it's not until she's emotionally entangled with another man that she questions her feelings for him. up until now, isla's not even sure she has feelings for him outside of the normal, but people are hinting at something different.
she's honest about loving him, but it's a different kind of love. there was a point that she felt so close to him that she would tell him that he was her person. she could feel what he felt, and there were days that his mood deeply effected her own. someone pointed out to her that they were already in a relationship, but without all the benefits. he was her platonic soulmate. he was there the second she called him after her miscarriage, and he continued to stick around despite them so rarely seeing eye to eye.
her attraction to him at first was definitely superficial. there were no emotions attached aside from the platonic ones, but she did love to get under his skin. even when she was pregnant, she would flirt with him. maybe she needed the distraction, or maybe she was attracted to him in some way, but she loved doing it. he, on the other hand, definitely seemed to feel differently about it. as time went on and he became more comfortable around her, they grew closer and she began to look at him like he was her best friend. he never told her want she wanted to hear, and sometimes that made it hard to stick around. he could be a little harsh, but there were times when isla needed that more than the usual coddling other people tried to give her.
there were times when they would sit on the couch leaned into one another and silent. words could be hard around him because she was always afraid she'd say the wrong thing and embarrass herself. he made her emotional and occasionally brought the worst out of her. maybe isla was a glutton for punishment, because it never stopped her from going back.
things are normal between the two of them for a while and she gets comfortable with how close they are. they bicker and so rarely agree on anything, but it's nice. it distracts her and gives her something to roll her eyes and smile at. things were even better than normal for a while, until there was a corruption of power and dinah got caught up in it and unwillingly involved slade.
she's still quick to change the subject even three years after the fact. it's a sore topic for both of them despite getting throug it. isla likes to blow it off as if it was always just fine, but it never is. the truth is, looking back at the day they nearly killed one another and she put him in the position to end her own life is hard. she wants to forget about it, but she can't, and she wants to pretend like something like that could never happen to either of them again, but it has. in the time they've been together, both of them have experienced their own corruptions, drawn to a darker power that kicks them out of the drivers seat and wreaks havoc across town without their consent. isla recalls lighting her best friends house on fire due to this terrifying abuse of power, but she tries to forget.
there was something about him holding her against a wall, squeezing the last of the air from her esophagus that made her say it, and even now she wondered if that's what stopped it all. dinah, smashed against the wall and beaten within inches of her life spits blood to the floor and laughs at slade, telling him that isla loves nate.
that was a turning point for them, albeit one that could've certainly been handled without bloodshed and being locked up until the demon inside her fled. after the precarious position she'd put him in, they stopped talking and went their separate ways. if she thought losing oliver was hard, when she lost nathan, her world shattered. it was like losing a limb that you've become accustomed to being with on a daily basis. despite all their differences, she loved the curmudgeonly shithead enough to stick around through veiled insults and indifference. but now she'd done the single worst thing she could ever do to compromise their relationship. first she tried to kill him, then she tried to tell him she loved him.
she was out of her goddamned mind.
it's that night she's with another man that she wants to put an end to the speculation. somehow they've managed to rekindle their friendship, though they were walking on eggshells around each other. she doesn't want to run away with someone if the person she's meant to love is standing right in front of her, so she does what she thinks is best. she asks if she means anything to him, or if she's wasting her time. isla's all too prepared to fight her case if necessary, but expects to be washing her hands of their friendship that night.
three years later, she looks at him and wonders what life would be like if she hadn't had that one sliver of courage, or that one nagging thought to ask him about his feelings. she put her whole self into their relationship, and it yields more love and respect than she's capable of handling. they butt heads constantly, and despite their peaks and trenches, she knows they made the right decision to be with one another. all these years later, she knows that nathan and slade wilson are the loves of her lives.