1964-03-09 - Private Party
Summary: A dull charity benefit becomes more personal and personable.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
thea oliver 

This is the ninth annual fundraiser for Queen's Kids, a charity that funds treatments and housing for children with severe illnesses. However, this is the first year that Oliver has helmed the event. The evening is unfolding smoothly despite a few initial hiccups. Now the champagne is flowing, the bars are open, the food is amazing, and the music is lively.

Ollie has been at the heart of the festivities for the first two hours. He's handed out drinks, laughed at jokes, and spent a great deal of time shaking hands. Even here, surrounded by the well-off, the financially comfortable and the wealthy, he stands out. His suit has been tailored to within an inch of its life and his shoes are worth more than most people's cars. Despite all of this, despite the presence of cover models and paparazzi and local celebrities, he looks bored whenever his carefully composed smile slips.

This brings us to the bar, where he's waving off a request for a second dance. He orders a drink, but doesn't sit. Around here, sitting makes him an easy target for the wrong sort of attention.

Thea is arriving off the dance floor, slipping away from the ardent attentions of a handsome young man with more cents than sense. Blonde hair is in a loose chignon, strands starting to escape to curl over her shoulders and around her face. Her shoes are delicate creations of silver and black to match that sparkling mini dress in black, grays, silver, and white. Earrings are large silver and crystal drops, her only jewelry. Her dress is not the most expensive here, but she's a face familiar to anyone that runs the charity or diplomatic circles. This is not her father's scene, so she's been tapped to make the appearance the donation.

Eyes made up with smoke-hued shadows and mascara, her lips a natural peachy-pink gloss, her heated skin giving off a hint of sandalwood scent as she slips up to the bar. A hand lifts to signal for attention, before brown eyes slide sideways, a tug of a smile. "Evening."

The eldest Queen looks much more comfortable once he has a double scotch in hand. The ice in his glass clinks back and forth as he turns just in time to face this new arrival. "Hello," he greets, raising his voice a notch so he can be better heard over the orchestra. "We haven't met, but I recognize you. It's always nice when one of my little get-togethers attracts new faces."

The scotch is knocked back and set aside in short order, freeing up his hands for shaking. He reaches one out and arches an eyebrow into a politely curious expression. "Oliver Queen."

Thea laughs, placing her quiet order for her brandy. Her fingernails are shiny with clear polish, her expression amused and slightly flirtacious as she looks up from under lashes. "I get that a lot. Thea Harman, here by pleading from my father. I generally don't make a lot of appearances, anymore, for the charity and fundraising set. I work too much. "

"You and me, both." Oliver's chuckle is rueful as he takes Thea's hand. With practiced ease, he turns her hand over and bends down until his lips hover a scant inch from the inside of her wrist. It's proper to the letter until he glances up and smiles to add some warmth to the gesture. "It's a pleasure to have you," he says as he straightens up. "I hope you're enjoying the party."

Her left eyebrow will arch, amused and curious at that proper, smooth move. There's a smirk that tugs at her lips. "Yes, but you can wear your pretty suits." Her hand will turn, slip away with a brush of fingertips along his tailored sleeve. "Much to my mother's horror, I've gone and joined the working class as a nurse." There's a grin, even as her eyes watch him carefully. "It's a lovely party, a fabulous way to spend an evening."

The prodigal Queen raises his drink and signals to the bartender in the same motion. An empty glass is fluidly exchanged for a full one with no wavering of Oliver's smile. "I'm pleased that you're pleased," he offers agreeably. Once he's got another scotch at the ready he turns to face Thea. Now his eyes meet hers with a steadiness that belies his lighthearted demeanor. His gaze isn't crude or rude, but it's very intent and curious.

Thea chuckles, shaking her head just a touch. She'll lean in, just a little bit. "Be honest with me. You're bored out of your mind, and you're tired of all the dog and pony show." She'll sip her brandy, looking up into his eyes without a hint of anything but confidence.

Now Ollie averts his eyes, but only so he can let out a throaty chuckle. "You see right through me," he admits. "I love the kids and the causes, but the parties themselves are starting to wear thin."

Once he's made the admission, everything about him backs it up. He's wearing the finest, as Thea observed, but he wears it with an air of disdain. His shoulders are too square for him to be entirely comfortable. He looks back up at Thea again and his first genuine smile of the night tugs at the corners of his mouth. "And you? Tell the truth. There's a thousand places you'd rather be, yes?"

"Like recognizing like, perhaps. Most of your secrets are still safe from me." There's a slow smile. "There's nothing wrong with the cause, or the kids, and loving helping them. I know how it feels. Once you get dug in, doing the real stuff… this.." A hand gestures at the party. "It's fun now and again, but you see it for the pretty wrapping and ribbons it is." There's another slow grin. "A thousand may be stretching it. Probably a good dozen. More private places, more relaxed.. where you don't have to dodge people that don't take a hint. Somewhere I can get out of these heels and off my feet. "

There's a few seconds where Ollie considers Thea thoughtfully. He seems to find whatever he was looking for, because his demeanor softens and he holds out his hand. "You're smarter than most of my guests." The admission comes with a laugh and an appreciative grin. "Let's go. I throw parties at Queen Manor because I already know where to hide."

"Most of your guests don't choose to dig in, or do real work for a living." There's a smirk as she finishes her brandy. There's a speculative look at him when he offers her an escape. "Lead on, my own personal hero." There's amusement to it, her hand sliding into his.

This is all it takes for Oliver to put his dour CEO persona on a shelf and relax. There's a mischievous glint in his eye as leads Thea out a service exit. This opens into a series of featureless hallways designed for trundling in plates of appetizers and bottles of champagne.

A quick series of turns leads them away from the main ballroom where the party is being held. When they come up against a high, arched door, Ollie glances over at Thea and winks. "No one will ever look for us here."

The door creaks as it opens, revealing a library that's old-fashioned in construction, but is thoroughly stocked and opulently decorated. Rather than couches or armchairs, furniture takes the form of chaise lounges and loveseats that are better suited for comfortable sprawling. A sidebar promises all the comforts of the party, but in a quieter setting.

Ahh, now there is a man worth getting to know. She lets him lead her away, through hallways and doorways. But that library… the man's a genius. "If I didn't know better, Mister Queen, I'd think you knew more about me than you let on. How did you know I love to read?" She gives him a bright, genuine smile that warms brown eyes. "And there's still food and drink. You sir, are a genius."

"You flatter me ruthlessly." Despite his words, Oliver bows his head to graciously accept the compliment. He leads Thea toward one of the loveseats, then touches a hand to his chest and gestures to sidebar to indicate that he'll serve them.

What he assembles is simple. A very fine bottle of cognac and two glasses. Slices of melon and apple soaked in rum. A small bowl of almonds, and another filled with ripe strawberries. He loads everything onto a cutting board and sets it down unceremoniously on an ottoman. "I make it a point to know my guest list, even if it's by reputation. You're an educated young woman. More educated than I am, anyway. I thought you'd enjoy it. Plus, it's quiet."

Thea laughs. "I went to Nursing school, not Princeton." She selects a strawberry first. "And when I flatter you, Oliver, you will know it. I tend more towards honesty and appreciation than flattery. Flattery is for the ones who need to fill in space with words." She's slipped out of her heels, legs tucked up underneath herself. "But you guessed me very well. If I wasn't here, I would probably be home, enjoying a book."

There's a clink and a splash as Oliver pours for them both from a crystal decanter. He salutes with the stopper before replacing it and setting the bottle down. "I've been kicked out of more boarding schools and prep schools than I can count," he admits. He shrugs and hands a glass of cognac to Thea. "I think I have a degree in something, but I'm not sure what."

Thea accepts the offered glass. "I have a degree, just not from a fancy college. Breaks my mother's heart. After all, if I don't go to some extremely expensive university with others of our peerage, how can I expect to find a husband?" She pantomines shock and pain, before she giggles. "My poor mother."

"My mother would say the same thing," he agrees. "But she always meant well." Like Thea, he kicks off his shoes and slides comfortably onto his half of the loveseat. Before he settles in, he shrugs off his jacket and loosens his tie. Comfortable for the first time since guests started showing up, he raises his glass. "Thanks for rescuing me from the party."

There's a chuckle, as fingers lift into her hair and pluck out pins, shaking loose lone blonde waves. "Who rescued who, exactly?" She teases. "I can fake it with the best of them out there, but since I started really working with people, being a nurse, seeing what else is out there and what people go through… " She shrugs.

"Faking it starting to lose some of its luster?" Ollie guesses. "I started feeling that way after I got back from my little island adventure. So used to being direct, facing things head-on, I'd forgotten how to tiptoe around conversations like a civilized person." He shakes his head, then takes a long, bracing sip.

"Most of it, in fact. I find myself talking to people I just.. sense have the same sort of boredom with it. People that want to do more than party and lunch, you know?" Thea watches him a moment. "No, not civilized… over civilized. Most of the would run around like a headless chicken if they were caught in some dangerous situation."

"There's some truth in that." Now Oliver's smile shows a hint of white, even teeth. "People always think they have what it takes, but you never know until you're in the thick of it. All the survival handbooks and James Bond movies in the world can't change that."

"Try being the middle of a free clinic in Harlem, with gunfire going off outside. Happened my first week helping there. I knew after I didn't panic at that.. I was doing something worth doing." Thea sips at the cognac.

Oliver raises an eyebrow and nods approvingly. "That's admirable," he says. "Not many people can say they've been through a trial like that and kept their cool."

The library really is a good hiding place. The two are able to stay concealed until the party starts to disperse and it's safe to leave. By the time that hour rolls around they've demolished most of the snacks and made a considerable dent in the cognac supply.

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