You know I love you, Donna.
His words resounded in her head long after he'd made his exit. She hadn't gone after him, she hadn't stopped him. What would she have said? She certainly knew that Harvey cared for her, but…love? Love in its truest sense was a very strong word, it wasn't to be used lightly, even though most of society had grown accustomed to using it with trivial things. But not Harvey Specter. He observed that word to its truest meaning, so much so that Donna had never really heard him use the term before. For that reason, she knew his declaration meant something. But that she had known he loved her? How could she ever have known? At first, she laughed as though in a stupefied trance at the thought. This was then followed by a wave of sadness as she fought with herself to figure out what this meant for them. After all, he had said it and then he left, leaving no room for discussion or clarification. Sometimes, when it came to Harvey Specter, the world was perpetually gray. Was it love laced with need and want and desire or was it that same kind of platonic love she had professed a few years ago on the sidewalk outside of her apartment? I love you, like a brother or a cousin, she had lied.
He had left nearly 4 hours ago but she lay in bed in the quiet of her apartment alert as ever. There was a buzz that coursed through her body that had nothing to do with the generous amount of wine she had consumed earlier in the evening. His words plagued her mind, body, and soul. The thought of going to jail had been petrifying but the thought of her and Harvey's future hanging in the balance was altogether more terrifying.
She'd had enough of this, she had agonized and tossed and turned enough times already. Throwing her blanket to the side, she pulled on a pair of yoga pants and a blouse. She threw on a cashmere cardigan and pulled on some ankle boots before grabbing her coat from the closet by the door. Pulling her purse off the table, she set off down the stairs, calling a cab in the process.
Twenty minutes later, Donna found herself in front of the glass building, dreading the next steps that she had to take. The cab ride had managed to deflate any courage she had worked up in her during the last 4 hours. Her hands trembled as she handed the cab driver a $20 bill. Stepping out of the cab, she stood paralyzed in the soft steady rain that fell. She cursed herself for not bringing and umbrella now that she found herself unable to push herself through the threshold of the revolving doors.
The doorman at the front desk noticed the tall redhead standing out on the sidewalk in front of the building. With a sigh, he got up from his desk to go outside to tell her that loitering in front of the premises was not allowed. As he stepped closer to the door, he instantly recognized her, as Harvey had made sure all the doormen knew who had unlimited access to his apartment when he was not home. He picked up an umbrella from the stand by the door and approached her outside.
"Ms. Paulsen? Is everything alright, ma'am?" he said kindly but received no response from her.
"Ms. Paulsen?" he tried again, "Ms. Paulsen, why don't you come in to the lobby and I'll call Mr. Specter for you?"
Donna saw the older man speaking to her and wanted to respond but she couldn't make out what he was saying, his voice muffled by the sound of the pounding of her heart in her chest. So she stood completely paralyzed. She felt him lay his hand on her arm as he guided her into the warm lobby. She watched the man, whom she knew as Mr. Douglass, scurry back to his desk and pick up the phone as she stood there in the middle of the lobby, sopping wet. She shivered as her drenched clothing began to cling to her body like a cold wet blanket.
No sooner had Mr. Douglass hung up the phone had Donna seen a disheveled Harvey emerging from the elevator and rushing toward her, a worried look on his face laced between sleepy eyes. It was unfair, she thought, that he could still look just as handsome when he had literally just crawled out of bed.
"Donna?" he called out softly, his voice still hoarse from having been jolted awake by the unexpected call.
When she remained frozen in place, he took another step toward her, his brows creasing with concern.
"Is everything okay?" he asked, eyes soft but still unreadable, "What are you doing here?"
Donna shook her head ever so slightly, in the same manner she had done just hours before, prior to his declaration. No, she was not okay, she thought. There was so much to say but where would she start. She couldn't organize her thoughts and instead stood there like a catatonic crazed woman.
"Donna?" he said again, his voice pitching with worry, "Has somebody hurt you?"
"You left," she finally answered, barely above a whisper.
"You left," she repeated, louder this time as she lifted her gaze to meet his.
"I did," he replied slowly with a frown, understanding but not offering up more information.
Her resolve was breaking along with her heart. Maybe she had misunderstood him.
"Harvey…" she began, but it sounded more like a plea as her voice cracked, and she hated herself for it. She turned to leave, figuring it had all been taken out of context, when she felt him pull back on her arm gently.
She faced him, her eyes full of question. Her eyes moved to where his hand met her arm. It had been so long since she'd felt his touch… since the other time, she realized. He had always kept his distance. But then so had she. Not when she got fired, not when she broke down because of Stephen Huntley, not when she was in despair over Louis finding out about Mike, and not even one day ago when she could have been going to prison, did he reach out to touch her. His touch was soft but secure…safe.
Her eyes met his again, as he slid his hand down her arm to grab a hold of her hand and tug her back toward the elevator.
"What are you doing?" she asked, as she followed in his steps.
He sighed as he pushed the button to call the elevator and turned back to her, "It's 3 in the morning, Donna. You are drenched from head to toe. I am not sending you back home at this ungodly hour with one of New York's finest crazy cab drivers. Nor am I gentleman enough at 3AM to drive you home myself," He joked trying to lighten the mood, "We're going to get some sleep."
As the elevator doors open he tugged her in with him and thanked Mr. Douglass. They stood in silence. Though she could feel his gaze on her, she wouldn't dare look at him now, instead she turned to watch the numbers on the elevator panel light up with each floor they passed.
They arrived at his floor and the hallway gave her a false sense of security with the warm amber lighting emanating from the wall sconces and the soft scent of lavender overtaking her senses. He pulled her into his apartment and closed the door behind them. He took her purse from her and laid it on his kitchen counter before helping her out of her coat and cardigan.
"I'll go hang these to dry," he said.
She watched as he disappeared to the other side of his loft. She wrapped her arms around herself and found that she didn't know what to do. Harvey returned empty-handed and she opened her mouth once more to speak but found that she was at a loss for words. He stepped closer, noticing her struggle and turned to face her, resting one hand lightly on her waist. They were mere inches apart and she desperately wanted that gap to be closed but she wouldn't dare do it and neither did he.
"We don't have to have this talk tonight," he said tiredly.
Donna furrowed her eyebrows, unsure of how to decipher his vague responses.
"We have time," he added softly, noting her skepticism, "Right now, we just need to get some rest."
She nodded but told herself to go home. Not to stay. But she knew that if she went home, she'd just be in agony all over again. At least this way she'd be beside him, and whether it was in agony or not, being beside him always brought her a greater sense of security. And he wasn't asking her to leave, she considered.
So instead of grabbing her coat and purse, she opted for unzipping her boots, placing them by the door. He waited for her, taking a hold of her hand once again as they walked in silence toward her bedroom. She felt her heart accelerate again. In one night, he had touched her more times than he had in the twelve years they had known each other. The pounding in her chest grew with each step closer to his room. She had been to Harvey's on odd occasions since helping him pick out the place, but his bedroom was certainly not grounds where she allowed herself to tread. The extent of her presence in his room had been to pick up a spare suit here and there. It felt foreign to her, being in this position, being the woman he was pulling into bed with him, albeit not in the same sense as others but still the feeling was foreign to her. She felt like a teenager all over again. It reminded her of the first time she was alone with a guy. The nerves, the jitters, the butterflies.
She spotted the cactus she had gifted him earlier that week sitting on the stand by the window, bringing a secret smile to her face. Her heart swelled a little more and she tried to control her emotions and keep them at bay.
He released her hand as they entered his room and she stopped at the foot of his bed, hesitating for a moment, as Harvey disappeared into his closet. He returned a moment later with a white t-shirt and a pair of gray pajama pants in hand.
"Here," he said handing her the clothes, "There's a towel in the bathroom closet, if you want to dry off a little more." She nodded, taking the clothes from him and turned in to his bathroom, taking some extra time to compose herself as best as she could. When she finally emerged from the bathroom, she found him laid on the left side of his bed.
He gave her a soft smile and pulled down the sheets on the right side of the bed and gave the empty spot a light pat and a nod in its direction as his eyes met hers again. She hated that he was so calm and collected about it all. She rounded the bed and slid into her spot beside him.
Afraid to meet his eyes while in his bed, she opted for laying on her back, staring straight up at the ceiling. He followed her lead and took the same position, bringing his left hand to rest behind his head. Donna's senses were flooded by his scent that was fixed on his sheets, on his skin, on his shirt that she wore. She closed her eyes but knew she probably wouldn't be getting any sleep here either. When she opened her eyes ten minutes later, she found that she had not even managed to doze off and neither had he.
Propping himself up on his right elbow, he turned to face her. She turned to meet his gaze, his eyes dark and troubled.
"Donna," he began, "When I told you that you never needed to be scared again because I'd never let anything hurt you… I meant it… In every possible way, including myself."
"I thought we weren't talking about this tonight," she said quietly to disguise the tremble in her voice.
Harvey's eyes softened again as he brought this left hand to brush a strand of hair away from her face.
"We aren't," he said, "I just thought you should know that."
He moved his hand that was still wrapped around her red strand of hair, down to her waist where he began to draw small soothing circles against her skin. He still remembered that this had a calming effect on her, she thought.
"Good Night, Donna," he said as he settled in beside her.
"Good Night, Harvey," she whispered back.