Summary: And this? This is the second time. This time it's serious. This time, you actually think you might lose.
Category: Angst-ahoy, drama.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: This scenario has been creeping around in my head. I have another story I badly want to start but this needed to be unleashed first. Let me know what you think, thanks for reading! No beta.
Nothing happens for months. Absolutely nothing. Everything settles somewhat at work after several months of tumult. You continue harassing the puppy, continue bombarding both Mike and Donna with work that you can't be bothered to do, continue being you.
It's not until the Fall that things start to change. You meet a woman, Jill, at a private event during a Yankees game. Blonde and a total knockout, she's a sports agent and her company is hosting this event. You find this serendipitous considering you're trying to lure her company into choosing your law firm, so you keep things flirty and professional at first.
By the end of the night, the Yankees have won and so have you. Both Jill and the company are in your back pocket.
For some odd reason, you take her on a date — not just drinks and a direct ascent to your humble abode. You don't even have sex the first night, which happens occasionally, but rarely are you left wanting so badly. By the time you both get around to sealing the deal, you've been dating, that's right — dating for over a month.
And it's great.
She doesn't need an excess of emotion from you. She works with egotistical, self-absorbed clients for a living and she calls you her Reserve Pitcher. It would get to you if she weren't so light-hearted and smiley about it. She gets that you like to work hard and play hard, in that order. Everything is casual and there's no pressure. You start to wonder why you'd been running from relationships to begin with.
Until one day it smacks you in the face. Literally. She's met you for lunch and mentions a dinner party, giving you her beautiful pout with those magical lips and her big blue eyes. It's the first time in a long time you've been required to attend something as a couple. You scowl. She frowns.
"I swear I won't wear clothes the entire weekend if you come to this thing on Saturday."
"Jill, you know I hate dinner parties. It's forced intimacy without me making a profit off anything."
"It's a bunch of people from work. We talk shop. We talk baseball players and the stupid things they've done. I figured that would be something you'd enjoy."
You fight rolling your eyes. She's partially right. You've been itching to know what the deal is with the Yankees second-baseman for a good solid month.
"No clothes… all weekend?" You take a sip of coffee, pulling back when her hand taps you playfully on the cheek.
"I'll only wear clothes when we go to the party, but no underwear. These are good people. Fun people. You're going to have a great time."
You're running a little late, mainly because Jill has been naked all day and you've had to put that situation to good use. Now she's wearing a black sheath dress and her wool coat because it is still ridiculously cold for early April.
"You're wearing far too much clothing."
"And you're ridiculous," she snaps back with a smirk as the door opens to reveal a tall, well dressed man in his mid-forties.
"Jill!" he reaches out gives her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and then shakes your hand. "Harvey, I'm Tom Benning. I've heard all about you, nice to finally meet the lawyer who swept the company off its feet."
"Tom! Seriously," says Jill as she smacks him on the arm as you pass inside, a large, well-decorated apartment welcoming you. There are easily twelve other people and you are inwardly pleased because it will decrease the possibility of having to make small talk. You let Jill lead you around the room, introducing you to so-and-so and whatshisface. You smile and shake hands and reply as necessary, but find yourself immediately distracted when you hear a very distinct laugh and see its owner exiting the kitchen with Tom's wife, Charlotte.
Of course. Eventually, you were going to see each other out in town, it was only a matter of… 13 years. Tonight though, you're not sure you're all that prepared. Things have gotten a little weird between you both lately and you can't quite put your finger on what it is.
She doesn't know you're here yet, so you take the moment to watch her unawares. Dressed in a dark cream sweater dress, she almost glows in the apartment, the soft light setting off her hair and complexion. She easily outshines most other women in the room, but does it so effortlessly that one could hardly hold it against her.
A tall man, dark and handsome type, looking vaguely familiar, comes up behind Donna and kisses her on the neck, his hands placed comfortably on her hips like they belong there. You're taken by surprise, unaware Donna was dating anyone. Though, over the years she's gotten increasingly stealthy at shielding you from her dating life.
Jill clutches your hand, breaking your attention away from Donna.
"Where'd you go?" she whispers, kissing you quickly on the cheek.
Shaking your head, you focus your attention once again on your date and not on Donna. Or at least, you try.
Inevitably you meet Dark and Handsome, and place him as an ex-baseball player that was recruited from Puerto Rico. You want to mock Donna for dating someone who played a sport she could care less about.
"How long have you two been dating?" Jill asks casually, because she's met Donna once or twice, but she's never given Donna a passing thought. For the first time, you realize how stressful it's been for Donna whenever you somehow manage to meet some guy she's dating. Because inevitably it comes out that you're more than her boss. And tonight, Jill is going to realize that Donna is more than just your secretary.
"Ten months?" Dark and Handsome says with his hand resting on the small of Donna's back. At first glance, she's all smiles and charm, but you can see by the way she holds her shoulders that she's uncomfortable with your presence.
"Really?" you respond without even thinking. By your math that's right around the time she returned to the firm. "How'd you two meet?"
Donna and Dark and Handsome look at each other, a shared secret bringing a smile to their lips. "It's a long story." They say together.
Irritation simmers because she's still looking at him like that. There's a reason why she doesn't bring her boyfriends around you. It's less jealousy and more that you just don't like to share. Instead, you grip your wine glass tighter and make a snide comment.
"Online dating site it is. Donna, I thought those were beneath you." You wish you could sew your mouth shut because this is when you say things you regret and Harvey Specter never regrets anything.
Fortunately she takes your comment in stride and shakes her head. "Nice try, Harvey. Not so easy though." She smiles at Jill then brushes her hand on that idiot's arm. "Listen I've got to help Charlotte get the rest of the food out. I'll catch up with you later."
Watching her escape you want to follow, but find yourself trapped in the third circle of hell between Jill and Dark and Handsome. They've known each other for years and are catching up on how life has been since he retired.
"What do you do now?" You ask, not because you care, but because it's polite.
"I teach Physics at NYU."
"We always used to joke that he was the only one with a brain on the team," Jill offers as she smiles at him. You think that maybe they also have a history together, but can't be bothered by thoughts of that right now.
"That must be rewarding at least, teaching," you have no idea where you're going with this, but need to find a way to get some space.
"Hardly, half of my classes are for premed students who are angry that they need to be in physics in the first place. The other half is full of kids who need it to complete some other requirement. I have about five students who actually like the science."
The guy drones on with his light accent and his casual conversation with your girlfriend, but you've drained your glass and break for more. You beg your pardon and slip into the kitchen. You spot Donna at the opposite end, grinning at something Charlotte is saying, whispers of 'getaways' and 'visiting his mother' reach your ears. You make some noise so they're aware of your presence, and Charlotte smiles as she carries out what will be the first course.
"Of all the places in this city, you came to a dinner party on a Saturday night?" Donna knows how much you abhor these situations.
"I was bribed."
"Bet she said she'd wear nothing but lace all weekend."
"You've upped your ante," Donna replies, a peculiar pinch in the corner of her mouth. She motions to the empty glass you're holding. "You here for a refill?"
"Yes. The Chianti."
"I think that weird guy with the mustache finished it. There's got to be more. " Donna dips into a room and you follow because who doesn't like to see what's in dark rooms? It's their wine closet and for the first time in many years, you're jealous.
"Damn," you whistle appreciatively. There's a large fridge for the chilled wines and floor to 12-foot ceiling custom made shelves of everything else.
"I know," Donna says knowingly. "Charlotte's family owns a vineyard in Napa Valley and another in Bordeaux."
"You're kidding." You're trying to pay attention, but the image of Donna bent slightly, perusing their section of Chianti is taking away your ability to respond smartly.
"I never kid; although I did ask them to adopt me. Tom is quite possibly one of the funniest men I've ever met," she says this offhandedly, her facing lighting up when she spots the type of Chianti you were drinking. "Voila."
You've moved closer out of sheer habit and when she turns to hand it to you, there's very little space between you both and she practically plants it in the center of your chest. For all of two seconds, two eternal seconds, you forget to breathe and she forgets to blink. This has been happening more frequently lately and this is perhaps the reason behind why things are so off between you two. Then there's a noise outside and it breaks the moment.
"Whoa there, space invader," she says as her attempt at blasé fails as she moves past you, her shoulder brushing your arm. "Come on, the sooner you eat your dinner, the sooner Jill can shed that pesky dress of hers."
When you return, there is a seat for you beside Jill at one end, while Donna takes a seat next to Dark and Handsome at the opposite end on the other side. You're glad to be spared having to watch them throughout dinner, but their end is easily the more entertaining because Donna and Tom are going back and forth like a riot and you nearly wonder if they're thinking of opening a comedy show off-Broadway.
"So Harvey," Charlotte begins, finally moving onto polite hostess duties in speaking with you. "I hear you're a lawyer? What kind?"
"I'm a defense attorney," you say because over the years most of what you say about law makes people's eyes glaze over. Being a closer means absolutely nothing to these people.
"What kind of defense?"
"Big companies mostly, white collar stuff. Our firm doesn't really handle criminal court cases."
"And that's how you met Jill, right? Your firm works for her and Tom's company?"
"Actually, Harvey lured us away from Thompson and Reiter," Jill states. "He said he was one of the best lawyers in town."
Charlotte seemed to find this humorous in the way a mother enjoys the boasting of other parents. "Is that true? Are you? One of the best lawyers in town?"
"Ask Jill." You say pointedly. You did, after all, save one of her clients from near disaster last week.
Jill has the decency to blush modestly, "I have to say, he's pulled off a miracle or two. Certainly much better than our old team of lawyers."
At this point, Tom picks up the whiff of lawyers and makes the requisite joke or two about the ruthlessness of lawyers. Everyone laughs, even you, because no matter what it's always true. Then he somehow brings up that you and Donna already know each other, which the table finds fascinating.
"How long have you two worked together?" Tom asks, taking a sip of his beer.
"Thirteen years," Donna replies casually, though you both know where this is going.
"Back when you were at the DAs office, right?" offers Dark and Handsome. Suddenly the room is shrinking a bit.
"I didn't know you worked for the DA," Jill states lightly, but her tone tells you otherwise.
"It was a long time ago, I needed to get a start somewhere." This is why you hate the parties, the stupid conversation at the dinner table. Unless you're making a deal, these people aren't worth your time.
"Too true," states the weird mustached man. Who is that guy?
"Tom, Charlotte was telling me that you started out working as a caddy for Don Mattingly," Donna deflects, successfully turning the conversation from both of you and back onto sports. Unfortunately, Jill is the person who is stuck on you and Donna.
"So let me get this straight," Jill says as you both settle into an oversized reading chair after the meal is over. "Donna left the DAs office with you or was that a coincidence?"
"No, we left the office together and started working at Pearson Hardman together."
She's quiet for a few moments, the wheels in her head visibly churning as everyone takes a seat around the room, preparing to start some obnoxious party game that you also hate. Jill is watching Donna now, seeing her in a new light.
"Have you two…? " she asks without finishing because you simply shake your head.
"Really?" she doesn't believe you. No one ever does. You've never really cared, but this time, it matters. You turn her face to yours, so she knows you're being serious when you look her in the eyes. "No. That's why we've been able to work together this long. Because we didn't screw it up."
She nods and kisses you lightly, but you can still tell there's some reservation. It doesn't help that by the time the game is over, it's very obvious that you and Donna are experts at reading each other. You both ended up on the same team and it's a charade-like game. Donna is queen at observation and body language; the other team never stood a chance against her. You also high-five each other after utter and total annihilation, like idiots. Whatever. Jill dragged you to this outing. You can't help it if you're the best at everything.
"Harvey, it was great to finally meet you," Tom is sincere in the way agents are when they're trying to close a client. "Jill has been singing your praises for a while, but I'm glad to put a face with a name."
"Same here, Tom. Thanks for a great evening," you reply, wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. You want to get in your car and drop off Jill also. Because there is going to be an argument soon and you're not really in the mood for one. You help her into her coat and grab her warm hand, then leave without looking around for Donna. That would be too much and you're already in trouble.
Unfortunately, Donna is already outside saying goodnight to Dark and Handsome. More like kissing goodnight, which seems a bit much given their location, but neither one seems to be aware of their surroundings. He sees her into a taxi, telling her to call when she gets home. You would never let her take a taxi back this late, and wouldn't have if you knew it wouldn't make a scene.
"When's your flight?" Jill asks Mr. Physics as Ray pulls up with the car. That's right, Dark and Handsome has a conference in Singapore starting in two days. Hence the reason he isn't riding home with Donna. Bummer.
"It's at five, but I leave from Newark, so it'll be an early morning. I'll be flying most the day anyway."
"Too bad Donna couldn't come with you," Jill states, but she's digging for something.
"I know," he replies, "but she has this hardass of a boss who absolutely refuses to let her off work. Next time though." Dark and handsome smirks, but the threat is there underneath the charm and swagger. You won this round in keeping her, but next time, she will be coming with him. He clearly doesn't see you as much of a threat, which you find interesting and concerning at the same time.
"Have a good night," you wish him as both you and Jill climb inside the car. The silence that envelops you is somewhat chilly despite the heat pumping through the car.
"I'm going to stay at my place tonight, okay?" Jill says this in a way that makes you weary, like you somehow messed up, even though you didn't. Not really. You were you and Donna was Donna and that's how you do.
"Sure. Want to get brunch in the morning?" This is as close to a peace offering as you will get and she knows it. That's what you appreciate about Jill. She is very clever and discerning. She knows how to read between the lines. Though this ability is also why you're in the hot seat right now.
Ray is pulling up in front of her place and she turns to you, watching you closely, searching for cracks or some sign that you're going to disappoint her. Somehow, you pass.
"Definitely. I'll call you after I get out of yoga." She kisses you, but there's no heat. Her blonde hair and blue eyes suddenly seem too cold as she whispers goodnight. Suddenly you're wondering how you kept warm to begin with.
Things go back to normal between you and Jill after some genuine one-on-one time. You even take her on a weekend trip to the Hamptons in the springtime. This also affords Donna a chance to get away as well.
It's the worst idea you've ever had. You come back with a sunburn and she returns with a giant rock on her left ring finger. It's become sort of an urban myth around the firm that Donna has had over fifteen proposals. You often laughed at this because in reality, it's easily over twenty. Once, after she shrewdly broke one guy's heart, you took to calling her 'Maneater' for a whole month.
In the grand scheme of things, her getting proposed to isn't that big a deal. The problem is she's only accepted twice. The first time was a tragic confluence of events that does not get mentioned. Ever.
And this? This is the second time. This time it's serious. This time, you actually think you might lose.
So as she comes into your office, causal and unaffected, you watch as the ring catches the sun when she tucks her hair behind her ear. Mike signs the papers she's come in for and you're just staring her down because she doesn't announce its presence on her finger. It just is.
"Holy shit, check out the size of that thing," Mike observes in the most uncouth manner imaginable. Grabbing her hand, he pulls her down on the couch to take a look at it, a blush creeping up her neck. You grip your armrest tighter because now Mike is making you acknowledge that thing on her finger. "Congratulations! This is great. The baseball player, right? I'm so happy for you, Donna."
Mike gives her a hug and now you feel you ought to stand, because for some odd reason you have to congratulate her for choosing to spend her personal life with someone who really isn't all that bad.
When she rises to leave, you catch her left hand and bring it too your lips, never once breaking eye contact. "Congratulations, he's a lucky man." You murmur this and she nods, because she can tell what you're really saying: you better be sure about this, because there's no going back.
Once you release her hand, the bubble that was the two of you disintegrates and Mike drifts back in. Donna grabs the papers and exits, carrying the documents to the file room.
That night, you make very aggressive, passionate love to Jill. When she asks what's gotten into you, you shake your head and close your eyes, continuing on. Because the woman you see with your eyes shut is most certainly not the woman beneath you and neither of them deserve that. So you kiss her gently and tell her you love her, even though you don't.
But maybe you will someday.
A/N: I could leave it here, or not. Let me know guys.