Okay, my first shot at Suits fanfiction. Keep in mind, English is not my native language, I don't live in the States and I have no beta, so there might be a few errors here and there. Hope you don't mind!
This takes place somewhere during season one, but it might not correspond completely to the situation in the series. I have most of it mapped out already, so if all goes well it should be - more than - a few pages long. On the other hand, you never know what Harvey might do, so I'll let his actions guide me as I write... :) I don't own Suits (I'm a girl), I do own Ana. Chuckie and a few other characters are borrowed from Oz. Don't know Oz? Shame on you. Go watch!
Harvey walked into the bar with a look of disapproval on his face. He almost stepped back out to check whether he was actually in the right place. It was... dingy, with the dark wooden bar that looked like it had been varnished a few times too often and the grubby shaded windows lining the length of the place. It looked like the kind of place where the seats were sticky and the tables were even stickier. A cautious touch of the nearest bar stool seemed to disprove his initial assessment, but he still wasn't about to sit his Armani suit down on one. He'd rather stand all night if he had to, even when he came straight out of the office.
He casually adjusted his vest as he looked around to find Mike sitting at the far end of the bar, big smile on his face and a drink in his hand. A fair blonde woman - attractive, though a bit young for his taste - sat next to him, practically glued to his lips. She looked up as Mike raised a hand and waved at Harvey to come over. Before her eyes met Harvey's, he made sure to replace his obvious look of discomfort with a patented confident Harvey-smile and walked up to her. He smoothly weaved around the bar guests, patting shoulders of a few familiar faces on his way over.
"Harvey Specter," he introduced himself smugly to the blonde as he reached her, shaking her hand firmly. No need for further introductions as she obviously recognized his name.
"Jenny Griffith," she replied softly while holding his look for a minute, visibly impressed. "I'm a... close friend of Mike's." She then cast her eyes down for a second before looking back up at Mike with a small smile. Harvey suggestively raised an eyebrow and grinned at Mike. The poor puppy looked uncomfortable for a moment watching the exchange unfold between him and Jenny.
Easy boy, I'm not going to steal your girlfriend, Harvey chuckled to himself. I'd rather seduce a woman my own age. But still, it stroked his ego to think that Mike saw him as competition. The kid didn't look half bad himself - if he would lose the skinny tie and spend some decent money on his suits, he might actually become good competition. One day.
"Such an... original venue," he commented drily as he threw a theatrical look around, gesturing to the smudgy tables behind Mike, the bar with the brass taps and a number of associates scattered around the place in various levels of business attire. He smirked. "I'm sure you've selected this after a thorough investigation of the current most popular bars in the city?"
Mike rolled his eyes. "Well - according to my indeed very thorough internet search, it appears that this bar not only offers the best service in the area - an average score of 8.7 with 304 reviewers isn't bad I would say - but also has a wide selection of drinks and long opening hours. All criteria which I believe most laywers would certainly appreciate, but most importantly criteria that I appreciate. And since it's my birthday..."
"Oh, we're getting a little presumptuous now, are we?" Harvey interrupted him, putting his hands in his pockets.
"N-no," Mike stuttered, shooting an uncertain look at Jenny. "It's just that I really liked this place. Plus," he argued as he put a finger up in the air, "It accommodates a good 50 people and still be spacious enough to feel comfortable. You know, considering that most people like to maintain a personal space around them of about one and a half feet. Plus, the music is never much above 60 decibels which means that you can carry on a conversation without needing to shout..."
"Wow there, Wikipedia," Harvey cut in. "We get the point. You're right. Your birthday, your choice." He winked at Jenny, who patted Mike on the back and chuckled. Mike visibly relaxed on his bar stool.
"Although..." Harvey continued as he shot an amused look over his shoulder, "I'm not quite sure what our connoisseur du venue Louis Litt will have to say about your choice of scenery... Do they serve champagne from the *region* here?" Mike almost burst into laughter but composed himself just in time as Louis located them at the bar. He visibly broadened his chest and saluted a little too enthusiastically at them, as he always did.
As Louis made his way over to the far end, awkardly bumping his thick-set frame into several people on his way over, Harvey slid a black unmarked envelope over the bar towards Mike. The outside betrayed nothing of its contents, but it looked severly out of place on the triple lacquered, battered wooden surface.
"Anyway, happy birthday, kid." Mike took the envelope, turned it around in his fingers once and put it in the inside pocket of his jacket. How discrete. Maybe someday he would learn some manners after all, Harvey noticed appraisingly.
"Thanks, Harvey. Have a drink, they're on me," Mike gestured towards the bar.
"They better be," Harvey couldn't refrain from saying, unbuttoning his jacket and carefully laying one hand on the bar. It was surpiringly dry and non-sticky. But before Harvey could motion one of the bartenders to order a drink, Louis was already squeezing himself in front of Harvey to get to Mike.
"Mike, Mike, Mike," he tutted with outright disgust, looking around as if he had just been thrown into a dumpster. "What is this place? It looks like a homeless shelter. And that name... so tacky." He shaked his head and rolled his eyes at Harvey.
You can always count on Louis to be a blunt, tactless asshole, Harvey thought as he mentally smacked him in the head. He saw Mike wincing slightly and trying to maintain a confident attitude. He actually felt sorry for the kid, although Harvey pretty much had the same reaction himself earlier. Why hadn't Mike just picked that new jazz lounge two blocks away from the office? Or the Centre Court Bar? Even the corporate restaurant would've been a better pick if Harvey was concerned. But damn it if he would let Louis know that.
"Haven't you heard about this place, Louis? Hmmm. Maybe your connections to hip and happening New York aren't what they used to be..." Harvey interjected smoothly before Mike could stutter another Wiki-filled reply. It was just enough to plant a seed of doubt and send Louis' thick eyebrows reaching for the heavens. Harvey simply raised an eyebrow of his own and confidently stepped past Louis to reach the bar again. Louis shot him an incredulous look and took another look around the dingy bar. You could practically see the wheels turning in there.
Seeing the bartender approach their end of the bar, Harvey used the moment to distract Louis' attention off Mike and gestured for her to come over. As always, his judgement was imminently ready. Probably twenty-nine, maybe thirty, auburn hair, tugged back into a practical ponytail. Delicate features and a light skin tone. Straight nose, little make up. A bit plain, but not necessarily ugly. Still a bit young maybe, but otherwise not bad. If it wasn't for the fact that she worked in a place where he wouldn't want to be found dead, and if she might had worn something with a little more shape and class to it...
'Yeah, as if that's kept you from hunting a woman down before, mr. Specter,' he playfully sneered to himself. 'Remember that waitress last year? Not a decent conversation in her, but her skills in bed... well...' But before he could let his mind drift off between the sheets of his kingsize satin-covered bed, Louis again made sure to draw all the attention to himself.
"Hi, honey," he said with a voice even lower than his already deep baritone. He had his right hand up at his face, casually leaning on the bar and showing his... ehm, quite large teeth in Louis' version of a toothpaste smile. Harvey shot him a skeptical sideway glance, still standing beside him at the bar. Oh no, Louis. You're way out of your league here. He tried to keep himself from snickering too loudly as he subtly winked at Mike. Watching Louis make an ass of himself was always amusing.
"I'd like a round of your best Scotch," he continued in the same suave tone. You had to hand it to the guy, he really had the voice down. The girl though didn't seem that impressed.
"We have exactly one type of whiskey to offer, and it sure isn't Scottish, sir" she replied with a big smile. Louis' face fell for a moment. Harvey wasn't sure whether to laugh out loud at Louis or to be appalled. No Scotch? Well there Mike, seems like your little internet research lied to you. 'A wide selection of drinks... Great service...' Maybe he should ask Mike for his little black envelope back. He squinted at Mike, who squinted back and then smiled mysteriously.
"Excuse me?" Louis made a show of looking around him as if to check whether everybody was listening. Squinting, he had raised both of hands, fingers pointing at the unaffected bartender. "I don't think I heard you correctly. You might want to repeat yourself. Maybe it's all this pesky noise in here," he articulated every word. The toothpaste smile had gone.
"Hmmm, no, I think you heard me correctly the first time around, sir. We serve exactly one type of whiskey here. Tennessee whiskey, the best selling in the world. Although some might tend to classify it as a straight bourbon, though," she added pensively. "It's Daniel's. Jack Daniel's. Sir." Did those last words have a slight British accent to them, or was Harvey mistaken?
He chuckled and got treated to a hateful look by Louis. She sounded a bit like Donna right there, Harvey mused. Maybe not so good for the clientèle, but a damn good show. And she at least appeared to remain polite during the whole of it. Not wanting to miss a minute of this, Harvey actually found himself sitting down on the empty stool behind him and leaning sideways against the bar. He loved a good show, especially when it was at Louis' expense.
"I could, however, offer you a wide variety of alternatives, if you're interested sir," the girl continued with an innocent smile before Louis could release the wrath that had to be building up inside of him on her. "What type of Scotch" - she emphasized the word - "do you usually like?" Not waiting for an answer, she marched on, "A little fruity, I think. Subtle yet complex. A hint of toffee, peaty, smokey. Probably an... Ardbeg," she contemplated, studying Louis's face as if sizing him up. "Twentynine years old, a little older maybe..."
Louis his jaw had dropped somewhere around Ardbeg. Even Harvey had to admit he was a little impressed. The girl certainly knew her whiskeys.
"Unfortunately, like I said we don't serve those in here. But you might want to try..." With a swift movement she reached under the bar, bringing up a bottle and an opener with one hand and a beautifully crafted glass with the other, "This. It's a Belgian beer, strong ale to be precise, and it has just a hint of cherry and caramel, with a peaty smokey note... Ah well, I guess you'll just have to taste it for yourself."
She finally paused for a moment, subtly swirling the bottle in the air, her head cocked to the side. Louis suddenly seemed at a loss for words, Harvey observed, intrigued by the exchange. The girl nodded, obviously content with her choice. As she dexterously opened the bottle and poured the beer out for a flabbergasted Louis, she nodded towards Mike and Jenny's empty glasses.
"Can I get you another one of those? Jenny, you might also like that Barbar I told you about last week. It's sweet and simple, with a ring of honey and citrus to it." So, she seemed to know Mike's girlfriend, Harvey made a mental note to himself. Interesting.
"Make it two, Ana," Mike said as he slid the two empty glasses towards the girl. "Sounds good, although that last one was excellent as well." The girl – Ana - nodded again. While carefully sliding the freshly poured beer towards Louis with one hand, she swiftly collected the empty ones with her other and then stopped to smile at Harvey.
"And you sir, what can I serve you?" she asked as she looked him straight in the eyes. He held her stare for a minute, waiting arrogantly for her to blink first or maybe to glance down coyly. She didn't. She so reminded him of Donna right there. *Just* before it got awkward, he answered.
"Well, as you seem to have no problem taking an educated guess with your customers, I think I'll let myself be surprised," he said, smiling his radiant Harvey-smile and leaning back on his seat. "I assume it'll be beer, though?"
"Sir, didn't you read the sign?" the girl replied innocently, looking up to the right as she continued to face him. Harvey turned around on his stool to find a large aluminium sign hanging on the wall above the shaded windows reading 'The Big Apple Inn - Beer Café'. Ugh. Louis was right. It was tacky.
As he turned back around to comment, Ana had already moved back to the middle of the bar. There she poured two beers for Mike and Jenny and proceeding to select a dark bottle with a long, elegant neck. At the cabinet behind her she reached for a matching tall glass that looked like a chalice in a strange wooden holder. Standing on her tiptoes, the small of her back showed a little below her loose blue blouse. Creamy, flawless skin - and a lot more delicate than Harvey had anticipated. He continued to observe her as she skilfully tapped a few draft beers for the regulars, cleaned up the bar and consulted with what appeared to be her boss.
Louis in the mean time had taken a very careful sip from his beer and was now elaborately sloshing the liquid around in his mouth. As he drew in a breath between his teeth, producing an awful hissing and gurgling sound, Harvey cringed.
"Louis," he commented horrified. "I don't think you're meant to taste this beer as if it's a twenty year old cabernet. Just… swallow."
The girl had returned and although she hid it well, Harvey noticed the momentary look of identical aversion on her face. She obviously thought the same of these types of 'connoisseurs' – or people posing as connoisseurs, as Louis might sometimes be more correctly classified.
"This is excellent, although maybe a little too fruity for me," Louis announced his verdict with a little twitch of the mouth, obviously trying to save face.
"Great! I´m glad you like it," she replied politely, turning to Harvey after handing Mike and Jenny their frosted mugs.
"I think you sir might like this one. It's called Kwak, and it's also a Belgian strong ale. The official description reads 'full-bodied, slightly sweet, seductive malt character – a satifying experience' if I quoted that correctly off the top of my head." She again cocked her head as she held up the bottle for him to study. Her expression was completely neutral, but the undertone was unmistakable to Harvey. The question was, would he bite?
Harvey could hear Mike chuckle a few feet away from him. Louis was shooting jealous and disdainful looks between him and the girl.
"Harvey Specter, seductive and very satifying" he said with a smirk as he extended his hand across the bar, ignoring both Mike and Louis completely. "I think your guess is right on the money there. Impressive."
"Ana Lee," the girl replied shaking his hand briefly, her face still showing no significant emotion except for a professional smile. She started to pour out the beer. "I'd like to think that after ten years of serving my customers the finest beers available in the City, I'd know a thing or two about what drinks match with which personality. Enjoy your beer, mister Specter."
And with that introduction, she turned around to go serve a bulky looking businessman with a bad moustache at the other end of the bar. Harvey shook his head to himself as he turned the glass in its peculiar wooden holder. Amusing…
Reviews are greatly appreciated of course!