Sorry for the delay everyone. Since I wasn't able to get it all out before the season finale, I had to purge myself of so many feelings and conflicting emotions from it.
I had all and then some of you, most and now none of you.
Take me back to the night we met
I don't know what I'm supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you.
Take me back to the night we met.
Donna spent the remainder of the night making phone calls, sending out e-mails, and basically doing everything in her power to do what she usually does—facilitate Harvey's life. Taking advantage that he was in the shower, she stepped outside to call Mike, Jessica, and even Louis, filling them in on the day's events and details of the funeral. They expressed their condolences and offered their support.
After everything had been cared for, she came back in to find Harvey sitting on the couch, in a pair of cotton sweat pants and a white cotton t-shirt, poring blankly over a file.
"What have you got there?" she asked gently, hanging her coat back on a hook and locking the front door behind her.
"Publishing house merger files," he replied in a hollow drone without bothering to look up at her. But she knew he wanted to avoid looking at her, knowing what he'd see in her eyes if he did.
"Donna," he said firmly before she could protest, faltering when his voice cracked. "…Just…please," he finished, his brown eyes boring into hers, pleading.
She stopped, understanding. "Okay," she whispered without argument, nodding lightly.
She left him to his thoughts for another half hour, cleaning up her mess in the kitchen before making her way upstairs and settling into her own camisole and robe. Seeing that he hadn't moved off the first page of the file, she walks up and pulls it gently out of his hands, setting it down on the coffee table, taking his hand and pulling him with her. It was her turn now, to lead him to bed, to lead him to rest. As always, he obliges and bends to her will, following her step by step up to the room they shared.
He slides into his spot on the left side of the bed as she slips in beside him. Turning on his side to face her, she turns to him as she brings her hand to rest gently on top of his. It's a small but comforting gesture and words aren't needed. The silence is comforting and welcome as long as one stays focused on the other. She inhales sharply when he slides his hand away from her touch and instead wraps it around her waist, pulling her into his chest. It amazes her then, that even when his world is the one falling to pieces, he's still determined to be the strongest one, the protective one. And with every touch, tug, and tender look, she finds it harder to believe that she will walk away unscathed.
Morning comes too soon. For the first time in the 4 times they have shared a bed (three of which were the past three nights and then the other time), he is still there when she wakes. She watches him, his chest rising and falling steadily in sleep, his features relaxed, his hair tousled and the traces of a 5 o'clock shadow emerging from going a full day without a clean shave. As though sensing he is being watched, his eyes flick open, meeting hers. She blushes slightly at being caught but doesn't break the contact. His eyes soften; she can almost see the hint of a smile in them, so she smiles at him but like always, as sure as the sun will rise in the east, with daylight comes rules, boundaries, and taboos that seem to be temporarily suspended in the midnight hours. He releases her waist, he heart sinks—it's now a chain reaction. With clarity of day comes clarity of the mind.
She turns away from him, without a word, never seeing his pained expression. Never seeing the agony it puts him through to let her go. He almost reaches out to pull her back but she rises before he ever has a chance. She walks over to the window, pushing the curtain aside letting the white light of the gray clouds filter through the room. It's rainy, windy, and cold, the weather reflecting the same drab mood that has set over the house. Of course, she supposed there was never any ideal weather for a funeral. If it was a dreary and wet then it just felt like the obvious choice. Had it been sunny with a cool breeze, they'd just call it ironic, commenting on the polarizing effect of a beautiful day with nothing to celebrate.
She is at war with her emotions. She knows it isn't fair to expect anything from him under these circumstances but she isn't sure how much longer she can keep it up.
She wants more, she wants everything, and at times it seems like they are moving straight toward it but there is always a detour in the road, always an obstacle to face. A Zoe. A Scottie. A Stephen. But there was no greater obstacle than a guarded heart, let alone two. The fear that taking that next step would result in a Supergiant effect was all-consuming. She didn't want the live-fast die-young , detonating in a glorious supernova death that would completely disintegrate them. That was him and Scottie. She wanted the slow burn, dwarf star kind of love that lasted their entire lives. But which would she get if they ever took that leap? There was no way of knowing.
Unable to control the burning beneath her eyelids, she leaves the room and goes to Harvey's old room, where her belongings remain. Dumping everything out of her bag, she begins a slow process of folding everything one by one, keeping her mind and hands busy. The monotony of the repetitive task is a tranquilizer. She hears his steps approaching but keeps her back turned to the door. She senses his presence from the doorway but pretends not to. He stands there a moment, trying to muster up the courage to say something but she knows he won't. He doesn't. His steps fade down the hall followed by a door clicking shut and then the sound of running water.
By the time he slinks out of the shower, she has already laid out his suit, tie, and shoes in his old room. His crisp white shirt hanging from the hook on the closet door beside her black three-quarter sleeve lace dress. She tried to slide past Harvey on his way out of the bathroom, keeping her eyes anywhere but on his bare body, a towel wrapped at his waist. But he wouldn't make it easy on her. She supposed he never did.
He grabs her lightly by the elbow as she tries to avoid contact with him, forcing her to look at him.
"Everything ok?" he asks, searching her face for an answer.
"Of course, Harvey," she lies, forcing a smile. She tries to discretely wrangle herself free from his grasp but he tugs back gently, still reading her, looking for a sign. Refusing to give him one, she pulls back from him and separates herself from him in the safety of the bathroom.
She takes some extra time in the bathroom, applying her makeup and fixing her hair. She takes note of the empty hangers where Harvey's clothes had been and thinks she hears him shuffling about downstairs. She slips into her undergarments before grabbing her dress and sliding it on. She busies herself with picking at some lint that had settled on the delicate black fabric. She looked up into the full length mirror in the corner of the room and notices Harvey's reflection staring back at her. He was leaning against the door frame, looking handsome as ever, like he'd been plucked straight off of a Tom Ford runway. Her eyes meet his through the mirror, a quiet expression on his face.
"May I?" he asks, nodding towards the back of her unzipped dress. Her mouth was parched so she simply nodded, watching through the mirror as he stepped behind her and did up the zipper, his eyes following the trail up her back. It wasn't right, she thought, this boss/employee dynamic they had was bullshit. Your boss wasn't supposed to be the guy zipping up your dress. Your boss wasn't supposed to be the man you'd been sleeping in the same bed with during one of the most trying times of his life. No. Your boss was supposed to be the man that you saw no more than 50 hours a week. He was supposed to be the man that you saw at the occasional company happy hour and always felt really awkward about. Ok, occasionally, in rare circumstances, he would be the man that you maybe you hooked up with once and either everyone moved forward or moved on from there. But he wasn't the man you were supposed to be stuck in this never-ending purgatory with. So what the hell were they really? The English dictionary needed to create a word for whatever this amalgamated relationship was because she might never be able to define it if she had to.
"You look beautiful," he stated in his subdued manner, meeting her eyes in the mirror again before turning around and walking out of the room. He'd be the death of her; there was no doubt about it.
The burial service was scheduled to begin at noon. There weren't many people there. Harvey's mother didn't have many people she stayed in touch with. Though she never actually remarried, the man she had left Gordon for, his own friend, had passed on some two years ago. Most of the people who were there came for Harvey or Marcus. She watched Marcus and his girlfriend, Becca, and her kids. He seemed to have found someone that was good for him with a good head on her shoulders that would keep him on the straight and narrow. It was with a sad fondness that she observed them, an aching in her chest as she saw Becca take Marcus' hand, giving it a gentle comforting squeeze, her kids clung to his side. Would she ever have that, she thought? Though she wasn't the one in need of comfort she suddenly felt very alone.
Harvey had been quiet most of the morning but he stuck to her side. As the service started, she noted as a familiar black courtesy car pull up at the curb of the cemetery. She watched four familiar figures slip out; Jessica, Mike, Rachel, and Louis. Spotting them, Harvey turned to look at Donna, knowing she had done this for him. She simply nodded gently answering his unasked question. Harvey swallowed the lump in his throat. She knew that he hadn't been expecting them, he hadn't been in any frame of mind to call anyone and even if he had, he would have chosen to bear the burden alone. But this was what she did for him. Family sticks together during the good and bad and aside from Marcus, her and the four people that had just arrived were the only family he had left and she wanted him to know they'd always be there for him, even Louis. Without a word, he reached for her hand, lacing his fingers with hers and held on. There were no smiles, their eyes exchanging the words that needed to be said.
There was something so defining about death. Not just for the person who's time had come but to all those around impacted by it. Neither Harvey nor Marcus chose to speak on Lily's behalf. It wasn't needed. They had made their peace with their mother on their own. They didn't need to put it on display for the world. No one from Pearson Specter Litt knew Harvey's mother, yet the words spoken by the minister in her memory resonated with each individual there. They were all grieving loss in their own way, for their own reasons. She could almost read each one's thoughts. It wasn't always the physical death, she thought, watching Jessica, understanding her turmoil at the loss of Jeff Malone. He may be alive and well but as far as their love went, it was already buried 6-feet under. That loss was something more agonizing than any other. As the minister said his final words, Donna looked around and could see the same expression on everyone's face. Had they been taking things for granted. Had they been telling their loved ones how much they cared before it was too late? Louis, only just coming off a sudden his loss of Norma, Mike and Rachel—the young hopefuls who thought they still had all the time in the world. Their minds all churned in unison at a single thought—don't wait until it's too late. Finally, she turned back to Harvey, looking down at their interlaced hands, thinking about everything it meant. He needed her and he didn't care who knew.
A small reception was held at the Specter house after the funeral. Harvey and Marcus were pulled from one end or the other by a family friend who wanted to express their condolences. She could read the apparent exhaustion on Harvey's face, his eyes finding her across the room. She smiled as Louis walked up to him, pulling him into the kind of hug that only Louis could give.
Rachel sidled up to Donna, who was busy picking up scattered napkins and plates, as Mike and Louis continued to chat with Harvey.
"Hey," the brunette said gently, helping pick up some of the items.
"Hey Rach," Donna said, looking up at her friend, "thanks for coming."
Rachel nodded in acknowledgement. "How's he holding up?" she asked, nodding her head in Harvey's direction.
"He's…. Harvey," Donna responded, "He's doing ok, I think.
"Thanks to you, I'm sure," she added encouragingly.
Donna shook her head, dismissing the idea.
"Donna, he was holding on to your hand at the ceremony like you were the only thing keeping his head above water," she whispered.
"Yes, he was," came the familiar voice of the managing partner from behind them. Donna's back straightened at the comment and any protest she was going to offer faltered as Rachel's eyes grew wide.
"Donna, a word please?" Jessica said, nodding toward the kitchen.
Donna nodded silently, following Jessica and pulling the sliding kitchen door shut behind them.
Jessica took a seat at the small breakfast table in the shabby little kitchen. She looked oddly out of place, Donna thought. Jessica was like a majestic peacock that suddenly found itself in a circle of nothing but common pigeons. She stood out.
Donna took a seat across from her and waited for Jessica to speak.
"I don't make it a point to get involved in the personal relationships of my employees," she started, "but Harvey is a special case. Especially when it comes to you, Donna."
"Because he's my boss," Donna said with bitter understanding.
"No," Jessica replied with a glint of humor in her eye, surprising Donna, "Because he's Harvey."
"Jessica, I can assure you that noth—"
"Nothing is going on?" Jessica finished for her and nodded, "I know. You're both too stubborn to let it happen. In fact other than Mike Ross, we're all pretty great at sabotaging relationships," she added somberly.
"I'm not sure that I follow then. What is this about?" Donna asked, confused.
"I've always known that you held a very special place in Harvey's heart, since day one. After all, he made his taking a job at Pearson Hardman contingent upon having you with him."
"Surely you didn't really believe his bluff," Donna countered.
"I believed him enough that I let him bring you. Nor do I think he was bluffing. Do you know how I know he wasn't bluffing?"
Donna shook her head.
"Because when I told him he could bring you, I also told him that your salary would come out of his paycheck, he didn't even bat an eyelash. It was as though it was the easiest compromise he could have been offered. His only argument was that you were never to know."
"What?" she said, "Harvey pays for my salary!?"
"He used to. Until he made Junior Partner, then we moved you over to the firm's payroll officially."
"That was 5 years," Donna whispered, her heart beating in her chest at the startling news.
"So it was," Jessica replied.
"Why are you telling me this?" Donna asked.
"Because over the past decade that you two have been working together, I've seen you both keep it professional. I knew that had to be more of your doing rather than his because on more than one occasion I've seen Harvey wear his heart on his sleeves when it comes to you. I can see what he feels for you. You deny it. I used to think it was because you didn't feel the same. But I know now that it's because you are scared. You know how fragile Harvey's heart is and I don't think you'd put yourself in a position to mislead him. Like being here with him this week. If you didn't feel the same for him, you wouldn't be here, doing all of this."
"Jessica, with all due respect, my relationship with Harvey is not as black and white as it seems. It's complicated."
Jessica nodded, "You tell yourself that… but it really isn't. You can make it as complicated as you want it to be. I lost someone I love because I wasn't honest with him when I had the chance to be. What you and Harvey have is much stronger and the potential for getting hurt is only that much stronger if you aren't honest with each other."
With that the managing partner stood and left the kitchen, leaving a bewildered Donna sitting alone in the kitchen.
The rain fell heavily as dusk settled in and she closed the door behind the final guest of the evening. She leaned back against the door, exhausted in her own right. She whatever scattered trash remained before making her way upstairs. She found Harvey, not in Marcus' room, but in his own this time. He sat on the edge of the bed, listening to a soft melody playing quietly on the record player. He had already discarded his suit jacket at some point during the reception, the sleeves on his dress shirt rolled up a quarter of the way up his arm, his shoes kicked off beside the bed. From the doorway, she watched with affection as he pinched the bridge of his nose, his head bowed down and an empty glass in his hand.
"Is it your dad?" she asked him, referencing the record.
He lifted his head to look at her. "Yeah," he said with a soft nod.
She eased her way into the room, taking the empty glass from his hand and setting it down on the nightstand. She stood before him, stepping closer until she was in between his legs and slowly began undoing his tie. His eyes followed her hands, up the length of her arm, across her exposed neck line, all the way to her big brown eyes.
"Donna," he said, in a whispered breath. She swept her eyes up to meet his. His Adam's apple expanding and then contracting as he swallowed back. "Why did you come here?"
There was a long pause between them. The only sound that filled the hair was his sharp breath and the soft melody that washed out somewhere in the background. She didn't move. Her hands rested on the collar of his shirt, her eyes drawn to his.
"Donna?" he pressed softly, waiting for an answer.
She shook her head with a slight shrug. "You know why, Harvey," she replied in a defeated whisper, throwing his own words back at him. She was done; she had reached the end of her line and just wanted the weight lifted, knowing that as soon as the sound left her mouth, there was no undoing it. It could no longer be unheard or unspoken. It would no longer be something that was speculated or pushed back into the recesses of her mind. It was now a fact. She had a witness.
She prepared to take a step back but his response was quicker. Knowing all that he needed to know, one hand slid to rest on her hip, using it to pull her closer, while the other found its way behind her neck, bringing her face down to his. He paused, looking at her lips and then back into her eyes, which pleaded with him to end the torture. He closed the gap bringing his lips to hers. She stilled under his touch, as if moving in response would break the spell. His kiss was soft but firm, painstakingly slow as they both savored in it but altogether over too quickly. She felt him pull back ever so slightly, her face feeling a cooling effect from where his warm skin had pressed against hers. Her eyes, wide and alert, met his, a fire burning behind them as he shook his head silently, standing up from his seat on the edge of the bed. Her heart fell in her chest at the motion, thinking he'd already regretted it. Her mind was caught up in her thoughts, when now, towering above her, he pulled her in again, a greater sense of urgency this time and melded their bodies together.
Her mind raced at lightning speeds as she came up with a million reasons they shouldn't do this, all outweighed by the one resounding reason they should: She loved him. Oddly enough, it was probably one of the strongest arguments that supported both causes, she thought. She relaxed into his embrace this time, her hands tugged at his shirt to pull him closer. He smiled against her lips at her need, at her want. She parted her lips, allowing him to take the lead and deepen the kiss as he pushed her back against the wall gently.
His lips trailed off of hers, along her jaw and down to her neckline. She shuddered, releasing an involuntary moan at the sensation his warm breath left on her skin in its wake. He worked his way back to center, his lips finding hers once more as she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him down. Without so much as a grunt or struggle, he lifted her by the waist, setting her on top of the old mahogany dresser, so that they were at eye level with one another. His kisses were heaven and hell at the same time, each one bringing her both torture and ecstasy, like he was more than she could take but then again, never enough.
It was her turn to take control as she slowed the motion down, toying with his bottom lip and biting it lightly, teasing his tongue with her own before speeding it up once again. His hand squeezed her hips, the pressure he exerted with his touch reflected as she wrapped her legs around his thighs.
The motion surprised him as he pulled away from her suddenly, his hands resting on the edge of the dresser on either side of her. He stretched his body away from the dresser, his head angled toward the floor. Donna frowned, wondering if she had done too much. This was immediately followed by a wave of anger. She had done nothing, she had only been going on based on what he had started. She watched as his chest rose and fell with a deep breath. She began to feel self-conscious, trapped between his arms on top of the dresser.
"Harvey?" she meant for it to come out sharp, but all she could muster up was a breathless whisper. She expected to see an apologetic look on his face but what she found instead knocked out whatever little air she still had in her.
He pulled himself upright and looked up at her, flustered and breathless before giving her a shy smile. He brought himself to stand against the dresser between her legs.
"You're going to destroy me," he said simply.
She opened her mouth, confused by the statement. His smile grew wider and he brought his hands up to cup her face, kissing her slowly. In her mind, she couldn't help but think of how different this felt from the other time. Though the first time was by no means a let-down, this had an element that was missing the first time around and it terrified her. She was having trouble keeping up with all the thoughts in her head and with him but she bounced back quickly and began working at the buttons of his white dress shirt. She undid them one at a time, tugging the shirt from the waistband of his slacks. Harvey traced her jawline with his lips back toward her earlobe, his hand inching its way up her thigh. "Oh god," she whispered, unrestrained, as his movements coursed heat through her body. She quickly finished the buttons on his shirt. He pulled off the dress shirt, throwing it aside as she quickly undid his belt and pulled the white cotton undershirt off over his head. Finally she undid the button and pulled down the zipper of his black pants, pushing them down at his waist and then letting them drop to the floor of their own accord, leaving his perfectly chiseled body in nothing but a pair of white boxer briefs.
"That didn't take very long," he mumbled into her ear with a smile, "been practicing?" She remembered the other time and how in a drunken stupor she had fumbled clumsily with the buttons of his shirt for an eternity, both of them falling into a fit of laughter over it back then.
"Yeah… it only took a decade to get your clothes off this time. Big improvement," she replied sarcastically.
"Could've been a lot less than that" he teased with a smile. "It was always yours for the taking," he added, his eyes meeting hers this time, the weight of his words hanging clearly above them.
She threw her arms around his neck, fusing her body to his, initiating the kiss this time. When he inhaled, she inhaled. When she exhaled, he exhaled. Wrapping her legs around his waist again, he hoisted her off the dresser, one hand securing her bottom while the other deftly, unzipped the back of her lace dress as he moved them towards the bed. He set her down on the floor at the foot of the bed, sliding the dress off her arms, letting it pool at her feet. Now she was left in nothing but a set of lavender lace bra and panties. She kicked off the 5-inch heels, shrinking before him. He smiled as she came down to her natural height, looking more delicate and unguarded than he'd ever seen her before.
He looked her up and down, shaking his head in awe, "Donna," he whispered, "you are…" he couldn't finish his thought.
"What?" she asked looking up at him nervously.
He shook his head, with one hand pressed gently against her lower back and the other tracing small soothing circles against her right hip, she felt herself relax under him as he pushed her back onto the large bed of his childhood room. She imagined it was the only piece of furniture he had replaced in the room.
"The most amazing woman," he finally whispered into her ear, as her fiery waves fanned across the pillow and his body hovered over hers. His kissed her deeply before moving his lips to her neck and slowly working his way, freckle by freckle down her body. His fingers blazed the trail for his lips to follow. They met at her shoulders, as he gently slid off the straps of her bra before reaching behind her to undo the clasp with precision. He flung away the flimsy lace to expose her natural curves, his tongue working its way between peaks and valleys as he moved lower and lower eliciting an involuntary moan from her lips that was like the sweetest music to his ears. His tongue flicked between the soft skin between her thigh and her panty line causing her to arch her back at the sensation it provoked. He gently pulled down the lace, sliding it off each of her legs, now exposing her fully in all her glory. He shifted back over her, bringing his lips to hers once more as his hands deftly worked between her thighs, feeling her, hot, ready and wanting. Donna sunk against his touch as he brought her to ecstasy the first time with nothing more than his hands.
She recovered quickly as she turned the tables, taking control as she pinned him down on the mattress and straddled him, smiling as she felt his need, urgent as her own. She pulled down his briefs, leaving them both fused, flesh on flesh. He sat up, pulling her hips onto him, so that she now straddled his lap. He traced his fingers up her back, his eyes meeting hers as he felt goosebumps emerge on her skin. He rested his forehead against hers, breathing heavily as he looked down as what little space there was between their bodies, her hands clasped behind his neck.
"Why the hell did we ever replace this with a damn can opener?" he whispered, looking back up at her, his voice light but in his eyes she could see the burn of all the years they had denied themselves of each other. The answer was a painful one. Because he had let it happen. Because he hadn't fought for her back then. Because she had always hid her own feelings from him just as he had with her. She moved a hand to cup his face before stroking his hair as she brought her lips down onto his, hoping her kiss could say everything she couldn't. In one fell swoop, without breaking apart their lips, he managed to flip them back over onto the bed, his body above hers once more. She could feel as his chest expanded and contracted against her own. He adjusted himself between her legs as they wrapped around him. They moved against one another in perfect sync. When he rose, she rose. When he fell, she fell. Together they played in perfect harmony, chorused by the sound of a kindled love. If this had been an opera, it would have been The Master-Singers of Nuremberg, she thought to herself a glorious 4 and a half hours later after act 2, when he followed her into the shower for a final act that ended right back in his bed, their bodies entwined with one another, completely satiated and worn out.
To Be Continued…