He watched as Oliver slid open a door to the old Queen Industrial Steel factory. The place had not fared as well as Ollie in the past five years. The buildings around were dilapidated and weather worn. All he could think was 'What a dump!' So Tommy was a little surprised when Oliver asked him what he thought of the place as a night club.
"Sweet!" he lied. 'What the hell?' he thought, but he said, "Though, I gotta tell ya, man, if you're thinking about calling it Queen's, I don't think you're gonna get the clientele you're hoping for," Tommy joked.
"Private office," Oliver said, pointing at the office that sat up above the main floor.
"For the private, one on one meetings, I would imagine," Tommy smirked, as he slapped Ollie on the shoulder.
"Hopefully the occasional two on one meetings," Oliver snapped back. Tommy laughed. Hopefully, he would be invited as one of the two someday. It had happened before, but then, he'd been focusing more on the girl between them. Then, he hadn't realized that he was in love with his best friend.
"Man," he said with a grin, "Are you sure you want to do this? It's not like you really have any experience running a b-" he hesitated, he was going to say bar. Then he was going to say business, but he ended up saying, "well, running anything."
Oliver shot him a look. Tommy saw the determination in his eyes. There was a reason he needed to make it happen. There was a reason this place needed to succeed. So, Tommy knew he'd support Oliver any way he could.
"How about, tomorrow night, the two of us we go and scope out the competition? There's a new club opening downtown. It's called 'Poison'. Max Fuller owns it."
"I slept with his fiancée."
"Yeah, before the wedding," Tommy smirked.
"It was at the rehearsal dinner," Oliver said seriously.
"The rehearsal dinner is technically before the wedding, right?" he said on a laugh. 'Ah! The good old days!' he thought. How he couldn't wait to get back to those!
His heart almost stopped as he saw the first real smile and heard the first real laugh he'd heard from Oliver since his return. He was even more stunning than he'd thought.
His phone rang as he said, "Besides, who stays mad at a castaway?" He looked at his phone. When he saw who the text was from, he said, "Ah damn it, I gotta roll. Anyway, I'll see ya later, man. Good place," he headed towards the door, so many things running through his head as he prep himself for the meeting about to come.
'His lair. That's what it had to be,' Tommy thought. What other reason would he have to create a club in the middle of nowhere, in his father's old factory? If Oliver Queen was the green-hooded arrow guy, he would need a base of operation away from friends and family, right? And a place where he was supposed to be that hid the place he needed to be was the perfect cover.
He'd have to explore that some more in the coming days. But first, a little meeting with dear old dad…
The beat was slammin' as they came through the lobby of Poison. Tommy chuckled and the throb it sent through his whole body. He had missed these days…ok, not really. He'd gone to plenty of parties and clubs while Oliver was gone, but to have his pal back with him, beside him, his heart thumped with renewed vigor.
"This is gonna be killer," he said.
"If Max Fully sees me here, I agree."
"Ah, if you wanna run a business, you gotta take a few risks."
They were stopped by Dig calling for Ollie. They turned around so Oliver could talk to the bouncer and Tommy took the opportunity to take a glance at Oliver's very smokin' backside. His thoughts started to run on the dirty side as Oliver "straightened the matter out"…which meant he left Diggle standing at the ropes. He couldn't help but laugh at Oliver's antics.
The moment he saw Laurel, he knew the night was going to be different than he'd planned. When Laurel was around, everything changed for Oliver.
"Oh, wow! Doesn't you going out and having fun violate some kind of law? You know, like the ones that are carved on a stone tablet?" he asked sarcastically. He really was pissed that of all nights, she was here. If anything, her being at the club gave Oliver yet another reason to be out of sorts in the place. Oliver was already stressing about meeting up with Max Fuller. Laurel's presence just made the night less fun than a Jag with a flat tire.
"That's cute, Tommy," she said with a grimace. Obviously, she had not expected them to be there either.
"Thanks!" he said with a cheeky grin.
"I can see you two are up to your old hunting patterns."
"Just seeing what passes for fun in Starling City after five years," Oliver said.
"Ah! Well, I'm sure you'll find it just hasn't been the same without you!" she said with a bitchy smile.
"Big brother!" he heard from half way across the room. Thea came running up to Oliver. 'SHIT!' Tommy thought, 'Just what we all need! Drunk-ass little sister with the big mouth!'
He turned to the bartender and ordered a shot of tequila for himself and Laurel. He had a feeling they were going to need it. Laurel looked up at him as he slid the second shot to her. They weren't talking, but he could see the apology in her eyes. He nodded at her while Oliver and Thea talked. He wasn't really trying to listen completely in on the conversation, but even with the thumping beat and the hundreds of voices, it wasn't difficult to hear Thea's drunk voice over the noise.
"Thea," Oliver said tightly, "you're hanging with the wrong people."
"You're one to talk," Thea said on a derisive laugh. Laurel looked at Tommy with a tinge of panic in her eyes, "How much do you know about your so called friends over here?"
'Shit,' Tommy thought again, 'It's about to hit the fan.'
"Whoa, Thea maybe you shouldn't-" he tried to interrupt.
"Tommy," she cut him off, "I think your BFF has a right to know!"
"Thea," Oliver said, obviously not really wanting to hear what she had to say, "Let's go."
"I guess they never told you that they've been screwing while you were gone!"
'Shit!' Tommy looked at Oliver and tried to assess what he was thinking. His face was completely blank. No emotion. Either he was deeply, deeply hurt or he felt nothing.
Thea looked over to him and Laurel with a smirk. Tommy looked at Laurel before he felt compelled to explain.
"Look, man, I-" he started.
"Tommy," Oliver interrupted, "It's okay."
Tommy was in a panic. He couldn't take his eyes off Oliver. He begged him to forgive him without words. He'd heard the anger in Oliver's tone. Suddenly, he couldn't find a place to look. Everything he feared was happening. The bad part was that Tommy didn't really know who Oliver was angry at: him or Thea.
"You and me," Oliver said to Thea, "we're done for the night!" He grabbed and started to drag Thea toward the door. Suddenly, Tommy couldn't take his eyes off Oliver again.
"Take your hand off me!" she yelled, shoving his hands away. "You're not my father, and you're barely my brother!" she growled just before she stormed away.
Oliver stood absolutely silent; absolutely still. The hurt was evident on his face. All Tommy wanted to do was find a way to comfort him, but he was sure that any words, let alone a touch would be accepted from him at the moment. He was saved from his dilemma when he heard Max Fuller's voice.
"Well, well," the club owner, "Look at this! Oliver Queen!"
He watched as Oliver turned. Ollie threw him a look that said, 'See! I just KNEW this was going to happen!' and Tommy cringed. Oliver schooled his face to a polite indifference.
"Max Fuller," he said with a half smile, "How ya been?"
"Happy you drowned," the man said with a straight face.
Ollie's face dropped and Tommy hung his head. This was going to be a really long night!
They'd pretty much gotten their asses kicked. Yeah, since he knew what kind of skills Oliver actually had, he wasn't quite sure how that had happened. Of course, Tommy had felt compelled to actually stand up for Oliver, daring Fuller's thugs to go through him to get to Ollie. And they had. Until Laurel, of all people, showed up.
There'd been a moment when Tommy was on the floor that he'd been so tempted to just pull Oliver down into a kiss. Of course, he knew that the timing was wrong, even though Oliver had been leaning over him to make sure he was okay. He'd chickened out, once again on letting Oliver know how he felt. His only saving grace was that Fuller, his goons and Laurel had all been there and it wouldn't have been a very romantic moment to declare his love for his best friend who thought he was straight…yeah…not so much.
Dig took them to this little hole in the wall joint that wasn't too far from the club to lick their wounds. Tommy's biggest problem now was that he was alone with Oliver and was going to have to deal with his wrath…or lack of it regarding his dalliance with Laurel.
He knew what he wanted to say, "Man, she was the closest thing to you when you disappeared. We gave each other comfort while you were gone, thinking you'd be gone forever. But I missed you so much, it hurt. When you disappeared, our mutual love and longing for you drew us together."
But he knew that he'd never say it the right way for Oliver to understand completely what he was trying to say. He tried to approach it as best as possible.
"Look…man," he started. Oliver didn't really look pissed, but he didn't really look calm, either, "about Laurel…I was gonna tell you…I was just trying to figure out the right way…"
"To tell somebody that you slept with their girlfriend after they went missing and were then presumed dead," Oliver finished for him. His face was still way more serious than Tommy was hoping for.
"What? There's no greeting card for that?" Oliver asked with a smirk.
Tommy could help but laugh as Oliver's smirk turned into a smile.
"Look," Tommy said, leaning into the table, "It was wrong…and I am sorry."
He wanted so badly to continue with, "And I love you!" but Oliver interrupted.
"Tommy…I was dead," Oliver said matter-of-factly.
"Nah, man…You were with Laurel," he said, "And whether you were dead, or as it turns out alive on a deserted island," he continued with a smile, "you are my friend. And me being with Laurel violated that friendship in about fifty different ways!"
Tommy felt so guilty about the situation with Laurel, for so many reason that he couldn't even fully explain, but Oliver continued to let him off the hook/
"Thank you, but it's okay," Oliver said seriously. "I understand why you two got together."
"You do?" Tommy asked incredulously.
"Yeah, Tommy," Oliver said, "I do…You two both missed me. You two were and still are my two best friends, though Laurel doesn't think so any more. We were the three amigos for the longest time. It would only be natural that the two of you would gravitate toward each other when I was gone."
"You are being really chill about this," Tommy said as Oliver's phone rang. As Oliver answered, Tommy knew the moment was over. His opportunity had passed once again and he was disappointed. There were so many things he still wanted to say to him, so many things they really needed to discuss…about Tommy's relationship with Laurel…about Oliver's relationship with Laurel…about Tommy's relationship with Oliver…but then Oliver spoke in Russian to whoever was on the phone. Oliver held the phone to his chest.
"It's a Russian model…calling me," Oliver said slyly. Tommy felt the stab in his gut, but chuckled to cover the hurt.
"I can see now why you were so able to be so chill. Enjoy," He said as he slid out of the booth to very quickly beat a hasty retreat to the other side of the restaurant and out the door. There wouldn't be any further discussion tonight about all that he felt. He was even more sure it was one sided now.
He waited outside the courthouse on Friday night for her. Laurel understood, probably better than anyone else did how much Tommy needed her in his life. He didn't want to be in love with his best friend. He wanted to be in love with the girl who had comforted him as much as he had comforted her. He wanted…no, needed to give them a chance. He needed to convince her that they would be good together. They'd been good together before.
But good old Laurel, her lawyer/logic mind saw right through his hesitations and lack of declarations. Of course, he knew that Laurel thought his hesitation to commit to her and his lack of declaration of love was because he was sleeping around…or still wanted to sleep around. He was so glad that he was able to keep his true feelings in check. He was glad that nobody had figured out that he really loved Oliver and nobody else. He hoped that some day he would have the balls to tell the man the truth…his whole truth.