Welcome to My Chlollie World...

Welcome to my blog. I've created it mainly as a place to archive my writings. Currently, my focus is on the pairing of Chloe Sullivan/Oliver Queen of Smallville, also affectionately known in fandom, as Chlollie. I began writing for this couple as Smallville entered it's seventh season, not ever really expecting them to become Smallville canon. So imagine my pleasant surprise (okay, I squealed like a fangirl in the throes of a fangasm) when the showrunners decided to put them together. I don't know what the show will do with them, but I don't care. I'll always adore them, and Chlollie will ALWAYS be my One True Pairing. I write about them for fun, as creative outlet, and because I think they're perfect together, and have the potential to be a supercouple, comic-book "mythos" be damned. The Green Arrow of Smallville belongs with his Watchtower. Most of my stories contain adult content, so please don't read if you are under the age of 18. All story graphic arts and manips are created by me unless otherwise stated. Feedback is always welcome. Thank you for reading!

And now for the boring stuff so no one sues me. Feel free to read it in that fast talking lawyer kind of voice, like at the end of a radio commercial.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Final note: I never believed in the years that I've loved this couple, that the show would do the right thing by them. But as a fangirl I just have to say, OMGOMGOMG! THEY ARE MARRIED!!! Thank you, Smallville for giving my couple the happy ending they deserve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Signal Fire Chapter 4

Signal Fire
Chapter 4

Philip sat behind his desk in the dimly lit basement office of the Gazette. Only the night custodial staff and two female interns who manned the phones were around at this hour. He’d finished the article, and was about to send off a copy to the editor, when the cell phone he carried in his suit coat pocket rang. Pulling it out with dread, he flipped it open.

“What happened, Philip?”

He’d recognize that smooth voice anywhere. Philip cast a glance over at the interns some distance away, seemingly engaged in their own conversation, talking and giggling as they munched on vending machine junk food. He swiveled in his chair away from them, lowering his voice. “Look, it wasn’t my fault. The Green Arrow showed up out of nowhere. I just don’t understand why this entire elaborate scheme is needed anyway. If you want the girl, just kidnap her. Game over.”

“I’ll deal with the Green Arrow in time. But I’m surprised at you, Philip. All war is deception. For someone well schooled in the art, you certainly don’t seem familiar with the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic.”

“I know what it is. I just don’t see the need. Kidnap her and be done with it.”

“I want them divided emotionally, as well as physically. ‘If your enemy’s forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.’”

“Sun Tzu, The Art of War,” Philip responded, recognizing the quote. “Still, it seems a waste of time.” Philip had known of the rivalry between Lex Luthor and Oliver Queen. They’d been schoolmates at Excelsior Academy, but beyond that, he didn’t understand Lex’s need to crush Queen, or why he wanted Chloe. No one knew where Lex had gone, or why he’d disappeared nearly a year ago. Lex never talked about it, but since his return, he’d remained hidden these many months, running Luthorcorp, and orchestrating events from locations unknown. For all intents and purposes Lex Luthor was still missing. Queen and most of the rest of the world remained unaware that he was still alive and well. ‘Appear where you are not expected.’

“Hardly. There’s more satisfaction in being the puppet master, than the puppet. I need her. The ruin of Oliver Queen is simply a fortunate and long-awaited consequence. I’ll enjoy watching his downfall. Only this time, there will be no Chloe Sullivan as his angel of deliverance.”

“I don’t know, Mr. Luthor. They seem inseparable.”

Lex admired Philip for his willingness to speak his mind. Philip had been the perfect man for the job. A ready-made soldier with no family to speak of and a past that was nondescript and easily erased. “No relationship is perfect. Find the cracks in the foundation, and chip away at them. It’s quite simple.”

“Mr. Luthor…”

“There’s no problem, is there Philip?” At Philip’s hesitation, Lex continued. “Believe me, I’m well aware that Ms. Sullivan is… intriguing. She’s also a force to be reckoned with. Don’t let her fool you.”

“I’d just like this job to be over with so I can get back to Metropolis, no offense.”

Philip could imagine Lex’s smirk over the phone. “None taken. You know what to do.”

“It’s already in motion.”

“Good. I’ll be in touch.”

And with that, the call was ended. Philip sat back in his chair, clutching the cell phone, lost in thought. He’d been instructed to win the confidence of Chloe Sullivan. Take an interest in her, insinuate himself into her life and try to pull her, ever so subtly, inch by inch, away from Oliver Queen, and do whatever he could to sabotage their relationship. Philip was no slouch when it came to winning over women. He was handsome, tall, well built, with dark hair, ice blue eyes, and a devastating smile that never failed to enchant any woman he’d set his sights on. But Chloe Sullivan was a tough one to crack. She seemed completely oblivious to his attempts, or otherwise slightly amused, but had never taken him seriously. She was a challenge, unreachable, unattainable, and maybe that’s why he found her so desirable… no. It was more than that. She was more than that, and he understood why a man like Oliver Queen would fall completely in love with her.

Part of him wished he’d never accepted this job, but he owed it to Lex. Lex had probably saved his life. If it weren’t for Lex Luthor, he’d have ended up in some shitty government run veteran’s hospital making finger paint drawings, in between physical therapy sessions where he’d learn to walk again. Philip had been part of a Special Forces, Black Ops unit. The United States government had trained him well, turned a wide-eyed skinny kid into a man, a soldier, a killing machine. He learned quickly. He was good at what he did. Philip Cook was well trained in art of war. ‘All war is deception’.

He didn’t know how it had happened. How his team had been discovered. He didn’t recall much of that day, and maybe it was just as well. He wasn’t certain he could live with the guilt and pain of losing his teammates if he’d recalled all the details. Explosions. That’s all he remembered. He awoke in a facility, not knowing how he’d gotten there, or how long he’d been there. Sometime later, after his full recovery, feeling stronger and better than he’d ever felt before, he was introduced to Lex Luthor. They’d made small talk, but eventually the conversation turned to how Philip had come to be there. Lex was running an experimental, government funded facility for the rehabilitation of soldiers wounded in the field, he’d said. Lex claimed not to know the fate of his comrades, but Philip was lucky. They’d been able to save him and his leg using new, experimental technology. He was one of the first patients in a new program. Project Ares it was called. Lex said it was highly classified, and would say no more. That was three years ago. Since that time, Project Ares had been dismantled due to subsequent problems with prototypes, but Philip had worked for Lex in various capacities while he completed a journalism degree at Lex’s insistence, all paid for with Luthorcorp money. There’d be a job for him at the Daily Planet when all was through he’d said. And now, Philip simply wished this mission were over. He’d gladly take the newspaper job and live quietly where he could escape the past.

Thoughts of living a quiet, happy life away from all the intrigue had his mind turning once more to Chloe. Her expressive green eyes, her smile, the way the sunlight touched her hair creating a golden halo about her face, the way she felt in his arms when he’d held her tonight; her petite, curvy body pressed against his while he pretended to protect her from gunmen. A slow coil of sexual hunger sent warmth surging, tightening low in his belly as he thought of her, fleeting visions of soft skin and tangled limbs in rumpled bed sheets. Hell yes. He wanted her.

Philip picked up his cell phone, dialing a number and waiting. “Adriana? Can you get away? I need to see you.” He paused, listening for her response. “I know it’s late. Meet me at the hotel in twenty minutes?” She agreed. He closed his cell phone, pocketing it. He’d slake his desires as he’d done before, with Adriana. She was a beautiful woman, recently divorced from her husband, ready for sex and more than willing to entertain Philip as well as herself.

Philip sent a copy of the completed story to the floor editor, turned off his computer and reached for his suit coat draped over the back of his chair, slipping his arms into it. He bid the interns goodnight with a confident wink as he passed them, causing them to blush and giggle some more as they watched him leave.

* * * * *

The photographs were splashed all over the Star City Sentinel, and the gossip pages of the Daily Planet as well. A copy had been placed on her desk. Chloe couldn’t bear the stares and whisperings behind her back, or the sympathetic, meaningless words directed her way. Someone had captured Oliver with Adriana at Del Monaco’s. It looked worse than what she’d actually seen. Along with those photographs were pictures of about twelve other women, including both Lois and Chloe, listed as though keeping a running count of Oliver Queen’s harem, complete with descriptions, and dates, some as far back as his senior year of high school. A scathing article that pretty much compared Oliver to a spoiled, rich, stray dog incapable of staying on a leash, accompanied the photos. Chloe couldn’t bring herself to read it through. Someone had nothing better to do with his or her time, she mused, and she wondered who had placed the Sentinel copy on her desk.

Lois had called her twice. At first Chloe had to calm her protective cousin, and convince her not to wield any sharp instruments near Oliver’s reproductive organs. She explained what had happened as best as she could while at work. Initially, Lois was furious not so much for herself; she didn’t care about her own picture appearing, ultimately realizing that it was the intent of the gossip columnist to hurt all those involved. After they talked, Lois understood what was happening, and vowed to take her own action. Chloe told her not to worry, it would all blow over soon. After a few hours, her brain in a fog, a headache pulsing behind her eyes, she realized that she wasn’t going to get much work done. She decided to take off early. The weekend was coming up, and she’d be able to seclude herself in the manor house, away from everything. Chloe told the boss she wasn’t feeling well, which really wasn’t far from the truth, and that she needed to go home. She’d already called for the limo.

Philip had noted her distance. She didn’t seem inclined toward conversation with him, and so as he saw her readying to leave he approached her desk.

“Listen, Chloe… if you need anything, let me know.”

“I’m fine Philip. Oliver and I already talked about it. I know nothing happened. I just can’t deal with all of the unwarranted attention right now.” She shrugged. “And I’m not getting any work done anyway.”

“Those photographs… I hate to say it Chloe, but doesn’t look as though nothing happened.”

Chloe rubbed her temples, as if willing away the newly forming headache. “We’re in the newspaper business, Phil. Do you believe everything the Sentinel prints? Our own paper didn’t pick up the story, because there is no story.” Chloe knew she was being unnecessarily short with him, but after Oliver’s observation of Phil, she didn’t want to encourage him, and had kept her distance all day.

His dejected look, told her he knew something wasn’t right between them.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, slinging her purse over her shoulder. “I’ll see you on Monday.”

Philip watched her walk away, then moved closer to her desk, picking up the copy of the Sentinel he’d placed there before she came in this morning. He tossed it into the trash bin, returning to his desk. He sat in front of his computer rubbing a hand tiredly over his face, thinking that for all his training and combat experience, this had to be the worst mission he’d ever completed.

As she stepped out of the Gazette building, she found the limo already waiting for her. Moving past the suffocating buzz of paparazzi snapping photos and shouting questions, she ignored them. The driver and one of Oliver’s security guards acted as a buffer, escorting and opening the door for her, and when she entered, Oliver was unexpectedly inside extending a hand to help her slide into the seat. She slipped her hand in his, and felt him tug her toward him, and wrap an arm around her, holding her close.

No words were spoken. They held each other as the limo pulled away from the curb; Chloe buried her face in his shirt. It was all so overwhelming, and no matter how hard she tried to stop them, the tears came anyway.

Oliver squeezed her, and pressed his lips to her forehead, his fingers threading the softness of her hair, stroking, soothing as she wept silently, his shirt becoming damp from her tears. She wasn’t used to this. Public scrutiny. One’s life and past under a microscope, gracing the pages of newspapers and gossip columns for the entire world to see. Even he had cringed inwardly at the sight of all those photographs of women he’d dated or had flings with. And that wasn’t even all of them. He didn’t know what to say to her. Somehow, ‘I’m sorry,’ didn’t begin to cover it.

Seeing the photographs of numerous women in his past was another reminder of his inability to maintain any kind of meaningful relationship. Oliver’s gut twisted. He had looks and money, success; he had everything, but when it came to love, he was basically a loser. Even when he’d found someone special in Lois, ultimately it hadn’t worked. Consciously or not, he’d fucked up every relationship he’d ever been in. And now, the woman he loved more than anything, the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with was here, crying, seeking comfort in his arms, when he was the one to cause her tears. He couldn’t change the past. Couldn’t change what had happened. All he could do was give her all of himself, and right now, it just didn’t seem enough, and he wondered if he would ever be enough. If he would ever get it right.

“I’m sorry, Chloe,” he murmured, hating to have to utter those words, knowing how useless they were.

She sniffled. “It’s… just… everything at once. It’s not you. I’ll be all right.”

He couldn’t answer. She was wrong. It was him. She didn’t deserve this. He’d have his publicist release a statement, but even that wouldn’t be enough to ease the hurt he’d caused her. He cradled her cheek in his palm, tucking her head beneath his chin.

“I’m sorry too,” she whispered. “They weren’t very kind to you.” The article had insinuated terrible, hurtful things about him, using names of women and dates as proof of his womanizing ways, questioning whether or not his current ladylove would forgive him, and dooming their relationship.

“I don’t care about that.” He brushed his lips against her temple. “I’m more worried about you, and… what Lois will do.”

“I told her not to take a knife to the Queen family jewels.”

She felt his warm lips curve in a small smile against her skin as they traveled over her cheek. “Thanks.”

Chloe’s breath stuttered, as her palm moved over his shirt, caressing his abdomen. “Purely selfish. I enjoy them too much.”

“And they’re all yours. You know that, right?”

“Yes,” she whispered, but new tears formed at her answer, causing Oliver to gather her up more closely.

By the time they’d reached the manor gates, she’d calmed, but her headache had grown worse, throbbing relentlessly behind her eyes. Surprisingly, there were no photographers at the gates, and they were able to enter their home, unmolested.

They entered the manor house quietly. Oliver led her to the dark, overstuffed leather sofa in the main sitting room, leaving her momentarily, returning with a glass of water and two aspirins. She swallowed them gratefully.

He knelt before her, taking her hand. Her eyes were red-rimmed and puffy. “I’m going to see if I can’t do some damage control. Why don’t you go up and rest a bit. I’ll join you in a few minutes.”

“I’m okay, Ollie.” She felt foolish, and didn’t want him to treat her as though she were some breakable china doll. “Maybe I’ll go to my office…”

“No work,” he admonished softly, brushing the hair back from her cheek. “In fact, we’re taking the weekend off. It’s early enough. We can be in Capri by sunset. Just let me make a few phone calls.” He’d wanted not only to speak to his publicist, but needed to contact Victor as well. He’d sent digital photographs taken with his Arrow glasses, of the license plate on the sedan. He wanted to know who the men were who’d attempted to attack Chloe and Philip last night.

She nodded. Oliver leaned forward kissing her softly before he moved away.

Chloe went to their large room, soft sunlight filtered in, touching everything in a warm glow. The rich mahogany wood furniture, the king-sized four-poster bed covered in various homey shades of light and dark greens, the wall hangings, all of it was them. She’d made a life here with Oliver Queen, built something with him right down to the bed linens and the bathroom towels. Her head pounded, and though the bed looked inviting, she was too anxious for sleep. She stepped over to the balcony doors overlooking the manor grounds, gazing out through the tempered glass. It was a beautiful, peaceful place, and Chloe felt her shoulders relax imagining, not for the first time, what her Oliver must have looked like as a child running amok over the verdant hills, climbing every tree. A dog. They needed a dog, she thought. A big fluffy one.

After a few moments, she turned moving over toward the chair where they’d often toss jackets and suit coats at the end of the day, intending to hang them up later. She reached for one, causing another to slide to the floor. Shoving the first jacket under her arm, she bent for the second one, grasping the fabric, surprised to find something oddly shaped inside the pocket. It crinkled. Chloe stuffed her hand inside, pulling out a folded, slightly wrinkled piece of paper, along with two unused condoms, still in their wrappers.

Her head began to pound once more in time with her increasing heartbeat. She dropped the jackets, moving over to the bed, climbing atop the edge, unfolding the paper.


I’m thrilled that we were able to spend some time together again. God, how I’ve missed you. When you first contacted me weeks ago, I couldn’t believe it. I’m so glad you were able to get away, and that I could meet you in Gotham during your business trip there. The day we spent in bed together was incredible. You’re still an amazing lover.

My divorce is now final. I’m free! I know that you don’t want to leave her; I know you feel sorry for her, but I’m here for you whenever you need me.


Oliver entered the room, stopping up short upon seeing her. All the color drained from her face, her expression one of stunned silence. “Chloe… what happened?”

The events of the past two days, the photographs, the newspaper article, the paparazzi, the pounding headache, the condoms, the love note, men with guns, all of it seemed to burst inside her at once. She scooted off the bed, approaching him, shoving at the hard wall of his chest attempting to push him out of her way. “I don’t need you to feel sorry for me!” she growled, trying to slip past him through the bedroom door.

Oliver grasped her arms, not allowing her to run from him.

“Let me go!” She struggled futilely with him, knowing she was no match for his strength.

“Tell me what’s going on. What’s this?” He noticed the wrinkled paper in one of the fists she was using to shove him away, and what looked like crumpled wrapped condoms in the other.

She backed away from him, opening her fists, letting the items fall to the floor. “You tell me, Oliver.”

He released her, bending to pick up what appeared to be a note, leaving the condoms on the floor. He didn’t know why they’d be there, they never used them since Chloe was on the pill, but his pulse began fluttering erratically. Seeing them would make her think he’d been with someone else.

As he picked up the note, she fled through the hall. “Chloe!” Oliver ran after her, catching her up around the waist, picking her up and dragging her back to the room. She wanted to kick and scream and cry, throw a tantrum, and pound his chest with her fists. Instead she attempted to remove his arm from her waist and twist around, arching her back, pushing her body away. That didn’t work.

They were both breathing heavily. “Just… let me go, Ollie.”

“No.” He entered the room and tossed her on the bed, immediately diving in after, covering her body with his, keeping her immobile. “Not letting you go until you tell me what’s going on,” he breathed, his face above hers. She wiggled around beneath him, but he wouldn’t let her move.

She tried to head butt him, but he backed away. “I want to go home.” She said through clenched teeth, knowing full well that she sounded like a five year old, and not caring in the least.

“You are home.” He growled, struggling with her, pinning her arms above her head.

“What were you doing in Gotham two weeks ago?” she panted, twisting under him.

“Meeting with Bruce, you know that.”

“Really? How was the hotel?” She bucked against him, trying to get him off of her. She thought to use a few of the moves he’d taught her, and attempted to slip her knee between his legs. “Was the room service any good?”

“I didn’t stay in a hotel, I stayed at Bruce’s mansion, and you know that too. Damn it, Chloe, what the hell is this about?” he said, his patience wearing thin. He felt her knee come up, but evaded the blow, quickly flipping her onto her stomach and pinning an arm behind her back. “Stop. I thought you liked the Queen family jewels,” he leaned over her, keeping her secure, panting in her ear. She was tiny but damn, she was a handful.

“Apparently, so does everyone else!” She grunted from the bedcovers, struggling for air. “Especially your long lost love, Adriana.”

“Will you stop now?” he asked, releasing her arm, sitting up, his weight pressing down on her as he straddled her bottom. He smoothed the wrinkled note in his hand, and began to read.

“Get off.”


“I can’t breathe.”

“Too bad.” He bounced his seat down on her lightly for good measure, she grunted, releasing a rush of air, and he continued to read.

“My head hurts.”

“Be still, woman. Let me read.”

“I can’t do this, Ollie. I can’t. I won’t. Just let me go back to Metropolis with some dignity.”

“I’m not letting you go.” He finished the note, and crumpled it in his fist. “This is all wrong.”

“You’re telling me.” Came her muffled voice. She had stopped struggling, and lay beneath him, catching her breath now that the wrestling match was over.

“No. I mean. Adriana or someone else is playing some horrible game, and I’m going to find out who it is.”

“You do that. I’m leaving.”

“No, you’re not.”

“You can’t stop me.”

Oliver slid from her, rolled her over and stretched out beside her. Blonde strands of hair covered her reddened face. He brushed them away. “No, I can’t.”

“I’m not staying.”

“You can’t believe that note.”

“What should I believe then?”


“Look, if you want to be the billionaire playboy, that’s your business. Just don’t pretend to want to play house with me while you’re at it.” She rose up from the bed, evading his touch. Walking toward the closet, she pulled down her suitcase. “I’m not your charity case. You don’t have to be with me so you can feel good about yourself. Feel sorry for me? Why? Because I’m not a supermodel or a debutante? I don’t think so.”

“That note is nothing but lies, Chloe. I hadn’t seen Adriana in years until yesterday at the restaurant. Supermodels and debutantes? I don’t know what that has to do with any of this. How did those photographs get published so quickly? Who was there with a camera? I’m telling you it’s some kind of set up.”

She ignored him, and moved about the room, opening drawers, slamming them closed and tossing articles of clothing on the bed.

“She could have easily slipped the note into my pocket.”

“She was certainly close enough.”

Oliver ignored her sarcasm, running a hand though his hair, and slipping off the edge of the bed. How could he make her believe him? He followed her to the dresser. “Chloe… none of this is fishy to you? All of this happening at once? The entire article written overnight, with photographs of women? Come on. You work in the newspaper business, nothing like that gets printed so quickly.”

Chloe felt the warmth and brush of his body at her back. She stopped riffling through the drawer momentarily. He was right. No full-page article like that complete with accompanying photos with names, dates and other facts was printed on a whim. Something was indeed wrong. She rubbed her forehead. Damn headache. It fogged her brain. She felt his hands on her shoulders, massaging gently. She relaxed beneath his touch, and he pulled her back against him.

“Please believe me, Chloe. I’ve never lied to you, ever.”

“Who would want to hurt us this way?”

“I don’t know.”

Slowly she turned within his grasp, peering up into dark eyes, full of anguish.

“Don’t leave me,” he whispered. “Let’s get to the bottom of this, together.”

Oliver took her hands, pulling her along as he stepped backward, and sat on the edge of the bed. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close, burying his face between her breasts, her hands cradling his head as she slipped her fingers through his hair. She hugged him to her chest, bending slightly, pressing her lips against his cheek. She swallowed down the ache forming in her throat. “I need to get away, Ollie. Away from this… public spotlight. I want to go back to Metropolis. Just for the weekend. Clear my head. Stay with Lois. See Clark. I miss them.” She hadn’t told him that Lois had already offered her place for a few days. Now, Chloe thought it was a good idea.

He pulled away, gazing up at her, his chin resting against her bosom. “I’ll go with you.” He couldn’t explain it. He didn’t want to be without her, not now when all this was happening. She was always his anchor when the waters were rough, his signal fire whenever he felt lost. He didn’t want her to go.

She stroked his hair, soothingly. “I’ll be back Sunday night. I promise. I’m not leaving you. I don’t know if I can honestly say that I believe you, but I’m willing to find the truth.”

“Maybe that’s all I can ask of you.”

“Maybe it’s enough.”

He watched her pack, feeling wretched inside. She’d said she’d be back and he knew she would, but it still didn’t ease the ache he felt. She’d promised to call as soon as she was at Lois’s apartment. He knew she would, but it didn’t stop the hurt inside at her leaving. Even for a weekend.

She insisted on driving her Yaris to the airport by herself. He let her go. More than an hour after the Queen Industries jet should have taken off for Metropolis, the pilot called from the tarmac wanting to know if there had been a change of plans. Ms. Sullivan had never arrived.

End Chapter 4

Friday, December 26, 2008

Signal Fire Chapter 3

Signal Fire
Chapter 3

He’d almost lost her. Oliver couldn’t rid himself of the image of the gunman pointing and shoving the barrel of his pistol against the back of Chloe’s head. He’d wanted to kill the bastard for touching her, and had to force himself to aim for the man’s shoulder instead of his heart. The look of fear in her eyes, as the suit tried to shove her toward the sedan flashed in his mind. And Phil. Something was going on there, he wasn’t certain exactly what it was, but the guy was a bit too touchy-feely with Chloe. Oliver didn’t like it one bit, and he continued to kiss her possessively, gloved hands roving over her back, clutching her hips pulling her against him, as though staking claim, and thanking God that he’d been there to thwart what might have happened next. He’d find out who those men were and what they wanted with her. But for now; now she was here, safe in his arms, and the combination of nearly losing her along with the twinge of jealousy he felt over her coworker, mingled together; swirling inside him to create an imperative need for her.

Oliver almost didn’t allow her to come up for air. His mouth took hers, insistent, impatient, hungry; his tongue exploring the roof of her mouth, and delving deeper as though he would use it to count her teeth. Chloe was nearly stunned at his passionate assault, her head spinning. These were definitely not the kisses of a man who’d recently snuck off to be with another woman, but it still didn’t explain what she’d seen at the restaurant, and she needed to talk to him. Unless he’s feeling guilty about it, a tiny voice in her head chimed in.

“Ollie,” she struggled for air, attempting to pull away. His lips followed hers, but she wasn’t going to let him kiss her senseless and make her forget everything. “Wait… hold on…” she panted in between kisses.

He reluctantly lifted his head inches from hers. “Good idea. Hold on,” he breathed, reaching behind him with one arm to grasp his crossbow, and grip her firmly against him with the other. She watched him aim and shoot an arrow into the darkening sky, heard the metallic whine of the zip line, and before she could speak again, they were lurching upward, Chloe clinging to his neck. She was used to this by now, but it still never failed to make her heart stop and her stomach drop. Chloe pressed her cheek against the leather that covered his chest; this man whom she loved and admired; he was her own hero. Her heart began aching all over again at the vision of the dark haired woman rubbing herself seductively against him. The vision seemed to grow worse each time she replayed it, taking on an exaggerated life of its own.

They landed on the rooftop of a nearby building. Oliver gazing down at her, took her face in his gloved hands. “Are you sure you’re all right?” he asked, searching her eyes, still somewhat out of breath from all that kissing.

“No. I’m not all right.”

“What happened? Did they hurt you?” He took a step away now, holding her at arm’s length, cupping her shoulders and giving her a once over, as though he’d examine her further for any sign of injury.

“No. Oliver…” Chloe swallowed, feeling as though her heart was in her throat. “I saw you earlier… at Del Monaco’s.” She left the accusation hanging in the air between them.

He didn’t get it. At first. “You were there? Why didn’t you meet me then?”

Ugh. Men. You had to paint pictures for them. She folded her arms over her chest. “You were busy. You had your hands full. A dark-haired supermodel was rubbing her double-D’s all over you? Or don’t you remember that part?”

Oliver lowered his hood, and removed his dark glasses. He turned off his voice distorter. “Adriana.” Shit.

“Just… tell me the truth, Ollie. Whatever you do… please don’t lie…” she felt herself on the verge of tears, but held them back. She wanted to know, but didn’t at the same time. “Please,” she added softly.

So she’d seen the worst part of it, but must have left right before he did. “You saw me there, and then left? If you’d stuck around, you’d have seen that nothing happened.”

That’s not quite what she wanted to hear. Not exactly. She lowered her arms, clenching her fists at her sides. “Why should I stand around and watch my boyfriend being groped, and looking as though he’s enjoying it!”

“Because maybe then you’d have seen me push her away, and leave!”

“Who is she, Oliver?” While she waited for his response, her heart raced with anxiety.

Oliver released a long breath. “She’s someone I knew a long time ago. Before I ever went to Metropolis, before Lois. I honestly didn’t want to go to Del Monaco’s, because I thought she might be there… it’s where she worked. I only agreed to meet you there, because we haven’t spent much time together… hell, you spend more time with your buddy Phil.”

“Phil has nothing to do with this.”

“No? He certainly seems very attached to you.”

“Don’t turn this around on me. I know what I saw.”

“I saw a few things tonight too. I didn’t appreciate his wandering hands all over my girlfriend.”

“What? He was trying to keep me away from those men!”

“After they’d gone? Come on, Chloe. Do you really not know when men are attracted to you? You didn’t realize it when Davis Bloom was sniffing around, and you don’t see it now with Phil?”

“Ugh! This is not about me! I have no interest in Phil, and I’ve done nothing to encourage him.”

“And I didn’t encourage Adriana. You didn’t see the whole thing. I pushed her away, left, and called you on my way out.”

“But you lied! You didn’t even say you were there!”

“What was I supposed to say over the phone, Chloe? And on your voicemail no less? That I ran into a former booty call, and had to leave? I just needed to get out of there. I couldn’t stay and wait for you any longer with her around. Would you rather I stayed at the bar with her?” He paced the rooftop in agitation. “Men hold you at gunpoint, and you’re more worried about this?” Women. Would he ever understand them?

“Yes! Men with guns I can deal with, women throwing themselves at you, is a little more difficult for me.” It didn’t happen often, but she knew it was one of those times when old insecurities rose to the fore once again. She was good at masking them under a veil of confidence, set apart somewhere in the recesses of her psyche. She thought she’d outgrown them. But now after seeing a beautiful woman hanging all over him, she couldn’t stop them, and the realization that she was still crippled by those old memories of her days in Smallville came as a disappointing shock.

“It was a long time ago, Chloe. We had an affair. It didn’t last long, and didn’t mean anything. She’d lied to me about being married. I ended it. For a while she kept after me, but I was done. A few months afterward I went to Metropolis, and well, you know the rest.”

All the fight left her, and she deflated before his eyes. She glanced away from him, blinking away the tears that threatened. “It just… it hurt. I never realized just how much seeing something like that would hurt, Ollie.” Hurt because she couldn’t help but be reminded of how it felt to see someone she cared for in the arms of another. Because she was always the one that was overlooked, because she was never enough, always just the friend and nothing more, because she wasn’t supposed to be the kind of woman a man like Oliver Queen loved. She wasn’t a starlet or a debutante or a supermodel. He was handsome and intelligent, witty, charming, worldly. And she was always just… overlooked. How could she tell him that there were times she simply felt unworthy of him? She’d even once told Lois, that Oliver was out of her league.

Oliver hated seeing the pain and accusation in her eyes. Herein lay one of their major differences. It wasn’t something he liked to think about, but what it boiled down to in his mind were elements of the typical good girl meets bad boy story. She’d only ever been with one other man; Jimmy. And for years had crushed on Clark. Chloe wasn’t the kind of woman to give herself away freely, but when she did, she gave all her loyalty. In contrast, Oliver had been more experienced, and worldly, hell if he was truly honest with himself, he’d been the male equivalent of a slut. It was one of the few things that at times made him feel unworthy of her. He wasn’t as honorable and noble as Clark, or as sweet and innocent as Jimmy, and knowing this beautiful woman gave herself to him completely, never asking any questions about his past, was utterly humbling to him. Not even when Tess had taunted her, did she ask him to reveal anything, and although she’d known about the playboy reputation, and was hesitant at first, ultimately she’d accepted him, and loved him in spite of what he felt were his shortcomings. He’d never tell her this, he refused to let her glimpse his vulnerability, but at this moment, it made him wonder if he truly deserved a woman like Chloe. “I’m sorry you saw that,” he said, his voice becoming gentle and compassionate. “But nothing happened, Chloe. I swear it.”

At the earnest sincerity in his voice, she lifted her eyes to his. “You didn’t kiss her?” she asked, but there was no accusation in her voice, only hope in his forthcoming answer.

“I didn’t. I left. Went home, then geared up for patrolling. That’s why I’m here now.”

“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, you wouldn’t have told me,” she responded quietly.

“No.” He came to stand before her, gloved fingers lifting her chin. “I wouldn’t have,” he admitted softly. “What would be the point of it? To hurt you, the way you’re hurting now? Nothing happened. It means nothing to us. I love you, Chloe. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you. I’ve never had this with anyone before, and wouldn’t jeopardize what I have with you. Why don’t you give me any credit, that I just might be smart enough to know and appreciate what I already have at home?” He cupped her cheek in his palm, and lowered his head slowly, pressing his lips to her forehead, as though testing whether or not she’d accept his touch. Thankfully, he felt her body relax against his. His lips moved over her temple and down her cheek. “Why fool around with hamburger, when I have steak at home?” he murmured, his warm breath tickling her ear.

“Paul Newman,” she sighed, sniffling as a tear slipped down her cheek, wrapping her arms around his waist.


“Paul Newman said that once about Joanne Woodward. And they were married for fifty years.”

“I knew I heard that somewhere before.” Oliver pulled her closer, enfolding her up completely in his arms, relieved that the tension between them was passed. The last thing he wanted to do was argue with her. She snuggled against him, breathing in the familiar, comforting scent of leather and Oliver. He buried his face in her hair. “Fifty years, huh? Maybe there’s hope for us yet.”

Chloe lifted her head to peer up at him, resting her chin against his chest. Her lips curved slightly in a teasing smile. She’d forgiven the misunderstanding, and that’s all he wanted. She sniffled once more. “Maybe.”

Oliver’s hand came up to brush away the tear from her cheek with the pad of his thumb. He stared down at her, and Chloe could feel the heat sizzling in his brown eyes, stirring her own desires. Her gaze snared with his and her pulse flickered and leapt. He watched her lashes flutter closed as he tipped her head, cradling it in his palm. His mouth slanted, hovering over hers momentarily before he claimed her, hot and swift, exploiting her mouth for all it was worth. He might not deserve her, but he’d be damned if he was ever going to lose her.

Oliver wrapped an arm around her, his mouth never leaving hers, half carrying, half pulling her to a darkened corner of the roof, where a wall formed another floor of the building. He backed her up against it, towering over her, capturing her with his hard body. His hands were soon straying, skimming downward over the lush curves of her hips, and inching her skirt upward. The brush of gloved fingertips grazing her thighs made her shiver in anticipation as he shoved up her skirt, large hands moving to grasp her softness, clutching and kneading the rounded flesh of her bottom through her panties as he ground his hips against her.

Too many days of pent up need for each other were unleashed. Chloe’s fingertips skittered over the edge of his leather pants tugging on them desperately, seeking the part of him she wanted, slipping her fingers inside, finding the tip of him wet, he was rock hard against his belly and straining to be released. She undid the codpiece, finding and encircling him; his velvety shaft large, heavy and warm in her hand. She stroked him, his groan vibrating into her mouth. Somehow, her panties were gone. He’d frantically ripped them from her body, yanking them off of her, until they fell in a torn heap near their feet. Seconds later, Chloe felt herself being lifted in his powerful arms as though she were weightless.

She clung to his neck, sinking onto his body as he impaled her, sheathing himself inside the soft, hot clasp of her body with one swift thrust of his hips. Chloe cried out softly, and Oliver gasped aloud as she took him in; the sound turning into a growl in the back of his throat. He rocked his lower body against her, pushing her back against the brick wall, plunging hard. Harder. He nuzzled her ear and nipped at her neck, as he drove into her relentlessly, his breath whispering over her skin. He breathed words by turns both profoundly tender and sensuously risqué, telling her how good she felt, how much he loved and wanted her, how much he loved fucking her.

Chloe answered him, whispering his name in anxious abandon, her own breathless words urging him to take her ever deeper, wanting more of him, all of him. Her body milked him as small spasms ran through her, clenching around him. She writhed and rubbed her pubic bone against him, her climax building with every deep, possessive plunge he took, sensing his passion rising to its peak in unison with hers. Her fingers clutched his shoulders, sliding up and diving into his hair, she gripped the short blond strands between her fingers, tugging on them, bringing his head up until his forehead rested against hers. They panted, breathing each other’s breath, until they were both so far gone, bodies shaky with passion and desire, until it surged and swelled between them, groans and cries escaping them both as waves of ecstasy washed over them, carrying them to the brink and beyond. Oliver filled her with his warmth until he had no more to give her, and Chloe joyfully accepted, welcoming his release as her womb fluttered with spasms, contracting, her entire body shuddering.

Aftershocks made their bodies tremble. Oliver couldn’t move. Didn’t dare try. He was holding her up against the wall, her thighs draped over his arms, still buried inside her. He didn’t trust his muscles to obey his commands just yet. As they struggled for air, he closed his eyes, bushing his nose against hers, nuzzling her, and then dropping soft kisses on her face and throat, his blood still simmering. Chloe managed a lazy smile, her eyes glazed over, languid and spent, she rubbed her cheek against his before her head fell forward to rest on his shoulder.

Long moments passed before they shifted, and Oliver slipped from her body, lowering her gently to her feet. Chloe’s legs nearly buckled from under her, but he held her up, both of them chuckling lightly. They stood together wrapped in each other’s arms for a time.

Chloe sighed contentedly. “That was... amazing…” she whispered, her voice trailing off dreamily as soft fingertips stroked him, wandering appreciatively over his hard, well-muscled biceps and shoulders.

Oliver’s chuckle vibrated in his chest against her ear. He dropped a kiss to the top of her head. “Let’s enjoy it while we can, angel. Fifty years from now, I won’t be in any shape to do that.”

End Chapter 3

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Signal Fire Chapter 2

Signal Fire
Chapter 2

Del Monaco’s. Oliver hadn’t been there in… well, a long time. He didn’t really want to go there again, and had managed to avoid the place since that incident with a certain hostess who’d worked there. He cleared his throat, leaning back in his chair behind his desk. “Isn’t there someplace else you’d rather go?”

“It’s close. Phil and I can get whatever information we need from Mr. Ambrose, then I can meet you there.”

Oliver grumbled inwardly. Maybe the hostess didn’t work there anymore. The whole messy affair had happened a couple of years ago after all. “What if the food’s not that great?” He fished about for any excuse not to go there and be reminded of past indiscretions, nor did he want to unnecessarily subject Chloe to something that was better left in the past, and had no bearing on them now. That place, and the woman was part of another lifetime. “Uh… and I might be stuck in a meeting… what if I cooked?”

Chloe chuckled, “Not that I’m unaware of your amazing culinary skills, but Ollie, this place was rated among the top dining establishments in Star City, I’m surprised you’ve never been there before. We can wait for each other at the bar; if you’re stuck at a meeting just call me. It will save time… or, what if we met there before? Have a quick bite, then I can meet my source?” She turned in her chair away from fellow workers, lowering her voice to a whisper. “Besides, after that you’ll still have time to go green leather patrolling if you’d like, since I’ll be putting finishing touches on the story.”

If he told her no, she’d question why. He’d never lied to her before, and if he lied about it, she’d know. He’d have to suck it up; and really what were the chances that Adriana still worked there? What harm could there be? Whatever happened was a long time ago. Besides, he’d been missing Chloe, feeling as though they were like two ships that passed in the night these past weeks. He’d been away on a few business trips this month, and at times, they were both so exhausted at the end of the day, that either one or the other or both of them would be asleep before anything more intimate than cuddling happened. Nights he’d gone patrolling, he’d enter the manor house to find she’d fallen asleep on the couch waiting for him. He’d gather her in his arms, carry her to bed and fall asleep, simply content to lie beside her. Oliver let out an audible breath, signaling his acquiescence. “Okay, meet me around 6:00, that gives us some time together before you go off super-sleuthing.”

“Great. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.” He could hear the smile in her voice as she spoke, and pictured her sweet face in his mind; her smile never failing to make him feel warm all over, even over the phone.

Chloe snapped her cell phone shut. “I,” she announced proudly, addressing Philip across the room, and smiling as though she’d just won the Pulitzer Prize. “Have the best. Boyfriend. Ever.”

Philip merely smiled back, then looked away, focusing on his computer screen as his smile faded. Some unbidden heaviness centered in his chest. In his time on this particular job, he’d come to know Chloe and admire her. It was unfortunate that she’d be heartbroken soon. Philip pushed those thoughts aside. She was just another casualty in his line of work, and there was no room for sympathies. Still, he couldn’t deny the growing attraction he felt for her. It was never a good thing to get emotionally involved in a case. He’d known this from the start. But soon it would all be over, and he could forget Chloe Sullivan.

* * * * *

Oliver took a sip of his martini, glancing at the clock behind the bar for the umpteenth time. 6:20. Chloe had called, telling him she was running late. He may have to abandon all hope of seeing her tonight if it got any later. He glanced around, expecting to see her walking toward him at any moment. Del Monaco’s hadn’t changed much. There weren’t many patrons at the dimly lit bar; the place usually didn’t get hopping until 8:00 or so when the late dinner and dancing crowd amassed.

“Oliver Queen,” a feminine voice sounded in recognition, soft and sultry.

Oliver turned in his seat, finding a buxom, statuesque raven-haired beauty. “Adriana.” She was the last person he wanted to see right now.

“Been a long time. What brings you here?” She stepped closer, her lips curving in a sensuous smile, a hungry look glittering in her blue eyes as they flitted over him.

Oliver stiffened, a small awkward grin reaching the corners of his mouth, as he recognized her look. “I’m meeting someone.” He didn’t feel he needed to share any further information with her. It was none of her business.

Adriana sidled in closer, her manicured hand moving seductively over the lapel of his suit jacket, momentarily taking him aback, distracting him as her other hand deftly slipped something into his suit coat pocket. “Business, or pleasure?” she whispered.

Oliver covered her hand with his in an attempt to remove it from his chest. “Listen, Adriana…” he mumbled.

“I’ve missed you, Ollie,” she interrupted softly, pressing her body against his, her face now mere inches from his, her lashes fluttered closed, and Oliver thought she’d kiss him. He held his breath, his eyes falling to her lips.

Chloe had seen enough. She couldn’t hear what was being said. She didn’t need to know. Their body language spoke volumes. Her stomach, tied up in so many knots, pulling at her chest, she could barely breath. She thought to speak his name, to ask him what was going on, but no words would come. She turned and fled blindly through the restaurant exit, her pulse pounding so hard it made her entire body tremble. Tess’s words came back to haunt her. ‘When he hurts you, and he will, maybe you’ll see things the way I do.’ No. There had to be some explanation. Oliver would never do this. Would he? They’d been too busy for each other lately. Was it that? Or had he been making excuses so that he could see another woman on the side? She knew him. ‘You’re the only one who knows me,’ he’d said once. It was true. He wouldn’t…. couldn’t do this. Chloe was used to the appreciative and sometimes outright blatantly sexual stares he received from women, but he’d proven to her time and again that he had no interest in any of them, that she was the only woman in his life, the only woman he wanted, the only woman he loved. But this. She’d never actually seen a woman throw herself at him like that. The way he grasped the woman’s hand, the way his eyes lowered as though he was about to kiss her. An ache so deep, it hurt to the very core engulfed her entire being. She ran, her legs numb, not really knowing where she was headed. Thoughts zigzagged, racing through her mind. Oliver wasn’t stupid. If he was going to cheat, would he meet the woman there at the same place he was planning to meet her? But what if the woman happened to show up, not knowing he was meeting Chloe? Ugh. None of it made sense! Chloe found herself back outside the Gazette building, flattened against the wall, her palms pressing against the cool brick. There had to be some mistake. She took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself. Her cell phone rang in her pocket, and she pulled it out. It was Oliver. She couldn’t answer the phone, not now.

Oliver pulled away from Adriana in disgust, glancing down at the hand he held away from him, noting the gold band on her finger. “Why don’t you go home, Adriana? I’m sure your husband is waiting for you. If you'll excuse me, I have someone important waiting for me.” He stepped away from her then, too uncomfortable to stay here and wait for Chloe any longer, he pulled his cell phone from the front pocket of his suit pants. Her voicemail message sounded in his ear. “Chloe? Hey, I’m not going to be able to meet you at Del Monaco’s. I’ll head home, maybe go patrolling, and see you later tonight when you get back. I love you.”

Adriana stood alone at the bar watching Oliver Queen leave in a hurry as he pulled out his cell phone, a faint, smug smile curving her mouth. She’d turned her head to catch a glimpse of a patron who sat along the wall opposite. He lifted his brows, showing her a digital camera, then pocketing it, he stood and walked out of the restaurant. She faced the bar once more, picking up the half-empty martini glass Oliver had left, her expression suddenly turning wistful as she remembered their short time together. Oliver had been an incredible lover, and she secretly envied Chloe Sullivan. Well, hopefully not for long anyway. It wasn’t hard for Phil to convince Adriana to take part in his little scheme. Some part of her never forgave Oliver for dumping her before their brief sexual affair could be splattered all over the tabloids. He hadn’t known she was married, and maybe it was just as well he’d ended their trysts soon after discovering her deceit. Still, it didn’t quell her hunger for him, and she’d sought him out at every opportunity, turning into some desperate shell of a woman. She practically stalked him, yet hating herself for what she’d become. Months passed. He repeatedly ignored her attempts to get near him, and then he’d left for a time, moving to Metropolis where he’d met Lois Lane. Now apparently, he’d moved on and was happily and completely in love with Chloe Sullivan.

Adriana lifted the glass to her lips, finishing off Oliver’s drink. She plucked the olive from it, taking it from the pick between her teeth. It had been almost three years since she’d seen him last. She’d gotten over him, and now all that remained was the desire to see him hurting and desperate for someone, the way she’d been for him.

Chloe, somewhat calmed now, flipped open her cell phone, checking her voicemail messages. There was only one. ‘Chloe? Hey, I’m not going to be able to meet you at Del Monaco’s. I’ll head home, maybe go patrolling, and see you later tonight when you get back. I love you.’

“Not going to meet me at Del Monaco’s, because you’re already there, right? Ugh!” He was lying to her. Dear God, he was lying. ‘I love you.’ The words made her eyes sting with unshed tears. He was lying. Probably making up some excuse so that he could be with that dark-haired witch for the rest of the night.

“Hey, Chloe. Are you all right?”

Chloe straightened abruptly, blinking up at Phil. She composed herself quickly. “Yeah… yeah, I’m fine. Is it time to go yet? Let’s just get out of here.”

“I thought you were going to meet Oliver at the restaurant,” he asked, confused.

“I did. You were right. Nice place. Can we go now?”

Phil placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, slipping his arm around her. “You sure you’re okay?” he asked softly, his soothing masculine voice laced with concern.

Chloe merely nodded, fearing that if she spoke, she’d begin sobbing uncontrollably.

Phil hugged her against his side, giving her shoulder a squeeze before he released her. “Come on, Sullivan. We’ve got work to do.”

They took a cab; heading back toward the restaurant Chloe had just left. The meeting place was four blocks away from it. Chloe stood pacing the alley behind some old, closed down department store, still unable to calm herself, yet unwilling to say anything to her partner about the incident. She really just wanted to go home, talk to Oliver when he returned, and find out what was going on. Maybe she’d misunderstood the entire exchange, replaying the scene of Oliver with the woman over and over in her mind. The way she rubbed herself against him, and gah… stop it!

“When’s this guy supposed to show up?” she nearly snapped. It was growing dark, they’d been waiting for more than half an hour, and she just wanted to go home, didn’t even want to finish writing the story. Somehow, it didn’t seem important anymore.

“Anytime now, Chlo,” he chuckled over her impatience. “Relax.” Philip eyed her carefully. He’d noted her distress since he’d seen her outside the Gazette building. “Hey, listen,” he waited until she’d stopped her pacing to gaze up at him with anguished green eyes. His heart clenched at seeing her pain, and the worst part was, he’d known why. Hell, he’d been the one to orchestrate it. She was being strong, putting up a front, but Philip was well aware of what she’d seen. The digital photographs had already been emailed to him. Unfortunately, Queen was no sap, and didn’t fall for Adriana’s play, but the photos were good enough to be considered incriminating. A picture spoke a thousand words, even the wrong ones if you wanted to spin them that way. “Tell you what. Once this is over, why don’t you go home? I’ll finish the story, slap both of our names on it, and call it a night.”

“Are you sure? I mean, you’d do that for me?”

“Of course. Come on, Chloe, you’ve helped me plenty of times.” It was true; she’d covered his butt more than once in the last five months he’d known her, and never once complained about it. “I know you want to get home.”

The way her eyes lit up and her face relaxed in an easy smile had his insides stirring. He forced away the feeling. “Really?”

“Really.” He smiled.

“Thanks, Phil.”

Just then the headlights of a dark sedan appeared, the car moving slowly up into the alley.

“That’ll be Mr. Ambrose now.”

Chloe turned to watch the vehicle’s approach, stepping closer to Phil.

The car stopped, and every door opened at once, causing Chloe’s brow’s to furrow in confusion. There was only supposed to be one man. Four armed men in dark suits stepped out almost in unison, pointing their weapons at both Chloe and Philip.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Philip, startled, raised his hands. Chloe’s first urge was to run, but Philip grasped her arm, pulling her against him protectively. “It’s okay Chloe.”

The men didn’t answer; they simply kept coming, forming a semi-circle around the pair.

“Where’s Mr. Ambrose?” Chloe asked them. Glancing quickly from Philip and back to the men once more, her green eyes panicked.

One of the men pointed his gun at Chloe’s head. “Get in the car.” She merely stood frozen in stunned silence, forgetting every self-defense maneuver Oliver ever taught her.

Chloe didn’t see the look that passed between Phil and the man wielding the gun against her head.

“Wait now, whatever you want, money… anything, I’ll give it to you, just don’t hurt her.” Phil said, trying to insinuate himself between Chloe and the suited man. He shoved Phil away, causing him to back into one of the other suits, who grabbed him in a chokehold, holding a gun to his head.

“Philip!” Chloe screamed, then heard the click of a pistol being cocked, and felt the hard metal of the barrel against her skull. She remained still, her eyes wide, darting to the side in a vain attempt to see him clearly.

“Get in the car,” her captor repeated coldly, gripping her shoulder with his free hand, and nudging the back of her head none too gently with his pistol.

A whir, a whizzing sound passed her ear, and the man at her side grunted in pain, falling backward. She looked around frantically in the growing darkness, nothing but dim lamplight illuminating in the alley. An arrow protruded from his shoulder as he continued to writhe on the cement. Oliver! The men were panicked now; shouting, searching the rooflines, and looking for any sign of the mysterious archer. A few more arrows hit their targets, this time from a different direction. The man holding Philip screamed as an arrow pierced his thigh, and having no choice but to release him, fell backward, grasping onto it, pulling it out, a sound of pain echoing in the alleyway. Phil ran to Chloe, moving her away, wrapping her in his arms protectively as they watched the injured men scramble back toward the sedan. A dark green blur swooped down, his feet knocking the final straggler down onto the ground. He barely crawled into the car as it took off, tires screeching, bumper hitting the curb as it squealed away at breakneck speed.

Arrow did a cursory search of the area before coming to stand in front of the couple. Philip had been gripping her tightly against him, unconsciously stroking her hair in a calming gesture.

She pulled away from him, having to nudge against his chest. “I’m okay, thanks,” she whispered.

“Are you all right?” The Green Arrow asked, his nearly monotone voice synthesized by a distorter.

“Yeah, thank you… wow, so you’re the Green Arrow,” Philip bumbled about wide-eyed as though meeting his favorite rock star. “Thanks. I-I don’t know what we’d have done if you hadn’t come along.” He looked at Chloe. “I have no idea who those guys were, or what they wanted.”

“Miss?” Archer turned his attention to Chloe.

“I’m fine, thank you.” She offered gratefully, for no matter how angry she was with him right now, she was glad he was here. She couldn’t imagine why a source for a story would want to take her at gunpoint, but her mind was too stunned at the moment to think further.

“You really shouldn’t be out here,” he admonished. His face, what she could see of it, remained stoic.

“I was… just… heading home.”

His gaze never left her. “Good.”

Arrow tugged on his hood in salute as he bid them goodnight. Shot an arrow into the sky and then was lifted, gone up into the darkness before they knew it.


“Did you get a license plate number? Maybe we can find out who they were.”


“I’m going home, Phil. Let’s just forget this source. We can write the story without this Mr. Ambrose. I’m too shaken right now to even think about this story or why those men were here trying to kidnap us, or whatever they were trying to do. What if they come back? I need to get home, get some sleep. We can figure this out in the morning; see if we can’t track those guys down.”

Damn it all. The Green Arrow had ruined everything! This was supposed to be the end of it. They’d pick her up, take her to Luthor, and it would be over. He could get out of Star City, go back to Metropolis. Damn the Green Arrow for pulling his heroic act!

“Phil, are you okay?”

He lifted his head, schooling his expression. “Yeah. Let me get you a cab at least. I’m sorry this whole thing happened, Chloe. I’m wondering if those guys aren’t part of the political underground. Star City is known for its corruption. I’m guessing they wanted to send us a message; scare us so we wouldn’t finish our story.” He shrugged apologetically. “I’m really sorry I got you into this.” He had to feed her some line of bullshit, something she’d believe, and up to now he’d been proud of his acting skills, pulling off the entire scared reporter bit to the hilt, pretending not to know the men who attacked them. Maybe he should be on Broadway.

“No, it’s okay. I’ll call for the limo.”

“Yeah, right. I forgot. Rich guy’s girlfriend.” It was true. Sometimes he did forget she was someone’s girlfriend. The richest man in Star City’s girlfriend to be exact.

“Do you need a ride home?” she offered.

“No, I’m good. I’m actually going to head back to the Gazette and finish up. You go on home. I’m sure your man is waiting.”

“Thanks, Phil.” Chloe watched him walk away.

She waited a few moments before heading up the alley, and crossing into the next one turning a corner. She stood there for a few moments, next to a dumpster. She didn’t have to wait long. The Green Arrow dropped down in front of her. And before she could speak, and rant and rave and carry on like a madwoman over what she’d seen earlier at the restaurant, never mind that she’d just been held at gunpoint, she found herself swept up in his powerful arms, pulled hard against his body. His lips descended, his mouth crushing hers with such fierceness and yearning and anguish, she’d almost forgotten why she was so angry with him. Almost.

End Chapter 2

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Signal Fire Chapter 1

Signal Fire

The perfect words never crossed my mind
'Cause there was nothing in there but you
I felt every ounce of me, screaming out
But the sound was trapped deep in me

All I wanted just sped right past me
But I was rooted fast to the earth
I could be stuck here for a thousand years
Without your arms to drag me out

There you are, standing right in front of me
There you are, standing right in front of me
All this fear falls away, you leave me naked
Hold me close, 'cause I need you to guide me to safety

No, I don't wanna wait forever
No, I don't wanna wait forever

In the confusion and the aftermath
You are my signal fire
The only resolution and the only joy
Is the faint spark of forgiveness in your eyes

There you are, standing right in front of me
There you are, standing right in front of me
All this fear falls away, you leave me naked
Hold me close, cause I need you to guide me to safety

There you are, standing right in front of me
There you are, standing right in front of me
All this fear falls away, you leave me naked
Hold me close, cause I need you to guide me to safety

No, I don't wanna wait forever
No, I don't wanna wait forever
No, I don't wanna wait forever

--Snow Patrol

“Chloooeeeee,” Oliver called from the bedroom, as he rummaged through the large walk-in closet they shared. She’d gone into her office to gather up her notes for a story she’d been working on with a partner at the Star City Gazette. “Where’s my burgundy tie? The one with…”

He stopped his yelling, turning to find her grinning up him, rolling her eyes playfully as said burgundy tie dangled from her fingertips. She held it aloft for him.

He grinned at her sheepishly, taking the tie and lifting the collar of his white dress shirt. “How’d you know that’s the one I wanted?” he asked, slipping the tie around his neck and flipping over the end to form the knot.

“How you ever got dressed without me is a mystery,” she teased, vaguely wondering if it was a quirk of all men to think that women knew where everything was in the house. ‘Chloe where’s my this, Chloe where’s my that, Chloe have you seen my whatchamacallit?’ And why they never seemed to remember where they’d left things. She reached up to adjust the newly tied article of clothing, fixing his collar, her palms moving over the hard muscles of his chest to smooth down his shirt. It was a wonder she didn’t have to show him how to put on his Green Arrow suit. At least he’d started remembering to put the toilet seat down, even when he cheekily insisted that it was she who kept forgetting to put it back up. She sighed. Progress, one step at a time.

His arms snaked around her waist, pulling her up against him. “Maybe I just like having an excuse for you to have your hands on me,” he whispered, dipping his head to touch soft lips to the tip of her nose.

She laughed lightly at him, smiling saucily. “As if I’ve ever needed an excuse to touch you.”

His hands slid down the curve of her spine, over the fabric of her dark pencil skirt, fingertips reaching for her bottom. He nudged her forward. “Just… lately we’ve both been so busy, I feel as though I haven’t had a moment to get you alone.”

They’d been living together in the manor house for nearly six months. Oliver couldn’t be happier, and knew asking her to move to Star City with him was the best thing he’d ever done. Her career at the Star City Gazette was taking off. She’d made a few friends, and was beginning to make a name for herself as a cub reporter there. He was proud of her, and every day that passed had him falling ever more deeply in love with her. She was still the Watchtower to his Green Arrow, she was his best friend, his information gatherer, she was his love, and now more than ever, he’d been thinking about Lois’s not-so-subtle suggestions to ‘make it legal.’ He wanted Chloe to marry him, but thus far hadn’t asked the question. There was time, he could wait. Besides, with her work so important and time consuming, as well as the ever-pressing Queen Industries business and the League, both of them saving the world, there just never seemed to be the right time to ask or talk about their future together.

Chloe had adjusted well. The tabloids, not finding any worthy scathing stories about them, tended to leave them alone now. In the beginning, Chloe bristled at the unflattering headlines pondering Star City’s most eligible bachelor’s attempt at domestic bliss with a simple Kansas cub reporter. Oliver was good at ignoring it, and after a time it just didn’t bother her anymore.

Oliver continued to press soft kisses over her cheek, creating a heated path toward the pulse point at her throat. “What about tonight?” he whispered against her skin.

“Mmmm. I’d love to, but I might be late, I have a deadline. Philip and I have to have our copy in before tomorrow morning, and there’s one more source we need to see,” she murmured, her voice husky, arching her body up into his, thinking that if he kept that up, they’d never get out of the house this morning. “Just came up, out of nowhere. Phil thinks it’s important.”

His lips traveled, meeting hers, kissing her soundly. “I’ll wait.” He lifted his head, giving her bottom a squeeze. “Be careful, Sidekick. Star City political corruption schemes run deep, you’ll be ruffling some pretty well established feathers.”

“Don’t worry about me, hero. My article on city jobs in exchange for money and favors is hardly deep enough in the underbelly to warrant any concern over danger.” She stepped up on tiptoe to kiss the dimple in his chin, then nipping it lightly, a soft giggle escaping her, when he scowled at her action. She always did that when he least expected it. He always pretended it bothered him. They both knew it didn’t. Oliver stopped her giggle, taking her mouth once more with a growl.

The limousine driver stopped at the Gazette first, dropping Chloe off, she kissed Oliver quickly, with promises to call him before she came home. The car then headed toward Queen Towers for Oliver to begin his day.

Chloe entered the large basement office, not unlike the one at the Daily Planet, dropping her bag on the floor next to her desk, turning on her computer.

“Hey Sullivan, you’re late,” a voice called, causing Chloe to lift her head.

She checked her watch. Then grinned at her handsome, dark-haired friend. “Late for what?”

He handed her a steaming cup of coffee, which she gratefully accepted. He then leaned casually on the corner of her desk. His blue eyes glinted playfully. “I need to see your notes. Besides, I’ve got a bet over there with Wilson,” he inclined his head toward a stout older man typing away at his keyboard, intent on whatever he was working on.

Chloe swallowed the sip of coffee she’d just taken, glancing over at Wilson. “A bet about what?”

“That you and I will have our copy in tonight, kick off early, and head out over to celebrate our breaking story with free flowing libations,” he winked at her.

“Well, if we do happen to finish early, I’ve got a hot date, sorry, Phil.” She indicated Wilson with a nod of her head. “Why don’t you ask him,” she whispered conspiratorially. “I think he likes you.”

“Awww, come on Sullivan. What’s Queen got that I haven’t? Looks, money? Uh… on second thought… never mind.” He feigned an exaggerated, crestfallen expression. “Right. Damn.”

Phil made her laugh, sometimes trying to make a comical play for her, knowing she was off the market, taken by Star City’s resident billionaire bachelor. “Sorry big boy,” she patted his hand in mock sympathy. “Shouldn’t have taken that bet with Wilson. Now, what have you got so far? If you want to get out of here early, we need to get this done.”

Phillip for all his silly flirtations and antics was a good reporter, and didn’t fail her. He showed her his work, most of the information they’d gathered, he’d already compiled. He was a wonderful writer too, and Chloe was certain he’d be under the Tiffany lamps before she ever would. She liked him well enough; he was funny, friendly, and never forgot to greet her every day with a cup of her favorite brew.

She lifted her eyes from the paper she was reading. “Wow, this is really good.”

Phil puffed out his chest. “I know.”

Chloe rolled her eyes, handing him her notes. “What time are we meeting this source, Mr. Ambrose?”

He checked his watch. “In a couple of hours.”

“I’ll add my section to yours, and then we can check it over,” she said taking another sip of coffee, and settling in.

Philip nodded thoughtfully, leaving her to her work. He walked over to his desk, slipping his hand into the suit jacket that hung over the back of his chair. The cell phone he pulled out wasn’t his, but he’d been instructed when to use it. He dialed a number and waited, casting a backward glance at Chloe to make sure she was still working, before he stepped toward the stairwell exit.

“Has everything been arranged?” A male voice on the other end asked.

“Right on time,” Phil answered leaning against the wall.

“Make sure she’s at the rendezvous, no exceptions.”

“Have I ever let the boss down before? Relax. She’ll be there. You just make sure you keep your end of the bargain, or he’ll be hearing from me personally.”

“What about Queen?”

“It’s all set up. She’ll see him with a pretty little dove, and I’ll be there to pick up the pieces. I’ve got a strong shoulder she can cry on.”

“You sure she trusts you?”

“Are you kidding? I’ll be her knight in shining armor after this,” Phil chuckled humorlessly.

“Don’t mess around Phil. This girl’s too important.”

“I’m not messing around. I've been on this case too long already. I know how important she is to Mr. Luthor.”


Philip closed the phone and headed back toward Chloe’s desk. He stopped and stared at her while she worked. She was smart, sassy, and he had to admit, beautiful. He didn’t know why his boss thought the woman was so important, but he was going to keep his end of the bargain. He’d been on this particular job too long to screw up now. Phil approached her desk, nearly startling her. “Looks like neither one of us will get off early.”

Chloe lifted her eyes to his, her brows furrowing in question. “Why?”

“That was Mr. Ambrose on the phone,” he lied. “Wants us to meet him around 7:00 tonight.”

Chloe bit her lip. She didn’t want to disappoint Oliver. He’d been right. They hadn’t spent much time alone together lately. “Really?” She didn't sound too thrilled.

“Hey, look… I’m sorry, Chlo. Why don’t you call your guy and just tell him to meet you at that little Italian place over on 5th street Del Monaco’s? We won’t be far from there and you can meet him.”

Chloe hesitated, her hand on her cell phone.

“They’ve got this cozy little bar there, he can wait for you,” Phil continued, urging her. “I’m sure he’ll understand.”

Of course he would. He was her Oliver. He’d understand her need to get a job done, just as she had done for him countless times. She lifted the phone from her desk, dialing. “Hey, Ollie….?”

Philip returned to his desk picking up his own phone this time. He swiveled in his chair, away from Chloe, his voice lowered. “Adriana? It’s on. Yeah, be there on time. Don’t forget to slip him the stuff.”

Phil closed his phone, sitting back in his chair. Soon this would all be over. Now, everything had to go off without a hitch, and he could go back to Metropolis. Maybe he wouldn’t have to do grunt work anymore. Maybe he’d even get a promotion, working alongside Lex Luthor. Now that Tess Mercer was pretty much out of the picture, Phil was certain Mr. Luthor would need someone trustworthy to act as his right hand man.

End Chapter 1

Click Here For Chapter 2

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anything But Ordinary: Chloe/Oliver Chapter 21

Anything But Ordinary
Chapter 21

“Are you all right?” she asked lifting a tremulous palm to his cheek. In the dimness Chloe could see his fading black eye. “What happened? Where’s everyone? The creature?” She glanced around noting her surroundings for the first time. “Where are we?”

He realized she must not remember the events of days ago, or perhaps she thought she’d healed him completely. “One question at a time, Sidekick.” Oliver murmured, pressing warm, lips to her forehead. “I’m fine. Clark is here,” Oliver’s voice trailed off, as he lifted his head, eyes searching the darkness, noting Clark was not where he’d seen him last. “Clark?”

“Oliver! Over here.” Clark’s voice sounded near the place where Tess’s body had landed near the side of the building.

“I’m okay, Ollie, you can put me down,” Chloe whispered, and he set her on her feet, holding onto her as she took a moment to adjust to bearing her own weight again. Oliver arranged his over-sized leather jacket around her shoulders protectively. He wanted nothing more than to take her home and hold her close against him through the rest of the night. She nodded her readiness, and he clasped her hand as they both walked toward the sound of Clark’s voice. “What happened to your leg?” she asked as he hobbled next to her.

“Just twisted my knee,” he shrugged, brushing off her concern, noting that her steps were shaky as well, having been weakened.

“Ollie… What…?”

He squeezed her hand gently, effectively quieting her. “I promise I’ll tell you everything later, Mistress Watchtower.” His voice was soft, and she sought his eyes, his expression telling her he was simply glad she was back among the living.

The look on his face warmed her, yet she burned even more with questions. She remembered seeing him that day in the lab, remembered kneeling next to him, remembered her attempt to heal him, but that was it. He’d tell her what had happened she had no doubt, and so she schooled her curiosity for now. Chloe reciprocated his gesture, her fingers tightening around his momentarily. “You’d better,” she smiled up at him.

Clark was kneeling beside Tess’s body. At their approach, he lifted his head. “She’s alive. Barely.”

Oliver pulled Chloe into his arms. She immediately wrapped her arms around his waist, her cheek coming to rest against the warm hardness of his chest, her eyes never leaving Tess’s body. She’d nearly been gutted, not unlike Oliver had been that night they’d broken into Luthorcorp. Dark crimson seeped through a blouse torn to shreds. The creature had done this, but where was he now?

“We need to get her out of here,” Clark said, noting their shocked, silent expressions. He thought to ask Chloe if she could help Tess in any way, then thought better of it. Chloe had only recovered, and after all that had happened, he wasn’t certain she would willingly attempt to heal the woman who’d been responsible for all she’d suffered recently.

Clark watched her expression. She bit her lip, uncertain.

Oliver’s arms tightened around her, as though divining her thoughts. “You don’t have to do it, Chloe,” he whispered. “I don’t want you to.”

Chloe lifted her head from his chest, searching his eyes. “She’ll die.”

Oliver pressed his lips together, flustered. “I just got you back...”

“And in spite of all she’s done, I don’t know if I could live with myself, Ollie, knowing I could have helped her and didn’t.”

She shifted sideways, gazing down at Tess, attempting to step out of his arms, even as they clenched around her pulling her back. “Damn it, Chloe…” he growled.

Chloe turned in his arms gazing up at him, her eyes shining with resolve. Her first words surprised him. “I hate Tess Mercer,” she admitted coldly. “I despise her not only for what she’s done to me, but to you, to Davis Bloom, to everyone,” Through the anger in her voice, Oliver sensed she was on the verge of tears. “She’s Lex Luthor’s protégé, and yes that makes her just as bad as he is, and yes if I help her, there’s no guarantee it won’t come back to bite us all in the ass, but Oliver… we’re supposed to be the good guys.”

He sighed, feeling helpless. “Chloe…”

“You’ve wondered what all this was for. You’ve tortured yourself these last months wanting to know why, wanting to know if it’s all worth it, why you should care anymore…” She gestured behind her at Tess’s prone form. “Ollie, this, this right here is what sets us apart, it’s what makes Oliver Queen a hero and not another Lex Luthor.”

Oliver’s arms enveloped her like a vise, unwilling and unable to let her go. He pressed his forehead against hers, his eyes squeezing shut. “No… Chloe…” He knew she was right, but that didn’t mean he wanted her to be right. Nothing he could think of made Tess Mercer’s life worth more than Chloe’s. But Lex Luthor would let Tess Mercer die, and he wasn’t Lex and neither was Chloe. He knew it was about doing the right thing, even when it felt wrong.

“The Green Arrow would help someone in need,” Chloe continued. “He wouldn’t let someone die if there was a chance he could help them.” Chloe dipped her head urging him to look at her. “Even his enemies.”

Oliver shook his head. What he wanted right now was vengeance. “I’m not that good, Chloe, I’m not that noble, or forgiving.”

Chloe cupped his cheek in her palm, her voice soft yet determined. “Neither am I, but as much as I’d like to walk away from her right now, let her die and never look back, some small part won’t let me. You and I both know that not saving her would haunt us eventually. It’s not up to us to decide her fate this way, and our consciences would never be clear if we didn’t at least try to do the right thing. I don’t want that hanging over our heads, do you?”

Clark waited; knowing every moment that passed, meant that the life slowly ebbed from Tess’s body. He watched as Oliver’s expression turned to a near grimace of pain at the thought of what she was about to do; the thought of putting herself in danger for Tess was killing him. Oliver finally offered her a slight shake of his head in reluctant agreement with her. Suddenly, his lips met hers swiftly, hard, pouring all his anguish, all of his fear, and all of his love for her into that one kiss. He pulled away then, breathing heavily, his arms slowly falling away from Chloe’s waist.

Gentle fingertips stroked his cheek. “I love you,” she whispered.

Chloe turned and fell to her knees beside Tess as Clark moved aside to give her some room. She lay her hands over Tess’s wounds, not knowing how much of her power she could call upon. Dim flickers of light radiated from her fingertips, healing the deep gashes. Chloe grimaced in pain, and Oliver knelt beside her, catching her up in his arms before she fell sideways.

“There’s no more left in me,” she gasped out of breath.

“It might be enough to save her life,” Clark answered, gathering Tess up in his arms. “I’ll take her to the hospital. You did what you could. The rest isn’t up to us.”

Chloe nodded, reaching for Oliver’s arm weakly, comforted by the feel of his bicep beneath her palm, his strength surrounding her. “Let’s go home, Ollie.”

She slept on the ride home. Oliver carried her into the penthouse. Both exhausted, they slept peacefully, and when the first rays of light filtered into the bedroom, he felt her shift against him, knowing she was awake.


He pulled her close, his fingers brushing over her arm, stroking her, pressing a kiss to her hair in answer.

“We did the right thing,” she said, more to convince herself than anything else.

“I hope so.”

“Tell me what happened,” she whispered, nestling her cheek against his chest.

Oliver told her about how she’d tried to heal him, and the days she spent unconscious, purposely leaving out his visit to Tess to bargain for her life. He told her about the beast bringing her to the facility to help her, and how Tess shot at it, causing the creature to lash out against her. He told her of the crystal Clark had, that magically drew in the beast, sending it to the Phantom Zone.

He felt her nod. She was silent for long moments, then finally spoke. “Brainiac’s gone.”

“What do you mean?”

“I no longer have super-intelligence. Something changed after I used my abilities to keep Davis immobile for the DNA transfer, and now that the creature is gone, I don’t feel Brainiac’s presence.”

“Don’t worry,” he whispered with a slight chuckle. “You’re still the smartest person I know.”

She smiled, giving him a squeeze. “Thanks.”

“I’m just glad it’s over, and that we’re both still in one piece.”

“What happens now?” She mused aloud.

“I’ve been thinking…. I want to go back to Star City,” he began, his words causing Chloe to lift her head from him. She looked down at him, all tousled and sleepy and beautiful. Oliver couldn’t help but lift a hand to touch her cheek, and brush the hair back from her face.

“For how long?” she asked, trying to hide her anxiety.

“It’s where I belong. I want you to come with me,” his fingers threaded through the golden strands of hair. “To live there… with me.”


“What’s left for you here, Chloe?”

“I… what about Lois? Clark?”

“What about you?”

Chloe glanced away, uncertain. She’d not thought of the possibility of leaving.

“I grew up in Queen Manor,” he went on, fingers caressing her skin. “But I don’t spend much time there. It’s this huge, warm place. I’ve never really had anyone to share it with.” His head shifted on the pillow as he regarded her; thumb stroking her cheekbone, the action causing her eyes to meet his, dark and warm as they drifted over her face thoughtfully. The manor house was the perfect place to raise a family. He remembered running through its halls as a carefree, happy child when his parents were still alive. It was a perfect place start again, only this time it would be with the woman he loved. He wanted to fill those empty rooms with love and laughter once again. He wouldn’t tell her that part yet. Instead he said simply, “I want to share it with you.”

* * * * *

Chloe had healed Tess of visible wounds left by the creature, and though her condition was stable, she’d not regained consciousness. Tess Mercer spent all of one day in the hospital. She’d disappeared mysteriously after that day, and no one, neither doctors nor hospital staff could explain what had happened. Authorities were baffled. There was no way she could have walked out of the hospital on her own. Both Chloe and Oliver were initially alarmed over her disappearance, and wondered when she’d show up unexpected, but after a week of searches, there had been no sign of her, and after two months had passed with still no sign of Tess, or any clues as to her whereabouts they hoped perhaps it was indeed over.

Oliver had whisked her away to Paris as he’d promised. They spent two glorious weeks there, and Chloe had to admit that the trip had done them both a world of good. He’d continue to extol the virtues and beauty and peace of Queen Manor, and tell her how much she’d love it there. And then one day it all just seemed to hit her at once, and she’d wondered why she’d hesitated. He was right. There really was not much left for her in Smallville. And truth be told, she’d missed writing, and investigative reporting, and thought perhaps she could get her foot into the door of the Star City Gazette. Chloe felt a sense of hope and purpose return full force, making her realize that she’d be crazy to pass up a new life with Oliver Queen. He was offering her everything she’d ever wanted. And over the past few months, Oliver Queen had proven himself to be everything she wanted.

She’d started on packing her second suitcase at the Talon apartment, when Lois dropped down on the bed.

“I can’t believe Queen talked you in to moving to Star City,” Lois mused as she picked up one of Chloe’s pajama tank tops, folding it.

Chloe turned from her dresser, pushing the drawer closed. “I have an interview at the Gazette on Monday,” She smiled, one of those beaming smiles of hers, and Lois couldn’t help but realize that her cousin was the happiest she’d seen her in a long time. Who’d have thought her ex-boyfriend would be the cause of it all?

“You’ll get the job, I’m sure of it,” Lois couldn’t help but return her smile, handing her the folded shirt. Lois paused, picking up another article of clothing. “Remember that day at the dress shop, when I asked if you were happy with Jimmy?”

“Yeah,” Chloe answered, stuffing a few toiletries into a side compartment of the suitcase.

“I’ll admit, I didn’t think that you were.” Lois reached up to clasp Chloe’s hand. “But now, somehow I get the feeling, I don’t need to ask that question.”

Chloe squeezed her cousin’s hand gently, smiling. “I’m that obvious, huh?”

“You’re glowing, even.” Lois laughed lightly, standing to wrap Chloe in a hug. “I’m glad. And don’t think I’ll miss you at all, because I’ll be calling you every day.”

A knock sounded on the door, and Lois moved to answer it. Her mouth hung open briefly before she found her voice. “Olsen… uh…”

“Is Chloe here?”

“Uh… yeah, but...”

“I just want to talk to her for a few minutes, I won’t keep her.”

Lois opened the door wider, allowing him to enter, remaining discreetly in the background, trying to give them some privacy.

“So, it’s true then.”

Chloe turned at the sound of his voice. “Jimmy.” She sounded too surprised, as though she’d just gotten caught doing something illegal.

“It’s true? You’re leaving?”

Chloe lifted a shoulder, not really knowing what to say. “Yeah. Moving to Star City.”

Jimmy nodded thoughtfully. “Oliver Queen?” He stepped closer. “I thought it was just a rumor, but… then I’d seen a few photographs of the two of you and… well, here you are, packing.” He’d done his best to stay away from her, hadn’t contacted her or seen her since their break up. But when he’d heard she was leaving, he had to see her one last time.

Chloe remained silent, again at a loss for words. The awkward factor here was beginning to rise by the second.

“When are you leaving?”

“In about an hour.” She gestured toward her opened suitcase. “I’m just packing a few things, most of my stuff is already at the manor house.”

“You’re going to work for him, or… live with him?”

Chloe cleared her throat uneasily. “Both. We’re partners.” Of course Chloe couldn’t tell him she was the Watchtower to Oliver’s Green Arrow.

“In more ways than one…”


“No. It’s okay.” He held up a hand to keep her from further explanations. “I guess I just came here to see for myself. See that you were all right, and… and to say good-bye.”

“Thanks, Jimmy.”

Jimmy turned to leave, then stopped suddenly, looking back. “Do you love him?”

“Jimmy… that’s really not… any of your…”

“Do you?”

Chloe looked down at her hands for a long moment, and then lifted her eyes to his, facing him squarely. “Yes.”

Jimmy dipped his head in a nervous nod, glancing away, then back at her. “Take care of yourself, Chloe,” he whispered. Turning on his heel, he strode from the apartment before she could answer. As he reached the door, he came face-to-face with a stoic Oliver Queen. Taken aback momentarily, Jimmy quickly recovered, fumbling for something to say, he extended his hand. Mumbled a quiet “Good luck,” and then was on his way.

Chloe stepped forward, grinning shyly. “How long have you been standing there?”

Oliver slid his hands over her hips, nudging her forward, right up against him. “Long enough to say… I love you too.”

Chloe wrapped her arms around his neck, stretching up, touching her lips to his chin.

“Are you ready?” he asked, and Chloe could see his dark eyes dance, and she knew that he was just as excited as she was, for their new life together to begin. A life that would be anything but ordinary.


“Took me,” he kissed her eyes. “Long enough,” he kissed the tip of her nose. “To convince you,” he brushed his lips over hers, feather-light.

Chloe smiled as she clung to his neck. “I told you it wasn’t going to be easy, Archer,” she murmured, her voice a husky whisper.

Oliver pulled her closer, their lower bodies swaying in unison. “Good thing all the gear in my arsenal is in perfect working order.”


Chloe and Oliver pulled apart slightly, heads turning toward Lois. They’d been lost in their own world for a few moments and had forgotten she was there.

“You two lovebirds want to get a move on? You can work on filling up those Queen mansion rooms up later, you know, like when I’m not around?” She rolled her eyes playfully, and closed up Chloe’s suitcase.

Chloe laughed. “Lois!”

“Are you kidding me? The way you two go at it, I’ll be an aunt, or would that be a second cousin? In no time.” She handed the suitcase to Oliver. “Remember what I said Green Bean. Be good to her, or else.” She elbowed Oliver in the ribs. “And remember who hooked you two up. I expect to be the maid of honor, whenever you decide to make it legal.”

Leave it to Lois to make a superhero blush profusely. “Uh… you’ll be the first to know, Lois.”

“Good. Now, where’s Clark, he’s supposed to be going with us to the airport. I swear he’s never around when you need him!”

* * * * *

The doctor waited nervously for the man to arrive. He stood in the private facility, next to the bed of his young patient, wiping the moisture from his brow, then stuffing his handkerchief in his lab coat pocket. His patient had been comatose for over two months, and her benefactor was becoming increasingly anxious over her well-being. The doctor didn’t have to wait long for his arrival. Minutes later, the man, dressed in a dark suit and long black overcoat, swept purposefully into the room, along with two of his bodyguards.

“How is she?”

“Still not responding, sir.”

“What of the healing serum her scientists developed?”

“We’ve been unable to find any trace of it. Nor do we know how it was developed. Everything was destroyed at the time of her… accident. I’m beginning to think there was no such serum.” The doctor hesitated, noting the man’s darkening expression. “Truthfully sir, we don’t hold out much hope for her.”

“Find that serum, or find some other way to cure her. Tess Mercer is too important.”

“We’re doing our best, sir.”

“Your best isn’t good enough. For what I’m paying you, I expect a full recovery.”

“You’re asking for a miracle.”

“I don’t believe in miracles, doctor. Tess is a fighter. I believe in her.” The man moved toward the bed, stroking Tess’s cheek with a forefinger, gazing down at her for long moments. He lifted blue eyes once more, his stare piercing the doctor. “Keep her stable. Continue your work.”

The doctor nodded as he watched the man head toward the door.

“Let me know if there are any changes. I’ll be back in a week.”

“Yes, Mr. Luthor.”

The End!