Pairings/Characters: Tommy Merlyn/Oliver Queen, Tommy Merlyn/Felicity Smoak/Oliver Queen - Tommy Merlyn, Oliver Queen, Felicity Smoak, John Diggle, Laurel Lance, Thea Queen, Malcolm Merlyn, Moira Queen
Summary: Oliver and Tommy work through their issues and come to a realization about each other, with Felicity's help. Tommy's POV.
Timeline: Starts during episode 1x19 (Unfinished Business) and re-writes the rest of the season.
Word Count: 45,000 total / ~5,700 this chapter
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them (and some of their words) from Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg.
Betas: Big huge thank you to angelskuuipo for being the best sounding board and hand holder I could ask for. You really helped me when I was struggling with re-writing some of these chapters and this story wouldn't be what it is without your help. Thanks also to apckrfan for lending a second set of eyes.
Author's Note 1: Title from the song "The Feeling" by Justin Bieber (featuring Halsey).
Catch up on LJ or AO3.
Author's Note: Takes place during 1x22 (Darkness on the Edge of Town). Some dialogue borrowed from this episode as well as episode 1x19.
Tommy was reclining on the couch in his office, staring into his glass of Scotch as if it held the answers to life's mysteries, when Oliver found him.
"Hey," Oliver said, settling down next to Tommy, a hand falling to his thigh.
Tommy looked up, a small smile pulling his lips up. "Hey. How's Walter?"
"He looks good. Better than when I found him," Oliver said. "Felicity showed up with flowers."
"That was nice of her. That was why she started working with you, after all; to find Walter," Tommy said, intertwining his fingers with Oliver's.
"Walter seemed happy to see her," Oliver mused, glancing down, his thumb stroking the back of Tommy's hand. "How are you doing?"
"I'm great, can't you tell?" Tommy snarked, finishing off his drink and setting the glass on the floor.
Tommy stood and began to pace. "We need to stop him," he growled. "Whatever this Undertaking is, we can't let him get away with it."
"We won't," Oliver promised, standing. "But are you sure you can handle going after your father?"
"My father is a monster," Tommy said. "I came to terms with that long before he cut me off. How can any man not be considered a monster who leaves his eight year old son alone after he just lost his mother? For years. This just killed any lingering respect that I had left for him."
"Still, this isn't going to be easy," Oliver said. "I'm struggling myself with believing that my mother is involved in this."
"At least she was being coerced," Tommy pointed out. "By my father."
Tommy let Oliver pull him into a loose embrace.
"I just wish we knew what the Undertaking was." Oliver sighed.
"I want to help," Tommy insisted. "More than just sitting in on comms." He paused and licked his lips. "I have an idea, but you're not going to like it."
"What?" Oliver asked, nervously drawing shapes on the small of Tommy's back.
"I'm going to go undercover at Merlyn Global," Tommy stated.
"No," Oliver snapped reflexively, his fingers curling into Tommy's shirt, digging into his back. "That is out of the question."
Tommy's hands came up to frame Oliver's face. "Ollie, I'm doing this."
"It's too dangerous," Oliver insisted.
"More dangerous than going out with a bow and arrow to chase down bad guys?" Tommy asked.
"Yes." Tommy quirked an eyebrow and Oliver sighed. "No."
Tommy pressed a short kiss to Oliver's lips.
"I'll be careful," Tommy promised.
"What if he figures it out? For all his sins, your father is not a stupid man," Oliver said.
"I'll tell him I was trying to save the city," Tommy said with a shrug. "He may have a strange way of showing it, but nothing is more important to that man than family. He won't hurt me. Not physically, at least."
"Are you sure about that?" Oliver asked.
"I have to be," Tommy said.
Oliver nodded, decisively. "Have you worked out your cover?"
"I'll play the prodigal son. Make him think that I've learned the lesson he set out to teach me by cutting me off." Tommy huffed out a laugh. "It'll be a bit like an alternate reality. I almost did this for real."
"How so?" Oliver asked.
"Remember the night you stopped the Count? When you thought I was selling Vertigo?"
"I never really thought--"
Tommy cut him off. "Not the point."
"Yes, I remember," Oliver said.
"Did you know that I was preparing to quit?"
Oliver's jaw dropped and his brows furrowed as he shook his head.
"I was so hurt by your lack of trust; so angry." Tommy shook his head to rid himself of those feelings that were rising again. "When Felicity burst into my office that night I was in the process of putting together a list of all the vendors we used and bringing all the accounts up to date. If you hadn't shown up when you did and been open with me, I was prepared to leave and go crawling back to my dad for a job."
Oliver pulled Tommy closer and kissed him, letting him feel his desperation at the thought of them not happening bleed into the kiss.
"Remind me to thank Felicity for barging in here that night," Oliver said against Tommy's lips.
Tommy closed what little distance there was between them, pressing his lips and body fully against Oliver, causing the taller man to rock back on his heels. His hands slid from Oliver's face, down his neck and under his arms until they could run down his back. When his hands slid under the material Oliver jerked against him.
"Can I?" Tommy panted when Oliver broke the kiss. "May I?" He licked his lips and flattened his palms against Oliver's skin. "I want to see you, touch you."
He met Oliver's eyes and could see the panic in them, the fear of rejection. Tommy could only hope that Oliver was reading only desire in his eyes. "Have I reacted badly any other time I've seen you with your shirt off?" Oliver shook his head. "I want to get to know your body again. Please."
With a jerky nod, Oliver reached behind his head to pull his Henley and t-shirt off, but Tommy stopped him.
"No, let me," Tommy insisted.
Oliver dropped the material and stood there tensely, nervously.
Tommy grabbed the hems of Oliver's shirts near his hips and began to drag them up, making sure his knuckles brushed against Oliver's sides as he did. He could feel Oliver vibrating slightly while he tried to stay still as Tommy undressed him, only dutifully raising his arms to finish removing the tops.
Tommy's hands immediately dropped the clothing and began to trace the new topography of Oliver's flesh. There was a time he knew this body almost as well as he knew his own. The once smooth flesh was now littered with ink and scars. Not that they detracted from Oliver's beauty. In fact, they only added to it.
"You're staring again," Oliver said.
Tommy glanced up. "I'm learning," he countered. "So many scars," he murmured in wonder. He leaned forward and laid a kiss to the center of the mass of scars near Oliver's shoulder, causing Oliver to let out a small gasp. When he didn't pull away, Tommy kissed the next scar, and the next.
Every bit of raised flesh was paid equal attention, including Oliver's nipples, which perhaps received a little extra attention.
Oliver was breathing rather heavily as Tommy moved around to Oliver's back. He traced the dragon tattoo with his tongue before finding and kissing all of the scars on his back.
As he knelt to kiss the swath of burns on Oliver's lower back, his hands slid around Oliver's hips and over the front of his pants. As expected, Oliver was as hard as he was.
"Tommy," Oliver whimpered, his hips thrusting into Tommy's hands. He turned around to find Tommy on his knees in front of him, his own knees nearly giving out at the sight.
Tommy's hands immediately came up and began to open Oliver's jeans. He paused when Oliver placed a hand over his, causing him to look up.
"You don't have to," Oliver said, even though Tommy could tell it pained him to do so.
"No have about it. I get to do this," Tommy said, popping up to his feet. "Although you might be more comfortable over here," he said, leading Oliver to the couch.
Oliver pulled him into a passion fueled kiss, his hands moving to the buttons of Tommy's shirt. Tommy helped him to pull it off.
Oliver apparently believed that turnabout was fair play, because when he broke the kiss, Oliver began to kiss his way over his entire chest, his hands roaming over his back.
"When did you get so hairy?" Oliver asked, teasingly as he moved around to explore Tommy's back.
Tommy laughed. "I don't know. Sometime between college and you coming back from the dead."
Oliver pressed his body against Tommy's back, his hands mimicking Tommy's as he ran them around his hips and down to cup his hard length through his pants, his own hardness pressing against Tommy's ass.
"Oh, God, Oliver," Tommy panted, pressing back against Oliver.
Spinning around, Tommy quickly finished opening Oliver's pants and shoved them, and his boxers, down, his hand wrapping around Oliver's cock.
"Shit, Tommy," Oliver gasped, reaching out to grab onto him.
"Sit," Tommy suggested. "Couch is right behind you."
Oliver glanced over his shoulder and then virtually fell backwards.
Tommy began to lower himself to his knees, but Oliver reached out to stop him. "No."
"I told you, I want to do this," Tommy said, reaching out to stroke Oliver's cock.
"Not, that kind of no," Oliver said, grasping Tommy's arm and pulling him up until he was standing in front of him. Oliver reached out to remove Tommy's pants and boxers. Once they had been pushed out of the way, Oliver encircled Tommy's cock with his hand. "I want to touch you, too."
"Can't object to that," Tommy panted.
Shifting around a little, Tommy got on his knees on the couch so that Oliver could still reach his dick while Tommy would be able to suck Oliver off.
He licked a stripe up the underside of Oliver's cock and looked up at him. "This work for you?"
Oliver slid his hand over Tommy's ass and around to reach his cock, spreading the pre-come he found as lubricant. "Yeah, this'll work," Oliver said, dropping his head back, his eyes hooded and watching Tommy.
"Fuck, yes," Tommy sighed as he took the head of Oliver's cock in his mouth.
They hadn't done this often in the past, but having Oliver like this, hard and hot for him, this was right. Oliver in his hand and in his mouth, panting and pliant beneath him; this was home.
Sex with women was good, but it was never like this. No one, not even Laurel, had ever gotten Tommy as turned on as this man. And that was before he'd molded his body into the piece of art that it was now.
The rhythm came back to him quickly. He took as much of Oliver into his mouth as he could, using suction as he pulled up, then going back down again. His hand stayed busy where his mouth couldn't reach, occasionally dipping down to squeeze his balls.
Oliver was busy too. His hand stroked Tommy expertly, knowing just the right amount of pressure to use.
It didn't take long for Oliver's breathing to increase and his strokes to become less smooth.
"Tommy, I'm close," he warned, squeezing his balls to emphasize his point.
"Don't hold back on my account," Tommy said, pulling off just enough to speak before redoubling his efforts.
"Jesus," Oliver groaned, hand coming up to Tommy's shoulder as he thrust into Tommy's mouth.
True to his word, it only took a couple more strokes for Oliver to jerk beneath Tommy, his release flooding his mouth.
Tommy swallowed what he could. As Oliver stared at the ceiling, panting for breath, Tommy sat back and grabbed a tissue from the end table to clean up what he'd missed.
Oliver dopily grinned up at him. "You are still very good at that. C'mere."
Tommy slid closer to Oliver, who proceeded to kiss him senseless. Tommy rocked against Oliver, pressing his still-hard cock into him. Oliver reached out and began to stroke him again. Without warning, Oliver broke the kiss and took Tommy fully into his mouth.
"Sweet fucking Jesus," Tommy shouted. When the fuck did Oliver learn how to deepthroat? He decided he really didn't want to know.
"If you keep that up I'm going to come," Tommy warned him a scant minute later. Oliver simply looked up at him, as if to say that that was the point.
Tommy's hands ran over Oliver's back and head as he tried to keep his orgasm at bay. Nothing seemed to be working and sooner than he would have liked he found himself calling out Oliver's name as sweet release was pulled from him.
Oliver sat back, looking smug, while Tommy did his impression of a puddle of goo.
"You are even better at that than I remembered," Tommy finally said, motioning for Oliver to come closer. He did, pulling Tommy to lie down with him.
"Do I even want to know where you learned to do that?" Tommy asked.
Oliver squirmed under him. "Let's just say that there were times on the island that having a gag reflex was inconvenient, so I learned how to not have one. And no, I'm not going to elaborate."
Tommy nodded, sprawled over Oliver's chest, fingers tracing his Bratva tattoo, when Oliver asked, "Don't they bother you?"
"Only as a reminder of what you've been through," Tommy said. "They don't hurt, do they?"
"No," Oliver said, idly running his fingers over Tommy's smooth back. "Not anymore."
"If they really bother you, you could probably have them removed," Tommy suggested. "I know Dr. Littlefield is currently unavailable, but I'm sure there are other great plastic surgeons that could at least minimize the scars. Only if you want to," he was quick to add. "I kind of like them. They give you character."
"I don't want to remove them," Oliver said. "They're reminders of why I do what I do."
Tommy leaned up to kiss him, softly.
"As much as I would prefer to spend the evening lying naked here with you, I should really go see my dad."
Oliver frowned. "Tonight?"
"The sooner I get in there the better, right? We don't know what his timetable is for this Undertaking. For all we know, we're already too late for this to work."
"So don't do it," Oliver said, sitting up as Tommy stood and began to dress. Tommy just glared at him. "I know; it's a good plan. You can't fault me for wanting to keep you safe, though."
"I'm not some damsel in distress, Oliver," Tommy said, sitting back down. "You can't keep me locked away in a tower; or basement, as the case may be."
"I don't think of you as some damsel," Oliver insisted. "Just, promise me you'll watch your back while you're there."
"I promise," Tommy said. "Besides, don't you have someone you need to talk to, too?"
Oliver looked away. "Yeah, I probably should."
"Probably?" Tommy arched an eyebrow. "You're going to need him once we figure out what the Undertaking is."
"I know. I'll go talk to Digg tonight. He deserves an apology."
"And you deserve your friend back," Tommy added.
"What I don't deserve is you," Oliver said, pulling Tommy against his body.
Tommy allowed Oliver to distract him for a while longer.
An hour later, Tommy was standing in his father's office.
Malcolm had stood when he'd entered without an appointment, but remained behind his desk.
Before he could change his mind, Tommy said, "I'd prefer we skip the I-told-you-sos, but the nightclub, wasn't really working out. I guess I need something more boring, stable. Nine to five, go to the gym, go home, that sort of thing." He took a steadying breath. "I guess what I'm saying is, I want a job."
Without saying a word, Malcolm crossed the room and pulled his son into a tight hug, a smug smile pulling his lips.
Tommy hugged him back to keep up the charade, a satisfied smile lighting his face. He was in.
"I've been watching your mother for days now, Oliver, and nothing. She goes to work, she comes home. Occasionally she goes out for dinner. She seems to particularly like the salmon tartar at Table Salt," Digg reported.
"I'm linked into her home and office phone," Felicity added. "Nothing out of the ordinary. No mention of Walter's abduction or the Undertaking. Just a few innocuous calls to Malcolm Merlyn."
"Why wouldn't she call him? They're old friends," Oliver's voice was laced with sarcasm and pain. Tommy couldn't resist resting a supportive hand on his shoulder, trying to ease some of Oliver's tension so he wouldn't snap the bow he was holding. "We're all old friends."
"Are you ok?" Felicity asked.
"My mom and my boyfriend's dad are involved in a conspiracy that may have dire consequences for the city. And I'm pretty sure they murdered my father. I'm not planning on using the word 'ok' again any time soon."
"Listen, all we know for sure is that Malcolm and your mother are planning something for the Glades," Digg said.
"And that Walter and I were getting too close to it, that's why they had him kidnapped," Felicity concluded.
"We have to find out what this Undertaking is," Digg pointed out.
"I've got to ask her," Oliver said, standing.
Felicity rushed to follow him, "Well, no. The last time the Vigilante paid your mom a visit, you got shot, and I got to play doctor with you. Ahh! My brain thinks of the worst way to say things."
Tommy bit his lip to keep from laughing at her slip.
"This time it'll just be me asking," Oliver promised. "Friendly mother-son chat."
"I'll walk out with you," Tommy said as Oliver headed towards the stairs. "Don't want to be late for work." Once they were out of earshot, he asked, "Are you sure you want to talk to her alone?"
Oliver smiled, sadly. "It'll be fine," he said, squeezing Tommy's hand.
When they reached the floor, they saw Laurel standing there.
"Laurel? What are you doing here? It's not even 7:00 a.m.," Oliver pointed out.
"That's just after closing time, right?" she teased. "Tommy, I didn't expect to see you here. I came to talk to Oliver."
"I was just leaving," Tommy said, silently asking Oliver if he wanted him to stay.
"I'll see you later," Oliver said. "We'll talk after my meeting."
Tommy nodded and turned to go, realizing they were going to need to tell Laurel the truth soon if she was going to keep showing up unexpectedly.
Tommy saw Oliver's face light up his phone's screen as he sat in his corner office. He immediately answered. "How'd it go?"
"She wouldn't open up to me," Oliver admitted. "I thought we were always honest with each other, but she lied to my face that nothing was going on."
"So, we're back to square one?" Tommy sighed.
"Not exactly," Oliver said, sounding guilty.
"Oliver?" Tommy nervously asked. "What did you do?"
"The Hood kidnapped us," Oliver confessed.
"What?" Tommy screeched, standing in his empty office. "I thought you said you were going to talk to her as you."
"I did," Oliver insisted. "Digg wore the hood, knocked us out with tranq darts, took us to a warehouse, tied us up, and asked the questions."
"What aren't you telling me?" Tommy demanded.
"He may have had to punch me a few times to make it look real," Oliver admitted.
Tommy wondered if this was what having a heart attack felt like. "He hurt you?" he weakly asked.
"Just a little," Oliver said. "Nothing that won't heal."
"Did it work, at least?" Tommy asked, collapsing back into his chair.
"It did," Oliver said, his smile present in his voice.
"So, tell me already," Tommy demanded.
"Hang on, I only want to do this once," Oliver said.
Tommy could hear what sounded like Oliver getting out of a car. "Where are you?"
"Verdant," Oliver said. "I told Digg I'd meet him and Felicity back here after I got my mom home. I'm putting you on video."
"Oh, my God. You said you were going to pull your punches!" Felicity growled at Digg, echoing his thoughts as he got a look at Oliver's face.
Wait a minute, Felicity knew about this plan?
"I did," he said.
"Let me get you an icepack for…" Felicity ran her eyes over Oliver's body. "Everything."
"I'm fine," Oliver insisted, propping his phone against one of Felicity's monitors. "I need you to dig up everything you can on Unidac Industries."
Sitting in front of her computers, she said, "Well, we know Queen Consolidated acquired them seven months ago. That's when we met."
Tommy could see Oliver was trying not to smile. "I need information about what I don't know."
After doing a quick search, Felicity said, "Unidac is a small research and development technology company that specializes in seismic infringement."
Oliver staggered back before slowly saying, "Merlyn plans on leveling the Glades with a device that triggers a man-made earthquake."
Tommy goggled at him. "You're kidding."
"What else does it say?" Oliver asked.
"More information on the stock auction and, you know, the latest on what the media's calling—"
"The Unidac massacre," Oliver said, cutting her off.
"There's no way this timing is a coincidence," Digg observed.
Sounding nervous, Felicity said, "Oliver, there's a website claiming the police suspect a copycat archer."
"What?!" Oliver exclaimed.
"So the other archer works for Merlyn?" Digg guessed.
"He's tying up loose ends," Oliver said. "Erasing all evidence this device exists so no one can trace the devastation back to him."
"All right, so you're going to have a pointed conversation with Mr. Merlyn," Digg said.
"Well, even if I take out Merlyn, the other archer is still out there. He can set off the device. We need to find it. Then Merlyn can get his." Oliver glanced at Tommy to see if he was okay with how this conversation was going, and outwardly he appeared fine.
"Well, maybe there's another way to get Merlyn to tell us," Felicity suggested, turning back to her babies.
"What do you have in mind?" Tommy asked, all for a solution that didn't involve Oliver killing his father, regardless of how he felt about him.
"As I keep proving, people keep secrets. Computers don't," she said, fingers flying over her keyboard.
"Felicity, are you hacking into the Merlyn Global mainframe?" Oliver asked.
"'Hacking' is such an ugly word. No. I'm…" She grinned. "Yeah, totally hacking into the Merlyn Global mainframe."
Tommy wasn't too surprised when his father asked him to liaise with the police. Not with the information that Felicity had already found tying Merlyn Global and Unidac Industries.
Although he would have preferred that the Detective in charge wasn't Laurel's father.
"Well, we discovered a few phone calls between one of the Unidac victims and someone at the Merlyn Global Group. Which is why I asked for someone at your company to help me with my investigation. But naturally, they send down the one guy that's been working there 30 seconds and knows nothing," Lance said, barely trying to hide his distaste.
"Detective Lance, if someone from Merlyn Global is involved with those deaths, I want them found as much as you do. Give me more to go on than some phone calls and I will help you in any way that I can," Tommy promised. Maybe the police found a link that Felicity hadn't. It was doubtful, but possible.
"Thank you," Lance said, looking past Tommy.
He turned, saw Laurel approaching, and stood.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Helping your father with an investigation," Tommy told her. Pulling out one of his new business cards, he handed it to Lance. "Uh, call me if you need anything else."
"Thank you," he said again and Tommy turned to leave. He wanted to swing by the lair on his way back to the office.
Tommy pulled Oliver off to the side when he arrived in the basement. "You call this fine?" he demanded, fingers running over the cuts and bruises on Oliver's face.
Oliver hissed and jerked away from Tommy's touch. "Compared to some of the fights I've been in, yes," Oliver said. Voice softening, he said, "They'll heal."
"Is that why you didn't tell me your plan?" Tommy asked. "I thought we agreed that you weren't going to keep secrets from me about what you were doing."
Oliver looked away guiltily. "It had to happen quickly. The first time I tried to talk to my mom she ran out of the room after seeing the news about the Unidac massacre and wouldn't tell me where she was going. I was covering all my bases, just in case she wouldn't open up to me. I didn't want you to worry."
"You still should have told me," Tommy pouted. "I entered this with open eyes, so don't keep me in the dark. Let me worry."
"I'm not used to having people worry about me," Oliver admitted. "It'll take some getting used to."
Felicity growled in frustration, drawing their attention back to their teammates.
"Anything?" Oliver asked, circling back to the computers with Tommy on his heels.
"Just for the record, I will pump my fist in the air and scream, 'yes!' if I get in," Felicity snapped.
"You know, you can just say this isn't working," Digg said, crouched next to her.
"This isn't working," Felicity stated.
"All right, there has to be some other way we can find out where he's keeping this device," Digg suggested, looking to Tommy.
"I'm afraid that I don't have access to those systems from my office computer. I already checked. Guess the old man doesn't trust me as much as he pretends," Tommy said, apologetically.
"Unless I can waltz up to Merlyn's mainframe and plug in my tablet directly, there's no way of getting that location," Felicity said.
"Then we waltz," Oliver said.
Felicity looked at him like he was crazy. "Excuse me?"
"You need direct access to the mainframe, so we get you direct access to the mainframe, and we figure out where the device is being kept," he said, as if it were no big deal.
"Oliver, I did mention that the mainframe is located inside Merlyn Global Group's main headquarters, on the 25th floor," Felicity pointed out as if he were a child. "It's only accessible through a restricted access elevator."
"I know," he said. "We're going to have to break in."
"Or," Tommy interrupted, grinning, "this is where my undercover position will prove useful. As the boss's son, I have access to the 25th floor."
"We'll need someone in the security control room," Digg said.
"I can help with that, too," Tommy said. "There are two guards that are on duty in the control room. I can get you in as one of them."
"We'll need to find a way to disable the other guard," Digg pointed out.
"Drug him," Oliver suggested.
"How?" Tommy asked.
They all thought about that for a minute.
A grin spread across Digg's face. "I bet I can get Carly to lend us a Big Belly delivery outfit for Felicity. That'll get her in the door as well as take care of our guard problem."
"That's brilliant," Felicity said. "What about you, Oliver?"
"I'll have an appointment with Tommy," Oliver said, smugly. "We do this tomorrow."
"I guess I better get back to the office so I can get Digg set up," Tommy said.
"I'll text you his cover info," Felicity called out as Tommy headed towards the stairs. He acknowledged her with a wave.
"Hey, wait up," Oliver said, jogging to catch up with Tommy on the stairs to the club. "Are we okay?"
"We're fine, Oliver." Tommy's smile was a little forced. "At least I'm in on the plan this time."
"Sorry." Tommy shrugged. "Maybe I'm still a little upset."
"I get it," Oliver said.
"Do you?" Tommy met his eyes. Without breaking eye contact, Oliver nodded. Tommy let out the breath he'd been holding.
"Will you be okay with the club alone tonight?" Tommy asked, shifting the conversation.
Oliver frowned. "Sure, if you need me to be."
Tommy nodded. "I think I need to go see Laurel tonight." Before Oliver could object, Tommy added, "She needs to know about us."
"You don't want to tell her together?" Oliver asked, clearly having assumed he'd be there when Laurel found out.
"I think this will be easier if it just comes from one of us. From me." Tommy sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I keep running into her, man. Here, at the police station earlier today, and it'll keep happening. I can't bear the look of hope in her eyes every time she sees me. She needs to know there's no hope."
"I could help drill that point home," Oliver offered.
"I don't want to hurt her more than I have to," Tommy said.
"I get that," Oliver agreed. "I don't want to hurt her either."
"This has got to be every girl's worst nightmare," Tommy commented. "Her two ex-boyfriends getting together."
"You mean, after her boyfriend slept with her sister who died because of him," Oliver pointed out.
Tommy winced. "Yeah, you definitely take the cake in the bad ex-boyfriend department."
"I haven't scared you off, have I?" Oliver semi-teased.
"I don't have a sister for you to sleep with," Tommy pointed out. "And if I did, you probably would have already slept with her."
"I should be offended, but you're probably right." Oliver leaned down to peck a kiss against Tommy's lips. "Swing by when you're done talking. I have a feeling you're going to need a drink."
"I have a feeling you are right," Tommy agreed.
Tommy ran a hand over his face and took a deep breath as he stood in front of the door to Laurel's apartment. Not so long ago this had been a place he could see himself calling home. A woman he had thought about calling wife. And now he was here to break her heart just a little bit more.
It had to be done before she found out from someone else, though.
With that thought, he knocked on the door.
Belatedly, he realized he probably should have called first as he heard the sounds of Laurel finding a weapon before opening the door.
"Tommy," she exclaimed in pleased surprise, hiding the baseball bat behind her back.
"Laurel, hi," he awkwardly greeted her. "I'm sorry to just show up, but I was hoping we could talk."
That hope he'd been dreading flashed through her eyes before she hid it.
"Of course," she said, stepping back so he could enter. She set the bat down as she gestured for Tommy to head into the living room.
Wiping his hands on his pants, he nervously sat on the sofa. Luckily, Laurel kept her distance when she joined him.
"How's the new job?" she asked, politely.
"It's strange, but good. It's what my father always wanted," Tommy said.
"When we were together, I never could have imagined that you'd ever work for him. Not after what he did to you," Laurel said. She smiled sadly to herself, "I guess I didn't know you as well as I thought I did."
"You knew me well enough," Tommy said. He coughed, stalling, before swallowing hard and forcing himself to get to it. "There's something I need to tell you."
"About us?" Laurel prompted.
"No," Tommy said firmly. "And yes."
"Which is it, Tommy?" Laurel asked, growing frustrated.
"I need you to understand that we're not going to get back together."
"You need more time," Laurel said, nodding.
"No, I'm with someone else."
Tommy braced himself for her confusion, and he got it.
Her voice broke a little as she said, "Already? But it's barely been..." One look at Tommy's guilty expression told her everything she didn't want to know. She stood and began to pace. "No. There was no time for you to meet someone new while we were together."
"This isn't someone new," Tommy hesitantly said, standing as well.
Laurel's face scrunched up as she tried to work that one out. He could see her mentally running through all of the women they knew in common to try to figure out who he was with now.
Finally, through gritted teeth, she asked, "Who is she?"
"Oliver," Tommy said.
Her face whipped up, mouth agape as she stared at him. "But you're... and he's..." She shook her head. "You're not gay. Neither of you are. I should know."
"Turns out we are, for each other," Tommy said, sheepishly.
"You both like women. I mean, really like women," Laurel insisted. "Ollie constantly cheated on me with all of those girls. Oh, God, what if it wasn't just girls. Tommy, do you know if he was sleeping with guys back then, too?"
Tommy cleared his throat. "As far as I know, I'm the only guy he's ever been with. And him for me."
Laurel rounded on him. "Were you sleeping with him when he and I were together?"
Tommy found himself backing up as she advanced on him until he hit a wall. "Only once in a while. I don't remember if it was while you were together or broken up."
Laurel's slap shouldn't have surprised him, and yet it did. His hand automatically went to his stinging cheek.
"Get out," Laurel growled.
"I'm sorry, Laurel," Tommy said, moving towards the door. "I didn't want to hurt you. I also didn't want you to find out from someone else."
"Out," Laurel repeated, grabbing the bat from where she'd left it near the door. Tommy hurried out of the apartment. "You two deserve each other," Laurel sneered as she slammed the door.
That actually went better than Tommy'd expected, he thought, as he headed for his car.
Deciding that he didn't feel like dealing with the crowds at Verdant, Tommy pulled his phone out to call Oliver.
"Tommy, hey, how'd it go?" Oliver greeted him.
"Not well, and better than I expected," Tommy said, wearily. "Look man, I'm gonna take a rain check on that drink. I'm not really up for the club crowd right now."
"Oh," Oliver sounded disappointed. "Okay. Do you want me to come over when I close up here?"
"Thanks for the offer, but I think I'm gonna call it an early night. I can fill you in tomorrow during our appointment."
"If you're sure…"
"I'm fine, Oliver," Tommy said, laughing. "I'll see you in the morning, 11:30 sharp."