Oliver sighs, taking a moment to rub his forehead tiredly. His mother is never going to let him hear the end of this one. “Okay. Okay, how much do you still need?” Felicity snaps her head up and gapes at him. “Your mother’s treatment—do you still owe money for it?”
"I—yes," she stammers, "there’s about thirteen grand left, not counting the seven I won tonight. What—"
Oliver pulls out his phone, tapping out a message to McKenna. “Smoak is your mom’s name as well, I assume?”
"Yes—no, wait, are you seriously just going to give me the money?" Felicity asks, aghast. "You can’t!"
"Well, you need it. I have it."
"I can’t accept that from you," she says emphatically. "No. That’s way too much, no."
"So you were okay with…cheating me for it,” Oliver says slowly, one eyebrow raised, “but just accepting it as an outright gift—that’s going too far?”
"Well, I was—earning it, sort of," Felicity says weakly. "It’s—you’re just doing this because we slept together."
"I’m doing this because we’re friends," Oliver stresses, "sort of. Friends who…slept together."
"I barely know you."
"But we did sleep together.”
Felicity huffs in frustration. “Why are you being so nice? This is ridiculous.”
"Why are you being so difficult?” Oliver shoots back. “Look—I consider you a friend, whether the reverse is true or not. I let you keep taking home all that money because I liked you, and it wasn’t enough to affect my bottom line, so it didn’t matter. And I don’t know what’s different about this situation now, other than the fact that we’re both finally on the same page, so…”
Felicity looks up at the ceiling, muttering something under her breath, too quiet for Oliver to catch. “I can’t,” she says haltingly, “I can’t let you just—it’s not—”
Oliver lets her stumble into silence, watching the struggle on her face. He sighs. “How about a compromise, then,” he offers. “You’re studying computer science at UNLV, correct?”
"How did you…" Felicity makes a face. "Oh. Right. Yes."
"So my Lead Cyber Security Engineer just quit. Come work for me, and consider the money an advance on your first month’s salary."
“Month’s," Felicity repeats incredulously. "Are you—you’re serious. You just happen to have a job opening in the exact field that I’m studying. Right at this moment.”
Quit, about to be fired, whatever. The guy’s been getting on McKenna’s nerves for months now; she’ll probably throw a party when he tells her. If he lets her do the firing himself, she might even cry. “Yes.” He smiles innocently. “Why, does that seem odd?”
"I…" Felicity shakes her head, pressing her fingertips to her chin. "I can’t believe this is actually happening."
Oliver takes another drink of water in an attempt to hide his nerves. This is, if even possible, worse than waking up to an empty bed, that gradual, sinking feeling of rejection that only kept intensifying every night that she didn’t show up, a flash of blonde hair and bright color out of the corner of his eye. He wants to ask why she’d left, but the answer seems plainly obvious now—it wasn’t about him. It was never about him.
He’s not exactly used to rejection, being a wealthy, handsome man, to say the least. But then again, he’s not used to liking someone this much, either. Firsts come in groups, apparently.
"It is a real job," she asks cautiously, "like you’re not just—making up some bullcrap title to get me to take the money?"
"It is absolutely a real job," Oliver says. "Full benefits, two weeks of paid vacation a year, the whole nine yards. We’ll work around your school schedule, if you need to. We’ve got excellent health insurance, too, for your mother. If you need it."
"How do you know I’m good enough?" she asks. "What, did you look up my grades when you ran your rich casino boss background check on me?"
Yes, actually. That’s one of those things that she’s probably better off not knowing, though. “You were counting cards from memory,” he says, “and I don’t know how many times you’ve gone off on tangents about this or that in conversation with me. I may not be a computer genius, but I know enough to recognize one when I see her.”
"Okay," Felicity says, "that’s—okay."
"It’s a deal?"
Felicity reaches out and shakes his hand. “I guess,” she says, still sounding somewhat incredulous. “I’m not taking the advance though. I’ll wait for the paycheck.”
"Sure," he says indulgently, "whatever you say."
"And here I thought I was gonna get my kneecaps broken," she jokes. "Now I’m a high-paid professional in the gambling industry. How about that."
Oliver winces internally. Literally nobody is going to let him hear the end of this. Digg’s probably laughing at him already. “Right.”
"Thank you." She smiles, this big, hopeful thing that makes her look younger than he knows she is. There’s a smudge of lipstick on her teeth that Oliver can’t stop looking at; it’s incredibly endearing, the way she’s always so almost-flawlessly put together. “I—I really do appreciate it. And—I’m sorry again. For…you know, cheating you out of a bunch of money and then thinking you were going to break my kneecaps.”
"I like your kneecaps," Oliver says, unable to help himself. "I wouldn’t break them, if I had them."
Felicity blushes a little. “Um. Right.”
"Besides," Oliver says, determinedly pushing past the tense silence that threatens to fall, "my father always said that if I ever found someone who managed to cheat the system and get away with it, I should hire them on the spot."
"I thought you said you knew all along?"
"Not the first time," Oliver replies, a little wistfully. "That first night—you won."
She grins. It’s probably his favorite look on her, yet.
Written before the Russia episode aired, this is what I think a lot of wished had happened with regards to Isabel and Oliver.
“Were you asleep?”
Felicity walked in to the hotel room, Oliver following right behind as the door shut behind them, “Nope. Jet lag. I was talking myself out of hacking in to a Russian server just to see if I could. I don’t think I’d do well in a Russian prison. What are you doing up?”
“I finally made it back to my hotel room and found something…unpleasant in my bed.”
Felicity turned, having changed in to jeans a t-shirt after the excitement from earlier, she felt a little frumpy compared to Oliver’s suit, “Unpleasant? It wasn’t a cockroach was it? Cause I was using my tablet earlier and thought I saw-”
Laughing, Oliver reached out to stop Felicity before she could talk herself in to a panic, “Nothing of the roach variety, this is one of the best hotels in the country.”
“Uh, it was Isabel.”
Behind her glasses Felicity’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped, “I’m sorry. The angry woman who tried to hostile take-over Queen Consolidated? Your family company? That Isabel Rochev.”
Felicity’s eyes widened again, “Wait a second? Did you say your bed.”
[3/6] characters: oliver queen
The Veronica Mars Movie cast at the premiere of ‘Veronica Mars’ during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival
Aaron Paul photographed by Fred Jacobs for Esquire UK (April, 2014).