Welcome to my new multi-chapter fic! Hope you enjoy this one! I think it's gonna be a more fun approach to the aftermath of 7.10. But it's me so angst will definitely ensue..
It's obviously a plot that would never happen on the show so best take it with a pinch of salt. And let's see what happens to Darvey when their plans to spend the foreseeable future at arms length are derailed by some godbaby news..
(Special shoutout to Michelle and Ali, my incredible motivators, cheer leaders and bad influencers. Xoxox.)
Key to Forgiveness
Donna approaches no.407, her black leather Hermes handbag over her left shoulder and a bottle of her and her friend's favourite red in her right hand. She takes her left hand to the door, lightly rapping her knuckles off the painted oak. She lets out a sigh, readying herself for the girly night in she wasn't particularly in the mood for.
It had been another tough day at the office. Made even tougher by the strained relationship she now shared with the managing partner. And as she hears her friend stirring inside, she inhales a deep breath and does what she does best; mask her feelings for other people's benefit.
"Donna!" Rachel beams, all too excited to see her considering it had only been two hours since they left the office that night.
"Hey, Rach." The redhead's smile almost reaches her eyes when she sees how happy her friend seems to be. "Got room for two Reds in your life?" she jokes, holding up the bottle of wine.
"Always." Rachel giggles before she stands back then, gesturing for Donna to come inside.
"Mike home?" Donna quizzes as she makes her way into the empty living room, Rachel following behind her.
"No," the brunette mumbles, unsure of whether to just say it or not, "he's actually.. uh,"
Donna presses her lips together as she reaches the couch, gathering a breath before turning around to face Rachel. "You can say his name, you know?" she scolds light-heartedly, quirking that brow of hers as she cocks her head slightly, her fingers now playing with the glass bottle in her palms. "I won't break if you do."
"I know…" Rachel whispers, her topaz-brown eyes oozing with guilt, and a hint of pity that Donna can't stand. "I told him I wanted a night in with my best friend, and he gladly took it as an opportunity to go to Harvey's." she smiles sweetly.
Donna can't help but wonder what the two men might be discussing over there right now. Mike would surely tell Harvey that she was at Rachel's. Then again, she also wonders if he actually gives her much thought at all lately. It definitely didn't seem like it with the way they'd been acting around each other, since the kiss and their disastrous fall out. So disastrous, that she was now contemplating moving away altogether, a clean break, for both of them. Which was another reason she wasn't in the mood for a girl's night. Because she wasn't ready to tell Rachel her new plans, that involved her moving across country.
"Good!" she smiles for Rachel's sake, sitting herself down, leaving her bag on the floor and the wine on the coffee table in front of her. "Gives us the perfect chance to catch up! It feels like it's been months."
"Because it has.." Rachel mutters as if somewhat unimpressed, bending over to pick up the wine, glancing at Donna with a light scowl before she saunters off into the kitchen to crack open the bottle.
"It has?" Donna calls out, somewhat defensively, shifting on her seat a bit as she props the cushion comfortably behind her back.
"Yeahh.." Rachel responds, dragging out the word as she finds the cork screw and jams it into the bottle, "the last time you were here.." she twists the bottle opener, using the action as a way to break up her sentence, her features frowning with concentration, "the last time we got to properly talk outside of work.." the cork burst out of the glass neck, the popping sound travelling to the living room where Donna was now turning to examine Rachel inside the door frame, "was when you told me you regretted putting ..him, over you."
Donna can tell that Rachel is somewhat disappointed that she hasn't confided in her fully yet, about her and Harvey's fight. She hears her friend padding back towards her as she zones out slightly, remembering the night the brunette was referring to. And also what followed in the days after that night, and then weeks, until it was now a month. A month since she'd spontaneously kissed the man she believed to be her soul mate late one night in her office, then took off before he could even gather a response.
"Rach.. can we not do this now? I'm exhausted." The older woman sighs, still trying to sound as warm as possible, but Rachel could detect the slight warning in her tone.
"Then when, Donna?" she pleads, raising her brows in concern as she lands the bottle, and just one wine glass, onto the coffee table, something Donna would have caught straight away had her mind not been so preoccupied. "Because I'm worried about you! You haven't talked to me about this since the night you told me you kissed him." she breaths out, sitting down beside her friend, desperately trying to get her to open up about what she knows has been eating at the redhead for weeks now. "Just talk to me, please?" Rachel tentatively places her right hand on Donna's knee, finally eliciting eye contact from her again.
"And say what, Rachel? That the man I was in love with can't stand to look at me anymore?" she spits out, finally cracking under the pressure.
"Was?" Rachel inquires delicately, not believing for a second that Donna's love for Harvey is past tense.
Donna gives her a light glare, but proceeds anyway, choosing to ignore the last question. "I don't even blame him.. of course he's mad. I practically ended his.." Her eyes land on the wine in front of them as she finds herself unable to finish her sentence
Rachel lets out a dry scoff, pulling back from her friend, subconsciously scratching her neck as she blinks slowly.
"What?" Donna prods, worrying her brows.
"Nothing.. it's just," she trails off before inhaling and locking eyes with the redhead again, "there wasn't much of a relationship there to end, if you ask me." she finishes quite boldly, almost seeming agitated, but not for herself.
Donna produces a mousy smirk, her heart warming at how defensive Rachel was becoming of her, clearly unnerved by the idea of Harvey dating his ex-therapist, perhaps when he should have been dating someone else.
"Look. It is what it is. I've moved on. I'm fine, Rachel." she exhales, her voice lightly quivering before she finishes on another lie when her friend doesn't seem convinced. "I promise."
The younger woman opens her mouth to protest, not wanting to finish the topic just yet, feeling as though Donna still hasn't gotten it all off her chest. But she sees the hurt in her eyes, and figures she'll talk about it more when she's fully ready. "That's good, Donna." she smiles sadly. "I just want you to be happy."
"I know." she responds warmly as they share a glance before the silence consumes them. "So! What was the 'exciting news' you wanted to tell me? Pick a date for the wedding yet?" Donna adds chirpily, trying her best to lighten the mood as she leans over to pour two glasses of wine, just then realising that there's only one.
It dawns on her straight away. She puts down the bottle and glances back to a guilty and giddy looking Rachel. She can't help but look to the younger woman's stomach, unable to detect anything under the baggy sweater she had on. Her eyes meet Rachel's again then as she sits back once more to be closer to her, her chin lowering as her left brow quirks upwards. "You're..?"
"Almost five months." Rachel blurts out in an excited whisper, biting her bottom lip as she eagerly awaits Donna's reaction.
"Oh my god.." Donna breaths out joyfully, placing her right hand over her mouth as both brows shoot upwards and her jaw drops.
Almost immediately after, the redhead pulls her in for a warm, tearful hug that lasts close to a minute. They break apart then, Donna raising both index fingers to her face, rubbing the fresh tears under her lashes away.
"God, I'm sorry, I am happy ..I swear!" she chuckles, rolling her eyes at the emotional state she was in. "Wow, it's just so nice to get some amazing news for once!" she beams, before reaching for Rachel's hands and the woman's lap and locking them with her own. "I am beyond thrilled for you, Rachel. For both of you."
"Thank you, Donna." whispers the teary brunette, feeling quite wobbly herself now.
"You kept that quiet for long!" Donna adds after a few seconds, playfully poking Rachel's leg, still bemused at her friend's lack of a huge belly.
"I only found out at three months. I was so stressed with work that I didn't even notice the changes." she replies, placing her right hand on her stomach, flattening the sweater, allowing the redhead to see the small, yet noticeable bump. "I'm not majorly showing yet.. but it's there!" beams the bubbly mother-to-be as she gestures for her friend to join her.
Donna's smile widens, exposing all of her pearly whites, completely in awe at the sight before her as she reaches out her left hand to place on Rachel's growing abdomen. Swallowing back the second round of tears, she decides in that moment that she's not going to leave town after all.
"And now your sudden interest in larger blouses makes sense!" Donna teases, pulling back as the emotions building up inside her start to sting.
"It's amazing what one size extra will hide!" Rachel adds with a grin.
"I should have picked up on this." Donna sighs after another moment. "I'm sorry Rachel, I've just been so distracted with work lately. I know I've neglected our friendship somewhat, and that's inexcusable."
"I wanted to tell you a month ago, after we had our first scan.." Rachel looks downwards, recalling the reason she chose to hold off on the baby news sharing, before she meets Donna's now serious gaze again. "But with everything that was going on in the last few weeks, I decided I wanted to wait."
It doesn't take a genius to figure out what Rachel was trying her best not to say. And even if it did, Donna would be the genius. "Everything with me and Harvey, you mean?" she quizzes, wearing an amiable glare.
Rachel responds with a defeated shrug, lowering her shoulders as she sighs, offering a sweet, knowing smile as words fail her.
"Rachel." Donna whispers with a warm, yet scowling tone. "Don't ever be afraid to tell me all of the amazing things that are happening in your life, just because of the less amazing things that are happening in mine."
"Okay." she nods, her heart painfully beating for the woman sat beside her.
"I want to know everything, always." Donna finishes with an earnest expression.
The brunette's understanding smile begins to fade from her eyes a moment later and again, Donna notices straight away. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing.." Rachel responds more solemnly now. "It's just.."
"Just what, Rachel?" Donna presses as Rachel trails off, feeling a bit anxious.
The younger women inhales, retrieving her precious smile and looking to her friend. "We want you to be our baby's godmother."
A wary smirk curls at the redhead's mouth as her cheeks give rise to a wider, slightly apprehensive smile. "And that's bad news because..?" she grins, trying to fathom the nervous look behind Rachel's eyes.
"No, it's great news Donna! And we wouldn't have picked anybody else, believe me." she truthfully reassures her. "It's just that,"
Donna leans back a bit further then, inhaling as it clicks with her. She smiles warmly at her friend, finishing the sentence that Rachel couldn't bring herself to. "Harvey's the godfather."
Rachel's face was enough to confirm the statement but she answers anyway. "Yes."
"And Mike's over there right now telling him the great news." Donna smiles softly at the thought.
Rachel just nods lightly in response, sheepishly regretting not being able to tell Donna properly.
"Rach," she begins on a sigh, "if you think I would ever let mine and Harvey's relationship get in between the one I'm gonna have with this baby.. then you don't have to worry, because I would never let that happen." she asserts. "This kid won't even know his or her godparent's aren't on great terms, I promise!"
Rachel furrows her brows at the latter statement, her tone lowering along with her brows. "How long do you plan on not being on great terms for, exactly?" she asks, somewhat taken aback by the implications behind Donna's words.
"I'm not planning on anything with him, Rachel.." Donna trails off, not sure of what to say next.
"Donna, I'm worried about you in all of this too, you know?" confesses the younger woman. "I mean, it's not gonna be easy sharing a godchild with the man you used to share so much of your life with.." she sighs before inhaling again, "don't you think you guys should sort things through by now?"
"Rachel Zane," Donna scolds with a smirk, "are you using your unborn child as a pawn to get Harvey and I back as friends?"
"I plead the fifth.." she responds with a guilty smirk.
Donna shakes her head, grinning before she returns to the more important subject. "Look. My best friend is having a baby! Can we just obsess over this tonight instead of me and Harvey?" she pleads lightly, that sweet smile lighting up her features.
Rachel refrains from commenting on it any further, seeing how desperate her friend was to avoid the subject as much as possible, and also seeing how much she herself wanted to start with the baby talk already. "Of course we can." she beams.
"Okay," Donna starts, raising her hands mid air, "first things first.. do you guys wanna find out the sex? Or do I have to wait another four months to know if I have a goddaughter or a godson?" Rachel chuckles as Donna continues. "I mean, it would benefit my baby shower planning if we knew.. but of course that's up to you guys." she sighs in mock dismay, as a light smirk cracks at her mouth. "Oh my god we could do one of those awesome gender reveals!" Donna blurts out, the excitement consuming her already. "Sorry, I'm getting carried away here, aren't I?"
"It's fine Donna. Your enthusiasm means the world to me." Rachel giggles before quirking her brows. "But we've actually already found out.."
"Mike! That's great news!" Harvey grins, bearing all of his teeth as his right arm pulls his friend in for a congratulatory hug, his hand warmly patting him on the back, his glass of scotch resting in the other.
"Thanks, Harvey." Mike smiles in appreciation as they part.
"I mean, I'm sorry for the kid, but I'm happy for you." he mocks in that deep, arrogant tone of his.
Mike smirks, looking down at his own glass then. "I feel sorry for her too," he sighs as he raises the glass to his lips, "given who her godfather is gonna be and all.." the younger man finishes, taking a sip of the amber liquid before he looks at his friend's somewhat bewildered frown.
"Her?" Harvey smiles as Mike nods, before the second part dawns on him. "Me?" he quizzes in disbelief, his frown lines deepening as his grin creeps back in.
"If you want." Mike beams.
"Mike, of course. I'd be honoured." Harvey reassures him with a solemn smile. "Thank you."
The younger man nods gleefully in response as Harvey shuffles on his spot somewhat, before turning to face the fire beside them as he swirls his drink. "So, you guys pick the uhh, godmother yet?" he asks, feigning nonchalance as he takes a sip.
"I'd answer that, Harvey, but you already know damn well who we picked." Mike reasons, watching as his friend stares blankly into the flames.
Harvey presses his lips together, smiling ever so lightly, a burst of air expelling from his nostrils, nodding as the thought hits him. "She'll be over the moon." he whispers hoarsely.
"Woah, careful there," Mike interjects sarcastically as Harvey eyes him, "it might actually sound like you care about her?"
Harvey turns, puffing out his chest to face his now annoying protege once more. "Watch it, Mike."
"I'm serious." Mike defends.
"Of course I care about her. It's Donna." he mumbles, looking down as he takes another drink.
"You sure?" Mike challenges, knowing full well he did, but needing to call Harvey out on his actions anyway. "Because it doesn't seem that way with how you've been treating her lately."
"Why do you have to bring this up now, Mike?" Harvey frowns, desperate to keep calm given the recent good news.
The younger lawyer straightens his stance as he pretends to muse. "Actually you're the one who steered the conversation towards Donna.."
Harvey just grits his jaw in response, turning his head slightly to the left as he eyeballs his friend.
"How long are you two gonna keep this up for, Harvey?"
"We're not keeping anything up. This is just how it is now." he murmurs.
"And that's what you want?" Mike challenges.
"Mike," Harvey breaths out, taking the last swig of his drink before setting the tumbler down on the coffee table behind him, "I thought you came here to tell me your good news? How about we get back to that now?" he asks, in more of a demanding tone than a questioning one.
"Oh, so you can just bottle shit up for another month? I don't think so." He inhales a deep breath before he continues. "What would you say to me, Harvey? If I was too stubborn to see the truth? If it was me and Rachel?"
"What I would say is," Harvey begins, dragging out the sentence, his tone verging on aggravated and condescending now, "that you and Rachel, aren't me and Donna. So butt out."
As Harvey looks back to the flames, Mike just stands there, lightly shaking his head as he looks to his boss, both pity and disappointment oozing from his crystal blue eyes. He watches then as his friend seems to relax, his shoulders lowering in defeat, his stern expression now softening as realisation hits.
"I've lost her, Mike." Harvey sighs with a raspy whisper as the fire warms his body, but not his mind.
"That's funny," Mike begins, furrowing his brows in mock bemusement, "because last time I checked she hadn't gone anywhere?"
"She's not interested in fixing anything." Harvey declares despairingly.
"How can you know that? Yous haven't talked in weeks?" Mike responds.
"Because Mike! Too many things were said okay? Things that shouldn't have been said," Harvey removes his right hand from his pocket and massages his temples with his thumb and fingers, "and things that should have been said years ago." he finishes softly.
"Just talk to her, Harvey." Mike encourages simply as he sighs.
"I'm too afraid I'll say the wrong thing," he murmurs, the scotch still warming his veins, making it easier to talk about her, and his fears, "..again."
"Harvey..with women, saying nothing is saying the wrong thing." Mike smiles lightly before taking another mouthful of his drink. "In fact, it's even worse."
Harvey finally looks back to him, a light smirk adorning his face as he slowly blinks in both acknowledgement and gratitude of his friend's advice. "Did you, just give me, relationship advice?" he jokes in slight shock.
Mike nods with an adorable cockiness, choosing to refrain from commenting on the fact that Harvey just used the word relationship to refer to himself and the redhead.
"Look, if anything, do it for your face," Mike adds, taking on a more teasing tone now to lighten the mood as Harvey frowns at him, "those added stress lines aren't a good look on you."
"Asshole." Harvey mumbles, shaking his head with a small grin before he begins to contemplate all that had been said.
The following Monday comes around all too quickly for the estranged pair. Both having spent the weekend dwelling on the fact that they would now have to have a conversation about their new shared interest. Even just words of mutual congratulations. But these days, the thought of discussing anything other than business, anything remotely personal, terrified them.
Harvey swoops back into his office just after his noon meeting with an old client. He sits down at his desk, unsure of what to do next. The redhead he saw sitting at her own desk on his way in being the only thing occupying his mind right now. Mike's words from that Saturday night begin nagging at him then. He knows he has to say something, but what?
Meanwhile, his next-door neighbour is anxiously mirroring his thoughts. She didn't have to look up from her paperwork to know it was him who had just strode into his office. She could sense him a mile off after all these years.
With a deep inhale that almost devours all of the oxygen in the room, Harvey subconsciously taps on his desk before pushing his chair out with the backs of his legs and turning the corner of his desk, cautiously yet quickly pacing his way out of his office and into hers.
Donna nears her own door, looking to the floor before she sees a shiny pair of familiar leather shoes. Before she can look up she's colliding with the owner of the expensive pair, gasping lightly as she looks into his hazel eyes for what feels like the first time in forever.
The collision catches them both off guard and before he knows it he's extending his hands, instinctively catching her arms, just below the shoulders, lest he knock her over.
"Uhh," he mutters, transfixed by her darkening pupils which are hypnotised by his own pair, "you good?"
She closes her eyes briefly, detaching from his magnetic gaze as she shakes her head. "Yeah, sorry.. I wasn't looking where I was going." she breaths out, subconsciously glancing between his eyes and his lips.
He couldn't help but do the same. The last time they were this close, she had kissed him, and he kissed her back. In the very same spot they were in now.
That fact seems to dawn on them both then as the staring wears off and his hands are slowly, maybe even too slowly, grazing down her her arms until they're back at his sides.
Her bare flesh is still tingling from his touch as she quickly composes herself, inching back almost a foot, clearing her throat before she speaks. "What can I do for you, Harvey?"
He mimics her faux throat clearing before he responds. "Nothing, I just came in to say congratulations." he nods casually, his expression almost blank as his eyes dart around the office before they return to the only thing he really wants to look at.
"Thanks," Donna presses her lips into a thin smile, nodding slowly as she speaks, awkwardly pointing to the wall to her left, "I was actually on my way to do the same." She brings her left hand back to nervously fumble with her other fingers as both hands hover over her abdomen before she realises what she's doing and smooths out the fabric of her deep blue dress, only returning to the hand fidgeting moments later anyway. "So, congratulations!"
Harvey can't help but feel uneasy as a sickening feeling lines his stomach. This should not be how they are celebrating their shared god-parentage. They should be having a drink, laughing and mocking each other, teasing one another about being the favourite godparent, while she rolls her eyes as he makes endless jokes about 'The Godfather'. Not this awkward, tension-filled run in.
"Thanks, Donna." he says softly, hoping she wouldn't detect his dismal tone beneath the warm facade. "You're gonna make a great godmother. She's already lucky to have you." he nods, still sounding more formal than he wanted to.
She shows her appreciation with a heartwarming smile, even letting it reach her eyes, to both of their surprise. "You too, Harvey."
They stare another while then, neither knowing what to say next, yet neither wanting the moment to end. Even though it wasn't their old friendship dynamic, it was the closest to it they've gotten since they kissed. The first conversation they were having since their massive post-kiss row and inevitable fall out, that hadn't been work related.
The redhead can't take the silence any longer, scratching the back of her head as she speaks. "I've never had to organise a baby shower before.." she chuckles nervously, quirking her brow as she curls her lip, sending him glances between.
He offers her one of his Donna smiles then, without even knowing. "Donna, you could organise a royal wedding," he smirks at her adamantly, "in your sleep."
There's another shared smile before the shyness hits again and he's soon stumbling over his words. "Uhh, I don't know how those things work.." he says, surprising even himself, "but if you need a venue, you're more than welcome to have it at my place." he finishes, lacking his signature confidence.
Donna's eyes widen with shock as she smacks her lips together, swallowing back the newly formed lump in her throat. She knows it wasn't an invite for just her. She knows she shouldn't over think it. She knows. Yet, she can't help but feel as if he's reaching out to her.
She's taking too long to respond, her slightly gaped mouth now making him regret his offer, thinking it may have been too forward seeing as they aren't even friends anymore.
"Just a suggestion.." he covers, waving his hands by his sides. "I've got more than enough room, but it's fine if you've already decided on a place.." he trails off, not even hearing what he was saying anymore, his heart beginning to nervously beat away under his chest, sending his pulse racing along with it.
She can't take the awkward state they are in any longer and finds herself agreeing without even thinking it through. "Yeah sure! That sounds perfect. Thank you, Harvey."
He inhales deeply, puffing out his chest before he exhales and nods solemnly, sending her a brief smile before he turns and leaves her staring into space, shaking her head at the tragic state of their relationship.
The next two months fly by at the firm. Harvey, Louis and Mike battling case after case, whilst Donna keeps their home running smoothly and Rachel finally takes her maternity leave, at just over seven months.
It's a beautiful Saturday morning in New York City and Harvey's beloved bachelor pad is being turned into a pretty, pink palace, much to a certain redhead's amusement. He wasn't even there yet. However, he had given her his key, well her old key, left it on her desk the morning before when she wasn't there, knowing she would need it to let herself into his apartment in the morning. They both knew she had other ways of getting inside. She could charm her way through any of the concierges on the ground floor, for one. But things weren't like that anymore, and he felt like he needed to show her that it was okay to let herself in.
There were caterers dropping off delicious arrangements of snacks, confectionery foods and cupcakes, and a party planning company delivering all of the balloons, decorations and party-ware Donna had ordered for the occasion. She had pulled out all the stops, delighted to have something to take her mind off of work. Work meaning him.
She uses her famous charm on two young delivery guys, ordering them around the apartment, having them set up food tables by the windows whilst she decorates the kitchen and living room area accordingly, taking too much pleasure in tastefully plastering the place in light pinks. Once everything is finally in place, she tips the men handsomely before they leave.
Harvey enters the apartment moments later, a bemused look on his face as he quietly shuts the front door behind him.
"I'm sorry, I must have the wrong address?" he calls out as he cautiously edges his way inside, looking around at the girly decor. She jumps ever so slightly at his voice, quickly composing herself before turning around from the island to glare at him with a half smirk as he continues. "I thought I lived in New York, not Disney Land.."
Donna lets out an almost inaudible laugh. "Well you do today, Walt."
He smiles, watching her turn back to her current task, whisking up a large jug of strawberry smoothie mix. "Didn't take you for the D.I.Y type.." he mutters, strolling to the fridge behind her as he pulls the door open, brows lowering when he sees how packed it is. A strange feeling ambushes him then. Something he can't quite place. Just as he wonders why a full fridge was filling his heart, he realises it was because of the woman who filled it. He shakes the thought and closes it again without taking anything out.
"Coffee?" he asks, walking towards the machine.
"I'm good thanks." she replies with her head down, still whisking away, sighing as she bites her tongue, impatiently waiting for the liquid to thicken. She found herself desperately trying to ignore how strange it felt to be in his apartment with him after all these months, after all that had been said and done.
"Want a hand?"
Donna slows down her actions ever so slightly for the briefest of moments, before picking up speed again. "Uh, no I'm fine thanks."
Harvey feels awkward just standing there helpless and desperately needs something practical to do to fill the conversational void between them. Without even looking at him, she can almost feel his thoughts burning through hers. He steps back towards her end of the island then just as she finishes stirring the mixture. She lifts the jug and begins pouring the thickened, baby pink liquid into the smoothie glasses in front of her.
"Come on, give me something to do." he almost pleads, looking over her shoulder before he settles at the corner of the marble countertop. "Guests will be arriving in less than twenty minutes, let me help."
"Honestly, everything's do-"
"Fine!" she gives in, inhaling before she knows what she has to order him to do next. "There's.." she clears her throat, returning to her drink pouring so she doesn't have to look at him, "there's a can of whipped cream in the refrigerator," she feels herself almost blushing as his composure falters somewhat, noticing his face drop even out of the corner of her eye, "you can put it on top of these." she nods to the glasses she's currently filling.
Harvey clears his own throat then as his blood begins to rush ..south. "Sure."
"It's the only thing left to do.." she mumbles to herself before smirking in amusement, "and you insisted so.."
"It's fine Donna," he replies into the fridge, scanning the shelves as he tries to sound as passive as possible, "it's just whipped cream."
"Bottom shelf." she calls out, turning her head towards him briefly before focusing on the shakes again. "Beside the cherries.." she adds when he's still standing behind her searching.
He finally locks eyes on the item. Picking up the can, he realises he hasn't held one in over a decade. Each of the memories of that unforgettable night come flooding back in that moment, for them both. Every touch. Every word. Every taste. Not to say that that didn't happen frequently, just now they were both undeniably thinking about it at the exact same time.
Harvey shuts the door and walks back over to the island, taking a position opposite her now to be closer to the drinks. He takes the cap off the bottle and gives it a shake. Donna briefly shuts her eyes as she inhales, still pouring the mixture, becoming slightly hot and bothered as the last time she watched him doing that, they were both in her bedroom, fully naked.
He quickly looks away from her once he notices her reaction, getting to work on the first glass as he directs the nozzle towards it, finally pressing down and releasing the creamy substance over the smoothie. The sound of it alone enough to trigger them both even further.
Donna zones out, watching as he squirts it over the first shake. "Donna?" he calls to get her attention, nodding towards her glass once she snaps out of it and looks to him.
"Shoot!" she whispers loudly, pulling the jug back up once she sees the glass is almost overfilling.
He bites his inner lip in a desperate attempt to prevent his amused smirk from broadening, not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable, and definitely not wanting to let himself make a joking comment to break the tension. Something their older selves may have been able to do.
"Am I doing this right?" he asks, trying to fill the most awkward silence they had ever found themselves in.
The embarrassed redhead darts her eyes towards him and then to the first smoothie he had finished. She lets out the smallest of chuckles. "Don't just spray it on.. you gotta swirl it." She elaborates once she meets his bewildered expression. "Circular movements Harvey.. until it peaks at the top."
Donna turns to retrieve the cherries from the fridge, placing one in her mouth before she makes her way back to the counter.
He doesn't know what on earth possesses him to make his next comment, the words falling out of his mouth before he even realises he's forming them. "Sorry, I guess I'm a little out of practice."
She almost chokes on the cherry, forcing a cough as she swallows it down, not sure she heard him right. She looks to him then, his head down, a faux innocence about him, finishing off his task as he smirks ever so lightly.
New York's wittiest COO, and probably person in general, had rarely found herself at a loss for words. She stands there awhile, unsure of what to even do or say. Furrowing her brows at the man before her, she wonders why it was so easy for him to joke around after the serious few months they'd had. It was even more perplexing seeing as they still haven't talked through most of their issues, and she's convinced they never will.
As if the Gods read her prayers asking them to save her from having to respond to his latest form of verbal diarrhoea, five hard knocks echo throughout the hallway.
"I'll get it!" she almost shouts, placing the cherries onto the counter. "It's probably Mike and Rachel."
Harvey watches her walk off, only then letting out a defeated sigh as he curses himself, shutting his eyes in regret. "Idiot.."
The last two months, since the baby news, had been somewhat amicable between them. They were civil and pleasant, not friends exactly, but functioning work colleagues, no more hostility. It was as if after their conversation in her office, they had both come to a mutual understanding that they would have to put aside their differences, and perhaps even their feelings, for the sake of the baby. The pair are serious about their new roles as godparents and don't want their issues getting in the way.
But Harvey finds himself growing more agitated by that with each passing day. He knows it isn't healthy, as does she. It feels like being fully aware that there is a bomb about to explode but not knowing when. He wants them to get back to being friends at least, as a start, so they can talk about what happened that night in her office, again. This time without him being in a relationship, preventing him from opening up to her fully. He had realised a lot of things over the last two months, with the help of his new, completely ethical therapist which he was now seeing unbeknownst to anyone.
The baby shower is in full swing by early afternoon. With many familiar faces such as Louis, Sheila, Alex, Gretchen, Katrina, Benjamin and Oliver making an appearance. Rachel's parents call by to join in the celebration for a couple of hours too. Everyone finds themselves enjoying the fun games, upbeat music, and abundance of food and drinks. The only time Donna and Harvey interact with one another directly is when she hands out sheets for everyone to predict the baby's birthday and weight.
"What does the winner get?" Harvey quizzes, looking at the pink piece of paper in amusement before he fills out the blanks.
"Mike and Rachel's first born." Donna responds humorously before quickly diverting her attention back to the rest of the group who are all chuckling at the pair.
Harvey smiles to himself, feeling a sense of calm and comfort at the fact that she responded with her old wit.
By late evening only Mike and Rachel are left, having thanked all of their friends for coming, they were now tired themselves, especially Rachel who was living for two now.
"Thank you so much, Donna." she beams, her right hand supporting her lower back as her left caresses her now unmissable bump. "It was nothing short of perfect. I don't know how you pulled it off."
The brunette outstretches her arms then, bringing her beloved friend in for a grateful hug. Donna shuts her eyes, smiling as her chin lowers to rest against Rachel's shoulder, warmly rubbing her back. "Anything for you, Rach."
As the pair part, Donna feels the need to share some of the credit. "And you have Harvey to thank for the location, it was his suggestion." she smiles, glancing over to the two men chatting by the couches. "Oh! And he helped make the smoothies." she adds with exaggerated awe.
"Very impressive." Rachel jokes back. "My pregnancy cravings were definitely more than catered to today, let me tell you!"
She pauses a moment then, Donna noticing her sombering expression immediately. "No. We're not there yet." she answers the woman's unspoken question.
"And where exactly is 'there'?"
"The point where we can talk about things again," Donna clarifies, "I'm not ready." she whispers.
"Take all the time you need, Donna." Rachel presses her lips into a sweet smile, placing her hand on the redhead's arm before a mischievous smirk forms, her eyebrows shooting into the air. "Something tells me he's waiting for you, regardless of how long he'll be waiting for."
Rachel turns back to the counter then, collecting her purse before Donna has a chance to argue. But she's too stunned to even protest it, zoning out as both men make their way over, only snapping out of her thoughts when Mike gives her a thankful hug and kiss goodbye. She paints on a smile as she watches them leave and Harvey sees them out. The door slamming shut suddenly emphasising that she was alone in the apartment with him, again. She'd rather just go home now but she doesn't want to leave him to do all the cleaning up.
Harvey notes her newly anxious expression as he walks back up the hallway to where she's standing. He doesn't need to be told why she looks so uncomfortable all of a sudden. "You go home, I'll take care of this. You deserve a rest."
As much as she wants to take him up on his kind offer, she won't allow herself to leave him to tidy up everything after the party she organised. "Don't be ridiculous," she forces a smile, "many hands make light work!"
He watches her stride by him then and towards the kitchen, taking a trash bag in one hand as she quickly busies herself and makes her way around the apartment, throwing away papers, fallen decorations and unfinished food. Clearing his throat, he makes strides towards the coffee table, about to pick up the empty champagne glasses when he spots an interesting piece of decor he somehow only noticed now. He smirks to himself, bending down to pick up the cactus sitting in the centre of the table.
"Someone got a makeover.." he teases, looking over to her just as her eyes meet the prickly plant from her spot in the kitchen.
She smiles once she registers his comment, grinning at the pink ribbon she tied around the pot the cactus sat in. "She deserved it. You forgot to water her today!" she jokes, making small steps towards him with the trash bag in hand.
Donna holds out the bag, waiting for him to throw the ribbon into it. But instead he just smirks, placing the now fashionable cactus back down on the glass table. She's not entirely sure why, and at the same time is almost certain why, but his action has her heart starting to race quite unexpectedly.
"She?" he quizzes, his frown lines deepening before a smirk cracks at the corners of his mouth.
"Well, I suppose it could be a he...who's in touch with his feminine side." she plays along before picking up some discardable items from the coffee table.
"She it is then.." he mumbles. "And just for the record, I never forget to water ..her."
"Mmhm.." she hums, her honey waves falling at either side of her face as she bends down further to clear the table, "except today."
"I was a little distracted, today." he mutters in an all too solemn tone, inhaling as he realises he said it, but oddly satisfied with himself for saying it.
Donna hesitates awhile before straightening back up and catching his eager eyes. She tries to tell herself that it meant nothing, he was just referring to the day itself, not her, and their relationship. But his voice tells her that's wrong, and he did in fact mean something more.
"Yeah," she sighs, knowing they weren't really talking about the baby shower, "I guess it was a pretty hectic day."
The pair share a knowing stare that lasts too long, yet not long enough. He's about three feet away and she swears she can see him inching closer, his lip twitching telling her he's about to say something. She inwardly scolds herself, forcing her eyes shut a moment, trying to break his alluring gaze. She knows something is going to be said. Something they can't go back from. Either for the better, or the worse. A part of her always wanted to take that risk, but with the baby's birth just around the corner, she can't chance them arguing, going right back to where they were in the weeks after their kiss. So it would just have to wait.
"I should go." she whispers.
Before he has a chance to say otherwise she's making her way over to the kitchen, disposing of the trash bag and gathering up her coat and bag. "It really has been a long day. I think I do need a rest after all!" Her tone is too chirpy, too forced, her mind is elsewhere and he knows it.
"Donna.." Harvey doesn't even know what he wants to say, he just knows he doesn't want her to leave, he's itching to talk things through with her once and for all, desperate to end their dreadful and agonising game of cat and mouse. Only, in this game, the cat and mouse are madly in love.
"I guess I'll see you at the office Monday." she smiles, trying her best to seem relaxed and unscathed. But the huge wall of denial she had been building since their fall out, telling herself she was over him, was beginning to crumble brick by brick, threatening to come crashing down on her any second, burying her under the emotional rubble of their rocky relationship.
He sees there's no point in arguing. Giving up all too easily, as usual. But he also doesn't want to force her to talk about things if she's not ready. "Let me see you out." he sighs, stepping towards her before they both make their way to the front door.
As he turns the handle she remembers something. "Oh, I almost forgot!" she says hurriedly, opening her handbag to rummage through her belongings until she locates one of his belongings.
His heart flinches as he hears the familiar jingle. His thoughts confirmed as she removes her hand from the bag and holds out the key he gave her. He freezes for a moment, unsure of how to tell her that he wants her to keep it. That he physically cannot bear to take it back from her, again.
"Earth to Harvey?" she smiles awkwardly, dangling the key between them as if to wake him up.
He zones back in then, deciding to just spit it out. "You should hold onto that." he points as he removes his left hand from his pocket, a desperate casualness about him that she's not quite sure she can place. Her brows furrow at his surprise suggestion, the small creases in her forehead deepening as he takes a more solemn tone. "I should never have let you give it back to me in the first place. Or have given it away."
The whites of her eyes expand as she widens them in shock. He was referring to Paula. For the first time since the night of their kiss. Which was only days before they broke up. Before he ended it.
Donna struggles for the right response, before his own words hit her again, squashing any come back she had inwardly scrambled to produce. "It belongs to you."
"Harvey." she breaths out, her eyes pleading with him to take the key, purely so she won't have to think about what her keeping it means, for them.
"It's my olive branch, Donna. Please, just take it." His voice is so delicate and soft, reminding her of all the times he's used that heart melting tone before, dozens of memories of the old Harvey rushing in to blanket over the most recent, less appealing ones she held of him.
The startled redhead clenches her grip around the key before dropping her extended arm back down at her side.
"I know you're not ready to talk now. And I respect that. But just know that I'm not letting things stay the way they are. You mean too much to me." He doesn't know where the courage came from to say those words but he's relieved he found it, smirking at her gently, his coal and hazel eyes full of charm and hopefulness.
Her eyes begin to shine as they glisten with a fresh layer of unshed tears. She swallows down her nerves before allowing a soft smile to form as they share another knowing stare, one that says more than words ever could.
"Good night, Harvey." She presses her lips together with a sweet, friendly nod.
"Good night, Donna." he whispers back to her fading form before he closes the door, hoping that that was one of the last times he has had to watch her leave.
If you made it here, thanks for reading! I'd love to here your thoughts on the chapter! :)
Chapter two is almost complete and should be up shortly.
Spoilers: post-kiss fight flashback and a brand new arrival.