FF# 40: It’s Christmas Eve, Carter Bowen (Step Away)
This is my first attempt at one of these Flash Fic challenges. The prompt was Christmas Eve. I hope I’ve done it right!
Who invited Carter
Bowen to this Christmas party? That was foremost in Oliver Queen’s mind as
he entered Queen Inc.’s lobby and spotted his childhood nemesis on the other
side of the room. It was the first official social event, post-renaming, and
the room sounded like a beehive accompanied by seasonal music.
Rather than making it a stuffy gala affair, Felicity had
suggested something different – a two-hour informal gathering for a last minute
toy drive. Everyone was asked to bring a wrapped gift and afterwards they would
be distributed to the local hospitals in time for Christmas morning. Since the event
would be short, people could get back to their usual traditions. The room was
festooned with white trees and silver garland with pops of red glass balls.
Oliver’s day had been crazy, filled with grocery shopping
for Christmas dinner, last minute wrapping, a workout with Digg and then a
quick stop home to clean up and dress for the occasion. That made him
approximately 30 minutes late – fashionable by some standards, unforgivable by
Felicity’s. She was the CEO now and while she was perfectly comfortable in the
boardroom, she was still unaccustomed to being a hostess. She was counting on Oliver
to step up and deploy his Queen charm to take the rough edges off the social
awkwardness she swore she had, but no one actually noticed.
Why was Carter Bowen
standing so close to Felicity? That was second-most in Oliver’s mind. Why
was he flashing his expensive smile and preening in a Hugo Boss suit, like Hugo
Boss was still alive and he’d sewn it especially for his favorite client,
Carter Bowen? Felicity looked fetching tonight in a green blouse and black
skirt, decorated with snowflakes.
just touch her arm? Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen again. Unfortunately,
the crowd was so dense and people with familiar faces, he knew he wouldn’t make
it across the room in less than ten minutes.
The tinkle of frantic tapping on a champagne flute drew
attention. Felicity, grateful for any distraction from the overly-attentive “TV
doctor,” turned with everyone else. Her eyes lit up and her mouth took on a
There was Oliver, perched atop the Security Desk, holding
his drink and a pen he was using to tap the edge of the glass. He was wearing
it – the penguin sweater she had given him as a Hanukkah gift a few nights earlier.
She laughed so hard when he opened it and held it up to his frame to model it.
She hadn’t expected him to wear it in public, but then it was just like him to
stare danger in the face and wink at it.
He scanned the crowd and finally locked eyes on Felicity. She
bit her bottom lip and he smiled broadly. There was a silent acknowledgement of
his outfit. The bastard looked handsome in everything. The room finally hushed
and he held court. Like Oliver Queen.
“Hey everybody! It’s me.” Oliver projected his voice like he’d
been taking lessons his whole life, because he had and his winning small
already won over the room. “I hope you won’t mind, but this will only take a
minute. First, I know you are all jealous of my sweater, right?” Oliver’s blue
eyes sparkled and the room erupted in laughter at the face of the penguin that decorated
his expansive chest.
“Well, you can’t have it. It was a present from my girl and
I love it.” He grinned at Felicity while faces in the crowd turned, smiling at
her. “Hey, Carter! I see you over there.” Carter Bowen looked at him quizzically.
Oliver waved his hand, indicating he should step away from the blonde. Carter
sighed, now informed, and shifted toward the open bar. Mission accomplished,
Oliver nodded to Felicity with a smirk.