Harvey is not a cook. He can grill a mean hamburger, and he knows that one recipe Scottie taught him a hundred years ago and he wouldn't starve if left by his own resources, but he's not a cook.
He's used to eating out or ordering in most of the time, but his routine is completely different now. Whereas until not long ago, he would hang out in the office, have a drink, order in some food… Now, he doesn't stay at the firm a minute longer than strictly necessary. The reason he used to stay and the new-found rush to get home the same – Donna.
He's not above admitting he's gotten them plenty of take away. He adjusts the orders to her specific preferences to make up for it – Thai food, yellow tomatoes, way more spicy things than he would go for himself – but, goddamnit, he's really getting soft, because today is their one month anniversary, and he wants to make it special.
She had a client meeting across town, and he hasn't seen her all afternoon. He left work on time and stopped by the shop to get the ingredients to what Mike, after mocking him relentlessly, guaranteed was an easy recipe. Mike also swore he did not ask Rachel for it, but Harvey doubts that's true, meaning he's now also expecting to be teased by Rachel and Donna later.
But it doesn't matter, because the mouth watering smells exuding from the pots on the stove and the look on Donna's face when she walks through the door prove to be worth any amount of teasing.
Her eyes glint with surprise, and a hint of amusement or even pride over finding Harvey cooking for her. The sleeves of his crisp white shirt are rolled to his elbows, sans tie, a couple buttons undone and a dishcloth hung over his shoulder. He looks good.
"You're cooking?" She beams, as she drops her purse on the counter, getting behind the kitchen bench beside him.
He takes a sip of his wine, and her grin splits her face in half because he never drinks wine without her, meaning this is also for her.
Her palms fall softly into his chest, and he leans in, pecking her on the lips once, saying "I am", then kissing her again, and she hums at the answer and the hint of wine and the softness of his lips.
He pours her a glass while she curiously lifts the lid on a pot, inspecting the sauce reducing in there.
"It smells so good!" she tells him happily.
"That's because I know exactly what I'm doing, and this is not the first time I've ever done this at all," he tells her with an emphatic nod, moving back behind the stove to continue following along the recipe.
She laughs. "Can I help?"
"No, you just sit pretty while your housewife cooks you dinner."
"Okay, just let me do this one thing." She takes a glass tray from the refrigerator, pulls off the plastic film covering it and side-bumps her hips into his in a silent request for him to move so she can push it into the oven. All the while Harvey frowns at her and the dark chocolatey brown contents of the tray.
"What's that?" he asks.
"Dessert? When did you do that?"
"Last night, before you came home. I thought we would be ordering out today and that it would be nice to have some special dessert."
"So you know."
His face is in her favorite acting-like-he's-annoyed-when-he's-actually-amused Harvey little pout.
"Know what? That, exactly a month ago, you knocked on my door and pinned me to the wall with far more determination than you ever had putting your own name on a wall? Yeah, I know."
Harvey spurts out a laugh. "That's what we're calling it?"
Her teasing smirk melts into a soft, loving smile, her voice dropping to a low, almost-whisper, almost-hesitant tone when she says, "Happy one month anniversary."
The words go straight to his heart, constricting; and his lips, stretching cheshire cat-like; and his eyes, crinkling with love and happiness.
He cups her face in his hands, thumbs softly stroking her cheekbones and weaving into her hair, and kisses her slowly. Her fingertips brush his sides until she has arms wrapped around his middle and he has his tongue wrapped around hers.
Way sooner than he would like to, he has to turn his attention back to the stove, but Donna stays glued to his back, with her arms around his torso and her chin on his shoulder, watching as he cooks while dropping distracting little kisses to his shoulder and the side of his neck.
When dinner is ready, as she sets the table for them, he rummages through his vinyl collection, choosing the perfect soundtrack for the night. He picks two records – one for now and one for later.
They sit together, eat and talk and laugh and Donna tells him the food is so good she might just make him cook every night which he points out is more of a threat than a compliment. She giggles, and he knows that's exactly what she meant it like.
She tells him about her meeting and how she got stuck in traffic and freaked out when she realized the roads wouldn't clear and there was no way she would make it there on time. But the self satisfied smirk on her face along with the hour she got home tells him she did make it.
"What did you do?" he asks.
"I called a guy."
"You called a guy?"
"Yes. Five minutes later there was a helicopter waiting for me on the helipad of that building on 12th?" she says, adding a question mark to the tail end of her sentence, checking if Harvey knows the place she means, as if that's what he's focusing on right now.
"Holy shit." He grins. "You have a helicopter guy?"
"No. But my guy has a helicopter guy."
His hand reaches under the table, resting on her bare knee, thumb brushing her skin as he says, "That's my favorite COO."
When they're done with dessert, Donna decides to fix them some cocktails. She mixes the dry gin and sweet vermouth with Campari, garnishing it with a twist of orange peel for the perfect Negroni while Harvey clears the table and changes the vinyl on the player, carefully placing the needle on top of his favorite one. Smooth jazz fills the dimly lit space of the apartment with a sweet-sounding, rich melody.
She's left her heels under the dining table, and now she saunters in his direction barefoot, both glasses in her hands, hips swaying slightly in a way that's mostly her sinuous walk but also influenced by the music.
He clinks his glass against hers and sips as a hand slides around her waist, holding her close.
"You know, a month ago, when I pinned you to that wall…"
She chuckles lowly at his use of her words. "Yeah?"
"I had thought about doing that about a million times before." His tone is low and hoarse, and he looks down at her with his brown eyes melted and a smile playing on the corners of his mouth.
That gives her some pause. Harvey has been nothing but open about his feelings ever since they got together, but as much of a crash course in open vulnerability as this past month has been, they have twelve years of experience in the complete opposite side of things, and she doesn't suppose her heart will stop skipping countless beats every time he says something like that any time soon.
He nods, taking the glass from her hand and placing it alongside his, beside the record player, before tangling Donna in his arms until her hips align with his and he starts swaying them slowly to the melody. Her perfectly manicured hands slide up his chest and over his shoulders, wrapping around his neck in a soft caress.
"Yeah… Every possible scenario you can think of – I thought it. I thought about getting up from my office and stalking into your desk and just kissing you. I thought about waiting on your doorstep with flowers and asking you out on a date. I thought about telling you I loved you every time you made me laugh, or kicked my ass, or picked me up when I was down. I thought about pushing the emergency alarm and locking us in the elevator so I could have you right there. I thought about having you on my desk and about just putting my arm over your shoulder when we worked late nights on the couch. I thought about knocking on your door just to see you, and talk to you, hoping you wouldn't read anything into it. And I thought about knocking on your door and asking you to let me stay forever."
He notices the little tremble on her bottom lip, the way her eyes glisten and her left eyelid does a little twitch, and how her voice falters just a notch when she speaks, like a record player needle skipping a note. "Why didn't you?"
"You mean why I never confessed anything in any of the many, many times I wanted to profess my love to you?" he says, and he's mocking himself but he's also dead serious, and she simply smiles at him. "Because I'm a goddamn idiot, Donna. Because I was too afraid. Because I didn't believe I could ever be this happy, so I wouldn't risk what we already had together."
She tilts her chin up, raising on the tips of her toes and wrapping her arms tighter around his neck, her mouth meeting his in a soft brush and then a deep, lingering kiss.
"You know… you were worth the wait," she whispers against his lips.
And for all the times he didn't tell her, he makes a point of telling her now. "I love you."
Her eyelids flutter, and she smiles around glassy eyes and a soft reply. "I love you, too."
So they dance. They dance through the entire record and hold each other close and kiss every little soft patch of skin their lips can find on faces and mouths, jaws and collar bones. Harvey twirls her in front of the fireplace, and they never once bump against the coffee table or any piece of furniture because Harvey is an excellent dancer, and she would always follow his lead.
They sip Negroni and laugh soundly, and she slips her fingers between his and through the soft strands of his hair, and Harvey hums and kisses her neck and makes up a silly dance move that makes her laugh louder.
"Come on, do it!" she pleads for the third time, and if Harvey were ever capable of denying her anything, her next strike successfully disarms him. "It'll be my one month anniversary gift."
He's forced to swallow down his laughter and get into character, reciting the long-time memorized monologue from one of the most underappreciated movies of their time.
"So, okay," he says, his facial expressions shifting comically. "I don't want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and, like, we're supposed to swoon? I don't think so!"
He finishes in a high pitched tone, and Donna's laughing so hard she actually snorts which, in turn, makes him laugh madly.
"What just came out of your throat?!" he spurts, squeezing her waist to hold her down in place as she doubles over with laughter, but apparently it tickles, because that's what she breathlessly tries to say as she laughs harder and harder until there's tears spilling from her eyes.
Goddamn. How much he loves this woman.
She's still shaking with laughter when he hauls her in his arms and carries her to the bedroom. If she's making him reenact Clueless, he's damn well going to make her reenact all four acts of that night a month ago.
He doesn't think she'll protest.
In the morning, Donna wakes up to kisses on her shoulder blades and the back of her neck and Harvey's arms tightening around her. She hums and finds his hand on her stomach, squeezing it as she presses back into his body.
It's just how they say good morning.
He leaves the bed with one last kiss and not a single word uttered, and she knows he went to brew them some coffee.
She stretches lazily in the softness and warmth of the bed, hugs his pillow, then reaches for her phone on the nightstand.
When Harvey comes back into the bedroom, with two white coffee mugs in hand, that's how he finds her – legs tangled in white bedsheets, hugging his pillow against her stomach with one arm, the other supporting her cellphone.
"What you're doing?" he asks, getting back in bed carefully because of the hot drinks.
She sits up on folded legs, accepting the mug he hands her. She feels a bit silly about it, because Harvey is not exactly a poetry guy, but she knows him, and she knows he'll like this.
"It's this sonnet by Neruda. I found it a few years back, and it always made me think of you. Of us. And after last night… What you said made me realize maybe this is how you felt, too."
"Tell me," he asks, getting himself comfortable on the pillows propped against the bed frame. Donna attempts to hand him her phone, but he nudges it back to her, so she'll read it to him.
Her eyes narrow in his direction suspiciously, but then she smiles at him, her hair tossed in soft waves to one side, one thin strap of her silky camisole falling over her shoulder on the other. And she reads out loud,
"I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep."
There's a silence, and it echoes for a long second. Then the deep sigh of his breath, his chest rising as his shoulders fall. He wraps her in his arms, pulls her close, lips pressed firmly into hers, and he keeps her, lingers in the press of her body against his, unmoving. Eventually his lips move over hers, Donna's mouth parting to suck gently at his top lip, and when his tongue meets hers in the inside of her mouth, she tastes love and coffee and poetry.
She sits between his legs, rests her back against his chest, Harvey's face in the crook of her neck, occasionally glancing to the screen of the cell phone in her hand to follow along the words she's reading out loud as they go through all of the Neruda sonnets they can find before their coffee is finished.
AN: It's a prompt by Sarah Rafferty herself. I mean. How could I not?!
The poetry above is Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda. I discovered it a couple years ago and it made me think of Darvey immediately for obvious "love me how" reasons and it gives me goosebumps. Oh man, they just love each other so much…
A huge thank you to Yvonne for all the lovely help betaing this.