The Broken Road, parts 3 & 4

By Courtney & Lori

Rating: NC-17
Summary: Ben and Felicity spent the summer together and now they are finally
returning to school. But the road to love will definitely have some twists and turns.
Disclaimer: We don't own the characters of Felicity. We are just borrowing
them. We promise to put them back where we found them when we get finished. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Skip to part 4

Part 3


Felicity woke with a jolt when she heard her door being beaten on. She was
about get up and yell at whoever had dared to wake her up on, a quick glance
at the clock told her it was eight o'clock. Fine. She was going to yell at
whoever was inconsiderate enough to wake her up at eight o'clock on a Sunday
morning. Getting up and grabbing her robe she shrugged it on and tied it
around her before she started to approach the door. Just as she was about to
unlock it the person on the other side started to yell.

"Hey Felicity, this is Megan! Open the damn door! This is my room too! I
know you took my keys you traitorous wench!"

"Felicity what is that?" Ben's voice made Felicity turn around.

"That would be Megan."

"Why does she think you took her keys?" Ben asked cracking an eye open.

"Cause I did."


"I wanted to make sure we had privacy last night. This seemed the best way
to do it."

"By stealing your roommate's keys and locking her out?"

"You have any better ideas? We could be at your place and facing Julie right

"Yeah but Julie doesn't practice the black arts." Ben pointed out.

"No but facing your ex-girlfriend on the first morning after we slept
together is not my idea of relaxing."

"And that is?" Ben asked gesturing to the door where Megan had started to
pound against it again.


"Alright Megan I'm coming." Felicity opened the door and let her irritated
roommate in.

"Well it's about damn time. What the hell took so long?" Megan stopped short
at the sight of Ben lying in Felicity's bed amongst the pillows and
comforters with his chest exposed. "Oh. So it's safe to say that your sexual
history is now up to two."


"Well at least this one's cute in a Fonzie sort of way. Noel was totally
Richie Cunningham. Your taste is improving." Megan said as she collected
what she wanted and left. About five seconds later she came back in and held
out her hand. Felicity looked at her for a second and then dug her purse out
and handed her roommate the key she had stolen the day before. Then Megan
left again.

Felicity rolled her eyes and flopped down on her bed next to Ben. Ben smiled
at his girlfriend as he brushed a few strands of hair away from her face.
"Interesting morning, huh?"

"Just wake me when this is over." Felicity grumbled as she fell back asleep.
Ben watched her for a moment before joining her.

* * * * *

Ben opened the door to his apartment and went in. Sean and Julie were
sitting on the couch watching TV. "Morning," he said to his roommates.

"Almost afternoon," Sean pointed out. He was right, it was nearly noon.
"Long night?" he asked with a smirk.

Ben just gave him a warning look and Sean quickly shut up. "What are you
guys watching?"

"Some movie," Julie replied.

"Not just *some movie*," Sean corrected her. "It’s Plan 9 From Outer Space.
This is a classic," he said.

Julie rolled her eyes and said, "I’m only watching because he promised we
could watch Terms of Endearment next."

Now it was Sean’s turn to roll his eyes. "Chicks," he mumbled.

"I heard that," she said and turned to whack him over the head with a throw

"Hey!" Sean protested. "What? What did I say?" He looked to Ben with that
back-me-up-on-this look, but Ben just shook his head.

"I’m not in this," he said. "I’ve gotta go do my homework for American
history." He turned and walked upstairs as the two continued to play fight
on the couch.

He sat on his bed with his history book and turned to the chapter they were
supposed to read for class the next day. He began to read, but after reading
the same sentence five times, he knew he couldn’t concentrate. Setting the
book aside, he got up and walked over to the window.

It had just started to rain and the city below looked dark for mid-day on a
Sunday. He was trying to keep his mood from matching the weather. Actually,
he was happy. He really was. Making love to Felicity the night before had
been everything he’d imagined it would be. Sure, he’d been with a lot of
other girls, but she was different. He hadn’t lied when he told her that he
didn’t know who he was until she came into his life. It was true; she made
him feel whole, complete. Still, there was something bothering him . . .

He thought back to the words she’d said to him as they lay together after
their lovemaking the previous night. How she’d clung to him so fiercely and
asked him in that near desperate voice to never leave her, to promise that
what they had was forever . . . He wanted to say that he could guarantee
he’d keep that promise. He really did want their love to last forever. But,
was he ready to commit to that now? Was he ready to give up the freedom of
his single life forever . . . all for the love of one girl?

The more he thought about it, the more confused he became. He wasn’t sure he
was ready for forever . . . but he also couldn’t imagine his life without
Felicity in it. That had to be a sign, didn’t it? He just hoped he’d find
the answer soon.

* * * * *

Felicity sat on her bed after Ben had left with her tape recorder. Pressing
record she began to speak.

"<i>Dear Sally,

Ok so you will not believe what I did last night. Then again maybe you will
believe it. Ready? I had sex with Ben. No lie. It was truly an amazing
experience. He was so gentle and sweet and loving I thought I was going to
melt into him. Is it possible to love someone so much after such a short
amount of time? It felt like it was my first time even though it wasn't.
Well it was my first time with him but not my first time all together and
I'm rambling and I actually wish Megan was here so she could slap me and I'd
shut up.</i>" Felicity smiled softly and giggled a little before continuing.
"<i>Speaking of my very interesting roommate you won't believe what I did to
insure mine and Ben's privacy last night. I stole Megan's room key and
locked her out. A good idea at the time. But I wish I'd left the key outside
the door so she wouldn't have woken Ben and me up this morning. Of course
she had to comment on the fact that Ben was in my bed when she saw him.
Something about him being cute in a Fonzie way.</i>" Felicity paused, trying
to decide what to say next. "<i>I talked to Noel. We made amends and have
decided to try to get our friendship back. It was a little uncomfortable at
first but by the end of the conversation it was a little more like the
relationship we used to have. I can only hope that Julie, who is now Ben's
roommate, will be that nice about it. I doubt it though. So I guess
congratulations are in order. Your new job in Atlanta sounds fabulous and I
hope I get to see where you live this time before your flight reflex kicks
in and you split for parts unknown yet again. Well that's all I have to say.
Talk back soon. Love, Felicity.</i>" Felicity shut the recorder off, rewound
the tape, took it out of the player, dropped it in the envelope with Sally's
new address on it, and sealed the envelope.

* * * * * *

The cafeteria was packed with people as Noel tried to navigate the crowd
while balancing his lunch tray in one hand. Coming to the school to eat had
seemed like a good idea when he'd seen the contents of his and Elena's
refrigerator that afternoon . . . but now it was looking like maybe he
should have just gone without. This place was a madhouse. He scanned the
tables for a place to sit and smiled when he spotted a familiar face.

"Hey, mind if I join you?" he asked.

Julie looked up and smiled. "Noel! Yeah, sure, sit," she replied. "Wow, I
can't believe I haven't seen you since I got back to town. So, tell me about
your summer. How was Berlin?"

"Berlin was fabulous," he answered with a smile. "It was an amazing three
months. What about you, how was your vacation?"

"Not too bad," she answered.

"So, Elena tells me you moved in with Sean and Ben?"

"Yeah, weird huh?" Julie replied. "It just sort of . . . happened. It's
cool, though. I think we'll all work it out. I hear you're sharing a place
with Elena."

"Yep," he replied.

"How's it working out?"

"Good so far. But, neither of us likes to shop for groceries so we'll have
to work on that," he laughed.

"Yeah, Sean and Ben aren't so domestic themselves," she replied.

"I'm glad you and Ben worked things out," Noel said then.

She nodded. "Yeah, it's still awkward, though. What about Felicity? Have you
spoken to her at all?"

"Yeah, I have actually. I saw last week. We decided to try and be friends. I
guess . . . well, I guess that'll have to do," he finished.

"You still have feelings for her?" she asked.

He shook his head, but then replied, "Well, maybe just a little. But, I'll
get over it. What about Ben?"

"I'm pretty much over him," Julie said. "I'm more worried about seeing
Felicity again. For some reason I'm having a harder time forgiving her than
I did with Ben."

"She was your best friend. It's tough when a friend hurts you," he replied.

"I know," Julie nodded. "But, I feel like such a hypocrite, you know? I
mean, it's not like I never hurt her. The more I think about it, the more I
realize this is exactly how she must have felt when I started seeing Ben in
the first place. I knew she liked him, but I didn't let that stop me." She
sighed and looked down at her half-eaten hamburger.

"Blaming yourself or blaming her isn't going to make things any better. I
think you just need to talk to her. Until you face her again you'll never
know where the two of you stand."

Julie nodded. She knew he was right. "Thanks, Noel," she said.

He smiled. "Any time."

* * * * *

Julie let herself into the loft after classes that day and was met with the
aroma of tomatoes cooking. Thinking Sean was inventing something yet again
she followed the smell to the kitchen where the smell became stronger and
started to mix with chocolate. She saw Sean sitting at the counter looking
at a Vanity Fair.

"Hey Sean."

"Hey Julie. Good glad you're here. Help me out here." Flipping through the
pages he stopped at a picture of a young TV star that was currently on the
rise. "Does this or does this not look like Ben?"

Julie took the magazine and studied the young man's face thoughtfully before
answering. "Yeah I guess it does. Why?"

"Because Miss Porter over there disagrees with me." Sean said nodding to
where Felicity was looking through a cabinet.

"Felicity, hi." Julie said, actually glad to see her former friend.

"Hey Julie." Felicity said as she stood up and put down the bowl she'd

"So you're the one who's doing the cooking?"

"Guilty as charged."

"Well actually it's a relief cause, Sean, as much as I adore ya, you can't
cook. So what's the occasion?"

"Sean helped me out the other night with an English assignment so this is my
payback to him."

"You're cooking him dinner?"

"Actually I'm cooking you all dinner." Felicity said quietly. "There's
plenty of food if you want to stay."

"Sure. What are we having?"

"My mom's tomato bisque, my dad's mom's fudge pie with a homemade crust, and
my mom's grandmother's fried chicken."

"Sounds terrific. Can I help?"

"No everything is pretty much done. But Sean was saying he had to get going
so if you want to stay and talk to me you can." Felicity looked hopeful and
Julie smiled.

"Sure. Where are you going Sean?"

"To see Chloe." The inventor extradonaire grinned. "She's coming for
dinner." He looked at his watch. "I better get going. I'm supposed to pick
her up." He looked at the two girls. "Behave yourselves ladies."

"Bye Sean." Julie said as she took the seat her friend vacated.

"See ya Sean." Felicity called as she tasted the soup and added a little
more oregano.

"You know that soup smells terrific." Julie commented.

"You wanna try some?"

"Sure." Julie started to get off her stool but Felicity waved for her to
stay where she was before getting a bowl and serving Julie some soup.

"There ya go."


"Careful it's hot." Felicity cautioned. "So you'll never guess who my
roommate is this year."

"That kid Richard from the floor last year."

"No. Think more feminine and weirder."

Julie thought for a minute and then went wide-eyed. "Megan?"

"No more calls folks, we have a winner."

"Oh God that's worse then the two cheerleaders who talk at the same time."

"Yeah Ben told me about that." Felicity made a regretful face when she
mentioned Ben's name. "Sorry."

"Don't be. It was bound to come up sooner or later."

"So how much do you still hate me?"

"I don't hate you anymore Felicity."

"You don't?" Felicity looked surprised.

"No I don't." Julie sighed. "At first I did and then I started to feel like
this tremendous hypocrite. I knew how I felt at that time was how you felt
at the beginning of the year when I was seeing Ben."

"Difference being he wasn't with me when he was seeing you."

"Well he wasn't with me when he was starting to see you. He and I had broken

"Julie what are you saying? Do you want to try to be friends again?"

"I'd like that cause I miss my best friend."

"Really?" Felicity smiled hopefully.

"Really. There were half a dozen times I wanted to call you over the summer
to tell you something."

"Like what?"

"Well there was this guy I met when my parents and I went to Canada."

"Really?" Felicity asked and the two girls were off and talking.

* * * * * *

Felicity woke the next morning when she felt Ben's lips on her forehead. She
opened her eyes and smiled up at him. "Morning," she said as she yawned.

"Good morning," he replied as he sat on the edge of the bed and she sat up
to face him. "Did you sleep well?" he asked.

"Great," she answered. He nodded. He was glad to be getting past his hang
ups about a commitment with her. When he looked at her, he couldn't think of
anyone he'd rather be committed to.

"I have to go to work," he said.

"So early?" She looked at the clock, which read 7:45am.

"Javier asked me to come in to help him open. I have to be there by eight,"
he replied. "You're welcome to stay and sleep for as long as you want,

"Nah, I have class at ten anyway," she said as she got out of bed. She was
wearing nothing but his white, button-up shirt and her socks. He smiled.

"You look so cute," he said as he moved closer and wrapped his arms around
her, then kissed her gently.

"Mmm, you're not so bad yourself, Mr. Covington," she grinned.

"You know where the towels are, right?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'll find them," she said.

"Okay, I have class all day after work so I guess I'll see you tonight?"

"My place, six o'clock sharp," she confirmed.

"You get the movie, I'll bring the pizza," he said.

"Pepperoni and mushrooms, no onions," she reminded him.

"Got it," he said. He gave her one more kiss, then waved as he headed out
the door.

Felicity got up and retrieved her backpack from the floor where she'd left
it the previous night. She figured now was as good a time as any to finish
up her anatomy assignment for class that day. But, when she opened it, she
saw the pile of mail she'd stuff inside on her way to Ben's the day before
and suddenly remembered the tape from Sally that she had yet to open.
Finding her tape recorder, she opened the manila envelope and inserted the
tape in the machine. She smiled when she heard Sally's voice.

"Dear Felicity,

I'm glad to hear that things are working out with you and Ben. I have to
admit, I was a little surprised to hear about you finally sleeping with him,
but I'm more surprised that you waited so long. I got the picture you sent
of the two of you with your last tape and I must say he's quite attractive.
Where were the boys like him when I started college?"

Sally laughed a little, then continued.

"So, thanks for the well-wishes on my new job. I actually really love it in
Atlanta. I'm working at Oglethorpe University teaching first year French.
It's a small school and I really like the environment. I might just end up
staying here for a while. I rented one floor of this house on the north end
of town. It's an older area and there are a lot of colleges around here so
most of my neighbors are students. You have to come and visit me sometime
soon. You'd love my housemates. Sam and Jeff are the guys that live on the
first floor. They're gay, but they prefer the term life partners. Fine by
me; both of them are real sweethearts.

"Jennifer, Teresa, and Trapper live on the top floor. There's some sort of
Three's Company-esque thing going on there that I am not sure I want to know
about. But, they are all pretty nice, too. And Trapper is really cute. Too
bad he's way too young for me and you already have a boyfriend. Those three
are all students at Georgia Tech and Sam and Jeff are in their late 20s and
work downtown. So, that makes me the old lady of the house, ha, ha. I live
in the basement, but it's set up like an apartment building almost. Anyway,
you have my address and I have an extra room so anytime you want to come and
visit you are more than welcome.

"Well, I should get going. I have a class to teach in about an hour so if I
plan to beat traffic I've got to go. Talk to you again soon. Love, Sally."

Felicity turned off the tape and smiled. She was glad to hear that Sally was
enjoying her new life. It made her worry that her friend seemed to move
around so much. She felt she would never find a place to call home if she
never stayed anywhere long enough to see if she really liked it. Oh well,
she thought, at least she's got some family. She'll always have me. She put
the tape recorder back in her bag and headed for the shower.

* * * * *

Felicity carried a brown paper bag as she followed Elena into her friends'
apartment. Before she got two feet into the small two bedroom the bag was
ripped from her arms by Noel.

"I love you." He said as he dug through the bag.

"Hungry Noel?" Felicity asked as she shut the door and came further into the

"I'm starving." Noel said as he shoved some chips into his mouth. He was
about to say something else when there was a knock on the door.

"I'll get it. Noel try not to choke okay?" Felicity told her friend before
turning around and opening the door. She was surprised to find Julie on the
other side. "Hey Julie, what's up?"

"Elena invited me over." Felicity moved aside to allow the small young woman
in. "Hey Elena what's up?"

Elena stared at her friends who looked at her, looked at each other, and the
back at her. "Why are you two standing there acting like nothing's wrong?"

"Oh right! I didn't tell you did I?" Felicity said. "Julie and I made up
last night when I made dinner at the loft as a thank you to Sean for his
help on my English paper."

"I helped you last year. How come you never made me dinner?" Noel asked.

"You didn't have a kitchen."

"Speaking of dinner, Chloe loved that fudge pie and is bugging Sean for the
recipe. Any chance she can have it?" Julie asked.

"Old family secret."

"So that's a no?"


"Oh well. So what are we doing here?" Julie asked Elena.

"Well I was gonna try and get you guys to make up but since you did that
already let's just gossip. Noel go away."

"It's my apartment too." Noel said.

"Yes but we want to talk about you and all males so you have to go away."
Felicity said smiling sweetly.

"I'm being sent to my room. God I feel like I should have holes in my church
pants." Noel grumbled as he went into his room and shut the door.

The three girls giggled as Elena served sodas and Felicity made them popcorn
before they sat down on the couch.

"We need to do something about our male problem." Felicity said.

"You have no male problem." Elena pointed out.

"Not that male problem. The male problem that has Ben and Noel hating each
other's guts and it being my fault."

"Oh *that* male problem." Julie said with a nod. "Any suggestions?"

"Locking them in a dark room till they sing camp songs and hold hands?"
Elena said.

"Too scary. What about an ambush?" Felicity said.

"I'm listening."

"Me too."

"Dinner with the three of us, Sean, Javier, Ben, and Noel."

"Javier?" Julie asked.

"He's a nice guy and I think he's lonely." Felicity said.

"Okay, where?"

"Some place with plastic utensils so nobody tries to cut someone with glass.
Are you in?"

"I'm in." Julie said.

"Me too." Elena said as she held out her can of soda and said, "Here's to
Operation Testosterone."

Felicity and Julie giggled as they clinked cans with Elena and said,


"Are you almost done making contact with your home planet? Jeez!" Felicity
exclaimed as she sprayed air freshener over the incense her roommate was
burning for what must have been the hundredth time that hour.

"Hey!" Meghan cried. "If you don’t mind, I’d attempting to meditate. This is
my room, too, you know," she grumbled.

"Yeah, if only I could forget," Felicity said unhappily. She decided to
ignore Meghan and went back to the mirror to check her hair and make-up one
last time. It was almost six and Ben was due to be there any minute.

"It’s not like lover boy hasn’t seen what you look like when you wake up in
the morning," Meghan quipped as she walked up behind her.

"Mind your own business," Felicity replied.

"He is pretty cute. A little too Ken doll for my taste, but not bad," she

Felicity turned to her and glared. "Did I ask?"

"Hey, you’re the one who wanted us to try and get along. I’m just trying to
make friendly conversation," she said.

"Yeah, by nosing into my private life. Very friendly, thanks," she said.

"Humph . . . well, I’m leaving then," Meghan announced. She grabbed her
purse and held up her keys to dangle them in front of her roommate’s face.
"I’ll be back in the morning so don’t try to change the locks." She gave
Felicity a smirk, then she was gone.

"Ugh!" Felicity cried.

"What’s wrong?" she heard someone ask behind her. She turned to see Ben
closing her bedroom door and smiled.

"Nothing, just Meghan being Meghan." They met in the center of the room and
kissed hello. "Good, you brought the pizza," she said.

"Yep, pepperoni and mushrooms, just as the lady requested," he grinned.

"Great, smells wonderful."

"What movies did you rent?" he asked as he set the pizza on her desk.

"Well, I wasn’t sure what genre we were going for so I got horror," she held
up a copy of Halloween, "comedy," she held up Clerks, "action-adventure,"
The Rock, "and, finally, my favorite, romance," she produced the final
movie, which was One Fine Day. "So, take your pick."

Ben smirked. "If I say The Rock I might get smacked."

She laughed. "No, that’s fine. I can watch Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery
any day."

"Okay, lets watch The Rock while we eat, then we’ll watch One Fine Day.
How’s that?" he asked.

"Sounds perfect," she smiled.

A few hours later, they were through with the pizza and lying together on
the bed as the second movie started. "I just love George Clooney," Felicity
said as she snuggled closer in Ben’s arms.

"Even more than me?" Ben asked teasingly.

She grinned and turned her head to kiss him softly. "I don’t love anyone
more than you," she assured him. He returned her smile.

As the movie continued, his hands played in her hair, stroking it gently
beneath his fingers. He brought his hands to her shoulders and kneaded the
tense muscles there until she was completely relaxed. "Mmm, that feels
good," she moaned softly. He bent his head down to kiss her shoulder, then
moved up to her neck and found the spot just over her pulse. She wriggled
beneath him and threw her head back.

"We’re missing the movie," he murmured against her skin.

"Who cares, George Clooney can wait," she replied. Ben smiled and shift
slightly so that they were side by side, then he kissed her deeply. Soon,
their clothes were scattered about the floor and they lay together in the
sweet aftermath of their lovemaking.

"I’ll never get tired of this," she said as she kissed his chin.

"You better not," he teased.

"Sometimes it just doesn’t seem real, you know?" she said.

"Yeah," he replied with a nod. "I know what you mean. Almost like it’s too
good to be true," he added.

She nodded in agreement. "Exactly."

Then, after another long kiss, Ben replied, "It sure feel real to me."

Part 4

"I just wanna say right now I think this is a bad idea." Sean said as he
watched Felicity fix her hair and Julie try to pick out a pair of shoes.
"Felicity leave your hair alone and Julie the black shoes will go great with
that dress."

"Thanks Sean." The girls said in unison. Felicity fluffed out her hair one
more time and Julie put on the black shoes Sean had directed her to before
they turned to face their friend.

"Now back to why this is a bad idea."

Felicity groaned. "I’m beginning to wish we hadn’t told him."

"I just think you’re being unfair to Noel and Ben by not telling them that
the other one is going to be there."

"Sean imagine you’re Noel and you hate Ben cause you see him as the guy who
took your girlfriend away even though you two were technically not going out
at the time." Julie started.

"Or you’re Ben and you see Noel as a possible threat to your relationship."
Felicity said.

"Would you willingly sit down to dinner with the other person and try to
talk out your differences if your friends asked you too?"

"Or would you be a man and say I’m not gonna waste my time on that pinhead?"
Felicity finished.

"Look all I’m saying is that you putting Noel and Ben down in the same place
at the same time is going to have bad consequences and for the record I’m
not sitting between them."

"Oh we already decided who was sitting between them." Julie said as she put
in her earrings.

"Oh yeah? Who?" Sean inquired.

"Javier." Felicity smiled.


"This is it," Felicity said to the cab driver. He pulled to a stop in front
of the restaurant. Ben paid the driver as Sean, Julie and Felicity waited on
the curb. When he’d rejoined them, they all walked towards the restaurant’s
entrance together.

"So, whose idea was Japanese anyway?" Ben asked as they entered and waited
for the hostess to appear.

"We just thought it’d be something different," Julie replied.

"Not to mention the guy with the big knife that stands around the table,"
Sean hissed in her ear. She elbowed him and he whimpered. "Ow."

"May I help you?" the hostess asked them.

"We’re with the Tyler party," Felicity said.

"Tyler? Elena’s coming, too?" Ben asked.

"Oh yeah . . . did we forget to mention that?" she said innocently. She
winked at Julie and Sean smirked at the two women. They ignored him and
followed the hostess to their table.

The table was in the shape of a semi-circle with chairs and around
three-quarters of it and the rest open to allow the cook to stand in the
center. A hot, metal cooking surface ran around the table so that the food
could be prepared as the dinner guests watched. Felicity saw Elena and
smiled. Javier was there, too, an empty seat to his left and the one to his
right was blocked from their view as the chef stood readying the cooking

"Hey, Elena, Javier," Ben said, then at that moment the chef moved and his
eyes met with the other person seated at the table. His face hardened and he
said shortly, "Noel."

"Ben," Noel replied in a tight voice.

"I didn’t know you’d be joining us," Ben said, as he looked hard at the
other man.

"Yeah, that makes two of us," Noel replied.

"Well, shall we sit? It smells great in here," Julie cut in. She tugged on
Sean’s hand and led him to the seat beside Elena and she sat to his right.
Felicity moved quickly to take the empty seat to the other side of Elena,
leaving Ben beside Javier.

"It’s so good to see you, Benjamin," Javier said brightly. "Thank you all
for inviting me."

Ben nodded and attempted to smile, but Felicity could see that he was upset.
She began to wonder if this was such a good idea after all, but one look at
Julie and Elena gave her the message loud and clear: Stick to the plan. She
nodded and took a breath, then squeezed her boyfriend’s hand beneath the
table. He squeezed back and she was reassured that at least he didn’t hate
her for this.

"So, Noel, how’s everything been going? Haven’t seen you in a while," Sean

"Uh . . . not bad, I guess," Noel replied. "I, uh, spent the summer in

"Oh, yeah, I heard that. Europe is really great, huh?"

"Yeah . . . a little lonely, though," Noel said. His eyes cut quickly to Ben
before returning to Sean. Ben didn’t respond, but Felicity felt him tense
beside her.

"So, Elena, did you get those new curtains we looked at the other day?"
Julie asked as she tried to quickly change the subject.

"Oh, um, no. I wanted Noel to see them first," she replied.

"Why? No one else bothers to consult me before they make a decision that
will affect me," he mumbled angrily.

Felicity felt Ben let go of her hand and knew what was coming, but there was
no way to stop it now. Within half a second, he’d sprung from his seat and
glared down at Noel. "What in the hell is your problem?" he said loudly.

Noel got up, too and glared back. "I’m not the one with the problem," he

"You really are an asshole, you know that?" Ben said hotly.

"Yeah, well, I’m in good company then," he shot back.

"You wanna go outside? Cause we can . . . come on." Felicity tugged at his
hand but he swatted her away.

"Don’t touch her," Noel warned.

"What the hell business is it of yours? She’s *my* girlfriend, Noel. Not
yours. *Mine*. So, why don’t you just get over it and find someone of your

"Oh, what, so you can steal another one from me?"

Ben balled up his fists and gritted his teeth. "I’m warning you . . ." he

"I’m really terrified," Noel said.

The others sat in silence and watched the two men stare menacingly at one
another. Finally, Felicity knew she had to do something before they came to
blows and got them all kicked out of the restaurant. She stood up. "Ben, can
I talk to you outside for a minute?" she asked.

"Not now, Felicity," he replied.

"Yes, *now*," she said as she reached down to grip his hand and pulled him
from the table. He shot Noel another hard look before following behind his
girlfriend. When they’d reached the curb outside the restaurant, Felicity
turned on him. "What in the hell was that?" she demanded.

"What? I was just--" he started.

"I saw and heard exactly what you were doing," she cut him off. "I hate to
have to be the one to break it to you, Ben, but I am *not* your property!"

"I never said that you were."

"Well, you all *but* said it! Jesus, I half expected you to club me over the
head and drag me out of there!" she yelled.

"Keep your voice down," he said.

"Oh, like you just were in a crowded restaurant in front of all of our
friends?" she shot back.

"This is your fault. You knew he was going to be here tonight," he said

"You’re right, I did," she agreed.

"Damn, Felicity, why didn’t you at least warn me?" he asked.

She looked at him and asked in a much calmer tone, "Would you have come if I

"Well . . . no, probably not," he admitted. "But, we could have saved this
whole scene at least."

"The whole point was to get you two to talk. I really don’t want you and
Noel to hate each other." She took his hands in hers and looked up at him.
"He and I have gotten over our differences, you and I are both back on good
terms with Julie . . . can’t you at least try to work things out with Noel?
Please . . . for me?"

He sighed heavily. "Alright, I’ll try. But, I’m not promising you that this
will work," he added.

She smiled, then stood on her toes and kissed him. "All I ask is that you

* * * * *

"You’re being a prick, Noel." Elena said bluntly once Sean and Javier had
gone to the men’s room.

"*I’m* being a prick? Ben’s the one threatening me in the middle of a
crowded restaurant and manhandling your best friend and I’m the prick?" Noel
asked incredulously.

"He was not manhandling Felicity. If he was Elena would have been the first
to say so." Julie said as she munched on a breadstick and wished she had
thought about this a little more before agreeing to it.

"That’s right I would have." Elena said nodding before focusing her
attention back on her roommate. "Cause Felicity’s my girl and you know from
experience I’ll kick the crap out of anyone who messes with her."

"I know." Noel said as the memories of Elena calling him scum the year
before after the whole Hannah incident and then her punching out Blair after
he slept with Elena’s ex-best friend Tara came back to him. "Look the guy
just bugs me okay?"

"Why?" Julie asked suddenly.


"Yes give one concrete reason that he bugs you that doesn’t have to do with
Felicity." Julie said looking at him expectantly.

"He’s too full of himself."

"Lame answer." Elena said as she sipped her water.

"It is not." Noel protested.

"It is so cause most of the guys we all know are full of themselves and
admit it Noel there are times when you, yourself can be full of yourself."

"Never." Noel said as he sipped his water.

"Liar." Julie muttered.

"Look all we ask is that you try to make peace with Ben." Elena said.

"Why? The guy stole-"

"Your ex-girlfriend and he didn’t steal her." Julie said softly.

"Whose side are you on?"

"Why do there have to be sides? Why can’t we just put last year behind us
and try to salvage some small fraction of the friendships we started last
year so we can build on them this year?" Julie asked.

"Is that what you’re doing?"

"Yes it is. Ben and I were over when he went for Felicity and you and
Felicity were over too and if you’d stop being so pigheaded about this you’d
realize that Ben didn’t steal anything. Have you noticed the way Ben and
Felicity look at each other? It might hurt you to look at them when they’re
looking at each other but anyone could see they’re over the moon for each
other." Julie argued quietly. "Look all we want is a little peace. To be
able to do stuff with each other like last year."

"It’ll never be like last year." Noel muttered.

"I know. We can’t go back but we can go forward or at the very least move to
a point where you and Ben don’t threaten to kill each other every time you
see one another."

"What do you say Noel?" Elena asked.

"Ok I’ll try to get along with Ben."



Felicity and Ben walked back to the table together hand in hand. "Hi guys,"
Felicity said as she led Ben back over to their seats and they sat down once

"Hey . . . how’s it going?" Elena asked cautiously.

"Fine," Felicity replied, then looked at Ben and added, "Right?"

"Yeah, fine," he murmured.

"Noel, weren’t you saying something before Felicity and Ben came back?"
Elena prodded.

"Huh?" he looked at her and she raised her eyebrows at him. "Oh, uh . . .
yeah. Look, Ben, I’m sorry about before . . ." he said.

Felicity elbowed Ben and he said, "Yeah, me too."

"So, we’re all friends, then?" Elena asked. Ben and Noel looked at each
other hesitantly, then they each nodded. "Good."

"Okay, where are Javier and Sean already? I’m starving!" Julie said. About
that time, the two missing dinner guests returned. "There you are finally,"
she said as Sean sat back down beside her.

"You two told us to clear out so you could talk to-Ow!" he cried as Julie
and Elena both elbowed him in the ribs. "Jeez, maybe I should have taken the
seat between Ben and Noel after all," he mumbled. "I’d probably have fewer

Julie and Elena choose to ignore this comment and watched as the chef came
out and started to cook. They were all pretty quiet as they observed their
food prepared, oohing and ahhing at each of the chef’s tricks. Finally, the
food was before them.

"This is really great," Julie said.

"Yeah, is it," Elena agreed.

"We should let you three pick where we eat more often," Sean said as he
smiled at the ladies.

"This is nice . . . all of us together," Elena said.

"Yeah, kinda like old times," Noel said. They all looked at him and he
smiled slightly. Felicity smiled back. She wound her arm through Ben’s and
kissed his cheek. He kissed her temple and lingered close to breath in her
scent, seeming enraptured by it.

Elena looked over at Noel and saw him watching the couple. She could swear
she saw a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. She caught his eye and
when he looked her way she mouthed the words Thank You. Noel nodded and
smiled at his friend and roommate, then they all turned back to their