“Hey! You’re early! I haven’t even gotten dressed yet!” Smiling, Lois tip-toed to give Oliver a quick kiss on the cheek before striding across the room to pick up the garment bag that was draped over the oversized arm chair. “I’ll only be a minute…” Ollie pulled her hand away from the bag and turned her around to face him.
“Lo, we have to talk.” His tone gave her pause, her bright hazel hues taking him in for the first time. He wasn’t dressed in a suit either. The two of them had reservations at ‘Per Se’ - the most extravagant restaurant in Metropolis. It was Valentine’s Day. Ollie said he had gone all out for this one, making a naturally suspicious Lois Lane wonder if maybe…just maybe, a certain question might be asked. She was ready for it. They had been together for almost 2 years. Ollie was the first guy she had truly fallen in love with…someone it was safe to give her heart to. There had been many near misses in her past; guys ultimately looking for one thing or another - sex, information, leverage in their own ambition, to get in her father’s good graces… Never had she found a guy who had ever made her a priority, until Oliver Queen.
He wasn’t the billionaire playboy the press had made him out to be. The owner and operator of Queen Industries and the Daily Planet’s star reporter had met at a costume party, introduced by a mutual friend. Oliver was dressed as Robin Hood, and Lois as Maid Marion at the friend’s suggestion. Later, Lois would find out Oliver had orchestrated the whole meeting, to her amusement. Something had just clicked, right away, and the two of them ended up spending the night talking and joking around as if they had been friends their entire lives. He was smart, charming, handsome, and far more down to earth than Lois had imagined him to be. Oliver had had tragedy in his life that few could understand, and on more than one occasion he still woke in terror from his recurring nightmare, with Lois whispering reassurance as she held him and wiped the sweat from his brow.
Right now Ollie’s face had the same expression of seriousness, but instead of terror, it was consumed by sadness.
“What happened? Ollie, what’s going on? Are you okay?” The brunette’s head tilted in confusion as her hands reached up to hold his face. Were those tears in his eyes?
“Lois, I have to go.” His voice was barely above a whisper.
"Go where?” Her brows furrowed. She didn’t understand.
“I can’t tell you that.” His hands grabbed hers, taking them from his face and holding them. He ran his thumbs over the pale skin, eyes cast downward, as if unable to look Lois in the eye.
“What do you mean you can’t tell me. Ollie, what the hell is going on. You’re scaring me.” She pulled her hands away and grabbed his face again, this time forcing him to look into her eyes. The pain etched in his features softened her tone. “Hey, it’s me. You can tell me anything, you know that. I love you. If there is some kind of trouble….we’ll figure it out, together.”
“No Lois, it isn’t like that.” He pulled her hands away once again and walked away to the nearest window, the twinkling lights of the city framing his strong silhouette. He ran his fingers through the top of his light blonde fringe, the way he did if he was uncertain about a merger, or some other important decision he had to make. “I have something I need to tell you. Something I’ve been keeping from you.”
Lois braced herself for it.
There was someone else. Looking back, it made sense. He disappeared at all hours, citing business, emergency meetings, late night video conferences due to time zone differences. But Lois had always trusted him. He’d never given her a reason not to. But there was nothing else it could be other than another woman. Women threw themselves at him all the time, to the point it had become a running joke between them. But he’d always said he only had eyes for her. Lois was a strong woman, but a hand still went to the arm of the chair to steady herself for the words she thought were to come.
They weren’t what she thought they were going to be.
He turned around. “The um….the story that you’ve been chasing on and off, about the Green Arrow.”
“What?” Lois questioned, shaking her head. “What does that have to do with...”
“It’s me. He…is me.”
An incredulous chuckle filled the room. “Ollie, if you’ve been cheating on me, at least be a man and own up to it. Saying you are Star City’s and Metropolis’ vigilante archer…that’s just a ridiculous insult. I think I’m worth more than that.” Lois shook her head, not sure if she was more angry than hurt, or hurt than angry.
“What? Cheating? Lo, I have never cheated on you. I’d never cheat on you. That’s not even in the realm of possibility.”
"Oh, and this is?”
“Yes…it is. Listen to me.” He came over and turned her towards him. "If you really think about it….from the first night we met, when I made you that bet for a kiss? That was my bow, not a prop. I missed on purpose. I couldn’t let you get suspicious. And all the times I had to leave…if you check, they’d be the same nights he…I…was out. Getting justice. Saving people.”
“This is stupid…” Lois began, but she thought back. Dates of her published stories. How comfortable he seemed with the bow. Little bruises and scrapes from time to time.
The arm of the chair had indeed been needed as her knees felt like they were going to give out. A heated blush crept into her cheeks. “Oh my God.” her free hand flew to her mouth. “How could I….” How could she have not seen it. Was she that stupid? She was an investigative reporter for sh*ts sake. Ollie felt her body falter under his hands.
“Here, maybe you should sit down...”
“Don’t touch me!” She pulled away from him, the realization of his words still sinking in…stinging.
“Lois, I can’t leave you like this.”
“What do you mean, leave? Why do you have to leave? Why are you doing this?” Lois turned back towards him, her eyes filling with confused tears. She was SO angry, but hearing him say he was leaving? He can’t just drop something like this on her and also tell her he was leaving her, all in the same night.
Oliver sighed. “Lo, I can’t tell you anything else. I just…I have to leave. Tonight. And there’s a good chance I’m not coming back.” His emotion and concern stare didn’t impact Lois. She was starting to feel numb. Flashbacks of them together flitted through her mind’s eye…the night they met…the night he first processed his love for her with a bouquet of flowers and an actual tape deck belting out the classic Elvin Bishop song “Fooled Around and Fell In Love,” his nightmares, their dreams…their future…
His eyes closed for a second, as if he was remembering the same things, and then he sighed. “This is it…the moment, right? The moment I’m gonna regret for the rest of my life, isn’t it?”
Her hands reached up and cradled his face one more time, eyes pleading.
“Please don’t do this to us.” He shook his head. He knew it was for the best. To keep her safe. To keep everyone safe. Seeing her lack of impact her hands dropped. She turned away, wrapping her arms around the waist his used to be when he’d hold her.
Lois’s eyes closed as he strode across the room and opened the door. She didn’t see the last look of anguish and tears on Ollie’s face when he turned to look at her one last time before shutting the door behind him.
It was a few moments before Lois opened her eyes again. The numbness was suffocating now. An agonizing sob escaped the trembling woman as she grabbed the first thing beside her…a vase full of the most recent bouquet of flowers Ollie had given her. Water, petals and glass exploded against the door…the vase completely shattered.
Like her heart.