This is the last time she’s trusting the internet.
And, coming from self proclaimed internet addict Felicity Smoak, this should only reinforce how much of a shitty idea this was.
The idea sounded kind of funny in theory. The listing at first sounded like a joke, but when the Facebook post got shared twenty-five thousand times, Felicity did a little digging to find out it was a real group.
Tired of watching the bride run away from the wrong side of the altar? Tired of being the one dumped at the airport, in the rain, or some other cliché directly out of a Norah Ephron movie?
The Heartbreak Kids are here to help. Finally, a support group for the other guys (and girls) who got dumped by the assholes who got inspired by some crappy movie and decided to get dramatic. This one’s for us.
Meetings every Thursday at 8 pm. Refreshments served.
And when Felicity’s best friend Dinah saw that she jokingly ‘liked’ the news article that interviewed the group organizers after it went viral, she decided to spring into action.
“It’s been a month, Felicity,” she said tiredly one day, closing the door of their shoebox New York apartment. “I hate seeing you like this. And who knows, this thing could actually help. You might even meet someone.” She added with a wry grin.
From her spot on the couch, Felicity could only scoff. “That thing was a joke, Di, and you know it. Besides, I’m fine. I just need a little time to bounced back, and I’m definitely not in a place to meet anyone right now.”
Of course, Felicity seldom ever wins an argument against Dinah Drake, and that’s how she ends up going to a support group meeting for her broken heart.
She’s not entirely sure what she expected when she walks into the community centre room, but she really was hoping it wouldn’t be so… cliché.
There’s about twenty odd chairs set up in a circle – that’ll be mortifying. An ancient looking coffee percolator sits next to a small collection of snacks and water bottles. A few people are already there, mingling like they might know each other from before.
Felicity hovers near the door and feels oddly like she’s in high school again, and briefly considers making a run for it before she remembers that Dinah took the car and dropped her off, and she doesn’t feel like getting a cab in the rain.
So, she takes a deep breath, mentally pulls up her big girl pants and finds a seat.
She got there a little early, which means she gets a good people watching view as some enter the room, looking utterly dejected when they take their seats.
There’s one person standing by the front and looking almost frustratingly chipper, greeting people who come in and always reminding people to “help yourself to the refreshments!” Felicity decides very quickly she’s not a fan.
Her eyes travel back to the door, just as the analog clock on the wall sits at 7:59, when one last person enters and catches her eye.
He’s pushed in there by a much smaller woman, muttering something as she does. He looks about as happy as Felicity to be there, but the frown he wears doesn’t hide his undeniably handsome features.
He pulls down his wet leather jacket when the smaller woman leaves, huffing in annoyance as he does, to reveal a tight white t-shirt and wow, Felicity has to look away because that is something.
He takes the last seat in the circle, directly across from her, like the world knows she doesn’t want to stare but will make it impossible for her not to be a creepy weirdo ogling.
The chipper man who was greeting everyone – Derek, the support group leader, he introduces himself – gives a typical run down of how this meeting is supposed to go, and Felicity feels her ears go hot.
It’s so weird and cliché and movie-esque she wants to bury her head in the sand, because he wants them all to go around and share their stories and help each other. In hindsight, she isn’t sure what she expected but faced with the reality of the situation makes it so much more mortifying.
She’s going to have to talk about The Incident, aloud, for the first time since it happened. With Handsome Leather Jacket Guy looking at her, probably. This is a disaster.
A few people go around, some that sound like they’ve been here before, giving general updates on their situation (“I packed all her stuff in a box, so that’s progress.” “Great! Amazing!” Derek practically yells. “Let’s give it up for Anthony, guys!”)
Finally, it’s Handsome Leather Jacket Guy’s turn.
He shifts awkwardly in his chair as everyone looks at him expectedly.
“Uh… Hi, I’m Oliver. I don’t know much about romantic comedy storylines, but my sister really wanted me to come to this. She said my story was like if My Best Friend’s Wedding went a little differently.”
Felicity raises her eyebrows. Yikes.
“Um… so, it was her best friend… and mine too…” Felicity winces in sympathy. Double yikes. His eyes land on her just as she reacts and he gives a small smile. “I know. And I guess both of them decided to come to their senses on our wedding day and I was waiting at the altar with no bride or best man. And… now I’m here.” He looks so uncomfortable as he speaks, Felicity can sympathize. Everyone’s giving him pitying looks and he darts his eyes back and forth, growing increasingly rigid at all the attention.
When it becomes Felicity’s turn, she unconsciously wipes her damp palms on her dress. Here goes nothing.
“Hi, I’m Felicity.” She gives a little awkward wave, trying very hard not to look at Oliver, who’s attention is now perfectly turned to her. “So… I guess you could say my story is like The Wedding Planner.” The woman next to her groans in sympathy. “Yeah. He was sleeping with our wedding planner and tells me he fell in love with her and broke it off the morning of our wedding. And I guess it might have been easier to hide in 2001, but it’s kind of embarrassing that all our mutual friends on Facebook know why it ended. So… it’s been a month and my best friend suggested I come down here.”
She finishes her little spiel with a shrug, and finally lets herself glance at Oliver, who’s giving her an unreadable look.
Mercifully, the attention shifts from her to some college aged kid, who’s whining about the friendzone, his best friend and how he’s the “Duckie” to her “Andie”. Felicity recovers from the embarrassment quickly and can’t stop herself from rolling her eyes as she listens to him go on about being a nice guy.
When her eyes come down from the ceiling, she catches Oliver again, who was watching her eye roll with a smile. She blushes and straightens up in her chair, trying to focus on the kid, who’s moved on from the Pretty in Pink comparison to The Breakfast Club (jeez, what is with him and John Hughes?) and not the cute guy giving her eyes across the room.
Finally, Derek announces that they’re going to take a fifteen-minute break and everyone rises from their seats.
Felicity heads to the refreshment table and unscrews a bottle of water, knocking it back with perhaps more force than intended. The back of her head hits something as she does and forces her to look back, choking on her water as she does.
“Hi… there…” Oliver says, his confidence deflates in a word as she tries to cough out the water that went down the wrong pipe. Well great, this is totally not humiliating at all, she thinks as he furrows his eyebrows in concern. “Sorry,” he winces, patting her back awkwardly, “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
She clears her throat. “It’s fine. Hi.”
He lingers on for just a beat too long before recovering. “I’m Oliver.”
I knew that hangs off the tip of her tongue, but a voice that sounds suspiciously like her best friend in her head stops her. “Felicity.”
He picks up a paper cup and fills it with coffee. “So, someone else had to force you to be here too, huh?” he takes a sip and hides a grimace at the taste.
“Yeah, my best friend decided it was time to stop moping and time to ‘put myself out there’,” she gestures around the sad looking space, “some people would suggest Tinder, but she puts me in the strangest group therapy session of my life.”
Oliver laughs. “My sister is the exact same way. She literally dragged in here.”
“I noticed,” Felicity says with a fond smile, before pausing and realizing how creepy that sounded. “I mean, not – I just, when you came in there was someone with you too. I’m guessing that was her?”
He laughs. “Yeah, that’s Thea. She’s nothing if not determined.”
“I can definitely relate,” Felicity says, “my best friend took my car keys and my umbrella to make sure I would stay the whole time.”
Oliver whistles. “In this rain? That’s brutal.”
She shrugs. “Best friends and sisters. What can you do, right?” he grins in response.
Both of them turn to the room around them, where everyone’s mingling. “So, Felicity,” he says conversationally, and she instantly decides that her name has never sounded better, “did you find this strange group therapy helpful, at least?”
She tries not to roll her eyes as she remembers the friendzone kid. “Hardly,” she snorts, “More embarrassing really. I mean, did you notice we were the only ones here with our weddings being blown off?”
He gives her another unreadable smile, “I did.”
She continues as if she doesn’t notice how his voice drops and he moves closer to her. “Really I feel like some people just came here to vent about their lives. Which is unfair to the rest of us who are living out true rom-com nightmares.” She says dryly, bringing her water to her lips.
“Yeah…” he looks at the space and drops his voice. “Do you want to get out of here?”
She looks up at him with wide eyes because, oh my god, is this guy seriously trying to pick her up in a support group where she just talked about her broken engagement?
When he sees her response, his own expression shifts as well. “No, no!” he scrubs his hand over his face. “I didn’t mean… like that… Jesus, I’m so bad at this.” He takes a deep breath. “I just meant… do you want to get a drink or something? It’s just, I’m bored as hell and you seem bored as hell and neither of us want to be here right now.” He looks at her hopefully and fuck if it isn’t adorable.
She looks at chipper Derek and the gloomy other members of this support group. She definitely won’t be missed here.
It’s a little fun sneaking out of the support group, and the way Oliver’s whispering and pushing her along makes Felicity feel strangely giggly.
They end up at a little dive bar that’s not super busy considering it is a Thursday, and share their tales of woe over beers.
It might be the strangest night of Felicity’s life.
“Yeah, so, it’s me, getting my hair and makeup done,” she gestures dramatically around her head, as if it helps, “makeup artist, three bridesmaids, a photographer and my mom, when Cooper knocks on the door and says he needs to talk to me.”
Oliver winces, “God.”
Felicity nods. “I know. At first nobody would let him in, ‘cause you know, bride, wedding day, all that, but he insisted. And then we took a walk outside and bam. Suddenly, it was over.”
“Ouch,” Oliver takes a sip of his beer and leans back in his stool.
“The worst part was having to go back and tell everyone what happened myself. My mother acted like I told her I had a terminal illness with how she started wailing and then I had to comfort her, which just seems unfair. And then one of my bridesmaids commented that it was like The Wedding Planner and all I could think was, ‘oh god, this just totally ruined J Lo for me.’”
Oliver bursts out laughing at the end of her story, and she can’t help but join in. A month of pitying stares and apologies later, she finally had someone to laugh with her at how ridiculous the whole situation was. It feels nice.
“I mean… all things considered it could have been worse. I could have been –“ she pauses and widens her eyes as she realizes what she was about to say.
Oliver, to his credit, gives a wry grin. “Could have been left at the altar?”
She grimaces. “Yeah.”
“It’s fine,” he says, “you gave your sob story, it’s only fair that it’s my turn.”
He straightens up in his seat and looks up thoughtfully. “Let’s see… I guess I should have known there was something going on between Tommy and Laurel. The three of us had been best friends for so long but when I moved out East for school, then work, the two of them stayed in our hometown, Star City. So there were all these years where I wasn’t there. I didn’t realize… when Laurel moved out here for a job and we started dating, I didn’t even consider what I missed… then suddenly I’m standing there with no Tommy and nobody had heard from Laurel all day and I had to find out from a phone call.”
Felicity leans her elbow on the bar. “Ouch.”
“Yeah,” he laughs, “that about sums it up. The worst part, incidentally, has been my mother too. She keeps acting like I should have bounced back by now, since Tommy and Laurel have no problem parading their new relationship all over to our family friends.”
“Seriously?” her eyebrows shoot up. “You think they’d have some decency to wait a few weeks.”
“Well,” he looks guiltily up at her, “in fairness, it has been six months.”
Felicity can see in his eyes that he’s expecting the same reprimand for taking so long to get over it as others might have given him (she’s familiar with the look herself) but she doesn’t give it to him.
Instead, she tilts her head. “Wow,” she says with mock outrage, “first you one up my ruined wedding day story with your ‘left hanging at the altar’ one, then you take my moping record too. Is this something you do often?”
He shakes his head and laughs, gesturing for the bartender to bring them another set of drinks.
Felicity is not drunk.
She’s tipsy, maybe.
But nothing else.
She can walk straight and recite select Darwin quotes from memory – which she doesn’t realize she’s doing until Oliver laughs.
The rain has let up to a light drizzle, which means Oliver can walk her back to her apartment without either of them getting drenched.
Maybe they’re huddled a little too close for two people who met a few hours ago, but it’s cold and Oliver’s warm as hell and he certainly doesn’t argue when she leans in.
He talks in her ear, juts a touch louder than earlier, and she suspects the drinks have something to do with that.
When they reach her apartment, he immediately bursts out laughing.
“This is where you live?” he asks.
She frowns and looks at the building self consciously. “Yeah, what’s wrong with it.”
“No, nothing,” he shakes his head as his laughter subsides. “Sorry, I just mean, you have an apartment with a convenient food establishment right at the bottom.”
“So?” she crosses her arms defensively. Maybe Oliver is a little more than buzzed, because he’s not making any sense.
“It’s just…” he gestures to the diner’s neon sign. “You just get all the New York City clichés, don’t you? First the movies and now the tv shows. What, do you have a quirky group of friends that you come here with? Does the owner know your name too?”
She gives him a shove, only half playfully. “Get out.” She looks at the building with him. “No, my best friend and I used to come down here when we first moved in but we got sick of the food within a month. Good breakfast for hangovers, though.”
“Damn,” he says thoughtfully. “Here I thought you could get some kind of streak going.”
“Too bad,” she responds, “guess I’ll just have to find some other way to fulfill the clichés I haven’t gotten to yet.”
Whatever she says, it sparks something behind Oliver’s eye and he moves forward, pulling her in by the elbow to look at her properly.
“I think I can help with that,” he says softly. “How did your fun night out with a total stranger go?”
“Definitely memorable,” she says with a smile, feeling strangely entranced by how he leans in as he speaks.
“And if I wanted to…” he’s practically whispering now, trailing off as he furrows his eyebrows and tries to find the right words.
“Oliver?” she asks
He huffs a little, his breath coming out in a puffy cloud. “What I meant is … would you like to go out with me sometime?”
And really, the grin that splits on her face is completely uncontrollable, because she’s been waiting – hoping – all night.
“Mmm. I don’t know,” she can’t help but tease, “are you going to live up to all the movie standards?”
He plays along instantly. “Totally,” he shakes his head with faux confidence. “I’ll pull out all the stops. A carriage ride in Central Park.”
She groans. “Then the top of the Empire State Building?”
“Of course, and we’ll get there in two minutes, because they’re right next to each other.”
“Perfect, but you know,” she puts a finger on her chin, “the first date in movies never goes perfectly. What’s your backup plan, Casablanca?”
“Hm… after all that effort?” he pretends to think. “I guess I’ll have to settle for taking you to this little Italian place, where I happen to know the owner. Say… tomorrow at seven?”
“Tomorrow at seven sounds perfect.” She says. He’s somehow even closer than before, and it’s making her dizzy.
“At the risk of adding on to another long list of tropes we have going for us right now,” he whispers, “I really want to kiss you right now.”
She has to bite down a comment about kissing in the rain because, seriously, brain? And gives a nod as he wastes no time in pulling her face up to his with his hands.
His lips feel so soft against his, and his nose slants so perfectly against hers she idly wonders where kisses like this have been all her life. He tugs gently at her lower lip when she throws her arms around his neck and pulls him closer. Though she doesn’t want to admit it, walking in the rain gave her the sniffles, so she kisses him until her lungs burn and she physically can’t any longer.
When they pull away, neither of them have the heart to let their hands drop to the side. When Felicity does open her eyes, Oliver is looking at her with a twinkle in her eye.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he whispers with a smile. She can only nod, dazed, as he walks off.
Standing outside the steps of her apartment, Felicity realizes one thing.
She’s fallen, hard, for the boy she met at a meeting for their broken hearts.