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

  1. #31
    NS Full Member HotCrossedBunny's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Chapter Six

    “Alright, so here is what we are going to do”, Chloe began with authority as she laid out their plan of attack for the day.

    “That all works, in theory”, Oliver said thoughtfully, “but that does mean that we have to actually know where Slope it to be able to ensure a meeting”.

    With a smug smile, Chloe slipped a piece of paper from between her breasts and handed it over to Oliver.

    He raised an eyebrow, unable to keep his eyes from whence the note had appeared.

    “What? This dress doesn’t have any pockets”, she defended herself. “Besides, you didn’t really think that I would be less than 100% prepared, did you?”

    “I should have known better”, he agreed as he took the paper and saw - in Chloe’s clear, precise writing - the address of a hotel in the centre of the city. “Do I want to know how you got hold of this?”

    “Probably not”, she replied with a smirk.

    “Anything that I am going to have to bail you out for?” He inquired, continuing to study the script and then the woman sitting before him.

    She appeared to be considering this for a few seconds, before shaking her head.

    “Chloe”, he prompted.

    “Oliver”, she laughed, “it is fine. I promise”. Seeing that he was just continuing to stare at her, she sighed and explained, “I hacked into all of the hotel’s files in Rome searching for his name, aliases and associates. That didn’t work but they couldn’t trace that back to me, even if they were to work out that they had been hacked - which they won’t”. She wasn’t being arrogant, just honest. Only one man in the world would have been capable of such a thing and he was no longer in any position to thwart her.

    “Then how did you ...?”

    “Simple”, Chloe smiled, “I remembered that I have amazing legs”.

    His eyes went down to survey them appreciatively. “I can hardly argue with that, but that doesn’t exactly answer my question”.

    “Fine”, she said with an overly exaggerated sigh, “I also remembered that I know Bart. He super speeded his way around Rome about thirty minutes ago with a picture and checked one by one”.

    “Wow”, Oliver commented, “that’s a hell of a lot of work”.

    “Hence the legs”, Chloe laughed, her attempt at lightness and good humour beginning to seem a little strained. “He started with the most expensive hotels and only had to go around two before he found our man. Slope was registered under an alias completed unconnected to any one I have seen before but it is definitely him”. She produced another item from her bra.

    Oliver took the still warm gift and noted, “He has a nice pair of pyjamas”.

    “The blue stripes are rather distinguished, are they not?” Chloe agreed with a smile. “So, we can just get going hang out around there, bump into someone, ingratiate ourselves, get an invitation and then”, she mimed brushing off her hands.

    “Sound good to me” Oliver smiled.

    ~*~

    “Quick, I see them”, Chloe hissed at her companion. She tried to dash after them but found herself being pulled back. “Oliver”, she protested, “come on, we need to hurry!”

    “I know a short cut”, Oliver said, grasping hold of her hand firmly.

    “Fine, let’s go”, she allowed him to lead her down a small side street, trotting after him as fast as possible, trusting him to know the way.

    “Hurry up”, he called over his shoulder, his words just audible over the gaggle of tourists that surrounded them.

    “I’m going as fast as I can”, she snapped. She weaved in between people over the cobbled streets until her fashion choices proved too much. Chloe’s stiletto got caught, her ankle turned and she pitched forwards.

    “Chloe”, Oliver whirled around and caught her just before she landed head first on the streets of Rome.

    “Are you alright?” He demanded, “What happened?”

    “Nothing I just tripped”, she assured him, her head spinning as Oliver set her back on her feet. She tried to take a step to continue with their plan but gasped in pain.

    “You’re hurt”, he concluded, “don’t worry I’ll get you to a doctor”.

    “No, Oliver don’t be ridiculous. It is just a twist. Quick, go on without me”, she tried to send him on his way.

    “I’m not leaving you behind”, he told her sternly, hoisting her up into his arms and continued onwards.

    Chloe wrapped her arms around him automatically, even as she tried to protest, “Ollie, honestly I’m fine. Just put me down before you hurt yourself”.

    “Don’t be ridiculous Chloe. I hauled Clark out of a warehouse full of Kryptonite once. Carting you around isn’t going to do me in”, he answered as if it were nothing.

    Chloe swallowed. She had slimmed down quite considerably over the last year but she knew that she was still no wafer. He had to be extraordinarily strong - and not in a meteor/alien way.

    She swallowed again at the thought. She knew that he was in good shape. She had always known it. His good looks, charming smile and muscular physique had not been lost on her upon their first meeting - she was only flesh and blood after all. And it had been no easier to ignore in the Watch Tower. In such close proximity his physical attributes had proven difficult to ignore. Even more so that morning. Even more so now.

    Chloe felt herself swallowing again. He was going to think that there was something wrong with her throat at this rate. The warm masculine scent of him surrounded her. The heat of him enveloped her. The feel of him around her, his strong, protective arms, cocooned her from the bustle of people around them.

    She had been so preoccupied by her new form of transport that it came as a shock to her when they were suddenly back on one of the main roads. She stared around, blinking, uncertain of their location.

    “We lost them”, she articulated in a defeated whisper as she finally succeeded in orientating them and looked in the direction their quarry should have been heading.

    “Oh ye of little faith”, Oliver winked at her as he began to stroll leisurely in that direction.

    Chloe’s brow furrowed for a second when she heard Oliver’s name being called. She froze but he continued to saunter along, as if he did this every day - which, for all she knew, he might.

    “Oi Ollie wait up!” One of the voices, distinctly British, was more insistent this time and Chloe only had a few seconds to school her features into an appropriate expression before the sound of hurried footsteps behind them transformed into a face in front of them.

    “For goodness’ sake Queen, get the plunger out and get some of that wax out of your lug holes”, a second face appeared.

    Chloe blinked. She had seen the men in question from a distance and in pictures before but up close they were really cute. It was hard to believe that they were nephews of Slope - who was mercifully absent -, just getting their feet wet in the business world. The brothers had both been blessed with curly sandy brown hair - which was slightly over-long and fell over their grey eyes - and perfect ivory teeth which they both flashed with ready smiles.

    She had read that they could get out of any scrape using their ‘boyish charms’. At the time, she had thought that they were over stating the facts - and that a cash bribe had been issued. Now she wasn’t so sure. They really were cute.

    Chloe blushed as she realised the image that she must be presenting. The image of the sleek business woman had been well and truly destroyed the second that she had fallen over - if not during the mad dash. And it wasn’t as if she could ‘pull a Lana’ either; she was no damsel in distress. Just a messy sloppy lump in her bosses’ arms.

    Oliver smiled at the duo and greeted them, “Mason and Daniel, hello”. He jostled her up higher in his arms, getting a tighter grip on her. “This Chl-” He broke off with a cough as he was surreptitiously elbowed in the ribs.

    “Claire”, Chloe broke in, reminding him of their story. It was too risky to use even part of her real name and this way they had the advantage that at least it began with the same syllable - giving them a chance to think.

    His suggestion: Zoe wouldn’t not have worked as well. There was no safety net with the name Zoe. Besides, she had known a girl called Zoe in high school - she hadn’t liked her.

    “Claire”, Oliver covered with a smile. “We had a little accident!”

    “So I see”, Mason - the one who was slightly taller and slimmer - replied, “Dan saw the back of your head and thought that it was familiar. We chased you for an entire street before we caught up for you. Half of Rome knows that we are looking for someone called Oliver”.

    Oliver smiled, apologetically.

    “He was obviously distracted”, Daniel reminded him. “Can we offer you some assistance?”

    “Oh yeah”, Mason blushed, having forgotten to ask what he had intended. “Can we help?”

    “No, thank-you”, she demurred, forgetting for a moment that this was exactly what they wanted.

    “Thank-you”, Oliver spoke over her, pointedly accepting their offer.

    “We are close to our hotel”, Daniel smiled.

    About 100 meters by Chloe’s count and she allowed herself to be carried that far. She was soon in their hotel suite, laid on the couch where Oliver attended to her ankle. “Don’t look so worried”, he whispered.

    “I’m not worried”, she lied, hopefully convincingly.

    “It’s not broken”, Oliver assured her with a smile as his large hands ran over her pale, slender limb.

    “Right”, she whimpered.

    “Does it hurt?” His head shot up.

    “No, no, I’m fine”, she promised him, heartily embarrassed. “I told you before, I’m fine. I could have walked”.

    “Evidently not in those heels”, he smirked.

    “It wasn’t the heel’s fault, it was the cobbles!” She defended her footwear.

    “Sure it was”, he continued to massage her ankle.

    She shivered. She knew that Oliver was a captain of industry, a titan, the Green Arrow and a seducer of women, but she wasn’t used to seeing him like that. Around her he was more of a sweet, gentle puppy. The assertive part of him was rather appealing. There was something seriously wrong with her. Why was it that she never fell for the puppies?

    “Is everything alright?”

    Chloe looked up to see, “Daniel?”

    “Right first time”, he grinned at her. “Are you alright?”

    “Yes”, she returned his smile.

    “It’s just twisted. It will be fine with some rest”, Oliver summed up the problem.

    “That’s great to hear”, Mason came over and began to hand out cups of tea. It wasn’t a beverage that she was particularly partial to but she took it with a few words of thanks and sipped it. It wasn’t terrible but she still preferred coffee.

    The others did the same and got settled. “Ollie”, Daniel started the conversation, “I haven’t seen you since you abseiled down the Thames in a pair of Union Jack boxer shorts on a dare”.

    “Has it really been that long?” Mason asked, thinking hard. “Bloody hell, it has been. What have you been up to?”

    “No, I mean yes. We haven’t seen each other for ages”, Oliver admitted, running his hand through his hair, “I’ve been busy”.

    “So I see”, Daniel said, looking pointedly at Chloe’s hand.

    “Subtle”, Mason huffed.

    “What?”

    “Come on Mase, you know that he held that question in as long as he possibly could”, Oliver joked, transferring his grip on Chloe to pull her forwards so that her legs were draped over his lap and his arm was around her.

    “Yeah, I suppose so!” Mason sighed but Chloe could tell that the brothers were incredibly close.

    “So, am I going to get an answer?” Daniel inquired, unashamed and unabashed.

    “What question might that have been?” Chloe inquired, teasingly placing her hands on Oliver’s shoulders showing off the ring that he had purchased for her for their ‘engagement’.

    The brothers smiled as Oliver took her hand and kissed it, “I have had a bit of good fortune haven’t I, baby?”

    “You did indeed, my darling”, she answered, in similarly soppy accents.

    “I am going to be married”.

  2. #32
    NS Gold Member Senior Member malugargula's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Awesome! Can't wait for more
    Malu

  3. #33

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

    Really enjoying the Chloe and Oliver interaction (Chlollie is definitely my #1 *ducks head*), but I really can't wait till Sexy Lexy shows up

  4. #34
    NS Full Member HotCrossedBunny's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Malu: Thank-you.

    JessicaKadie: He he that's okay.

  5. #35
    NS Full Member HotCrossedBunny's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    A/N: Sorry to anyone who is still reading for having taken a month to update. I did manage to do 11 online development courses though so hopefully that will help in the future with getting a job etc. Here is the update:

    Chapter Eight

    Oliver was still wiping the sleep from his eyes when he staggered into work. The alcohol which he had been able to swig like Ribena a few years ago was having far more of an effect on him these days. Yet its ability to distract him from the stresses of running a company and the loneliness of his home life diminished with every passing week.
    *
    It was long past time to quit.

    Every Sunday he told himself that this was the last time. This was the last time that he would wake up hung over. This was the last time that he would wake up with someone – some three – in his bed whose name he could not remember. If he had ever thought to ask. In a moment of abandon, ‘Baby’ always seemed extremely effective.
    *
    He screwed up his face in response to the bright lights of the office and wished that he could do the same with his ears as the sounds of typing assaulted him. He would have to speak to someone about this. He must be wasting a fortune on lighting and overly loud keyboards. How was it that he had never noticed this before?
    *
    He wasn’t normally in the office by this hour. He realised, as he saw the large clock hanging above his office door. It was 9 o’clock. He wouldn’t have been today if he hadn’t had an important meeting to prep for. When dealing with Bruce Wayne, it always paid to be prepared.
    *
    With a suppressed groan at the thought of the other billionaire Oliver pushed open his office door to be assaulted by the heavenly smell of coffee. He breathed in deeply and sighed.
    *
    “Good morning, Boss”, his blonde assistant – cum protégé – greeted him in blessedly dulcet tones. “Am I to take it that you require coffee?”
    *
    “Always. Intravenously.” There two words. What a word-smith he was.
    *
    “Would you accept in-a-nice-cup-iously?” She inquired with a cheeky smile as she held out a mug filled with thick, steaming espresso.
    *
    He took the proffered cup and inhaled it greedily, not even pausing to thank her.
    *
    Chloe provided him with another.
    *
    “Thank-you”, he breathed after gulping that one down as well.
    *
    “You’re welcome and I’m sorry but I can’t give you any more”, she removed both cups and busied herself with putting them on the tray to be washed up.
    *
    He raised an eyebrow. Chloe hardly ever talked back to him – unless she thought that he was about to make a mistake in business. Then she occasionally interrupted him even in the middle of meetings, once by chucking a lemon scented gel pen at him.
    *
    “Unless your plan is to avoid this meeting by being carried out of here on a stretcher”, she continued.
    *
    “Ah”, he took her meaning. “Not a bad idea actually, but what makes you think that I want to get out of this meeting?” He may he had a playboy, but he thought that he did rather a good job of running the company which he had inherited … all things considered.
    *
    “I can read the business pages”, she paused as she turned back around to stare at him. “And you”.
    *
    “Can you now?”
    *
    “Yes”, she answered decidedly.
    *
    “Go on then”, he challenged, crossing his arms, more intrigued than annoyed.
    *
    “Well I don’t blame you”, she started. “You are in a very difficult position having known someone so well and then not seeing them for a long time. It is always difficult to know how to act in situations like that, and when you add business into that, well”, she sighed, “it just makes it even more complicated”.
    *
    “Yes, but what is it exactly that you think that I am”, he paused, “concerned about”. He refused to even consider the remote possibility of using the word ‘worried’ – even in the hypothetical sense. Business tycoons did not worry. They just occasionally threw chairs through the window. Smashed their new Porsche. Bankrupted an entire company. You know, the normal ways of blowing off steam or expressing disapprobation.
    *
    “You are concerned about meeting someone who was your school yard crony, with whom you no doubt got into all sorts of trouble. As I see it, there are two options. 1. He has changed and you are afraid that he won’t take you seriously, that he will still see you as the boy you were instead of the man that you have become and that his opinion could rub off on others. Or 2. You are afraid that he won‘t have changed as much as the media pretends he has, that he won’t be serious enough and you don’t want a reminder of what you were like in your youth”.
    *
    He just stared at her.
    *
    “So, how did I do?” She enquired, looking rather pleased with herself.
    *
    “No comment”.
    *
    “I’ll take that as an ‘Exactly right Chloe, well done’”, she replied glibly.
    *
    “You may take it however you like”, Oliver replied without anger. And not just because he was too tired and hung over to get really angry. He never felt angry around Chloe. Quite the reverse in fact.

    She grinned, “So, are you feeling better now?”

    “A bit, yes, thank-you”, he answered.

    “Well enough to get all of the way over to your desk?” She inquired in a manner which, although not quite teasing, was not perhaps as respectful as should have been when addressing her boss.

    “I think that I can manage that yes”, he said.

    “Okay? Do you need a hand?” Chloe replied, placing a hand on his back.

    “No, these old bones will probably make it”, he assured her and staggered over there - it seemed to be a very long way - and collapsed into his chair, pulling it under his desk. His brain was just about clear enough to realise that something was wrong. There was a large, bright blue folder sitting there. “What’s this?”

    “Just some notes”, Chloe said with a shrug as she walked back over to her own desk in the corner of the room and began to type.

    Oliver opened the folder and began to flick through the pages slowly. A frown clouding his features. It was extremely thick. “This is just a few notes?”

    “Sure. Categorised by theme”, Chloe supplied helpfully.

    “So I see”, he examined the labels. There were at least fifty of them.

    “I wanted you to be prepared”, Chloe said. As if that explained all of that work. “For every eventuality!”
    *
    “Fire?” He couldn’t help but test her.

    “Page seventy-two”, she replied with a smirk.

    “Earthquake?” He continued.

    “Page eighty-five”, she shot back.

    “Hostile take over?” He challenged.

    “Chapter Nine”.

    “Seriously?” That was going a bit far, even for her.

    “Yup!” She grinned cheekily.

    “Hell Chloe! Are there no ends to your talents?” Oliver exclaimed, incredibly impressed.

    She appeared to be considering this for a few seconds, “No, not that I have encountered”.

    “Modesty. I like it”, he grinned at her - and felt a pain in the side of his head. Even her sunny disposition couldn’t completely obviate the residue of toxic liquor in his system.

    Oliver went through the documents, skimming them due to lack of time, becoming more impressed by the second. He looked up from his desk at the woman who had done it, thinking that she probably deserved a raise ... and a binding contract. Although the latter was more for his benefit than hers.

    His right hand was sat at her desk. In the few months he had known her she had changed so much, it was evident even in the way that she typed. She was so much more confident now. So smart. So powerful. Or maybe she hadn’t changed that much at all. Maybe she had just been ground down when they had first met. He ignored the feeling, it made him uncomfortable.

    If there were any justice in the world she would have been the one with a multi billion dollar multi national company in her name.

    She must have sensed that he was staring at her as she turned to look at him in a questioning manner.

    “Um”, he cleared his throat, “thank-you”.

    ~*~

    Oliver was standing outside his office, with Chloe at his side, waiting for Bruce Wayne and the meeting. He was feeling slightly nervous about it all and surreptitiously wiped his hands down his sides. He was being ridiculous and he knew it, but he just couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was about to happen.

    It was just as he was thinking this that the doors of the lift opened with a ping, to reveal Bruce Wayne. Oliver’s eyes swept over his old school ‘friend’ and saw a tall, brooding man in a dark business suit with a rakish smile. Pretty much what he had been in High School just with a little more stubble and muscle mass.

    The suave (and far too handsome) little bugger sauntered into the room, his eyes fixed not on his old school friend but on something to his left. Oliver turned and saw that he was staring at Chloe. Of course, Bruce had always been a terrible flirt and had always had an inclination for blondes.

    Oliver felt his stomach clench. A sensation which only increased as he came over and greeted him and asked to be introduced to “This vision of loveliness”.

    “This”, he tried not to grit his teeth, “is Chloe Sullivan my colleague”.

    She looked at him with an odd expression.

    “It is a pleasure to meet you Miss Sullivan”, Bruce took her hand.

    “Likewise Mr Wayne”. Oliver was surprised (and a little put off) to see that Chloe actually blushed as returned the greeting.

    “Please, call me Bruce”, the dark billionaire flashed her the smile which had made far harder women than her melt. Oliver, on the other hand, felt no inclination to melt. On the contrary, he wanted to knock his perfect teeth out.

    “Then you must call me Chloe”, she finally managed to retrieve her hand.

    Yup, every single one of those pearly whites needed to go.

    “Will you be joining us in our meeting?” Bruce inquired debonairly.

    Chloe turned her gaze on Oliver, face filled with light and hope.

    “Of course”, Oliver could hardly say no.

    ~*~

    The meeting was a success from Oliver’s perspective. Chloe’s papers had prepared him and his right hand was intelligent and ruthless. There was nothing to be upset about. In fact, he should have been elated but he was feeling distinctly uneasy.

    Chloe had been dressed better than normal - in a short dark blue business dress - and judging by the way that she had responded to Bruce Wayne he started to suspect that it had not been laundry day. Bruce had definitely noticed too. He hadn’t been able keep his eyes off her through out the meeting and seemed more ‘stimulated’ than anything else when she had taken him to task.

    Oliver checked his watch. He had only been at this drinks reception for a few minutes. No doubt he would feel better once it was over and he could get a good night’s sleep. Those thoughts ended when saw Chloe walk in.

    He was at her side in seconds. “Chloe, what’s wrong? Business?”

    “Oliver, look at the dress”, she gestured to the length of aubergine fabric that was wrapped around her.

    He stared down at her. Studying her figure appearance. She was gorgeous. How the hell hadn’t he noticed this before?

    “You aren’t here because there has been a disaster and you needed to find me”, he surmised.

    “No, I’d have used this new gadget called a phone for that”, she answered with a smirk.

    She was her usual cheeky self. He liked that. “Then what ...?”

    “Sorry about that Chloe, but I promise that that was the last business call for tonight”. Bruce came over and wrapped his arm around Chloe.

    Oliver’s jaw clenched, “You are here on a date?”

    “Yes, Bruce asked me after the meeting”, Chloe suddenly looked worried, “that’s okay, isn’t it?”

    “Of course, I don’t have any to say about your personal life”, he tried to sound reasonable but it came out a little harsh. “I think that you will be bored though”.

    “Thanks for that Oliver”, Bruce responded, rubbing Chloe’s shoulder.

    “I meant with the drinks reception”, Oliver clarified, for politeness’ sake. “They are normally extraordinarily boring”.

    “Ah”, Chloe smiled.

    “Well, I will try my best to keep you entertained”, Bruce teased his companion, stroking his hand down her arm.

    Oliver wondered if ripping his arm out of its socked and beating him with it would cause too much of a scene. It probably would. But it may still prove necessary.

    ~*~

    Oliver raced towards the hotel’s doors. The huge oak and glass panels being thrown open just in time to prevent a collision. He tore out into the freezing night air onto the streets of Metropolis. His head swung around from one direction to the other, thankful for the light pollution of the city.

    “Chloe”, he roared.

    There were people scattered around and most of them jumped at his outburst. Faces turned to him and then, further down the street than he would have thought possible, he saw her.

    “Chloe come back here”, Oliver called out as he sprinted down the street.

    She stopped but made no move to head towards him. It didn’t matter he was by her side in under a minute. He came to a halt just in front of her, shocked by her appearance. She was so small. Shivering. Fighting back the tears.

    Oliver had always been the perfect boss - or at least he had tried to be. He had tried to be respectful and courteous but he forgot about that now. He pulled her to him. Unable to do anything else. She felt so delicate. She was shaking terribly. He pressed her even more tightly to him.

    He had watched her all night. It had been the first time that he had not been bored at one of these events. She had zeroed in on several local big wigs and asked what started out as a fairly innocent question, which had then flared up into a fully fledged interrogation. Every pair of eyes in the room had ended up on her. And not just because of her beauty.

    Finally the mayor - who apparently did not appreciate it - had snapped at her. She had blinked, brushed it off and left the room. Bruce had taken off after her, which Oliver had been thankful for while he deal with the stupid Mayor. That was the last year that he was going to be in office.

    Then he went to find the couple. It was reported that Mr Wayne had headed to the bar, whilst his young companion had left. In great distress.

    “I’m sorry”, she whispered, her chin quivering. Oliver barely heard her. Tipped her chin up.

    “What for?”

    “Embarrassing you”, she said through hiccups. “You gave me a job and”, hiccup, “and ...”

    “No”, he replied sternly.

    She blinked, causing more tears to fall.

    “You didn’t embarrass me. You could never embarrass me”, he had no idea where she could have got an idea like that. He stared down at her. Her eyes were wide (still a little watery) but filled with hope.

    He didn’t know what he was thinking. He probably wasn’t. His head descended and he kissed her. Right there, in the middle of a Metropolis street.

    ~*~

    Oliver and Chloe sat on the settee in their hotel suite in Rome, surrounded by business men but getting so lost in the story that they were just staring at each other. Of their own volitions, their heads moved in until they were only inches apart.

    “An interesting story certainly”, a dry voice broke the spell at they both jumped.

    Oliver’s eyes locked on the source of the disturbance: Slope. The older man’s gaze was fixed squarely on Chloe and the billionaire felt his hands begin to tense. There was something going on. Something he didn’t like and he would get to the bottom of it.




    A/N: So, what do you think is going on? Any other comments welcome.

  6. #36
    NS Full Member HotCrossedBunny's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Chapter Nine

    Oliver rolled a tumbler full of liquid between his hands. His eyes trained on the slow repetitive action. The dim light of the Roman evening filtered in through the open windows, casting a kaleidoscope of colours in his drink. It was water - he wished that it were scotch, but he still had work to do that night.

    The day had been a success. In theory. They had found the men in question, made contact, and he was confident that they would get the invitations they so desperately needed. All without blowing their cover or any major casualties - Chloe’s ankle wasn’t badly injured. After so many days of trying for one tiny opening, they had even got the entire group in their hotel suite for one evening, pitched them a story about how they met and then ... He downed his drink. It definitely needed to be scotch.

    He replaced his glass on the coffee table in front of him and looked over at the closed double doors which led on to the master bedroom a.k.a. Chloe’s bedroom. The hard wood sent an unmistakable message. Your way is bared. You are not welcome. He couldn't blame her, he supposed.

    Oliver stood up, stretching his legs. He had acted like a jackass. She had only gone into the room - leaving the party for a few moments originally - to answer a ‘business’ phone call. Once the call had apparently been finished, Slope and several other men had floated into her room. They hadn’t done anything really untoward. They were just talking to her. But Oliver had not liked it.

    He had finally turfed them out of her (theoretically their) room with some pert comment about not being accustomed to seeing so many men in his bedroom. Especially not with his fiancée. That had got them out and broken up the party in a believable manner. They had an appointment with them all for lunch tomorrow so he did not despair of having ruined everything, but Chloe had not been impressed.

    “Seriously?” One word, scathingly uttered had been her only comment on the matter. Before she had closed the door in his face.

    Oliver sighed and he strode over to be faced with the large wooden panels. They would have to talk about all of this. Her past. Her nightmares. Her drug use. Her ability to lie to him.

    He took a deep breath and wrapped his knuckles on the door.

    “What is it?” Chloe’s voice called out, sounding irritated.

    “I want to talk to you”, Oliver said in a tone which was meant to make it clear that this was not a request.

    “Can it wait a few minutes, I’m rather busy”, Chloe called back.

    “No, not really”, he replied, wanting it kick himself. ‘Not really’ seemed to undermine his authority.

    “Fine”, she answered with a huff.

    Oliver waited for a few seconds, wondering if she was going to come to the door. “Chloe?” He called out again, a little more hesitantly this time.

    “I said fine!”

    Taking it to mean that he was welcome - or permitted at least - to enter her inner sanctum, he strode into the room and found her sitting at the desk in the corner, typing at her laptop, wearing only a towel.

    “Chloe?” He asked, his eyebrow rising.

    “Is it really that urgent?” She demanded, “I’m really quite busy”.

    Her abruptness surprised him. He understood that she was doing a lot for him, that she was tired, stressed and her ankle might hurt, that she had problems going on at home - which she did not see fit to confide in him - but it was still odd for her to be anything less than polite.

    “So I can see. Will anyone die if you stop for a few minutes?” It was a legitimate question in their line of work, even if it might have sarcastic to anyone else.

    “No, no one will die”, she admitted, tearing her eyes away from the screen and turned around halfway so that she could observe him. She didn’t seem overly impressed.

    “Good”, he breeched the gap between them and not seeing a second chair, sank down onto one knee. He didn’t want to be looming over her for this. He reached out and took one of her hands. She didn’t pull it away from him, but she didn’t seem very pleased. At any other time it would have seemed like an odd for him to have done, but right then he just wanted her to know that he was there for her.

    “I’m sorry that I pissed you off”, he started.

    She continued to stare at him.

    “I shouldn’t have reacted the way that I did to seeing those other men in here”, he continued.

    “No, you shouldn’t”, she gave him no quarter.

    He sighed. “But you have to understand that it bothered me ...”

    “Why?” She cut him off.

    He chose to believe that she was inquiring why it bothered him rather than doubting that she had to understand his comportment. “I don’t know. Things ...” He paused as he sought for the right words but upon viewing her eyes narrowing, realised that that wasn’t going to happen. “Things haven’t exactly being going to plan over. Particularly over the last few days”.

    “No kidding”, she snorted and he almost smiled.

    “But”, he stressed, “I want you to know that you can trust and confide in me.”

    “I do”, Chloe replied simply.

    “No, you don’t”, he replied and a meaningful look passed between the two of them.

    “Oliver”, she finally broke it, “there are just some things about me that you don’t need to you. Which you have no right to know. That”, there was a noise from her laptop and she turned back around, withdrawing her hand from his.

    “For Pete’s sake Chloe”, he shouted, jumping up to his feet. “This is getting absolutely ridiculous”. He began to pace. “I’ve had just about enough of this. I need to know what the hell is going on with you and I won’t be shut out any more. I want to help you and”, he stormed back over to her, her back was still to him as she typed.

    “Are you going to at least do me the courtesy of eye contact?” He no longer cared if he was towering over her. Let her feel uncomfortable.

    She spun around and he saw the flash of fear.

    “I’m sorry”, he took a step back immediately. “Chl -”

    “No”.

    He blinked.

    She was on her feet. “I’m sorry”.

    “Don’t be sorry, Chl-”

    “No”, the syllable was forced from her once again. Too abruptly. “Kiss me!”
    ~*~

    Chloe felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up on end as she said those words. She thought that she had left behind the days of the nervous school girl begging a man for love and affection. She had certainly hoped that she had. She had no interest in anything like that any more and yet there she was standing in the middle of a hotel room, dressed only in a towel, begging one of the world’s most eligible bachelors to kiss her. She would have laughed had it not been quite so pathetic.

    Oliver stood there. Staring at her. His large, chocolate brown eyes filled with confusion. He probably thought that she was crazy, which in all fairness, she might have been but it was the only thing that occurred to her at that moment that might get them out of this predicament.

    “Oliver”, she pronounced his name slowly, hoping that she sounded alluring rather than nauseous - which was how she felt - as she pressed herself against him.

    “Chlo-”

    “Shh”, at least she managed not to scream out “no” this time. She placed a hand on his cheek, prompting him to look only at her and hoped that she could somehow convey her message just through one long, meaningful gaze.

    It might have worked, if said message had been “please look at me as if I had just lost every last ounce of common sense I possessed”.

    Instead of trying again, she raised up onto her tip toes and pressed her lips softly against his. She felt dizzy, but from nerves rather than passion. She was positive that he was about to push her away without further comment - not that she would blame him - and think that this is all some crazy scheme just to get close to him. Or something. She was sure that women had tried crazier rouses in the past.

    Her lips remained anchored to his. For several interminable seconds it was like trying to kiss a statue and she feared that all might be lost until he began to respond. Relieve flooded her body to quickly that she felt weak and his strong arms wrapped themselves around her, pulling her close to him as he assaulted her mouth.

    She tried to pull away but felt his head come up to grip the back of her head as his one remaining arm hoisted her up off the floor. He was certainly very good at pretending once he realised what was expected of him. He was doing such a good impression of an ardent lover that her towel became momentarily dislodged but Oliver either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

    Chloe allowed herself to do sensuous battle with him for a few more seconds before gently biting his lower lip. With a groan which had nothing to do with pain he retreated for a second and she took her opportunity to place kisses along his jawline until she reached his ear.

    “Play along”, she whispered, before taking his lobe between her teeth.

    She felt him tense underneath her touch at the words and was momentarily concerned that he might give them away but then his training kicked in and he took the incisive.

    “Baby”, he breathed the words into her hair, and Chloe felt a shiver travel down her spine in spite of herself.

    “It’s just make believe”, she reminded herself as his grasped her even more closely to his hard body and a wave of nostalgia crashed over her. This was insane. It was just because it was the first time that she had been held like this since ...

    “Ollie”, she moaned his name to keep herself from thoughts that would be her undoing.

    “What’s going on?” He whispered, once he had arranged it so that his mouth was by her ear.

    “There is another bug”, she replied, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck and nuzzling him.

    “Shit”, he swore, thankfully not too loudly.

    She continued to ingratiate herself with the side of his neck, preparing to speak but he beat her to it. Tangling his hand in her tresses, he manoeuvred them so that he could growl into her ear. “Where is it hidden?”

    She grasped his head in her hands and planted a kiss on his full lips before breathing against them, “in the bed’s headboard”.

    “Last night”, he began, worried.

    “No”, she shook her head and then wrapped her arms around his shoulders and buried her head in the crook of his neck as if she only wanted to cuddle with him. “I didn’t miss anything”, she assured him hurriedly and quietly. “This is a new one, one of our guests installed it but I didn’t see which one. I have a scanner which is constantly checking”.

    “Are you sure?” He asked, his hands tensing for a second before he returned them to her back.

    “Positive”, she never made mistakes.

    “And you can remove it”, he checked as he stroked her spine, inadvertently loosening her towel yet further and then having to hitch it back up. It was a good job that Chloe’s face was buried in him as her cheeks were bright pink.

    “I could”, she started and he picked up on it.

    “You are worried that they might think that we are on to them? What if we pretended to be cleaning or something?”

    “Maybe but ...” She paused. She didn’t what him to think that she was using him. “Maybe we could use it to our advantage ...”


    A/N: What do you think? Should they 'play along'?

  7. #37
    NS Member
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Posted 19th January 2015

    Well if by "use it to their advantage" she means "have glorious multiple orgasms under the pretext of spying", then by all means they should play along!
    Last edited by alasam; 23rd April 2015 at 06:51.

  8. #38

    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Updated 20th April 2015

    Yeah, I definitely hope they play along

  9. #39
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Updated 20th April 2015

    Jessicakadie:

    Alasam: Yeah, long run that's pretty much what I meant. ;p

  10. #40
    NS Full Member HotCrossedBunny's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Up Appearances (NC-17) Updated 20th April 2015

    Chapter Ten

    “Use it to our advantage”. The words rolled around in Oliver’s head. The idea had many delightful possibilities: spending more time together, holding hands, giving him a better chance to get to the bottom of the mystery which was Chloe Sullivan. It was the only logical plan really.

    “You’re right sweetheart”, he purred, as he stroked her back. “Let’s not fight, why don’t we go into the sitting room and try to talk this would over a nice cup of coffee?”

    Chloe grinned up at him, “You had me at coffee”.

    “Seduction had always been one of my special abilities”, he wiggled an eyebrow at her.

    “I’ll have to bear that in mind”, Chloe teased him in retaliation. The perfect picture of a couple.

    “You do that”, he leant down and kissed her on the forehead and then on the tip of her nose. “I’ll get your robe, you’ll be more comfortable”.

    “You just like it because the fabric is so much thinner”, she teased him.

    “That’s not true”, he protested as he strode back over to the door to retrieve the article of clothing in question.

    “No?”

    “No”, he turned back to her with a smirk, “it also has this lovely little feature”. He twirled the belt of the dressing gown around.

    “A draw string thingie?”

    “Yes, the very famous, innovative, draw string thingie”, he played with it as he covered the ground between them.

    “Do you normally get quite so excited by a simple piece of string?” She was a very good actress, he couldn't tell where she stopped and the acting began.

    “One which can remove every scrap of clothing of my delectable fiancée”, he grinned.

    “Honey tongued devil”.

    A gave her what should be his patented Charming Oliver Queen Smile. He had used it a thousand times, probably even more, in every aspect of his life. Whilst it had never been exactly natural, it had never felt fake before now. He had never felt dirty before now. Normally, he was never Oliver Queen around Chloe, just Ollie.

    “So, are you all talk and no action or are you going to help me out here?” She coaxed him gently.

    “You don’t have to ask me twice”, he said with a wicked grin even though she had had to prod him quite a lot.

    She gave him a challenging look.

    He was conscious of his racing heart-rate, rising temperature and his palms becoming sweaty. He opened the garment and drew it around her, her back was to the camera so that he was covering her completely.

    He caught her eyes and saw her mouth, “Play along”.

    She dropped the towel and wrapped herself in the cotton garment in the blink of an eye. If fast, she did it so quickly that he didn’t even catch a glimpse of her. Unfortunately it didn’t do anything for his libido; he could make out lush curves through her dressing gown and knew that she was completely nude underneath it. He swallowed.

    “Perv”, she shot at him and accompanied with a wink.

    “How did you do that?” He whispered, taking her arm as she moved to breeze past him.

    “This isn’t my first time”, she smiled sweetly.

    “It isn’t?” The words came out of his mouth before he could think better of them. Or think of them at all actually.

    Chloe gave him an expressive look.

    “Right”, it didn’t matter - for the moment - he just needed to play along.

    He watched her move away with what he hoped as an unconscious sway of her hips. The delicious swell of her curves through the thin cotton enough to drive him insane. He groaned and looked down, at least one part of his anatomy was definitely playing along.

    “Are you coming?”

    “God I hope not”, he muttered to himself before calling out, “I’ll be right there!”

    ~*~

    Chloe was very nearly shaking, no where near as calm as she had tried to make out. They were being bugged. That was a serious matter and that was before she had suggested that they played along. It was a sensible plan, it was the only way to get to the bottom of all of this, except for one small problem: she felt like she was about to be sick.

    She tried to thrust these feelings down as she called out to Oliver. She took several deep breathes before he entered and forced a smile to her lips.

    Oliver came around the door and nodded his head at it, to ask if she wanted him to close it.

    “No”, she shook her head, the more open they seemed the better.

    “It seems that we have quite a lot to discuss”, Oliver commented, as he crossed the room to where she was sitting.

    Chloe was impressed. His voice would carry while he was standing there, but not now that they were seated unless they were to shout. He sank down next to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

    “Are you alright?”

    “Don’t start that again”, she said, although not harshly, “we need to sort out what we are going to do”.

    “Is it ...”

    “It’s safe to talk here. They can’t hear a word that we are saying ... Unless we shout”, she explained.

    “Good”, he squeezed her shoulder.

    “Do you know who did it?”

    “No, but my money is on Slope”, she admitted, annoyed with herself for not knowing the answer and for ever allowing it to happen to start with.

    “Do you know what reasons he might have ...”

    “Not a clue. But I don’t trust him as far as I could throw him and as I disdain to touch the disgusting creature, that isn’t very far at all”, she added with a hollow laugh.

    He smiled at her. “What are we going to do?”

    “We are going to have to play along. They clearly aren’t looking for information about the company”, she started to device a plan.

    He gave her a look.

    “They wouldn’t have bugged the bedroom if they wanted to know about business matters”, she pointed out.

    “They want to know if we are really in a relationship.” she thought aloud. “They know (or have guessed) that we are aiming for an invitation and want to know if that is based on the basis of our relationship and wanting to see old friends or ...”

    “They think that we are onto them?” Oliver supplied.

    “Yes”, that was the only explanation. Well, the only that she would allow herself to consider.

    “So we pretend to be the perfect couple to divert attention”, he pondered the prospect. It didn’t sound bad at all to him.

    “Yes”, she said once again.

    “I can tell that you are plotting. How, exactly are we to accomplish that?”

    “Doing something that only a real couple - not a fake couple - would do”, Chloe came up with the next stage of their plan.

    He raised an eyebrow and hoped that nothing else rose in unison.

    “We are going to have a fight”.

    ~*~

    “Oh for he love of God I am sick and tired of having the same fight with you over and over again”, Oliver roared.

    “Well then just tell me the truth once and for all”, Chloe screamed.

    “I am telling you the truth. She came onto me, got me drunk and-”

    “Yeah, that’s every man’s defence”, Chloe snarled.

    “I’m not every man and it is not a defence. It is a reason”, he protested feeling his body reacting to the upset even if there was no reason for it.

    “Like hell it is!

    “Claire damn it, will you just listen to me?” Claire never sounded right.

    “I’m tired of listening to this crap. Every time that I think that we have got passed it, it all comes back up”, she flopped back down onto the settee as if her entire energy reserve had been expended on this stupid fight.

    “Yes, because you brought it up”, he ran his hand through his hair.

    “No, you did”, she shot back.

    “All I asked was why were you in the bedroom with those men?” He snapped, getting tired himself.

    “What do you think that I was doing? Magically having an invisible affair with them with the door open and you in the next door?” She demanded irately.

    “No, of course not. I ... I just ...” He didn’t know why it had bothered him in reality, he had no clue why it would have bothered his alter ego.

    “You just what?” Chloe hopped back onto her feet and stormed over to him.

    “I want to know the truth”, the words rang with truth.

    “So do I”.

    There was silence. Both of them breathing hard. Staring at each other. It was fake but it felt so real. Both had had real relationships which had ended badly. Ended in the spiral of screaming, tears and recrimination. It was never good.

    He wanted to hold her, to tell her that it was alright, it was all just pretend. He took a step towards her.

    She side stepped him, walked to the door which still stood ajar and looked over her shoulder at him. “I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed.”

    He didn’t know if her voice would carry at that moment, but her expression. The camera would catch it and no one could doubt that she knew what heartbreak was.

    This was terrible.

    He moved to the doorway and watched as Chloe made her way over to the bed, and without bothering to change, got in and pulled the covers over her. She looked so small. He swallowed.

    Oliver watched her for a few long minutes as he debated what to do. He was still breathing hard from the argument - even though it had not been real. It had been a good idea, Chloe was right. It added verisimilitude and ensured no intimacies would be required of them that night. He opened his lips. He should have said that he would stay in the guest bedroom that night as she was clearly so angry, it would have been a good excuse, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

    He strode over, passed the bed, towards the bathroom - he would have to find a way to sneak his own things in there tomorrow - but for tonight used the soap and toiletries provided. Once he was slightly more in control of himself and calmer he stripped down to his boxers and traipsed back into the bedroom. He flicked off the lights but there was still a glow from the city which allowed him to make his way to the bed.

    Oliver got in and lay on his back. On his own side. He stayed there for what must have been an hour. Fingers drumming on his chest. He wasn’t going to get to sleep like this. Turned to Chloe. Judging by how rigid her posture was, neither was she.

    “Sweetheart”, he whispered, not sure if he was playing a role or not, as he reached over and stroked her arm.

    “Don’t”.

    He paused.

    “I just want to go to sleep and not think any more about any of this”, she continued in a whisper.

    He hoped that she was acting.

    “Alright sweetheart. Just sleep. We’ll deal with everything tomorrow. Goodnight, my angel”, he kissed the back of her head.

    He felt her tense up at those words. He couldn’t say Claire.

    In spite of his belief that neither of them would ever get to sleep that night, Oliver was wrong. He must have been because he woke up to find Chloe’s soft form pressing against him, begging, “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me”.

    “Don’t worry my darling, I won’t”.



    A/N: Sorry, arguing this time but smut will be coming soon-ish, I promise!

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