Mike woke up in bed alone the next morning spectacularly hung over. The night before replayed in his mind and he let out a groan of despair. He was getting too old for this stumbling drunk nonsense he had been doing lately. He was on the quick path to an AA room at the rate he was going- one more thing for Harvey to make fun of him about. Speaking of Mike sat up, looking next to him at the empty space.
That wasn't right.
It was probably only nine in the morning and Harvey was anything but a morning person. Mike got up and found he was still in yesterday's clothes.
When he exited the room, he still didn't see Harvey.
"Harvey?" Mike called out.
No one answered.
He noticed a small folded piece of paper on the counter and padded over.
Got some business to take care of, so I figured I'd let you sleep.
Take it easy. There's some money on the fridge if you want to order out. Probably won't be back til late.
Mike stared at the note, not sure what to think or what it meant. Harvey's notes usually ended in a quip at his masculinity or something.
Harvey was still mad. Shit.
Mike stripped off his clothes and got in the shower. Mike knew he should be the one who was mad. Jill's words were in his head, rattling around and confusing him. That also could have been the hangover but the warm water soothed the ache in his head enough to function at half capacity.
Mike suddenly wanted to talk to Harvey, wanted to hear his voice. He felt that if he could just hear Harvey, he'd be able to get a grip on the situation. Maybe figure out exactly how to approach it. How was he supposed to gauge Harvey if he wasn't here?
He got out of the shower and was pulled from his thoughts as his phone went off. Hurrying over to it, he checked the caller ID.
"Hey, how you feeling?"
"Like I was hit with a truck and left for dead. But I'm starting to feel better."
"Harvey keeps the Advil in the cupboard by the coffee maker. He told me to check up on you."
Mike padded out to the kitchen, finding the cupboard in question. Inside he found the bottle. Bless that woman's heart for her extensive knowledge of everything that mattered.
"Speaking of, Harvey isn't here. Said he had some business to take care of?"
When she didn't go on, Mike frowned. Popping the pill in his mouth he swallowed. Gross. Pill taste. "What's oh?"
"With his current work load displaced, he shouldn't have any business. Which means there are two places he could be; Jersey- which is unlikely- or…"
Mike thought on that. "That isn't a place."
He could almost hear the eye roll. "Well depending on what he has to think about it could be any number of places so I just labeled it all 'thinking', alright? I should have known when he called to tell me to check on you."
Mike sat on the couch with a flop. "I'm a grown man. I can take care of myself."
"I know you can. You're Donna's big boy, but Harvey worries."
"Ha, ha. Any idea when he's gonna be back?"
"Nope." There was a pause from Donna then, a sigh. "Mind if I ask what happened?"
Mike chuckled, trying to shake off the nerves. "Trevor happened. He called and… some things were said. I said things I shouldn't have, blew up in Harvey's face and he just… took it."
Donna didn't say anything. He decided to go on.
"I went out for a drink, got too smashed to walk home and I… I called Trevor to come get me. I had him bring me back to Harvey."
She sighed dramatically. "Honey, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Harvey Specter is a diva. He throws dramatic fits and-"
"Where exactly is the secret part of this?"
"I'm getting there. Harvey is a diva but he's never had a problem sharing his stage with you."
Mike's frowned. "What does that even mean?"
"If you have to ask, Mike. Anyway, since your afternoon is free do you want to tag team babysitting Gabs then? I'm taking her off you're brother-in-law-to-be's hands so he can take his lovely wife around the city, art museums and such."
Mike babbled, trying to put into words the rush of excitement and terror that washed over him.
"I'll take that as a yes then?"
"Yes. Yes, I would love to watch her with you. She's really- just really awesome."
"She gets it from me. Anyway I'm picking her up around eleven. Be warned, we won't go easy on you."
Mike hadn't babysat since high school. Kids had always liked him, and he had always enjoyed kids. They were usually older than this. How he ended up braiding soft blond hair and having plastic bows clipped in his own hair he wasn't so sure. Gabrielle was gently brushing Donna's hair, soothing the red head whenever she got to a knot. Mike could tell that Donna wasn't soothed by the visible tension in her shoulders. The woman really put on a brave face for the kid. The movie they had been watching ended, the princess finally returned to her kingdom and the celebrating afterwards.
"So she marries an orphan?"
Gabrielle drank from her sippy cup with a shrug.
"I thought princesses could only marry princes." Mike must have missed that memo. Fairytales were really adapting to the times. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact she had a pet lizard thing. That and that a girl who grew up in a tower had better social skills then he did.
"Nope. They changed it. Everyone can marry the person they love." She turned around to look at Mike.
Mike smiled. "It's that simple then?" She nodded. "What if the person you love doesn't love you back?" Donna's head tilted a bit so she could better hear but Mike ignored her, intent on the woven hair in front of him. Braiding was way harder than it looked.
Gabrielle frowned. "It's sad. But you don't love them because they love you. You love them because you love them." Mike's fingers stilled in her hair. She turned and looked up at him. "Uncle Arby loves you."
Mike swallowed. Her big eyes looked into his with a certainty that only four year olds could muster. "Oh yeah? And what makes you so sure about that?"
"His eyes look different when you're in them."
"They look different. They go soft and you're safe there."
Donna quickly brushed her hair behind Gabrielle while the girl was intent on Mike. He never felt so used. "You are wise beyond your years, Gab."
She nodded sagely and turned back to Donna's hair.
Harvey's left hook hit the bag with a loud thump. He brought it back around for another swing again and again, repeating the motion with practiced precision. It helped keep his thoughts in order. Some people did yoga, or meditated. He hit a punching bag until he no longer felt his knuckles. A sigh escaped him and he took a break, moving away from the bag and grabbing his water from the floor.
He looked at the other gym patrons around him while he cooled down a bit. There was a woman on the bag two to his left who was giving it a good beating. Her technique was impressive, and suddenly, their eyes met. Harvey went back to his bag. She smiled and finished her set. She nodded his way. "Well?"
"You're right jab could use some tightening up…" Harvey trailed off.
The woman walked closer, her blonde hair bouncing in its pony tail. "Yeah well, you were really giving the bag hell."
"Yeah, well…" Harvey really didn't want to talk about it. "It's complicated."
She laughed. "Of course it is. Its relationship thing, isn't it?"
Harvey didn't stop punching.
"Have a fight? Maybe I can help. Being of the womanly persuasion. "
Harvey shrugged. "That would help if I was with a woman."
The woman nodded. "Well, I've been wrong before. Not a big deal. I'm still good with helping."
Harvey laughed, continuing his set of punches. "I'm not about to spill my soul out in the gym." The woman just stood there, arms crossed and waiting. He didn't really talk much to people he knew.
"You're not fooling me, stranger. You look to be itching for someone to tell."
"Look, lady, I don't-" Harvey stopped and looked at her. She really wasn't going away. Sighing he wiped his brow on his forearm. "Where do I begin?"
"At the very beginning. I hear it's a very good place to start."
Harvey raised an eyebrow but shrugged, getting back to his bag. "I'm getting married." He started on another set of jabs.
The woman frowned. "I'd say congratulations but the way you're punching that bag doesn't really bring wedding bells to mind."
"It hasn't been easy. Our engagements been rushed forward and after everything that has happned… he doesn't want to marry me."
"What makes you say that?" she asked it softly, taking a step forward. Only she could hear whatever his reply was.
Harvet finished his set and wiped his face on his towel again. "'Til death do us part? That's an awful long time."
She smiled. "You haven't been in love in a while have you?"
Harvey bulked at the word. "I don't think I've ever been really in love. I mean what is the criteria for that sort of thing anyway?"
"I see you're not the kind of who uses the term lightly."
Harvey started punching the bag again. "Nope."
The woman shook her head. "So you'd just give him up then? You want to just call it all off?"
Harvey stopped mid swing. Slowly he stepped forward and rested his head on the bag. "No. I want to keep him. I want to chain him up and never let him go. I want to possess him." It wasn't healthy, but it was true. The minute he met Mike he had to have him. He didn't want to give Mike up- not to anyone. He looked over at his confidant with a bitter smile. "All the more reason I shouldn't go through with this."
She looked truly sympathetic for the first time since they started talking. He didn't notice that they hadn't been completely genuine until suddenly true emotion was in them and he didn't know why. The smile she returned him was warm, laced with underlying pity. If he hadn't been so distracted he might have noticed sooner. "I think you should ask him how he feels on the matter, before you go making grand assumptions on your own. It makes you look pretty selfish."
"I am pretty selfish."
"When you love someone? You try not to do stuff like that."
Harvey glared at her. "Oh, really? I didn't know."
"Well this isn't just about you. So maybe you should confer with your other half and see?"
Harvey didn't reply. Instead he took off his gloves. "Maybe. I'm heading out. Been nice talking to you…"
"Jillian. Nice talking to you." She extended a gloved hand and he bumped the knuckles of it.
Jillian smiled. "You said that already," she called after him.
He smirked and kept walking.
It was early evening when he got back to his apartment. He got there just as Donna was leaving. Instead of greeting him she put a finger to her lips and hitched her thumb towards the living room before exiting. Harvey cautiously rounded the corner and stopped dead. Mike was asleep on the couch, arms curled around his niece. She nuzzled into her new uncle's chest in her sleep, soft curls framing her serene, plump face. Mike held her with a gentle strength to him as they lay sprawled across the couch. Harvey swallowed down the wave of affection he felt rising. His clothes were sticking to him and he smelled terrible. On his way to the bedroom, he softly ran his fingers through Mike's hair.
This really needed to stop. Harvey pried himself away from the sickeningly adorable sight in his living room and headed for the shower. It wasn't fair how sweet those two looked together. It was a dirty ploy.
Harvey took an unnecessarily long shower after that.