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Thread: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Updated 4th November 2015

  1. #21
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 25th January 2015

    Will Oliver hear the screaming from this nightmare? I don't want to imagine how awkward him trying to comfort Chloe would be.

    That Chlollie kiss was suitably uncomfortable for this plot which must have been pretty hard to write, because who wouldn't get happy tingles from kissing Justin Hartley.

    It's probably too early to see Chlex in this, but I think all the incompatibility between Chloe and Oliver will highlight just how perfect Chloe and Lex are together.

  2. #22

    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    I had to read this twice, but I think I understand it. Ollie and Chloe did kiss but then she stood around thinking about it while Oliver yelled at her outside? Must have been one serious hell of a kiss. Will we find out who the guy they were hiding from was? Is it important?

    “No thanks, I’ve already got one team member slobbering all over you”, Oliver huffed.

    “You shouldn’t talk about yourself like that”, she replied, trying to hide her smile.

    “I meant Bart!” He protested.


    LOL nice.

    Confused too about what is going on with Lex, but I'm guessing it is supposed to be that way.

    Interested to see where this goes...

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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    can't wait to see what happens

  4. #24
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    A/N: I'm back!

    Chapter Four

    Chloe trudged out of her bedroom the following morning so tired that she could barely keep her eyes open. The only thing keeping her moving was the aroma of coffee which she was following.

    Her throat was scratchy, her head was throbbing, and her eyes felt like their lids were made out of sandpaper. She felt like hell and probably looked like it too.

    Finally her eyes settled on the beloved beverage in a large silver canteen and she renewed her efforts to drag her heavy limbs over to it. She made it somehow and collapsed onto the sofa, wondering how she would ever manage to gain enough coordination to pour the damn thing.

    She tried to lift her arms but some evil doer had apparently replaced them with lead during her sleep and she barely managed to get them up to chest level.

    A cup of coffee mercifully floated over to her of its own volition. With no small amount of effort she managed to clasp it and moan out a noise of thanks to the kind magical cup. She then brought it to her lips and downed the scalding liquid in one gulp. It burned her throat, caused her eyes to water but caused her to regain enough of her senses to consider the possibility and probability of a floating cup. Probably not even in Smallville.

    She forced her head up unwillingly and found that the second hovering cup was being held by Oliver. He was already up - clearly - sitting there in a suit looking far too handsome and composed. Breakfast set out in front of him. She didn’t have the energy to think of anything other than her second dose of coffee.

    She gratefully accepted it and down it in one as Oliver refilled her original cup and her new one. The third espresso returned her to almost normal functionality.

    “Thank-you”, she thanked the actual provider of her coffee this time. “What’s going on?”

    She winced, the words still hurt her throat. Her head wasn’t that much better either. That was what happened when you spent half of the night awake crying.

    “Breakfast”, Oliver said with a smile, “I thought that we should eat in this morning; we need to re-evaluate.”

    “Oh”.

    ~*~

    Years on and isolated island surrounded by wild animals followed by almost a decade as the Green Arrow had sharpened Oliver’s hearing and reflexes beyond belief. He was up and out of bed one Chloe’s first murmur. He was charging out of his door as she cried out.

    “Chloe”, he bellowed. “Are you alright?”

    He came to a screeching halt just in front of her door and pressed his ear to it.

    He received no reply but could hear something. He tried the door knob only to find that it was locked from the inside. His blood ran cold.

    He checked his urge to beat in the door. If some evildoer had got in and had Chloe tied up then he needed the element of surprise. After his shout they would be watching the door. He searched around for a solution to the problem and then he thought that he heard something else. He rushed to the open French windows onto the balcony.

    His keen eyes scanned the darkness but was only able to distinguish a faint rustle in the bushes below. Possibly it was unconnected. He had men posted around the outskirts of the hotel so if there was someone there then they would catch him. Saying (or rather thinking) that though, it should have been impossible for anyone to get in the first place.

    With an agility born of practice he climbed onto the railing of the balcony and leaped onto the next one without making a sound. He pulled himself close to the wall and peered around the corner of Chloe’s window.

    “Oh fuck!” He swore.

    Chloe was thankfully alone and not tied up or being tortured but she was clearly in pain. She was curled up in a ball in bed with her arms wrapped around her middle, moaning in pain.

    “Chloe”, he called out here name as he sped to her side, exhibiting no concern for her privacy as he crawled over the bed to get to her. He dragged her over to him and felt a wave of relief as he saw that she wasn’t hurt.

    He brushed the hair out of her face and she scrunched up her features and she murmured, “I love you. Don’t do this”.

    “Shh. Shh”, he soothed her and stroked her hair a few more times, wondering what to do. She was clearly only dreaming and in no danger of actually hurting herself. She was too lost in her subconscious to even know that he was there. Oliver debated what he should do. He wanted to end it for her but knew that you weren’t supposed to wake someone from a nightmare. The most natural thing for him to do seemed to be to hold her and offer her bodily comfort, but he wasn’t sure that it was his place

    “Come on”, he whispered some more comforting words to her. “Come on Chloe, it’s going to be alright. Everything will be alright”, he continued to pet her. That wasn’t quite as inappropriate as hold her in his lap.

    Slowly but surely Chloe seemed to calm down. Praying that she would be able to sleep peacefully now, Oliver strode back over to the window and returned via his personalized route to the living room. He pressed his ear against the door once more just to double check that Chloe was still well and then went into his room and grabbed his mobile.

    He punched in several numbers and Bart’s voice was immediately on the other end.

    “Has anyone reported anything strange to you?” He demanded.

    “No, why?”

    “It’s probably nothing. Do a quick ...” Oliver started his request only to be stopped before he could finish it.

    “Done”, Bart replied cheerfully.

    “Done?” Oliver exclaimed. He knew that he was The Flash but that still seemed quick.

    “Twice over. If anyone has broken the perimeter then they were a ghost”, Bart said confidently.

    “Thanks”, Oliver said, genuinely. As much as the kid could bug him he knew that he was loyal and would give his life for Chloe.

    “Is Chloe, alright?” Bart asked, not quite managing to sound casual.

    “Yes, I think so. I ... I’m probably just being paranoid but the safety of my team is paramount”, Oliver said.

    “Right. Take care of her Oliver”, Bart replied.

    “Don’t worry. I will”, he promised. He hung up with a goodbye and chided himself for being ridiculous. She was having a bad dream, it wasn’t a Justice League matter. Still, he made another call. “Clark?”

    “Yeah, it’s me. Are you alright Oliver?” Clark answered his phone after less than one ring. Oliver was starting to feel really slow surrounded by two supercharged individuals.

    “I’m fine. Tell me everything that you know about Chloe”, Oliver replied curtly.

    “What?” There was a whoosh of cool air and Clark was standing before him. “What’s wrong with Chloe?”

    Oliver smiled and shook his head. “Nothing, at least not physically”. He related what had happened - and after Clark had performed his own lightening speed check - sat down on the sofa and ran his hands through his hair. “What do you think caused it?”

    “I don’t know”, Clark confessed. “She has been distant this last year but I’ve been away a lot and she’s been working hard. I thought that she was just tired”.

    “Me too, but it is clearly more than that”, Oliver sighed.

    Clark shook his head. “I just don’t know. The only relationship that she has been in was with a guy called Jimmy Olsen at the Planet but I’m fairly certain that that ended before she left”.

    Oliver nodded thoughtfully. It was possible, he supposed. He had often wondered why Chloe had been so willing to give up her dream job for a complete change of career but she had always avoided the issue and he had never felt comfortable enough around her to force the issue. It was her life after all.

    “I’ll pull up every bit of information I can on him. Find his location etc. You don’t think that he could hurt her, do you?”

    “No, I don’t think so”, Clark answered, trying not to laugh. “Jimmy was pretty harmless. I never could understand how they ended up dating in the first place he was just ... Vanilla. But I will check”.

    “You aren’t going to Blur your way into his room are you?” Oliver wouldn’t put it past Clark if he thought that she was in trouble.

    “No, I was just going to corner him by the coffee maker at work”.

    “That could work too”, Oliver smiled. “I’m sure that I am just being overly concerned. I’ll have my people get on it”, his Queen Industries people obviously, not Chloe, “and you corner him and I’ll talk to Chloe tomorrow”.

    “Alright, call if you need anything. I’d better get back to Metropolis, there might be a crime taking place. Keep me up to date”, Clark said rising to his feet.

    “Will do”, Oliver said and found that he was talking to an empty room. Yup, he was definitely slow.

    He made another call to have information sent to him and then considered his mobile. From what Clark had told him about Jimmy it didn’t sound as if he could be the source of Chloe’s distress but you could never tell. He knew what it was like to have his heart broken, smashed into a million tiny pieces. At first he hadn’t even liked to be around Chloe because she reminded him too much of Lois but it was something that he had got used to. Like remaining friends with Lois. If he had had the chance - like Chloe had - to start afresh. He probably would have.

    He selected the number of his ex and called.

    Lois did not answer the phone immediately. In fact, it took about five rings before her gravelly voice purred, “Lois Lane here. Wanton sex goddess with a very bad man between her thighs”.

    “Good evening Lois”, Oliver said, forcing a smile to his lips to cover his hurt even though he knew that she couldn’t see him. It was a habit by now, just as she always covered any awkwardness by teasing him. Sometimes with quotes from Bridget Jones’ Diary.

    “Hey Ollie. Not that it’s not always nice to hear from you but why are you calling me at ... What time is it where you are?” He hadn’t exactly gone into details about the business trip that he was on. It would have been difficult especially as she had no idea how Chloe was related to his work.

    “3am”, he told her with a glance at his watch. He had clearly been with Chloe for longer than he had thought. “Wait, why are you in bed at 8pm? Are you sick?”

    “Nah, just an exhausting day after an all nighters yesterday”, Lois informed him.

    “I’m sorry to disturb you”, he apologised.

    “Don’t be silly. You know that you can always call. Besides, I’m just watching a movie with some company and Ben and Jerry can wait. What’s up?” He could hear her moving around.

    He considered what he was going to tell her. Clark would keep a secret from Chloe, Lois would not. In fact, she would probably wake Chloe up and tell her right then and there. “Nothing in particular. I just wanted to hear the sound of your voice”.

    “Are you sure that you are alright? You sound a little weird”, she inquired. For all of her brashness, Lois was a sweetheart.

    “I’m fine, I was just wondering ...”

    ~*~

    “We need to re-evaluate”, the sentence came out of Oliver with a little more authority than was strictly necessary.

    “Oh”, Chloe replied, blinking.

    Oliver gave her a smile, to soften the the tone of his words. He longed to reach out and hold her but he resisted, keeping her hands in his lap. She looked so sad and lonely and yet so strong and he was concious of a purely human desire to help her.

    “Are you well enough to continue with this?” Was his first question as he reached for the tongues to place a pastry on a plate for her, along with some aspirin. He had guessed that she would probably feel ill that morning.

    “Yes, of course”, she took the plate and looked at the aspirin enquiringly. “How did you know that I would have a headache?”

    “Call it intuition”, if she didn’t remember anything about last night then he certainly wasn’t about to enlighten her.

    “I’m fine”, she told him causing deep lines to form on his forehead.

    “What’s the matter?” Chloe inquired and then popped the pill in her mouth and swallowed it with some more coffee.

    “Nothing, I’m just not sure that that was what the manufacturer suggested”, Oliver said, with a certain measure of censure.

    “Coffee and aspirin”, she announced, “It’s a great combination”.

    “I’ll take your word for it”, he said with pursed lips. He had no idea if you were allowed to take aspirin with caffeine. It didn't seem like a good idea to him. That would have been enough to perturb him under any circumstances, although he did accept that he might have been more forgiving if she had not just deliberately lied to him.

    “Please”, she rolled her eyes at him, “like you’ve never tried it. Seriously what’s wrong?”

    Oliver sighed. The problem was how convincingly Chloe had just told him that nothing was wrong. If he had never seen her last night, he would have believed her. That she could lie to him like that, that was more than just a problem.

    “Do you need a doctor?” He offered.

    “No, thank-you, I already told you, I’m fine”. She sounded a little more exasperated this time.

    “Fine”, he paused, “I mean that’s good”. So much for getting to the bottom of that particular problem. “So, we need to sort out what is going on”.

    “What’s going on?” She repeated mildly, a placid expression on her face but he was certain that he had seen a flash of fright. He steeled himself, determined to eke as much information out of her even as they dealt with the more simple questions which were plaguing him at that moment.

    “Yes, we know that someone is tampering with my company and, by the looks of it, several others. And we can predict from several other inexplicable movements in the stock market that someone is planning something large. Possibly just for Queen Industries and a few other companies or maybe for the whole of Metropolis and Star City”, Oliver recapped the situation, although none of this was news to Chloe. In fact, she was the one who had brought it all to his attention.

    “We”, by which he meant Chloe, “have managed to trace several of the payments to a island off Italy and several other sources indicate that there will a meeting there. There have also been rumours of a large party which is extremely exclusive and this wouldn’t be the first time a party had been the cover for big business”.

    “No, quite the contrary in fact. It is the best place to get people relaxed and to subvert the suspicions of anyone who might be watching”, Chloe agreed.

    “Exactly”, he had used that ploy himself more than once. “So we need to get into the party. Which shouldn’t have been difficult at all. Be seen in the right places, chat with the right people, get an invitation. It’s as easy as falling off a log. Or at least, it should have been”.

    “But the right people are all magically missing”, Chloe concluded for him.

    “Exactly. So we can conclude ...”

    “That you are so old and out of it that you don’t know where the cool spots are any more”, she offered a perfectly practical explanation with a smile.

    He was glad to see that at least she hadn’t lost her sense of humour, but he scowled at her anyway. “Words hurt!”

    “I’m sorry”, she said, although neither her appearance or tone lent credence to her words.

    “Apology accepted. But, really, I don’t think that it is that”, he rubbed his chin.

    “No, I don’t either. Not really. It is far more likely in cases like this that there are several house parties being held before hand, specifically designed by those involved in order to have a cover for meeting discreetly in expectation of the larger meeting. It is perfectly normal in these circumstances. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that to start with”, Chloe thought out loud.

    “That would make sense”, he started before something occurred to him. “How did you know that?”

    She blinked, just once, and then answered simply, “Research”.

    At least that lie was less convincing, unless she was triple bluffing him. The mind boggled but he wouldn’t have put it past Chloe. She could do anything she put her mind to. But what he couldn’t work out was why she would want to do something like that. What on earth was there that she couldn’t tell him?

    “When do we need to leave?” She asked, suddenly changing the subject. “I ... I have some work I need to do first. For the Justice League”.

    “When you are ready and not before”, he assured her.

    She nodded. “I had better go and get ready”, she announced and was off the settee and halfway to her own door before he could blink.

    “Chloe”, he called out and she turned. He debated for a second what to say as he couldn’t tell her again that she needed to talk to him when it was obvious that she wasn’t going to. To buy himself he got up and walked over to her, placing his hands on her shoulders. He was much larger than she was, yet somehow he always felt small around her. Insignificant. “You are really alright, aren’t you?”

    “Yes, why do you keep asking me that?” She inquired suspiciously.

    “I don’t know, you just seem a little ...” He trailed off and frowned. “I guess that I just feel guilty for putting you in this situation and I’m imagining things”.

    “Well, 1) you didn’t put me in this position. 2) I’m fine. 3) This is my job. And 4) I’m a big girl and I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself”.

    ~*~

    Chloe raced around her hotel room, checking every single surface, behind every object, under every article of furniture frantically and without any real idea of what she was doing.

    She wasn’t even dressed yet. She had barely allowed the door to close after herself before she had began her hunt. She was too shaken to think straight. Something was not right. The way that she had woken up. The way that Oliver was acting. The whole situation was just starting to feel increasingly odd and Chloe’s instincts were never wrong.

    Shaken she continued to scour the area until she had convinced herself that she had not missed anything. She was being ridiculous. She had had a bad dream and that was it. She walked over to check the clock which sat proudly on the room’s mantle piece and assured herself that her little panic attack hadn’t eaten up too much time. She would be able to hide it from Oliver. She had actually taken care of Justice League business the night before. She never shirked her duty. She was just slowly but surely going insane.

    Seeing that man last night in the restaurant didn’t mean anything. It was just a coincidence. As Oliver had said, he worked for many of the larger American families, not just the Luthors. It didn’t mean anything. It was just a coincidence. However many times she repeated this mantra to herself, it didn’t seem to help.

    In fact, as she thought of him. Of the last time that she had had anything to do with him. She began to shake. She made it to the toilet only just in time and emptied the contents of her stomach into the porcelain bowl. She collapsed next to it on the cool tiles. Shaky. Exhausted. Miserable.

    This had to stop.

    After several long minutes she finally felt able to lift herself up. She washed her mouth out thoroughly and then peered at herself in the mirror. Things definitely had to change.

    She had never expected to find herself back there in Italy and even when she had figured that it would be a necessity to get to the bottom of this mystery, she hadn’t thought that it would effect her like that. Memories surrounded her. Words whispered against her skin. Soft kisses. Smiles. His hands. His eyes. His love.

    Chloe scrunched her eyes shut and tears trickling down her cheeks. It was all over now.

    ~*~

    A hot shower washed away the worst of the visible traces of her folly and a thick coating of war paint - make up - transformed her into the confident woman she had been for the last year. Chloe was ready for Oliver when she headed back into the living room.

    “48 hours”.

    “What?” He inquired, forgetting his manners as he stared up at from the laptop which was resting on his knees.

    “24 hours to continue with the original plan and hope that we find someone else who we can use as an in discreetly as we will be in a more precarious position if anyone suspects what we are up to or even that we want to get onto that island”, Chloe explained the first part of the new plan of action.

    Oliver nodded slowly.

    “If that doesn’t work, then we have another 24 hours to ingratiate ourself with Slope. It won’t be as effective but it might work”, she stated simply.

    “What happens when we get to the 48 hour mark and none of this has paid off?” Her boss inquired hesitantly.

    “If at that point it doesn’t work then we do it by force”, came her response.

    “By force?” He repeated.

    “You didn’t hire me to be weak”, she told him sternly. “Do you trust me?”

    “Yes”, his answer was instantaneous.

    “Then we have 48 hours to get what we need. If not Mr Slope will have to chose his allegiances”. Chloe had a steely glint in her eyes and a will was as intractable as granite.

    Oliver moved his laptop over to one side so that he could move over to her before asking, “And if he doesn’t side with us?”

    “Oh, he will”. She knew what it would mean and what path that would send her spiralling down, but she didn’t care. She had built up the Justice League. They would follow her. They would extract the information and invitation that she needed. If it came to it.


    A/N: So, what did you think?

  5. #25
    NS Full Member HotCrossedBunny's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Cbrunberg: Happy to hear it.

    Phillydragonldy: They did kiss, they moved on from it, Chloe remembered it once they were safe and her mind could wander - even though it shouldn't have. Yes, I imagine that it was one hell of a kiss. Yes, we do and yes it is. He is Slope. Points for guessing the reference. N.B. That doesn't really tie in this the story in anyway, I just couldn't think of a name so I chose it.

    Thank-you.

    Yep, you are supposed to be quite confused. Although never dismiss the idea of it just being due to bad writing either.

    Reyeslu: I don't know. Will he? Yes, it was. Very good point!

    Trckyrcky: Yes, Chlex has a history in this one.

    Thank-you all for reading and replying, I do appreciate it even if I did disappear for a month. I blame PhillyDragonLady - just so you know.

  6. #26
    NS Full Member Rachet's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    I'm looking forward to more of this fic

  7. #27
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Definitely need more. Can't wait till Lex shows up and stir up the pot.

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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Please update soon

  9. #29
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    A/N: Thanks for the reviews. Sorry I haven't been updating much recently, I was working on my piece of the Secret Chlex. If you haven't checked them all out then you should. And remember to leave comments!

    Chapter Five

    Oliver sank down into the settee in hotel suite’s living room. It had been a long day and not a successful one. He and Chloe had traipsed all over Rome and yet they hadn’t found succeeded into bumping into any of the ‘right people’. Her determination had spurred them on, keeping them ploughing on without respite until he was ready to collapse. He was the Green Arrow, he had been through countless adventures, fourteen straight hours of walking shouldn’t have tired him but he was exhausted, no closer to getting the invitation he needed or to figuring out the mystery that was Chloe Sullivan.

    He sighed and considered the glass of wine before him. Chloe had not wanted to join him in partaking of it and had resisted every single one of his attempts to get her to open up to him. She had bid him a weary goodnight and gone to her room. And so it was that he was sitting there, alone, worrying.

    It was getting late. He should probably get to bed himself. He went and got washed and changed into his boxers only to head over to Chloe’s door again just to double check. He heard a noise. His shoulder went crashing into the door and he was inside.

    Years of night time operations had accustomed his eyes to functioning in the darkness. He scanned his surroundings from the open window with curtains wafting in on the cool night air to the bed where Chloe lay, wrapped up in covers, half of her body exposed, writhing as if being branded and crying.

    “Chloe”, he race to her, gathering her up in his arms. She clawed at him and he winced in pain, but he kept his hold on her, desperate for her not to hurt herself.

    “It’s alright, I’m here”, held onto her tightly.

    He leant over her, reaching out to turn on the light, trying not to squash her as he did so but once he was completely surrounding her she began to calm down. Relieved that she had finally stopped fighting and the risk of her getting harmed was lessoned, he repositioned her so that she was being ‘held’ by him, her entire body enveloped like a baby wrapped up ready for sleep.

    Oliver held her, tightly, assuring her over and over again, “It’s alright, it’s okay, you’re safe. I’m here. No one is going to hurt you. I’m not going anywhere. Whatever it is, we will fix it”.

    Chloe’s heartbreaking sobs eventually died away and she settled down into his arms and her sleep became more restful.

    Oliver, on the other hand, lay awake hating himself for not coming to her aid last night. For not forcing her to tell him what was wrong. For not making this better. She was going to tell him what was causing all of this and he was going to fix it. God help anyone who stood in his way.

    ~*~

    “Hmmm”, Chloe snuggled closer to the warm masculine form that was wrapped around her. She breathed in deeply and stroked the warm skin contentedly, then her eyes snapped open. The sensation was wrong.

    Her head was tilted upward and even through bleary eyes and at an odd angle she could recognise the man in her bed.

    “Oliver?” She croaked, “what are you doing here?”

    “Chloe, you’re awake?” Oliver’s voice sounded rough.

    “Yes, hence the talking”, she tried to process the situation. She had never been at her best first thing in the morning, especially not pre-coffee. “What are you doing here?”

    “I came in last night”, he started but trailed off as Chloe’s eyes travelled over to the door, which she was sure she had closed and locked.

    “You broke the door down?” It wasn’t a question. She could see it hanging open, looking a little worse for wear.

    “It’s not what you think”, he exclaimed hurriedly.

    “Why don’t you tell me what I think?” She said, in deceptive calm.

    “Er”, he paused, “last night you were screaming. I was afraid, I came in but there was no one else here. You were having a bad dream. I tried to calm you down but you must have been really out of it, I couldn’t wake you. You were thrashing around, I was afraid that you were going to hurt yourself”.

    “That’s why you are wrapped around me”, Chloe concluded, hoping that she sounded nonchalant.

    “Yeah”.

    “Did I ... Did I say anything?” She had to know.

    “Like what?”

    She wished that she could see his face fully to be able to better interpret his words, but then again, hers being obscured from him might be working in her favour.

    “I don’t know. Just, anything. I mean apparently I was having a nightmare. I would like to know what it is about. Call me curious”, she explained and hoped that she sounded natural enough.

    “You really don’t remember a thing? You have no idea what might have sparked it?” Oliver sounded disbelieving.

    “No”.

    “Call me crazy but I find that hard to believe”, he outright accused her.

    “You’re crazy”, she informed him as she shifted, trying to work out how to get up, then she stopped. “Oliver, what is that against my leg?”

    When no reply was immediately forthcoming she asked again and strained her neck to see that he was actually blushing.

    “Oh God”, she groaned and tried to roll away from him only to find that it was possible and not because of his magnetic personality. They were wrapped around each other, their limbs so intertwined that she felt as if she were bolted to him.

    “Would you believe my phone?” He asked as he started to untangle them from each other and the bed linen Chloe had got herself messed up in even before he had arrived.

    “For the good of our professional relationship, yes”.

    ~*~

    “It rings in the morning”. Oliver’s ridiculous parting words to Chloe reverberated in his mind. Mocking him. How on earth had he thought that that was a good joke to make at a time like that?

    He had finally succeeded in untangling them, gritting his teeth to smother a groan as his hardened length brushed against her firm, warm buttock which was mostly uncovered as her satin shorts had moved in her sleep. That feeling was going to haunt him.

    So much for him getting to the bottom of what was bothering her as soon as she woke up that morning. He had stood there his boxers very obviously tented. Ollie Junior was standing erect, proud and ready for anxious. It was the only time in his life that he had been ashamed of his equipment. That was when the stupid joke had come out.

    One hour, and one incredibly cold shower, later he was still embarrassed and hoped to God that he hadn’t upset her.

    “Oh, grow a pair”, he ordered himself as he stood - full dressed and deflated - outside Chloe’s bedroom door. She had not emerged, he really hoped that she was not crying.

    “Chloe”, he called out, knocking lightly on the door.

    “One second”, she replied, sounding calm.

    Oliver listened to her shuffling around, it sounded like she was logging off her computer and then she appeared looking cool and refreshed.

    “Good morning Ollie”, she gave him a winning smile.

    “Hello Chloe”, he responded, but with a shy smile and she giggled. He stared at her.

    “So I guess that my plan of just ignoring the awkwardness isn’t going to work”, she walked into the living room and set about preparing coffee for Oliver and herself, trying to regain a sense of normalcy.

    “I guess not”, Oliver followed her over and stood next to her, still feeling awkward.

    “Oliver relax”, Chloe giggled as the coffee began to peculate. She reached out and stroked his arm and he felt a sense of relief sweeping over him. “Don’t worry I haven’t been traumatised and I’m not reading anything into it or about to sue you”.

    “I didn’t think that you were going to sue me”, he assured her. Actually, that possibility had never even occurred to him.

    “Like you said”, Chloe continued with a grin, “It rings in the morning. It’s no big deal”.

    Oliver smiled with relief but then pulled a fake offended look.

    “I’m sorry”, she commiserated, “that was an unfortunate choice of words. Let’s just blow past it shall we? We have work to do. I have planned out our agenda for today. If this doesn’t work then kidnapping but I think ...”

    “No”.

    She looked up, not used to him disagreeing with her. “I know that it sounds a little extreme but really Oliver kidnapping will ...”

    “No”, he cut her off, “I mean that we can’t just blow passed all of this”.

    Chloe raised an eyebrow at him in an amused/bemused way and Oliver sighed, truly wishing that they could just gloss over the whole problem but he had learnt the hard way not to just let things fester. “We have to talk about what happened”.

    “Okay”, she poured two cups of coffee and handed one to him before sinking down onto the sofa. “Well over night your testosterone levels will rise especially in the REM cycle and this leads to a phenomenon known as nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) which is when ...”

    “Not that!” He expostulated.

    “Then what?”

    “Chloe”, he sat down on the coffee table in front of her, placed his cup on the side and took her hands. She regarded him with mild suspicion but that didn’t stop him. “Last night you were crying”.

    “Oh that”, she tried to dismiss the idea.

    “Yes, oh that”, he steeled himself for this conversation. He couldn’t help but think that it would have been much easier if she had still been lying in his arms - without adding his hard on into the equation.

    “It was nothing”, Chloe said decidedly, “and I’m really embarrassed that it happened but ...”

    “Chloe there’s no need to be”, Oliver stroked her hands. “I don’t want you to ever feel that there is anything that you can’t tell me or have to hide from me. Whatever it is, I’m here for you. As a team-mate and as a friend”. He wasn’t about to add in boss as he didn’t think of himself that way.

    “I don’t need anything”, she informed him.

    He sighed. “I guessed that you would say that”.

    “Good, then you were prepared”, she tried to stand up but he kept possession of her hands, preventing her from fleeing.

    Oliver watched as a range of emotions flashed across her face before apparently she decided that it wasn’t worth the fight and returned to her seat. Once she was settled again he brushed his thumbs against the backs of her hands and started, “You know that I have an enormous amount of respect for you. You are the one who came up with the idea of Watch Tower. You have saved all of our lives a hundred times over. You are the strongest person that I know. Meteor Freaks and aliens included”.

    “I’m nothing special”, she gave a self-deprecating shrug. “I’m just a girl from Kansas”.

    “That’s not true Chloe. You are extraordinary. But no one can do everything alone which is what you have been trying to do for an entire year now”, he fought against the urge to pull her into his arms and cuddle her, “The stress would be enough to get to anyone”.

    “I’m fine. The fact that you think that I had a bad dream ...”

    “Chloe, you were having a nightmare”, he corrected her. He couldn’t let her get away with that.

    “Whatever”.

    Oliver pursed his lips. He knew that something was wrong when she resorted to saying ‘Whatever’. Her next argument: “It doesn’t mean anything, haven’t you ever had one?” didn’t reassure him either.

    “Well, haven’t you?” Chloe prodded.

    “Yes, and it was a sign of post traumatic stress disorder”, he explained, “apparently being shipwrecked on an island having to hunt to survive was stressful. Who’d have thunk it?”

    Chloe smiled and squeezed his hands in a silent gesture of support. “I guess that it would be”.

    “Hey, we’re made of tough stuff in Star City”, he smirked before turning serious again, “but, Chloe, nightmares can be a sign of something very serious going on”.

    “I know Ollie, but sometimes a bad dream is just a bad dream. Nothing more”.

    He would have liked to believe her, but there were just too many elements “Why didn’t you wake up?”

    She blinked at him.

    “Chloe, you need to tell me”, he stared deeply into her eyes.

    “No I don’t”, she stood up, ripping her hands out of his and stomping off towards the door to her room.

    “Chloe”, his voice grew steely as he followed her. They had to talk this out.

    She tried to open her door but he was too fast, managing to reach over and close it before she could escape him. She whirled around and their eyes met.

    “Don’t you dare try that large powerful man in charge routine on me as if I am suppose to just wilt. You are my boss and nothing else. You have no right to know anything about my personal life, my well being or anything else to do with me”, she spewed vehemence at him.

    He was taken aback, he had never seen her so angry before. “Chloe ...”

    “And”, she continued, her eyes crackling with anger, “if that is a problem for you then you can have my resignation”. She was breathing heavily.

    “Don’t be absurd”, he interrupted her and she looked about ready to growl at him. Her chest rising and falling with with angry, erratic breath. “This is your life, helping people. You aren’t going to quit and I’m not going to let you. And I’m not going to let this go”. He saw that she was about to try to leave again, this time in the opposite direction so he placed his hand on her shoulder. Keeping her where she was.

    She crossed her arms, fuming mad.

    “Why didn’t you wake up Chloe?” He demanded, having a sinking feeling that he already knew.

    Her teeth remained gritted.

    “Fine”, he removed his hands from her body and opened her door. She tried to block his way bodily but he moved her to the side so that he could enter. Within two strides he was halfway across the room and Chloe was back in front of him.

    She demanded with righteous (and probably entirely justified) fury , “What the hell do you think that you are doing?”

    “I’m sorry Chloe”, he moved her back out of the way and continued his way through her room, heading straight for her bedside table. “But this is far too important for me to just it let go”.

    “What the hell does the phrase ‘it’s none of your business’ mean to you, exactly?” She got in his way again but he had already reach the table and pulled out the draw and seen the tell-tale orange bottle, half empty.

    He reached out to take the container but Chloe snatched it out from under him.

    “Congratulations. Now you know my deep dark secret”, she spat the words at him, “I have insomnia”.

    He stared at her mutely. She was standing there baring his way, her entire body shaking with suppressed fury, her cheeks flushed with anger, her chin quivering with wroth. But there was more to this than simple anger. Oliver could tell that she was also distressed, something which bothered him far more than her indignation ever could have.

    “Saving the world on a weekly basis”, Chloe continued, her tone the closest he had ever heard it get to nasty, “keeping track of people across the entire globe with no schedule, and staring at a screen only minutes before going to sleep is not great for a restful night’s sleep but the next day I need to be on my game so the doctor proscribed these pills to help”.

    Oliver swallowed uncomfortably. “Why didn’t you tell me? I could have got you some help”. He had, of course, been aware that Chloe was working far too hard and spreading herself far too thinly but he hadn’t realised that she too had been aware of that fact. He felt an overwhelming sense of guilt.

    “Because I didn’t want you to know, and because my medical issues are none of your concern, and I don’t need help”, she jabbed the bottle pills into his chest to underline each point. It rattled as she did so.

    “If it affects your health then it is my concern”, Oliver corrected her sternly, in spite of his culpability. He also snatched the bottle away from her and placed in neatly on the night stand.

    “Because you are my boss?” She demanded with her hands on her hips.

    “No, because I am your friend. Whatever you say while you are mad. I know that you would never do anything to hurt the team, but you would destroy yourself easily”, he tried to control his emotions enough to get his point across and saw her swallow.

    “Chloe”, his tone softened still further, “tell me what the nightmare was about. I can probably fix it. Tell me what’s wrong. You kept begging me not to leave, you wouldn’t calm down until you were being held”, he didn’t add ‘like a baby’. “What do you call that?”

    “Repression?”

    “Chloe ...” He started and his voice took on a warning edge.

    “I’ve been through a lot”, she answered with a shrug. “Everyone I have ever cared about has left me - except my Dad, and I worry about his health.”

    “Oh”, he knew enough about her past - from what he had picked up second hand from Clark and Lois - to corroborated that fact and when he stared into her eyes he saw enough heartbreak to know that she was telling him the truth.

    “You can’t fix that can you, you arrogant jerk?” She asked, sounding more like her normal self suddenly.

    He wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. If she had really suddenly started feeling better or if she was just much better at lying to him than he had ever realised. Maybe it had been a joke or ...?

    “No”, he had to admit, “but I can promise that I won’t leave and hey I have enough money to track down anyone else who tries to leave you and drag them back”. He had decided to take it as a joke and attempt one of his own. He wasn’t happy with this resolution, but it would do for now.

    Chloe tried to smile, but there was still such haunting sadness in her eyes. Oliver longed to brush it away.

    “So, what do you say that we table this for now go out to breakfast and track down our invitations?”

    A/N: So, what did you think?

  10. #30
    NS Gold Member Senior Member malugargula's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Chlex with Chlollie
    What a perfect way to finish my Monday
    I'm loving it
    Last edited by malugargula; 3rd March 2015 at 08:43. Reason: typo
    Malu

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