Felicity had a bad habit of underestimating civilians. It was perfectly reasonable. they didn't have her skills. They didn't know how to kill, cheat, or steal. So, she had assumed they also didn't know how to manipulate, trick, and lie as convincingly as a politician covering his butt. It had never been so humiliating to be proven wrong.
Felicity gaped at the banner hanging over the bar that read "Film-ophile Speed Dating". She spun on Teddy. "You said this was a Cinema Critic activity Sasha couldn't attend!" She snarled accusingly.
"It is... sorta." Teddy smirked. "She organized it, so she can't participate." Similar mischievous grins were on the faces of the rest of the Critics.
"You're all in on this, aren't you?" Felicity demanded, grabbing the ends of her hair and pulling it taunt. Joan letting us go early. Me missing lunch so I'll accept a free dinner. Even Sally canceling the movies with me because of work!"
"No, actually Sally made plans with you to keep us from doing this." Teddy frowned. "We had to ask General Morris to get Senator Winston to keep her late." Felicity made a mental note to buy Sally a fruit basket, or a card, or whatever you got friends who protected you from speed dating.
"I'm leaving." Felicity turned on her heel to stomp out. She found herself immediately glomped by five Cinema Critics while she valiantly suppressed her instincts to kill them all.
"Don't go!" Valerie cried, clinging to her arm.
"It's for your own good!" Taylor added, his arms awkwardly around Valerie to get a hold on her.
"We aren't letting you leave." Teddy's grip tightened around her neck, in a strange combination of a chokehold and a backwards hug. Felicity considered her options. She could escape. She could probably even do it without hurting anyone... But Teddy would find her at work. They all could find her at work, and it seemed that Joan was involved too, which meant that she could send her straight into a trap disguised as an errand (which was a horrible abuse of power, but she was the owner so who was going to stop her?). Her best course of action was probably to just go alone with it and hope they lost interest once they'd been appeased.
"You are all terrible people." Felicity stated in as dry a voice as possible. The Critics collectively released a half cheer, half sigh of relief. They pulled away, but remained close enough to be able to grab her if she made a break for it.
"We might be terrible people, but we're awesome friends." Teddy informed her with brotherly sadism as he dragged her to a table by the neck using one arm. Felicity was sure it looked like a friend guiding a reluctant buddy instead of the calculated kidnapping it was.
"No, you're terrible." Felicity reiterated flatly. Her words had no affect on the Critics, who beamed at her between their own conversations. Felicity was beginning to feel like the club's unofficial mascot. Sasha's eyes positively lit up when she saw Felicity.
"You got her!" She squealed. She seized both of Felicity's hands and practically bounced in place before she pulled the resistant Felicity to the center of the room.
"You're going to be right here." Sasha declared, sitting her down at a two person table. Lori and Cat sat at the tables on either side of her, presumable to box her in. How cute, they were trying to trap her. She'd never thought people she wanted to kill were adorable before. Sasha was beaming at her widely. Felicity shifted slightly.
The tables around them began to fill. Felicity order a bourbon, neat. Sasha began her role as a bubbly hostess. "Welcome everyone! You've all filled out the personality flyers!" Across the room Teddy waved a piece of paper he must have filled out for her. She glowered at him. "So while we rate those, begin! Remember, opening questions must be related to movies!"
And so the torture commenced.
Date 1: Awful
Felicity thought this man was a few years too old to be at college speed dating. And what kind of guy said their favorite genre was RomCom? A guy trying to get laid. Pass!
Date 2: Awkward
Felicity was pretty sure he was intimidated by her. They pretty much sat in silence until Sasha came by and tried to encourage conversation between them by asking questions. All she got was one word answers from either side.
Date 3: Pretentious
He said his favorite movie was Citizen Kane.
Date 4: Actually kinda fun... in a purely platonic, little brother, way
They talked about scifi and thrillers, and moved on to why they were there. He'd been dragged by his friends because they thought he needed to get over his recent break up. Felicity reminded him of his older sister. She eagerly suggested they use each other to escape the dating by pretending they were going to go out... Unfortunately Lori had a particularly boring date and was evesdropping. She signaled Shasha and the bell rang forty-five seconds early. The little brother figure was dragged away and immediately replaced with...
Date 5: Annoying.
Felicity was sulking about losing her new little brother figure, and this new guy kept trying to talk to her.
Date 6: Weird
Opened with "Heaven must be missing an angel." Ended with "It seems you've lost your number, don't worry, you can have mine."
Date 7: The Worst
He kept getting her her personal space. He grabbed her hand, she pulled it away. He nudged her foot, she tucked her feet behind the legs of her chair. She started mentally counting all of the ways she could kill him. She was at fourteen, and ready to execute number four if the hand inching towards her thigh made contact, when Sasha "accidentally" whacked him in the head with her clipboard while she was walking by.
Date 8: Teddy
Felicity glared at him. Teddy shifted uncomfortably. After a full minute of strained silence Teddy broke.
"Say something." He begged.
"I hate you." Felicity said flatly. Teddy laughed, there was only the slightest note of unease, so Felicity continued. "I want to kill you, but I keep reminding myself I'll regret it if I actually do." She paused. "I'm not sure why I'll regret it, but I'm sure I will."
"You'd miss my homemade chili?" Teddy suggested lightly, clearly unaware of the danger he was actually in. Felicity's glare sharpened.
"Teddy, I have had more enjoyable dates in a detainment facility." Felicity said in a rare moment of honesty. Teddy finally met her eyes and actually flinched, suddenly he was a lot less confident than he had been. "If chili is the only thing saving you. You are in serious danger." Teddy swallowed. Felicity's stare didn't waver.
"I'll track down that Korean film you've been dying to see." He offered. Felicity didn't move. It was unnerving. "I'll give you a new fedora." Teddy had no idea why he was so terrified. This was Felicity. Sure, she was secretive, tough, and vaguely intimidating, but she wouldn't actually hurt anyone. Felicity's hand twitched and Teddy flinched. "I'll get you into that movie shoot Sally was talking about!" Teddy suggested desperately.
Felicity blinked. "Really?" Teddy seized on the interest in her voice.
"Yes!" It would take some doing, and he'd end up owing a few favors, but if he put Felicity in a better mood, maybe this irrational fear would go away. That would be more than worth it.
"Sally too?" Felicity asked suspiciously.
"Yes!" Teddy nodded fervently. Felicity considered it.
"Fine." Teddy sighed as the bell rang. "And Teddy," Felicity added before he got up. "I'll still be taking that movie and hat." Teddy groaned.
The rest of the (awful) dates passed rather quickly. At least one good thing came out of this. Sally was going to be overjoyed.