As with chapters one and two, this one is also a continuation of the night in progress in chapter four. Please keep in mind that English isn't my native language and that I don't have a beta. I'm happy to correct any major errors pointed out to me! Do let me know if you think Harvey should go to Chicago or let Louis fix things on his own. Does our little princess need saving?
While Harvey was still ruminating about the mystery that was Ana - who was currently tapping twenty beers in rapid succession for a bachelor party which had just entered - Chuckie tried to strike up another conversation about sports.
Much to Harvey's surprise, the guy was actually not a bad conversational partner. He was on his third beer and really picking up steam making his case for the Yankees, when the first notes of the Spinners' The Rubberband Man started to play from his pocket. He excused himself and dug up the phone while he walked to the entrance of the bar.
"Is this about Nichols?" he asked without introduction, knowing who was calling him. He put his free hand in his pocket.
"No, it's not about Nichols," the woman on the other end answered without hesitation. "Why, Harvey? Please don't tell me the meeting didn't go well. We need that man – and his very successful company, I might add - aboard as soon as possible. He's worth a lot of money."
"Yeah, about that-" Harvey started hesitatingly, knowing his tone would alarm her. He liked to keep his boss on edge now and then. Having drunk a few heavy beers did help with that as well, of course.
"Harvey," Jessica interjected sharply. Ooh, the serious bossy tone. She obviously wasn't in the mood for games right now. Harvey raised his hand to the door he was facing in self-defense.
"Don't worry Jessica, it went just fine. We met up, had dinner, talked, he drank too much, we talked some more, I – or actually you – paid for the whole thing, I walked him to his car… It looked like I was one step away from bedding the guy. Fat chance though, since A) I'm not gay and B) he is just mind-numbingly boring. I almost fell asleep three times during the first course alone. He just keeps rattling on and on… Anyway - there was no way I could get lure him in just yet. When it comes to the financial details, Louis should really get involved."
Jessica sighed. "I know, I know - I told Louis it was not your cup of tea, but he refused to ask Kevin or Harry. You know, I still don't get why he keeps coming back to you. There's plenty of other decent attorneys in the firm to turn to. Attorneys that are a lot more likeable than you. And with a lot less history between them."
Harvey rolled his eyes at the door, then decided to let the 'likeable' comment go. For now.
"You know Louis - can't live with me, can't live without me," he replied instead with a smirk, wanting to cut to the chase. The bachelor party behind him was getting more rowdy by the minute. "So, what's this about then?"
"Well, speaking about Louis… He is having some trouble with the merger over in Chicago. And in this case he obviously decided he could live without you, because he called Peterson to discuss it. Lucky for us, Peterson in turn called me and now I want you to call Louis."
Harvey could hear her tapping on her keyboard in the background. She was still at the office. If he worked hundred hours a week, she probably worked two hundred. That woman was a machine. But - despite what he led most people to believe – Harveywas not.
"Jessica, don't make me go over there," he groaned. "You know I hate traveling this time of year. I'm sure Louis and Peterson'll be just fine together. Let them handle this. I can't be the knight in shining armor coming to rescue Louis´s ass every time he gets into trouble."
"I didn't say Louis was in trouble," Jessica interjected icily. "I said there was trouble with the merger. The merger I assigned to the both of you to work on. Together. So it's as much your responsibility as it is Louis's." Harvey rolled his eyes again. He knew that tone; she wouldn't budge.
Behind him, a few of the guys had started singing Survivor's Eye of the Tiger at the top of their lungs, complete with the intro instrumentals. Duh, duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-DUHHH… They were off key and obviously already very intoxicated. Much to Harvey's horror, the rest then joined in with a horrible rendition of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.
"What's that noise, Harvey?" Jessica asked sharply with just a hint of concern in her voice. "Don't tell me you're in some sleazy karaoke bar. Or in a gay bar… Are you in a gay bar, Harvey? Or wait - if it's a strip club, I don't wanna know." She definitely sounded irritated now.
Harvey sighed and ran a quick hand through his hair. He wasn't about to step outside into the cold, but he couldn't stand this chaos either. Time to finish up and get out of there.
"Okay, you know what? I'll come by the office, go through the files again, call Louis and see what I can do from here. If he's really knee deep into trouble, I'll get on my white unicorn, fly over to Chicago and save our fair princess," Harvey replied, ignoring the woman's questions. "I'll see you in ten minutes." And with those words, he hung up.
He absentmindedly stared outside through the shaded windows for a minute. At his first visit he'd thought they'd been grubby, but it actually appeared to be an effect created on purpose within the glass itself. The dingy look was probably created on purpose. Hmmm. Beyond the windows, he noticed how a fine drizzle had started to fall. Great. Another cold and wet New York all-nighter at the office.
He turned and walked back to Chuckie, explaining he had work to do. He carefully placed his hand into the giant muscular bank screw with the promise to finish the discussion about Yankees versus Red Sox on another occasion.
On his way out, he noticed from the corner of his eye that Ana was gone. She had been replaced by a much younger and bustier blonde who was openly flirting with the much older, grey-haired and very drunk bachelor. Ryan the owner was ogling her from behind. Harvey shook his head in amusement, saluted the man with a knowing wink and went out into the cold.
As he rounded the corner and started a brisk walk onto the parking lot where Ray was still loyally waiting for him in the car, he noticed some movement next to the dumpster. Ray, in the meantime, had spotted him and had started the car.
A moment later, a familiar black motorcycle silently started to crawl up to him across the lot. The woman on it was dressed in the same black leather jacket she'd worn last time. She expertly maneuvered the vehicle forward until it was sliding in place next to him. Then she drew the opaque black visor of the helmet up.
Harvey signaled Ray to wait another minute and looked down at his watch. Eleven-thirty.
"Off early today, Mrs. Lee?" he asked, cocking his head to look her in the eyes.
"Yeah, a couple of friends are throwing me a party at the club," she answered with a wide smile as she zipped up the jacket a little further. She'd obviously moved on from his prying questions earlier that night.
"Hmmm. I didn't know there was cause for a celebration," Harvey answered, raising his eyebrows in curiosity.
"Isn't that what people do when they age? Usually around the one year mark?" she replied, adjusting her collar. "Or don't you have time for celebrating your birthday, Mr. Specter? Maybe you're the type of man who doesn't celebrate his birthday anymore after thirty? Trying desperately to remain young forever?"
Although it was dark and raining, Harvey could see how she tried to hide her smile and keep a straight face. The dimples in her cheeks gave her away, though. Charming.
"Are you kidding me? I love receiving presents," Harvey laughed, spreading his arms. "In fact, I celebrate my birthday at least two times a year."
Once out of obligation in the city while receiving stacks and stacks of things he didn't need. Once with a shot of fine whiskey at his father's grave back home, he added silently. But she didn't need to know that.
"Anyway, I would love to come and celebrate with you, but unfortunately I have urgent matters at the office," he continued smoothly. "Next time I'll buy you a drink, shake your hand and maybe give you a peck on the cheek, hmmm?"
He could just make out her smile and the twinkles in her eyes inside her dark helmet. She then efficiently started to maneuver the bike towards the main road. Harvey remained put, raising his voice a little.
"Unless your husband would disapprove of that, of course," he added half joking, half seriously.
He immediately scolded himself. What are you doing? She's taken. Stay out of it. Think of mother.
Oddly though, she replied over her shoulder, "Well, Mr. Specter, from a man of your stature I would at least expect a decent present. Or would that drink you'd be buying me be a bottle of twenty-nine year old Ardbeg, perhaps?"
For a moment, he just looked at the back of her leather jacket in silence. Then the odd feeling he'd been having all week, the feeling that something didn't add up, suddenly disappeared. Just because a girl doesn't wear a ring, doesn't mean she's not married.
"You're not married at all - are you, Miss Lee," he said matter-of-factly, voice still raised. He put his hands in his pockets.
"Never said I was," the girl answered in an amused tone as she shut the visor with a snap. She started the bike and exited the lot with one hand raised up to him in salute. He raised his hand in return, although she couldn't possibly see it.
Standing there in the dark, with the rain slowly ruining his grey woolen suit, he smiled a true patented, winning Harvey-smile. Game on.