Summary: And if this is a farewell then you should make it count.
Category: Angst-ahoy, drama.
A/N: This may become a multi-parter. Right now, it's from Donna's perspective. Thanks for reading, please enjoy.
You're mulling over your prospects after a soundly disappointing morning. For the first time in several years, you'd gone to an audition for an off-Broadway play. It was neither a big part nor a small part, but a part all the same.
You failed. Spectacularly.
There had been exactly 37 other women vying for the same role. Many who had a laundry list of plays under her respective belt. The last time you'd set foot on stage was in congratulating an old friend on her staring role. Your palms sweat, your heart stuttered, and your lines came out clammy and flat. Remaining pride was the only thing that led you off the darkened stage.
No matter. There are three more auditions tomorrow and another the day after. At this rate, you'll get a part sweeping up someone's ambition off a worn and weary floor.
Now you need to sit and ponder. You're at your cafe. You even have a corner. You inhabit this spot frequently on Saturdays, a newspaper and warm beverage in hand. There are five people who work here, two of whom you've known for the last six years. Just by glancing at you, they can assume - always correctly - what your order should be.
Today, they've uncorked a bottle of red, placed a baguette with cheese and salami beside you. Jorge, one of your waiters, smiles knowingly and turns to bus away the plates from a recently emptied table.
Unceremoniously you sip full-bodied wine and pick away at the baguette. It's food intended for whiling away an afternoon in contemplation, and it's meeting your demands perfectly. Thoughts of unspoken options flit across your mind, murmured promises of hopping on airplanes and sworn visits to sights unseen rise to the surface.
Just as you start on your second glass and you've settled on the prospect of a vacation, you feel that slight twinge between your shoulders — the one that always told you Harvey was watching from his desk. Instead of turning scornfully, you hold your breath and will away the sensation.
Unfortunately it only gets stronger, louder too, as his footsteps draw near. One glance at Jorge and Lola, the cafe's owner, tells you all you need to know. Outwardly you sigh while inwardly you fortify your resolve.
"May I join you?" He asks because it's polite, but his hand is already on the back of the chair even as your gaze fixes on his shiny black shoes. You settle back and shrug. When he sits, you observe that he's removed his coat and tie, and rolled up his sleeves. You wonder what day of the week it is, and whether an impostor has replaced him.
Your eyes travel up his forearms, his striped shirt, and to his face. He looks the same as usual, but the tightness around his eyes and mouth show exhaustion and determination — much like he did as a senior associate. He studies you much the same way, but you don't much care to know his thoughts. Not the way you used to, at least.
This time Lola comes, placing another wine glass in front of Harvey. You notice that she changed shoes, sharp-as-tack stilettos. She gives you a quick smile as she places some olives between you both, this time stepping dangerously close to Harvey's left foot. He takes the hint and sits a little taller.
Taking a formidable sip, Harvey sets down his glass and exhales slowly, twisting the stem between thumb and forefinger. You aren't quite sure what he's here for, because he's not cracking and you aren't digging.
Determined to be unbothered, you rip off another piece of bread and place the cheese and salami on top, taking a generous bite. It lodges in your throat and you chase it with the red wine. Harvey watches all in silence, but you continue to act unaffected. This should have been your audition, not that sham earlier this morning.
The words are so sudden and so quiet, that you aren't sure you heard him correctly. He catches your confusion and frowns, repeating himself once again.
"I'm sorry, Donna. I…" he pauses and looks away as though the old man next to him can provide some dialogue. "Once I got over my anger and let everything settle, I started to understand what you did and why you did it."
He glances at you, to see if anything is sinking in. It is, but you can't decide if it's too little too late or if all your other feelings are overshadowing your current gratitude.
"I am thankful and appreciative of your loyalty and your intentions behind the gesture. I still don't agree with what you did, though. That part…" his words seem to leave him and he struggles with a shake of his head
He visibly deflates and you wonder how someone like Harvey Specter can look so small. It's not a good look for him, one that you'd rather forget. So you take in his words — his apology and statement of disapproval — knowing that this will be all you'll ever get from him. Maybe for the last time.
And if this is a farewell, then you should make it count.
"At the time," your voice is a little scratchy from disuse and wine. You clear and begin again, his eyes glued to yours. "When I first found the memo… I couldn't figure out how I'd done something so stupid, so careless. But then I realized — my mistake could end your career. How could I fix it? How could I make it go away? Mike found me in the middle of that. He tried to talk me out of it. But there was this part of me that absolutely refused to be at fault for bringing down years of hard work and sacrifice."
You break eye contact and shake your head, looking away.
"So I got rid of it. I figured in the end, there was always plausible deniability. Do I regret the harm it brought you and the firm? Yes. I am…" you take a breath and say the words slowly, "I am very sorry for that."
He reads your face and sees the truth in your words. His jaw clenches as you continue on.
"But I don't apologize for my motivation behind my actions. Most everything I've done for over a decade has revolved in some way around you. Protecting you, caring for you, working for you."
He nods almost apologetically as he drains his glass. "I know that."
"Do you?" You ask this because you feel your ire building up again and whether you like it or not, this needs to end. "Because I can safely say this whole… shit storm has shown me that we have very little in common except for one thing: protecting your ass."
Instead of raising your voice, you lean closer and speak your words with a specific type of venom. "My fault was action, yours was inaction. Up until a couple weeks ago, I wouldn't have even spared a second if I had to name someone who'd always be in my corner, someone who'd always have my back."
You feel a certain type of begrudging victory as you watch your words hit home. His face slips into this mask of impenetrability when something is too painful. As you say your next words, you hate the tears that start to well in your eyes. Shaking your head slowly, you whisper: "You were my best friend, Harvey."
"And all these years by your side led me to believe that I had earned some type of role in your life, but the past few weeks have proved what I always feared but refused to believe, and it was that you only cared about yourself."
You reach down and grab your purse; knowing that you're about to start crying and you won't give him that. He doesn't deserve your tears, your feelings, your destruction. You drop a couple twenty-dollar bills on the table and push away, standing.
He grabs your wrist as you pass, and you stop just long enough to give him a parting farewell. "I don't know why you came here or what you wanted from me, but please — please respect me enough to leave me alone. Good luck, Harvey. I hope you get what you want."
You pull away, ignoring the warmth of his grip and the stinging in your eyes. Swiping a tear away, you continue down the street, never looking back.
Such a shame, because if you had, you'd have seen Harvey turn and watch you go, whispering: "I want you, Donna."
When you make it to your apartment, you spend the next twenty minutes crying ugly, fat tears; broken-hearted over splitting from the one man you thought you'd never have to say goodbye to.
A/N: Obviously, if I get some solid feedback, I'll continue. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this meager offering.