Mike was bored out of his ever loving skull. He agreed to take the double shifts with the new kids because they were good money, and his grandma's medical bills weren't going away any time soon. But the new kids were typically scheduled at night, when there was not only no morning rush but also no afternoon-meeting-need-to-beat-food-coma-from-lunch rush either.
Frankly it was a waste of his considerable talents, which was why he was sitting in the back with a used edition of Gray's Anatomy (one edition out of date, but so much cheaper online).
"Um, Mike?" Celia asked hesitantly, knocking on the door. "I know I said I'd be fine, but I need you."
He stuck a marker on 'dorsal surface of sacrum' (Celia was much more competent than Russell, so he'd been hoping to make it through Osteology completely tonight) and headed out to the front. It was 10 PM, there shouldn't even have been any people around because the local colleges were all out on spring break.
The customer at the register was not even remotely close to a college student. He was wearing an extremely spiffy three piece suit and his hair was all slicked back. He looked like the ken dolls the neighborhood girls used to play with, but he was extremely attractive. He wouldn't have pegged Celia for the easily flustered type, but she'd only been there a week and a half so what did he know?
Before Mike could say anything, the suit said "grande soy triple dirty chai, extra foam, extra hot."
So Celia had probably been flustered by the drink order and not the looks. It was nearly always the suits who wanted the fancy things.
"Coming right up," Mike said, firing up the coffee grinder. "Cee, you want the grande chai latte, with three extra shots." He kept an eye on her register entry and change making as his hands moved swiftly over the espresso machine. He had the drink ready by the time she'd finished with the change, which she did get correct on the first try.
"Have a good night," he said, handing the cup over. The suit took a sip and then nodded at him with a combination frown/smirk that was weirdly attractive.
"You too," he said, walking out the door.
Mike let himself watch; there was nothing like a well-fitting suit, really. When the door closed he looked over at Celia and saw that she'd been watching too and was grinning conspiratorially.
"He ever come in here before?" she asked.
"Not that I've seen, sadly," Mike replied.
"Too bad. Anyway, sorry for dragging you away from your book," she said.
"It's fine. I'm just reading for fun," he said. "Do you understand what he ordered, or do you need me to explain it?"
A couple days later Mike was wistfully remembering the slow nights with Gray’s Anatomy’s Osteology chapters and occasional coffee help while trying to supervise Celia on the register and Russell on the bar and simultaneously filling regular coffees and food orders during the morning rush.
Tracy said they were either ready or they got fired, and Tracy was in charge. Mike didn’t want to get anyone fired, even though his hours would probably increase, and so he was determined they’d succeed.
"Grande soy triple dirty chai, extra foam, extra hot," Celia called to Russell, and Mike looked up involuntarily to see the suit from the other night, in a different but still incredibly attractive suit, standing next to a tall and also extremely attractive black woman.
"A what?" Russell asked, spinning around to look at her and spilling the extremely hot steamed milk in his hand all down his shirt. "Mother--" he said, biting his lip to keep from cursing because Tracy had behavioral standards and she might have been a tiny blond woman but they were all terrified of her.
"Go clean that up, cold water, make sure you aren’t burned," Mike said, handing the suit’s female companion her black coffee with room for cream. "I got this."
"But, Mike," Russell said.
"Later," Mike said, shoving him out of the way.
Of course, he was several drinks behind, and Mike was fast and could multitask like Tracy herself but morning rush in New York was insane even though they weren’t Starbucks. He loved the manual machine, felt that the automated button-pressing versions left no room for artistry, but there was no denying they were faster.
"Harvey, we don’t have time for this, you should have gotten a black coffee," the female suit said.
Harvey, Mike thought to himself. What a fitting name for a suit.
"We are fifteen minutes early," Harvey said. "I don’t want a regular coffee. I have never missed a meeting and I’m not going to start now, not with this client. Besides, we’re just about done here."
"Dirty chai," Mike said, handing over the drink.
"See? He’s fast," Harvey said. He took a tiny sip and gave Mike a little nod with what might have been his trademark frown/smirk thing, which Mike was beginning to think meant he approved. That was something, anyway, but he didn’t have time to think about it because Russell was back claiming he was fine even though customers could probably see his hands shaking from outside.
"So," Tracy said, sitting on the counter by the sink. "Give me an honest assessment. How are they?"
Mike slid the tub of dirty dishes next to her, then went to grab the shot glasses off the bar. It was not closing time, technically, but they could get out a lot faster if they did the dishes early and made do without them for the couple straggling customers.
"Celia is coming along. She handled the register without a problem this morning," Mike said, flipping the water on and soaping up.
"Would you schedule her with other people yet?"
"With you, sure. Give her another couple training runs on the morning rush with me and then I’d say with almost anyone else. But not with Russell, just the two of them."
"I need a barista team which is compatible and flexible. If they can’t work together, then we either need to fix that or let someone go."
Mike handed a stack of wet plates to Tracy, who jumped off the counter so she could dry them and put them away.
"Russell is jumpy because he’s worried about the MCATs. He doesn’t think he’s going to pass but he’s not sure how else to study. It distracts him from work. Celia knows something is wrong, but she isn’t confident enough to work around it, so she just gets more nervous."
"And then Russell burns himself," Tracy said. "Is this why you were reading Gray’s Anatomy last week, and now you’ve moved on to Biochemistry?"
"I had to go with Voet and Voet because sources say Lehninger just isn’t that great anymore," Mike said. "Not enough diversity in the text, plus the original authors aren’t around anymore. Voet and Voet aren’t the only kids on the block, but they’re pretty well-regarded."
"You’re obfuscating," Tracy said.
"Yes, I’m reading a biochemistry textbook because I can teach it to myself and then help Russell go over sugar and fat metabolism. He’s pretty smart, but he thinks he needs help."
"You’re very self-sacrificial, aren’t you?"
"It’s not really a sacrifice. I care about him because he’s a good guy. Everybody deserves a break sometimes," Mike said. "Besides, I’m too smart for my own good, you said so when you hired me. I’m just keeping myself busy."
"I miss the old eager to please you some days," Tracy said. "Hi, sir, are you ready to order? I apologize if we’ve kept you waiting."
"I would like a grande soy triple dirty chai, extra foam, extra hot," said a very familiar voice, and Mike shifted a little bit from the sink to check. Yeah, it was the suit - Harvey.
"Sure thing," Tracy said, grabbing a cup. Mike finished washing the shot glasses, but Tracy went with the old ‘prepare the espresso directly in the cup’ method of late night avoiding extra dish washing.
"What brings you here so late?" Tracy asked. She had a gift for chatting up the customers which somehow worked no matter what mood they had coming in, and more often than not resulted in repeat customers who loved her, against all odds.
"Had a dinner and drinks meeting with a client," Harvey said. "Have to get back to the office to finish up their paperwork."
"That’s pretty dedicated."
"Just looking out for numero uno. I have a reputation to protect. Besides, if I get the paperwork done now, I can sleep in tomorrow."
"Logical," Tracy said, handing him his drink. "I hope to see you again sometime! Have a nice night."
Mike wasn’t intending to look at Harvey as his took his first sip, but somehow he ended up doing it anyway. The face he made was almost a grimace, not at all what Mike was expecting, and he stopped to stir his drink before he left.
"You put the shots in first?" Mike asked.
"The other two times I put them in last. I think he likes it that way. Anyway, as I recall, you told me to stop following you around like a lost puppy and grow a pair, so you shouldn’t complain."
"Not a complaint, just an observation," Tracy said, grinning. "I hired you because I thought you had potential, despite your stoner tendencies, and I’m glad I was right."
The fourth time Harvey came in, Mike had a rare day off (which he spent visiting his grandmother, running errands, and paying bills), but Celia texted him to let him know that the suit was even more attractive than the last time, and that he had a different woman, a redhead, with him.
"And they were sniping at each other the whole time, and I think they’re lawyers!" she said for possibly the eighth time that afternoon.
"That’s awesome," Mike said absently. He was paying about 45% of his attention on the door and the couple customers sitting around at tables working quietly, and about 45% of his attention on the general function of the human immune system, and so only 10% was left for Celia. She generally didn’t mind.
"I think they work for Pearson Hardma," Celia continued. "You know my sister, she got her case dealt with by them, pro bono! They’re very good. She didn’t have Harvey, of course, but still."
"Still," Mike agreed. He’d never heard of Pearson Hardman, but he did remember Celia’s sister’s law troubles.
The door opened, and Mike slid his textbook out of the way and stood up straighter. It was Harvey, and Celia stifled a tiny squeak next to him, hands shifting nervously on the coffee cup she was fiddling with. Everyone had to get a crush on a customer at least once; it was a rite of passage.
"Ah, good," Harvey said, waving at Mike.
"Grande soy triple dirty chai?" Mike asked. "Extra foam, extra hot?"
"Yes," Harvey said, and went back outside.
"Here," Celia said, passing him a cup and punching the drink into the register. "You better make it. He was happy to see you. Last time he was not happy."
"I think you’re reading way too much into his minimal facial expressions," Mike said. Celia looked like she wanted to argue, but just then Harvey returned.
"I also need a large cup of peppermint tea, two tea bags, and a medium hot chocolate with a little bit of raspberry," he said.
Celia grabbed the tea, so Mike handed Harvey his drink and started preparing the hot chocolate. He hadn’t made one with a little bit of raspberry since the last time he saw Jenny. She’d stopped coming around after he and Trevor had their falling out.
"What is this?" Harvey asked, pointing at something written on his coffee cup. Mike was just leaning over to look at it more closely when he heard a familiar voice.
"I just don’t know if you can help me."
It was Jenny. She was holding the hand of a stunningly beautiful woman; and why was it that Harvey was surrounded by so many ridiculously attractive people? Mike was beginning to feel inadequate, and he was only the barista.
"Jenny?" Mike asked, coming around the counter with her hot chocolate. She looked a little bit like she’d been crying, but a lot like she was angry. "Are you okay?"
"I don’t know. Maybe? Is that for me?" She took the cup of hot chocolate and sipped a tiny bit. "You remember how I liked it."
"Always," Mike said. It sounded sappy and he didn’t really mean it to; he couldn’t help but remember drink orders, the same way he could recite parts of Gray’s Anatomy now, and Beowulf from that time when they’d read it senior year of high school.
"Rachel, you stay here and talk to Jenny, figure out what the case details are. I’ll be back later. Mike," and Harvey turned to him, and Mike could have sworn they never introduced themselves, "thanks for the dirty chai." He smirked and, so fast it could have been a trick of the light, flicked his tongue out to lick his bottom lip.
So Rachel was the stunningly beautiful woman, and Jenny had some legal issue which she apparently was getting pro bono help for, and somehow Harvey knew his name.
"Celia, just what did you write on that coffee cup?"
Mike kind of desperately wanted to go over and listen in on Jenny and Rachel's conversation, but he wasn't sure he would be welcome, so he stayed in the corner by the bar and re-stacked all the cups and then re-alphabetized all the flavor syrups based on their last letter.
"Mike?" Jenny asked, running her hands awkwardly over the side of the counter.
"Do you need something? I can make you another hot chocolate, or we have things to eat."
"Um. Well, actually, I would take one of those muffins, maybe the banana nut. But actually I wanted to ask you something else."
Mike grabbed a plate and used the tongs to slide a banana nut muffin onto it. "Sure, I'll be right over with the muffin, okay?" He followed her to the table and grabbed a chair from nearby, swinging it around and sitting down backwards.
"This is Rachel, she's my lawyer," Jenny said. "Rachel, this is Mike. He's a friend."
"Nice to meet you," Mike said. He was a little bit surprised that Jenny still considered him a friend, because he'd religiously ignored all of her calls along with Trevor's for a long time. But he supposed that it would be weird to introduce someone as 'this is the guy who used to be my boyfriend's best friend, only my boyfriend is a drug dealer and he decided to cut us loose, and he just never explained that to me.'
It was probably best that Jenny handled the introductions, really.
Jenny took a bite of the muffin and made a face.
"Not good?" Mike asked.
"It's a little dry. I'm picky, I know. Sorry. It's pretty good, really."
"I can get you some water," Mike offered.
Jenny nodded and swallowed hard.
"I'm sorry, I don't want to be more trouble. I already dragged you over here."
"It's no trouble. They pay me for this." Mike grabbed a cup, put a bit of ice in it, and filled it with cold water. Then he handed it to Celia and asked her to take it over to the table where they were sitting, so he could take care of the big group of businessmen who had just come in. He waved apologetically at Jenny; while he was really curious as to the extent of her legal troubles, and guilty enough to feel bad about dumping her along with Trevor, and certainly willing to answer any questions or help out, he couldn't do it while he was supposed to be working.
By the time he had finished with them (they'd ordered an average of three drinks a person; there must have been some kind of convention or something going on nearby) Rachel the lawyer was just packing up her stuff.
Jenny brought the remains of her muffin over to the counter. It looked like she'd just picked it apart and left the pieces scattered all over instead of actually eating it.
"You really didn't like that, huh," Mike said.
"The taste is exactly right, it's just the texture. I'm sorry, I shouldn't critique. I try not to. You guys probably work hard and it's not my business."
"We get the pastries brought in from outside. Tracy has some deal with the baker, I'm not sure what it is," Mike said. "It's fine if you don't like them. I'm only responsible for the coffee."
"Listen, can you take a couple minutes? Rachel seemed nice but I'm just worried."
"I'm not a lawyer, you know that, right?" Mike asked.
"Yes, but if you and Trevor were still hanging out, I'd have asked for your opinion a long time ago, and maybe avoided this entire mess. Not that I'm blaming you. I miss you but I understand that not everyone can get along with Trevor. I can't always get along with Trevor. But he told me he cleaned up his act, and he's not dealing anymore."
"That's great," Mike said. "And I'm - I'm sorry about just ditching you. I should have explained. Of course you can ask me whatever you want, I just don't know that my advice will be better than an actual lawyer's."
Another group of people came in, and it looked like it was just going to be one of those days: awkward and busy when it shouldn't be and full of stress at totally odd times.
"I have to take care of this," Mike said, gesturing at them. "But I would love to listen to your legal troubles, or whatever else if you just want to catch up."
"I was stupid, that's all. I did some work with some other people, with the intention of going into business with them, but we didn't write up an agreement on it and so they were able to force me out. I'm not meticulous enough for owning a business anyway, probably."
"That sucks," Mike said. "I don't even know what to say to that."
"Listen, can you come over for dinner? Not tonight, but tomorrow or the day after? We can just talk then, and I won't be interrupting you at work."
"Sure. You still live in the same place?"
"I do. You haven't developed any food allergies in the last couple years, have you?"
"No. I'll see you Wednesday, okay?"
Jenny waved and headed out the door. Mike grabbed some coffee cups and started filling them for the large group of people.
"She's your ex?" Celia asked, leaning casually against the counter as she took money and made change.
"She's my ex-best friend's girl," Mike said.
"And you were always interested in her, so now that you guys aren't friends you think you could make a play?" Celia asked.
"No, I was never really interested in her," Mike said. "What's with the grilling? You've never shown interest in my love life before."
"You've never had old friends show up before, and you're normally not awkward around people either," Celia said. "I was just curious."
"I meant to ask you again, what did you write on that cup I gave Harvey?"
"Oh look, I think that's the redhead who works with him," Celia said, blushing and pointing at the front door, where a beautiful woman in a suit (of course - everyone who knew Harvey was beautiful and a snazzy dresser) came in and looked around curiously.
"Okay, you know you're not making me less suspicious by refusing to answer my questions, right?" Mike said.
"I'm just going to go take a break, all right?"
"What can I get for you?" Mike asked the redhead, who was approaching the counter slowly.
"Are you Mike?" she asked.
"Good. Harvey wanted Rachel to bring him back another cup when she finished the meeting, but I guess it ran long and she was worried about getting back in time for something else, so she didn't."
"He wants his usual, grande soy triple dirty chai?" Mike asked, grabbing a cup.
"He said you'd remember."
"I do that," Mike agreed, thinking fast. "Listen, you work with them, so could you take a message?"
"What sort of message?"
"It's just that Jenny, um, the client Rachel was here meeting? I know her pretty well, and she told me a bit about her problem. She said she didn't get any official agreement and so she's out. But Jenny is very organized, even though she thinks she isn't. She keeps records of everything. If she was helping someone set up a business she'd have documents and emails and spreadsheets, all sorts of things."
"Are you saying there should be incorporation paperwork?"
"I don't know about that specifically, but there'd be proof she put time and funds into the group, and couldn't she then sue for credit or at least a return on her investment?" Mike asked.
"I'll pass it on. I don't think they've looked at electronic files at all yet, so it's possible something will come of this."
"Thanks," Mike said. "Here is the dirty chai, also."
Mike got off work around 4 on Wednesday and decided to take a quick shower and change clothes. It wasn't that he got that dirty, because he generally didn't, and he didn't even mind the way coffee smelled on him later, if he spilled it or he ended up with enough dust rubbed into his clothes to stick around. But if he's going over to Jenny's and acting like an adult, it seemed like the thing to do.
He was still earlier than he'd intended, but he decided not to hang around outside the apartment building like a creep and instead just go in.
"I'm glad you could make it," Jenny said when she answered the door. She was wearing an actual apron, and it had what appeared like actual fresh food stains on it, which was intriguing. Somehow he'd figured they were going to order in but he certainly wasn't going to turn down a home-cooked meal.
"Of course," Mike said.
Trevor was sitting on the couch, which was a little bit unexpected.
"Hey, man, how have you been?" he asked, like everything was normal, like they just hadn't had a lot of time to hang out recently but otherwise things were fine.
"Pretty good, and you?" Mike said.
"I'll just be cooking, okay," Jenny said, and headed into the kitchen, which was sort of blocked from the living area by a wall and then a little counter.
Trevor's phone was ringing, same ring tone he'd always had, and Mike raised an eyebrow at him.
"Screening my calls," Trevor said.
"Your phone says you've missed 18 calls from 917-442-5555," Mike said.
"Yeah, that's because I don't want to talk to the guy." Trevor looked over his shoulder at the kitchen, where Jenny was not paying them any attention at all because she was staring at the stove. He leaned in closer to Mike and lowered his voice.
"A thing went bad. I owe him money. It's better if I just avoid him for now, until Jenny's business thing cashes in and I can pay him."
"I thought you were clean and not in the business anymore," Mike said.
"Well, sort of, but not really," Trevor said.
So he was still lying to Jenny too, then. This was exactly why Mike had stopped coming around. He gestured awkwardly at the kitchen. "I'm going to see if she needs any help or whatever," he said.
"No help is necessary," Jenny said, and even though she had pans on every single burner she was moving around them competently. Things were starting to smell good.
"That's cool," Mike said, leaning against the wall.
"How is your grandmother?" Jenny asked.
"She's doing pretty well. She likes the nurses, and she has some friends, they hang out sometimes. I think they have card game nights and stuff like that."
"That's cool. I like card games," Jenny said.
It was possible that this was the most awkward conversation he'd ever had with Jenny, but he was pretty sure the entire thing was in his own head. Something about seeing Jenny again made him feel sad and weird about things.
"You just going to hang out in here and watch her cook?" Trevor asked, leaning over the counter.
"As long as I'm not in the way, I guess," Mike said. "I thought we were going to talk some about the legal thing, if you still want to."
"I just keep thinking there's something they can do, but I don't know. Rachel said they can get my equipment back, anyway, and also that she was following up on another lead, but she told me she didn't want to sugercoat it, and that it might not end all that well."
"I thought this was the best law firm in the city. How can they not get you money out of this?" Trevor asked.
"It's my own fault. I let Abe handle all the details, and so I didn't know what they were up to."
"What kind of business was this?" Mike asked.
"Cooking," Trevor answered. "And she took all her baking shit to the location, so now she has to replace it if she can't get it back. That stuff is expensive."
"You finally went to cooking school?" Mike asked.
"The Culinary Institute. That's where I met Abe, actually. It was going to be this great breakfast place. We named it 'The Shape of a Muffin,' and we had the menu all worked out."
"That's from that poem you like, right? There Once Was a Puffin?" Mike asked.
"You remember that?"
"Sure. Well, I think we were drunk, but you recited it to us a couple times that night."
"Well, anyway, it was my name, what I've always thought about naming something. I don't know what happened, but they changed the locks, and they won't reply to my calls or emails, and they've just opened so I went by the other day and the hostess was told not to let me in."
Trevor's phone rang again, and out of the corner of his eye Mike saw the same 917 number.
"Hey babe, I'm sorry, I know you were planning this but I have to go," Trevor said, carefully silencing the call before dialing another number. "Business stuff, you know how it is."
"Right, of course," Jenny said.
"Later, man," Trevor said to Mike, and slammed the door behind him.
"Jenny, is everything okay?" Mike asked.
"You mean aside from the legal troubles? Yeah, everything is okay," Jenny said. "Trevor is just having a hard time at work right now, and it puts him in a bad mood. But we're fine. He moved in recently, you know. I keep thinking he's going to propose."
She looked sad, but it was no longer Mike's business because he'd run away from them, so he decided not to push. "So what are you cooking? Should I prepare to be dazzled?"
When Mike got to work the next morning Tracy was already there setting up.
"Hey, I expected Celia," Mike said.
"I know she's supposed to be practicing, but I miss working the morning rush," Tracy said. "I switched up our schedules."
"That's fine," Mike said. "I like you, I was just surprised."
"We need another box of the lids, can you get one?"
They restocked shelves and prepped coffee mostly in silence, and then Tracy unlocked the front doors and they went outside to watch the sun rise.
"Celia said your friend had some problems with her business," Tracy said. "You should know that we might be losing Shaun, so if you think she'll need a job and she could do coffee, I would consider hiring her."
"You're a good person," Mike said. "I don't know exactly what's going on with the business thing. She was hoping to recoup some of her losses with the lawyers, so if that works out she might be fine."
"Well, let me know. We should hear about Shaun in the next week, and then I need to start advertising and interviewing, and you'll have to come up with a new training schedule. What kind of business was it, anyway?"
"Restaurant of some kind, I think. She said they were going to call it 'the Shape of a Muffin.'"
He was leaning against the outside wall staring up at the sky, but when Tracy didn't respond he looked over at her. She was staring at him, open-mouthed.
"What?" he asked.
"You are kidding me! 'The Shape of a Muffin' is the hottest new restaurant in the city! They've gotten fabulous reviews from everyone. Actually the one guy, Abe, I almost hired him to come in and do our baking, but he said he was pursuing other opportunities and I didn't follow up."
"Wow," Mike said. "I had no idea."
"Well, you aren't much of a food person, are you? You just know your coffee. I think I have his card around here somewhere; we traded in case opportunities arose."
"I don't actually need to see his business card, I believe you," Mike said, but Tracy had already dashed back into the office to rummage through her messy desk.
The first customers of the day were trickling in, so Mike got to work. He and Tracy worked well together, smoothly shifting back and forth between taking money and making coffee. Her hands were fast and steady and she never dropped anything, even if it looked like she would.
It was much, much later in the morning, the sun high overhead and really getting hot, when they finally had time to take a break. As the last customer moved over to get sugar and cream, Tracy handed him a little card.
"You know, the reason I didn't hire him was because he seemed a little shifty, and I already had you. Not that you're shifty now, but you started out a little shifty," Tracy said.
It looked like a standard business card, but the phone number looked really familiar.
"You thought he looked shifty?" Mike asked.
"Yeah, to be honest, like he was high when he interviewed. I mean, he had potential, I thought, and I took a chance on you and you turned out well, but you weren't actually high when you interviewed. I was glad when he said he was looking at other opportunities."
Abe's phone number, 917-442-5555, looked familiar because it was the same one that had called Trevor 18 times in the last couple days.
"Mike?" Tracy asked.
"I'm sorry, I just thought of something, about Jenny's case. Can I - I'm not sure how to contact those lawyers, and I didn't see any of them in here. Can I go over there? Will you be okay by yourself?"
"Russell is arriving soon, so I'm sure it would be fine. Is it an emergency?" Tracy asked.
"Maybe," Mike said. "I'm sorry. I just realized something, is all, and it might help. Can I keep this? Also, um, do you know where their building is? Pearson-Hardman, or whatever it is?"
"Just around the corner," Tracy said. "None of them came in this morning. Do you want to take Harvey his dirty chai?" She handed him a cup.
"Only if you put the shots in last," Mike said.
Mike walked as fast as he could while still able to keep his hand steady enough to not spill hot liquid all over himself. If he'd stopped to think about it, he would have figured he looked like an idiot. But he was busy coming up with stories which he'd hoped would get him past building security (was there building security?) and in to see Rachel, quickly.
There was building security, but the lawyers apparently had crazy-eyed clients carrying coffee who ran in late all the time, so he had no trouble there. He had the foresight to take his barista apron off before he'd walked in, and it was tucked a bit awkwardly under his arm, but since no one was asking he wasn't going to call attention to it either.
Getting to Rachel herself was harder, because the receptionist type at the front desk informed him that Rachel was out at a client meeting. Mike had a horrible flash of things going wrong, but he talked himself out of worrying with the thought that for sure she had multiple clients, and it was likely that Jenny's life wasn't ruined yet.
"Is Harvey in?" he asked finally.
"Do you have an appointment?" the receptionist asked.
"No, I was going to see Rachel, but this is sort of urgent."
The receptionist looked at him, and Mike tried to smile and appear charming but he was pretty sure he failed miserably.
"Let me see if Donna is around. She can say if Harvey is available," she said finally.
It was another five or so minutes before the hot redhead from a couple days ago showed up.
"Did you come up here to bring Harvey his coffee because none of us had time to stop by?" she asked. "Because I didn't call for delivery, although it's appealing to me now. I didn't think you delivered."
"No. Not entirely. We don't deliver. It's a bribe, I guess, for talking to me."
"He can charge a thousand dollars an hour," Donna said. "Your coffee is not that expensive."
"I'm not here for me. It's about Jenny's case. I learned something I don't think she knows."
"Rachel already left with Jenny to meet with the opposition," she said. Mike frowned. Of course she had. It appeared he was a life-ruiner after all. If he'd managed to screw up her case because he was waiting to be able to bring coffee to Harvey, he'd punch himself in the face.
"I suppose you can come back since he's not meeting with anyone else right now," she said after a bit. Mike didn't want to think about what his facial expression said, if she was just going to give in.
"Free coffee for you for life," Mike promised fervently.
"You'll be sorry if I take you up on that," Donna said with a raised eyebrow, but she led him back into the depths of a huge office, with cubicle farms and people bustling all over. Harvey, of course, had a beautiful view out of his floor-to-ceiling windows, and his office was almost bigger than Mike's entire apartment. In fact, everything but his bathroom would fit inside with no problem.
"Harvey, you have a visitor," she said.
Harvey was sitting at a giant wooden desk reviewing paperwork, and he looked up with a slight frown on his face. When he saw it was Mike, he nodded and motioned him in.
"You're supposed to warn me," he grumbled to Donna, who rolled her eyes and shut the door gently.
"I'm sorry I just barged in here," Mike said. He fumbled in his pockets for the business card he'd taken from Tracy. "But this could be important. Rachel is off meeting with Jenny and the other guys right now? Because you might need to call her. Will she answer her phone during a meeting?"
Harvey rescued his coffee cup from Mike's hand, which he had to admit had been flailing a little bit. That's probably why he'd also dropped his barista apron on the floor.
"What is this? Why do you have a business card from the opposition?" Harvey asked, taking the card out of Mike's hand as well.
"It's kind of a long story," Mike said.
"You should skip the boring parts and just tell me the really important stuff, if it's so urgent."
"Right," Mike said. Harvey took a sip of his dirty chai and just looked at him with that little smirk, so Tracy must have made it correctly.
"So, um, Jenny has a boyfriend, Trevor. He's a drug dealer, which she doesn't know. Well, she knew, but she thinks he's clean. He isn't. He's still dealing. And that guy, that Abe guy, who kicked Jenny out of her own restaurant, he called Trevor's phone 18 times yesterday."
"Hm," Harvey said.
"Trevor told me that a thing went wrong, maybe there's some money owed. And I think that Abe knows they're dating, maybe he met Trevor through Jenny, and so he figures if he kicks Jenny out that will teach Trevor a lesson. But Trevor is hoping to use the payoff from the lawsuit or whatever it will be to settle his debt to Abe, so maybe that will backfire."
"How do you know?" Harvey asked.
"I was at Jenny's for dinner. Trevor had his phone out, and I saw that he had all the missed calls and asked about them. And then today, Tracy had the business card in her desk. I remembered it, and I thought you should know."
"And you don't think Jenny knows?"
"Well, she didn't tell you, right?"
"I haven't actually spoken to her. This is Rachel's case, I'm just supposed to gloat when she wins it."
"Jenny is honest and smart but she's always been a little bit blind to Trevor. I don't think she knew because this is really important to her, and she wouldn't have hidden information."
"What is your connection to them?" Harvey asked.
"Trevor and I have been friends for - years. Many years. He still owes me $40 from a field trip in fifth grade. I stopped hanging out with him because he kept pushing me to help him out with this drug deal, and I didn't want to do that. I met Jenny through him, they've been dating for quite awhile."
Harvey picked up his phone and dialed. While he was waiting for someone (hopefully Rachel, but Harvey's face was totally inscrutable and Mike had no idea what he was thinking) to answer, he took another sip of the chai.
"Rachel, I'm glad I caught you," Harvey said, and Mike moved away from him because it was awkward to eavesdrop on conversations, even if he'd told Harvey to call.
The view from the window was pretty awesome; if Mike had binoculars he would have been able to people watch, but instead he looked at the buildings and folded his apron as small as he could make it.
He could have ended up in an office like this if things had turned out differently. Well, more likely he'd be in a cubicle outside, but it was the principle of the thing. He could have made it through law school.
He was lost in thought and did not notice when Harvey hung up the phone, but then he came over to stand next to him, still drinking the dirty chai.
"Okay?" Mike asked.
In the reflection in the window Harvey met his eyes briefly. He was doing his pleased smirk face. On another man it would have looked distinctly unpleasant but on Harvey it was almost adorable, and definitely deserved.
"Rachel will handle it," he said.
"And you're sure she can," Mike said.
"I'm a senior partner. I can have anyone as my associate," Harvey said. He shot Mike an unreadable look out of the corner of his eye. "Rachel was a paralegal here before she went back to school. She works very hard."
"I should get back to work, then," Mike said. "I left Tracy, my boss, alone. It's generally not that busy right now but it's still not nice of me to stay away too long."
Harvey held up his cup as if in salute. He looked like he might be amused, and Mike turned and left before he could start babbling all over the place.
On his way out he stopped by Donna's desk. "Thank you, seriously. I really don't know what I would have done," he said.
She smiled at him. "Just remember you promised me free coffee for life."
A couple days later, Mike was reloading the cold brewing system and also moderating the weekly Monday afternoon debate (some people had too much time on their hands, and Mike had corrected them on some economics facts his first week on the job; Tracy made him take the shift all the time, because the older men in the group were crotchety and got upset if he wasn't there to fact-check them) when Rachel came in.
"Tea, right?" Mike asked.
"Um, sure," Rachel said. "But actually I came in to say thanks."
"You went into Harvey's office to give him a tip on Jenny's case, and it was timely and also very helpful," Rachel said. "Don't tell me you forgot."
"I didn't! I'm glad it was helpful, then," Mike said. "Did you get everything you wanted?"
"It's more like, if we hadn't had the information we would have gotten nothing," Rachel said. "But Jenny should tell you the details herself."
"Did you want Harvey's drink, too?" Mike asked.
Rachel stared at him, and then grinned. "If you want," she said.
"I think he gloats better with something in his hands," Mike said. He could picture it, the faux-casual pose, Harvey sprawled on a chair or leaning against the door and sipping like he hadn't a care in the world, but really he'd be watching Rachel like a hawk, in case she needed him to step in.
Mike scrawled 'you're welcome,' on Harvey's cup, because he could, because he'd been standing next to Harvey and he'd hardly acknowledged Mike's helpfulness and real people who weren't Harvey generally would say thank you.
After Rachel left, another customer who'd been hanging back in the corner came up and leaned against the counter.
"Hi, Tom," Mike said.
It wasn't particularly like Tom to wait; he was used to getting what he wanted, and with good reason.
"Do you know her?" Tom asked, his voice low, gesturing out to the door.
"She's my friend's lawyer," Mike said.
"Is she a good lawyer?"
"I think so. Are you looking?"
"It's just that the other day she was at the club with an older guy who's been trying to get my attention for a long time, and they were acting kind of oddly, and then she flirted with me some but it was awkward."
"Huh," Mike said.
"The older guy - he's kind of creepy. Well, not really creepy, but he does that thing where he walks around naked in the locker room but he'll still try to talk to you like you're outside and wearing clothes. It's weird."
"If it's weird, why are you thinking about hiring them?"
"If he'll go to those lengths, and bring the girl with him, maybe I should take him up on it because he'll work hard for my business. I mean, he comes across as desperate, but it could work out. And I do sort of want a new lawyer."
Mike could honestly not picture Harvey ever coming across as desperate, or creepy, really. He didn't have it in him. He mostly did intimidating intelligence and polished attraction.
"Besides, if she's good at her job as well as hot, then it's a double bonus, you know?"
"What does the creepy guy look like?"
"Dark short hair, half balding, kind of a round face. I think his name starts with an L."
"I think Rachel usually works with Harvey, and that doesn't really sound like him. I think he's good at his job, though. He's kind of shark-like, which is what you want in a lawyer."
"If they want my business that bad they'd probably give me whoever I ask for my specific lawyer, right? Maybe I'll ask to meet with this Harvey person instead."
"What's the harm in asking?" Mike said.
"Exactly," Tom said.
"Mike, what's the origin of Magna Carta as the name for the charter?" Eugene, called, half standing and waving his hand to get Mike's attention.
"Concesserimus libertates quasdam scriptas in magna carta nostra de libertatibus," Mike said. "From the 1218 version."
"And how many barons actually signed the thing?"
"Originally? Only the king's seal is required, in the presence of witnesses. Common law in England considered that binding. No signatures were taken. But there were 25 barons," Mike said.
"Ha!" said Sid. "I win. You buy the next round."
"You are a nerd," Tom said, shaking his head.
"I have a good memory," Mike said. "I read a lot."
"We should hang out again sometime."
"So you can steal all my fantasy picks and win again this year? I think not," Mike said. "We can hang out but only if that's off-limits as a conversation topic."
About a week later, Donna came in and slipped him a small envelope along with the cash for her iced black coffee and Harvey's usual. It was morning rush, so he didn't have time to open it, but it said 'Mike' underlined once in what he was fairly certain was Harvey's handwriting, and that was interesting.
Later, Mike was restocking the sugar and cream while Russell wiped down the counters. "What is this?" he asked, holding up the envelope.
"I don't know, but it's from Harvey," Mike said.
"Oh," Russell said. "Harvey." He had a weird tone of voice. Maybe Celia had been talking him up; he wasn't sure Russell had ever been in when Harvey was around.
"How many ATP does the KREBS cycle produce?" Mike asked with a raised eyebrow. Russell was not good at focusing on studying; in preparation, Mike had taking to springing random biology trivia on him at opportune and inopportune moments.
"Mike," Russell said. "These are four tickets to the Yankees-Red Sox game coming up."
"You remember what ATP is, right?"
"They're right behind home plate!" Russell said.
"If you're going to open my envelopes instead of studying while I'm doing all the work around here, you better be ready to ace the MCATs."
"I don't know, okay? Biochemistry is hard."
"It's 12. Seriously, get your books, I'll quiz you while I clean up." And he'd have to come up with something to say to Harvey, too, because - seriously. Seriously? What was he going to do with four tickets to a baseball game?
In the end, he went with writing 'SERIOUSLY?' on Harvey's cup and handing it to Donna the next morning. Not his best work, but he was going over insulin's purpose in the liver with Russell and it was slow.
"Again," he demanded.
"Insulin tells the liver to process glucose," Russell said.
"Process how?" Mike asked.
"It gets stored as glycogen," Russell said.
"Or if there's too much, then it is converted to fat."
"We're moving on to the hard stuff next," Mike said. "How many months do we have to get you ready? I think we should do actual practice test stuff, because it's not fill in the blank or multiple choice. You're going to have to read passages and interpret them."
Russell groaned, closing his eyes with a pained expression on his face.
"Or you can hang out here with me for the rest of your life," Mike said.
The next day there was a post-it note on the ten dollar bill Donna gave him. It said 'Mets fan?' in Harvey's handwriting.
Mike rolled his eyes at her and stopped filling up the ice machine so he could write 'not that into baseball at all, actually,' on Harvey's cup. He thought for a second, then added 'also who is going to come to the game with me? I'm not taking Russell, that's for sure.' Mostly he added that last part so that Russell would get all affronted when he read it, although they didn't really hang outside of work and he wasn't particularly interested in doing MCAT review while watching a baseball game.
Donna raised an eyebrow at him, but Mike just smiled and went back to the ice machine, because it was getting hot and in the summer ninety percent of their customers switched to iced drinks.
'Un-American', Harvey's return note said the next morning, this time on fancy top-notch stationary, with Harvey's name and rank and the firm's name and address in classy black calligraphy along the bottom. 'It's the Yankees and the Red Sox, you can't miss it.'
'You shouldn't miss it either,' Mike wrote. He was not opposed to going to a baseball game, although he doesn't do it very often. But he was curious as to what, exactly, Harvey intended; and since he didn't come himself but only sent Donna, it was even harder to get a read on him.
Donna came back around midday and handed him another note. She bought a pastry for herself, no coffee or tea at all.
'I'm sure you can make 3 friends in the next two weeks, especially if they know you've got tickets behind home plate,' the note says.
"Did he send you down here just to deliver this?" Mike asked.
"No comment," Donna said.
'You're ridiculous' he writes on a napkin. 'It's not about that.'
"He doesn't make me do things," Donna said. "It is endlessly amusing to watch him read your notes. This morning he was meeting with Jessica and he stopped paying attention to her so that he could read what you wrote."
'And furthermore, if you would come down here to get your coffee yourself, like normal people do, instead of sending poor Donna all over the place on your errands, then we could talk about this face to face instead of writing notes on coffee cups,' Mike added on the other side of the napkin.
"Are you done?" Donna asked.
"I await his reply with bated breath," Mike said.
He wasn't actually waiting with bated breath, though, mostly because Celia spent the next couple hours extolling the virtues of various baseball players. He could get up to speed with the rosters and basic stats in a fairly short amount of time, and he probably would before the game, but he hadn't yet done any of that and now his knowledge would all be tinged with who had the best legs, facial hair, hands, and smile, as well as batting stance and actual performance on the field.
Celia had moved out from behind the bar and shifted a couple tables so she could demonstrate pitching styles when Mike looked up and saw Harvey standing just inside the door.
"Cee," he whispered. "Come on. Back to work."
"Hi, Harvey," Celia said, waving cheerily.
"If you wanted me to come in person you could have just said so up front," Harvey said. He sauntered closer, like he owned the place, but his hands were in his pockets.
"I'm sorry, was I a bit too harsh?" Mike asked.
"You know, Donna is paid to deal with my errands."
"Yes, but it’s a billion degrees outside, and we are literally around the corner from your office. I’m sure she’d appreciate the air conditioning a little longer."
"And you don’t think I’d appreciate the air conditioning a little longer? Donna can wear skirts to work."
"I speak for everyone when I say that you should definitely wear a skirt to work." Mike was hard-pressed to keep a straight face while saying it, but he'd been asking for it, really.
"I’ll take your opinion under advisement."
Of course, Harvey had some mystical ability to walk around in a three piece suit (and a long sleeve dress shirt, and probably also at least one additional layer because that’s the kind of person he was) in the middle of summer in New York City without even breaking a sweat, whereas Mike had the perfectly normal ability to walk outside for two minutes and sweat through everything he was wearing, even when it was just a simple cotton t-shirt and shorts.
"Do you want your usual?" Mike asked, because when he was at work he always had the option of falling back on doing his job, and sometimes he took advantage of it.
"Yes, but iced," Harvey said.
"Aha, you do make concessions for the heat," Mike said, mostly under his breath.
"In any case, I didn't send you the tickets so you'd feel obligated to hang out with me," Harvey said.
"Yes, but if you sent them to me, then I get to choose who comes, right?"
"I sent them because you implied I didn't know how to say thank you, and I do."
Mike stared at him. "Okay, no, four tickets to a Yankees game against the Red Sox, right behind home plate, is way too much thanks for giving you a tip on a pro bono case you weren't even handling yourself!"
"What are you talking about?" Harvey asked.
"What are you talking about?" Mike replied.
"You sent me Tom Keller! Louis has been attempting to pull him for - months, probably. He borrowed Rachel without my permission and made her help."
"Oh, yeah, Tom thought that was awkward. Rachel should be professional and good at her job next time they meet, no flirting," Mike said. "Is Louis the guy who spends a lot of time in the club locker room naked?"
"I'm not even going to ask," Harvey said.
"Tom didn't want to hire him because he thinks he's creepy. But you apparently are not," Mike said. "Anyway, I didn't do anything except drop your name and say I thought you were probably good at your job. You certainly don't owe me anything for that."
"... right," Harvey said. "What did you think you were berating me for?"
"For my friend Jenny's case, when I came up to your office," Mike said. "I sent the note way before I talked to Tom." If by way before he meant about ten minutes, but Harvey didn't need to know the intricate details of his life.
Harvey was looking at him with the oddest expression on his face. "If you honestly want me to come to the game I'm bringing Rachel," he said finally.
"I'll bring Celia," Mike said. "Deal."
"Yay!" Celia said from the store room.
"Stop eavesdropping!" Mike called to her.
Mike didn't know much about baseball, but he did know about information, and the internet.
4-5 he wrote on Harvey's cup the next morning, and then 0-6 the day after that, and finally 5-7, how ugly is this going to get?
The best thing to do is drink away the memories, Harvey writes back finally, again on elegant stationery. Stop reminding me.
At least you won one of three in Boston, Mike sent back.
For someone who isn't a baseball fan, you seem to take great pleasure in how many times the Yankees lose,. Donna shook her head at him, and Mike shrugged. He'd at least partially intended it to be comforting, but it came across entirely obnoxious when he thought about it again. That sort of remark only worked in person, and if you were both big fans of the team, or sleeping together. Which he and Harvey were obviously not.
"You read all the notes?" he asked.
"You're writing them on his coffee cups. Of course I read them."
"And you read the ones he writes back?"
"Sometimes I have to wait in line for awhile. I need entertainment."
Donna had an entirely straight face, the best he'd ever seen. It was impressive.
"I didn't open the envelope of tickets. Opening mail not addressed to me is over the line," Donna said.
"But you probably got him the envelope, so you know what was in it anyway," Mike guessed.
Donna smirked at him, which was frankly terrifying.
Four game hot streak! Mike wrote, with a smiley face. Donna's coffee was free, as always, but he put a smiley face on her cup, too. He didn't want her to think he didn't like her.
Of course, then they lost the next night, and Mike figured maybe he should just not talk about baseball at all anymore.
Mike considered calling off the baseball game. Not that he'd call it off, exactly, but that he wouldn't go. He felt tired; his eyes were gritty and his head felt fuzzy, like it might spring into a headache with little to no provocation at all. He'd had a lot of coffee to compensate and it made his hands jittery and his temper a little bit snappish.
On the other hand, he'd been thinking about seeing Harvey for longer than ten minutes at a time ever since the tickets showed up in the first place. Would he wear a suit to a baseball game? Mike could honestly not picture him without one.
So he might have been better served by going to bed early and catching up on his sleep, but he wanted to go to the game. And he'd never hear the end of it from Celia if he bailed, which was almost reason enough to show up all by itself.
When he got there, Celia, decked out from head to toe in Yankees gear, and Rachel, wearing neutral green, were standing at the corner a couple blocks away from the stadium, whispering and giggling about something. They'd agreed to meet there because it was less crowded.
"Harvey didn't make you wear team colors?" Mike asked.
"Harvey made her not wear Red Sox clothes," Celia said.
"And you're still friends?" Mike asked.
"Of course," Celia said. "Harvey is over there, by the way, taking a work call. So we're ready."
Harvey was, indeed, over there, wearing casual clothes: jeans which must have been tailored because he'd never known someone's jeans to fit that well off the rack, a Yankees shirt that might not have been tailored but fit his shoulders like it was, and a ball cap.
"Never seen him in casual clothes before?" Celia asked, grinning. "Me either. Cool, huh?"
"Uh, sure," Mike said. "Cool." Not that that was really the word for it. Maybe the appropriate word for it was 'even more ridiculously attractive if that were possible, which he hadn't thought it was up until this exact moment.' As he watched, Harvey tucked his cell phone back into his pocket and walked towards them. He was like sex on legs, except his legs were also sexy.
"You look exhausted," Harvey said, and right, then he opened his mouth and became a bit of an asshole.
"He closed last night with me and then opened this morning with Tracy," Celia explained. "Shaun quit, finally, and we're short-staffed."
And in between there was visiting his grandmother, and leaving messages on Jenny's phone; now that they'd started talking again it was a little bit weird for her to not be in touch, although they'd been out of touch for so long that maybe he just didn't know her very well anymore. But he wasn't going to say all of that because it wasn't the time or the place.
"We should go in," Harvey said.
"So you can get your nachos?" Rachel asked.
"Don't be ridiculous. Jessica isn't here to eat them. I'm having a hot dog and a beer. Maybe multiple beers."
Rachel rolled her eyes at Celia, who grinned back.
"You didn't have to come if you're tired, you know," Harvey said to Mike, when they were in line to get more beer and Mike was very casually resting his hand against the wall in case he fell over, which he probably wouldn't, but it never hurt to be safe. The girls were waiting over away from the crowds, and Mike kept an eye on them, suddenly sure they were up to something. Maybe it was the way they were whispering and giggling a lot. Or maybe he was paranoid.
"It's Yankees/Red Sox and we have seats right behind home plate. Of course I have to come," Mike said.
"You said you weren't a huge baseball fan."
"You convinced me this game was important."
"It is important. It's for the division lead."
"But there's so many games left!" Mike said.
Harvey shook his head. "You're clearly a Philistine. I don't expect you to understand."
He paid for their beer and food, and they headed over to their seats, which were truly excellent as promised.
"The big deal about this game is that the last time the Red Sox won the first five games of the year in Yankee Stadium," Harvey started to explain.
"It was 1912, I know," Mike finished. "So it's for honor, presumably. My real question is, if Sabathia has already pitched two games against Beckett and lost both, why give him a third chance?"
"Redemption," Celia said. "Third time is the charm."
"Foolhardiness," Rachel countered. "He loses this time, then he's out. Beckett's not my favorite pitcher but I want him up against the Yankees every time."
"Sabathia's had some great games recently," Celia said.
"Long ones, too. He might be tired, or he might just get psyched out," Rachel said.
"It's not like Beckett is actually good," Celia said.
"He doesn't have to be good. He just has to beat your team," Rachel said.
"You brought them," Harvey said quietly. "It's going to be like this the whole game."
"I didn't know Rachel was a Red Sox fan," Mike said.
"Some people pick up bad habits at Harvard," Harvey said.
The beer was really good (of course Harvey had good taste in beer), and they all settled in to watch, Mike and Celia in the middle. Sabathia struck out two batters in the first inning and the third was caught out by the right fielder. Then Beckett hit Derek Jeter on his first pitch, and Mike jeered along with the crowd.
It was a nice night, warm and inviting but not hot. The seats were actually pretty comfortable, and between Celia and Rachel debating every play and Harvey concentrating in silence except for when he was throwing sidelong glances at him, Mike was surprisingly content. He slid down further in his chair, feeling relaxed for the first time in days.
Someone hauled Mike to his feet gently.
"What?" Mike asked. He'd been dreaming about kittens and, oddly, Derek Jeter, and he'd been warm and comfortable.
"Seventh inning stretch. You're supposed to stand up, stretch your legs, maybe sing."
Mike paused to blink and look around. Celia had a notebook out and she and Rachel were arguing intensely but quietly about something on the page. As he watched, Rachel snatched the pencil and wrote something, then jabbed at it. Celia shook her head violently. They were clearly occupied by the conversation, but so quiet that he couldn't hear them from right next to them.
Harvey was looking at him with an unreadable expression on his face. The Red Sox were up 7 to 2. "I thought the Yankees were winning," Mike said.
"They were, before you slept through five innings," Harvey said.
Oh god. "I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking."
"You told me you were tired, I just didn't realize how tired." Harvey tucked his hands into his pockets carefully. Mike could stand on his own, of course, but he immediately missed the contact, just a little bit.
"I really don't usually fall asleep in public. It will be better as soon as we hire and train someone new at work. Also, the beer probably didn't help."
"You didn't have to drink it," Harvey said.
"I know. That's not what I meant," Mike said. "I'm sorry for ruining your evening."
"They were your tickets. If you want to invite me places so you can nap on my shoulder, well, you can do whatever you want. That's why I gave them to you."
"That's all fine but Beckett still hit three batters! I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous," Celia exclaimed suddenly.
"And your people couldn't capitalize on any of them. That's certainly not my fault!" Rachel shouted back.
Then they both turned to look guiltily at Harvey. "Sorry," Celia said.
"Oh, you're awake!" Rachel said, and then they both turned away again.
Mike had no idea what was going on. It often took him a couple minutes to wake up, especially after a nap that was threatening to turn into a full night's sleep, but he didn't really think that was the problem here.
"What is going on?" he asked.
"Aside from the seventh inning, a whole lot of nothing," Harvey said.
"So you just let me sleep because there wasn't anything to watch?" Mike guessed.
Harvey pursed his lips. "You looked like you needed the sleep," he said.
It was probably useless to try to get a top-notch lawyer to give away something he didn't want anyone to know. Noted. "There's still two and a half innings left. That's a long time in baseball, right? Anything could happen," Mike said.
Luckily Harvey took the bait and they argued about best comebacks in various sporting events. Mike had a good head for facts, and he could pull out statistics on football and basketball without really thinking about it at all.
"I'm going to get another beer," Harvey said when they were in the bottom of the eighth. "Anybody else want anything?"
"I'll have one, to celebrate imminent victory," Rachel said.
As soon as he was gone, Mike turned to Celia and looked at her.
"What?" Celia asked.
"You're up to something," Mike said.
"You were sleeping with your head all nestled on his shoulder, and he made us talk quieter so we wouldn't wake you," Rachel said. If Mike had known her better he'd have been able to analyze the level of glee in her tone, but at a rough guess he'd say, maybe fifty percent gleeful.
"It was kind of adorable," Celia said, like she was confessing some heinous crime.
Mike put his head in his hands.
"We were just saying Mike should go run across the field," Rachel said, and Mike looked up to see that Harvey had returned and was considering him with a careful expression on his face.
"And I was saying that I think it works better if you take your clothes off, and I would certainly follow them out there," Mike said, for the sheer pleasure of seeing Celia squeak and blush.
"No streaking," Harvey said. "Some of us are trying to watch the game."
Mike had the next day off, which was good because the game ended very late and he would never have made it in time for opening without skipping sleep altogether. But it was kind of bad because Tracy had to work the entire day straight through. He used the time to catch up on his sleep, only going out for a bit to visit his grandma and grab something to eat. Then it was back to the grindstone.
Tracy was in the office when he got in, which was weird. He was supposed to be on shift with Celia, and she hadn't said anything about switching.
"Mike, are you okay?" Tracy asked. "I know I've been dumping a lot on you, with having you oversee all the training for Celia and Russell as well as take on extra shifts."
"I'm fine," he said.
"Because Celia told me you had a date with Harvey, and you fell asleep during it."
"Okay, first of all, I'm not sure it was a date. He bought the tickets to the baseball game and gave them to me, and I invited him to come along, and Rachel and Celia came too. So..."
"It could still have been a date," Tracy said.
"Also, he didn't seem to mind that I fell asleep."
"Celia said that he made them be quiet, said they were interrupting his focus on the game, but Rachel thought he just wanted them to not bother you."
"I think there's some rule about using hearsay as evidence in the court," Mike said.
"Okay, I'll drop it. If I'm not dumping too much on you, I need you to do something else. We have to replace Shaun, as you likely know, so I put an ad out. The applications have started to come in. I want you to review them, pick some people, and interview."
"Um," Mike said. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. You'll be handling the training again, and you handled the training last time, so I expect you'll have a good feel for who will work out."
"Okay. Can I -" he gestured at the door to the actual shop, and she nodded.
"I'm taking off shortly, and Celia is already out there. Let me know if you need help."
"With the interviews. But also with Celia, I guess, although I think you can handle yourself."
He grabbed his apron from his hook and headed out. Rachel was leaning against the counter, her head tilted next to Celia's, and they were giggling and whispering about something.
"Hey," Rachel said, seeing him and straightening up. She handed over a baseball ticket from the game they'd just gone to. "Harvey says hi."
"What is this?" Mike asked.
"A baseball game ticket," Celia said.
"Yes, but it's from the game we already went to," Mike said.
"Maybe you needed a souvenir," Rachel said. "I don't know, he just told me to hand this over when you came in."
"Have you just been here to wait for me to show up?"
"I was waiting for a client, who should be arriving any minute."
"Are you headed back to the office?" Mike asked.
"Yeah, as soon as the client shows up I'm supposed to escort him back."
Mike grabbed a cup and scrawled 'nice hitting yesterday' on it before making Harvey's favorite.
"What's this?" Rachel asked, holding it up to look at the writing.
"Yankees beat the Indians 11-7 yesterday," Mike said.
"I thought you weren't much of a baseball fan," Celia said.
Mike shrugged. He wasn't, really, but baseball had a lot of nice stats to dig into and he figured he might as well keep an eye on the Yankees, at least, so he could participate if it came up in conversation with anyone.
"That was pretty good, but you forgot about galactose," Mike said. Russell knew the glycolytic pathway stuff cold, but he got distracted too easily. Mike figured if he got to the point where he could explain everything correctly and also set up the cold brewing coffee for the next morning, he’d be set.
"Mike?" Russell said. That sounded bad, like he was worried because he’d put soap in the coffee again (which had admittedly only happened once, his second day on the job, and it had still been relatively cold out so the demand for iced coffee was low, but still).
Mike turned around and saw Jenny standing at the door, her hands curled roughly on the strap of her duffel bag. She looked like she'd been crying recently, and her hair was a mess which was not like her at all.
"What happened?" Mike asked, hurrying around the counter.
Jenny shook her head. "Can I stay with you?"
"Yes. Of course."
"It's just - Alice is out of town for another couple weeks, and my mom will yell, and... I just feel so stupid."
Mike wrapped his arms around her and drew her in for a hug, and so she could cry against his shirt if she wanted to. She'd always hated for people to see her upset.
"It's small, but I fit a futon in. You can stay, and you don't have to sleep on the floor."
She nodded, but she wasn't moving, so he didn't move either. He caught Russell's eye, and he held up a sign that said 'hot choc?' and then when Mike nodded, another that said 'rasp?' Mike held his fingers close together, for just a little bit.
"You want to sit down? I can call someone to come in and take the rest of my shift and then we can go."
"I can wait for you to be done," Jenny said. "It's okay." She accepted the mug from Russell and curled her hands around it, staring into the chocolate like it would answer all of her questions.
"If you want to talk," Mike said, feeling totally inadequate. He would offer to beat Trevor up if it was necessary, although that particular exercise might not end well.
"I'll be okay. He's dealing again, and he screwed up everything - which you know, right? Because you told the lawyers about it. I should have seen it sooner, is all, but I believed him when he said he was going legal." Her hands were shaking on her cup.
"Did he hit you?" As soon as he asked he felt that it was the entirely wrong thing to say, and Trevor didn't seem the type, but then again he got riled up and involved in things that were over his head, and it didn't usually end well.
"No." Jenny raised a hand to pat her hair back. "Not really. Well, he sort of - he came at me, a little bit. I swung at him, with one of his shitty frying pans. It broke against the wall. I said we were done, and he wasn't allowed to call me ever again, and I packed the bag and came here."
"Okay, as long as you are okay," Mike said.
"I would have called you sooner, you know, but I thought you didn't want to associate with us anymore."
Mike felt a bit like she'd hit him with the frying pan. "It was never you I had a problem with."
Mike ruled out a lot of the potential interviewees based on their inability to fill out forms with some slight hint of competence. Baristas didn't necessarily need to fill out forms all the time, but he felt that he personally would not be able handle training someone who not only missed the correct fields but also didn't double-check their work and ask for a new form.
A person like that would not be able to handle a dirty chai.
Still, there were a couple possibilities, and he scheduled interviews and rearranged his work shifts so he could be around at the right times.
It was after the fourth interview (small guy with shifty eyes who didn't stop looking at Celia the entire time they were talking: definite no) that Celia pulled him aside.
"I think Harvey misses you," she said.
"If you're going to blather on at me, will you at least eat these scones?" Mike asked, handing her an overflowing tin.
"Where did you get these?"
"Jenny's equipment showed up. She's making up for lost time, I think. She sleeps on the couch, then gets up and bakes until she has to sleep again. I feel guilty but if I eat any more my stomach will explode."
"Well, as long as you didn't poison them," Celia said, selecting one carefully and taking a bite. She closed her eyes and smiled. "Okay, yes, these are delicious."
"I'll bring you more tomorrow," Mike said. If he could even get in his apartment to pick them up; he was half afraid Jenny would just bake so much the door didn't open.
"You could take some to Harvey, like, as a delivery person. You could say Jenny sent them, as thanks."
"I don't really think that's a great idea," Mike said.
"It's an awesome idea. Look," Celia took another scone. "Oh, these really are fantastic, you might have to take them away from me. Anyway, Donna has a thing where - if she comes in and you aren't here, she just gets two black coffees. This morning she asked if you still worked here, and I said your shifts had just been moved, and she looked all intrigued."
"Harvey doesn't like the dirty chai anymore?" Mike asked.
"I think he only likes it when you make it," Celia said.
Mike shook his head. "Maybe his tastes have changed. You're speculating with no evidence at all."
"You come back to work in the mornings, you'll see. Tell me about the interviews. And give me the rest of the scones."
"I thought you wanted me to take them away from you," Mike said.
"I changed my mind. I'm only eating Jenny's baking for the rest of my life."
Two more interviews later, Mike was just about ready to hire the next person who walked through the door, regardless of suitability. He didn't remember Tracy having this much trouble when she hired Celia and Russell, so maybe he was incompetent, but she'd thought he could handle it and he was trying.
"Interview these people," Tracy suggested. She was going through the stack of rejected applications because he'd asked her to see if he was just doing something wrong.
"Why them?" he asked.
"Why did you pick your original candidates?"
"They had job experience."
"You didn't have any job experience when you applied. Russell is trying to put himself through college and get to medical school. Shaun wanted to be in the theater, he took this as a temporary way to pay the bills. Neither of them had experience."
"So you're saying we should hire someone with no experience instead?" Mike asked.
"I'm saying you need the right person. It's hard to tell what that is until you meet them and get a feel for how they'll fit in. But if you aren't getting anywhere with your current method, you should try a different one," Tracy said.
That was incredibly helpful, of course, so Mike was debating going back to his 'hire the next person through the door' plan, and then the door opened up and in came Rachel and a jittery guy. He couldn't hire Rachel because he doubted she was interested at all, plus Harvey might not want to lose his associate. He seemed like the possessive type. And the jittery guy was too jittery; it was important to have some ability to hold cups full of hot liquids steady or customers could end up burned.
He'd have to just call Tracy's suggestions and go from there.
"Your usual tea?" he asked Rachel.
"I'll have a black eye," the jittery guy said.
"Wyatt, Harvey said no more caffeine," Rachel said. "You need to be calmer for the meeting. If you aren't, then we're going to have a harder time closing the deal. The investors need to look at you and see a smart, capable businessman, not a jumpy tech guy."
"I like the way it tastes," Wyatt said stubbornly.
"We could make it decaf," Mike suggested. "Or mostly decaf, with just a tiny bit of caffeine," he added, when Wyatt looked like he might start crying.
Rachel leaned over the counter a bit and lowered her voice. "I really came here to get him something to eat. He isn't - well, it doesn't really matter. But yesterday Donna brought back a couple scones with her morning coffee, and they were simply divine, so I'm wondering if you have them?"
"Sure, well, the pastries are here," Mike said, gesturing to the display cases.
"No, they looked different," Rachel said. "Maybe they were a different kind. Oh well."
Or maybe Celia was handing out Jenny's baking to her favorite customers. He was going to have to have a talk with her. In the meantime, though, Jenny had moved on from scones, so he didn't have any in the back to offer.
"You probably got samples," he said finally. Better not to rat anyone out, but also not smart to commit to something he can't sustain. "So, those are gone. But I have some cupcakes, red velvet with cream cheese frosting."
"I'll take four," Rachel said, no hesitation, and Mike smiled at her.
"Want me to box them up? You can save them for later? Or, I mean, eat them all right now, I don't care."
Rachel shook her head, smiling back. "One for me, one for Donna, one for Wyatt, and one for Lorna. She just came back from vacation, and she's having a bit of an adjustment period."
Rachel ate hers immediately, taking small bites and licking the frosting off her lips as she went. She made little moaning noises in the back of her throat. If Mike had been attracted to her he would have been turned on.
It was still a tiny bit uncomfortable.
"Wow," Wyatt said, when she finished.
"I want another one," Rachel said. "Same baker? Scones are all well and good, but cupcakes, now, those are my favorite."
"Rachel's a foodie," Wyatt said, licking frosting off his fingers. "I'm not a cupcake person but these are pretty awesome."
"I've got three more in the back, if you want them," Mike said. It would save him eating them all himself, which would save him buying a whole new wardrobe. Besides, there'd be something new and delicious when he got home.
"Oh my god, yes," Rachel said. "Please."
Mike went into the back again and got the rest of the cupcakes. When he came back, Rachel was on the phone, waving a hand distractedly.
"Yes, of course, but... absolutely, we can take care of that for you... now? Well... I understand, I'll get on it as soon as possible."
"What's wrong?" Mike asked when she hung up the phone.
"It's this - I need to go take care of another situation, but I promised Harvey we'd be here."
"Wyatt can hang out here without you. He's a grown man."
"He's got a multi-million dollar invention and he's a nervous wreck," Rachel said. "I'm supposed to try to keep him relaxed. I thought getting out of the office for a bit would help, but now..."
"I got it," Mike said. "We can talk about man stuff." Rachel looked extremely skeptical, so he added, "or Tracy can talk to him. She's very good with people."
"It's just that Harvey is very particular."
"What happens if you don't deal with whatever this other situation is? And what happens if you leave Wyatt here? How about this. You can give me a number to call in case anything goes wrong, and I promise I'll do it if he looks like he's going to run off."
"Well," Rachel said, and her phone rang again. She looked at the caller ID and winced. "Hi Louis, right. Yes, I got the phone call... yes, I was just..."
Mike got her attention and mouthed 'go!' and waved his hands towards the door. Louis was that other guy from the firm, which meant it was something work-related and possibly urgent, and she should really take care of it.
Once his cupcake was gone and Rachel had taken all the extras with her, Wyatt started looking nervous again, but they had hardly any customers, so Mike sat down with him and asked about his multi-million dollar invention.
An hour or more later, Mike had heard all about the invention and gotten all the napkin sketches of how things worked. It was fascinating, and he wondered if, after Russell was done with the MCATs, he shouldn't move on to computer engineering.
They'd moved on to intellectual property and copyright, and how they worked, and whether it might just be more correct to release all the designs for free on the internet. Mike, if pressed, would admit to being sort of radical in his opinions about patents. It had been awhile since he had a truly intellectual discussion with someone as smart as he was, and he'd missed it.
After that, when Harvey still hadn't shown up and Rachel wasn't back yet, Mike dug out a deck of cards and started fooling around with teaching Wyatt how to count cards properly (or improperly, if you were the house) in poker.
So when Harvey arrived, there were cards spread all over the table in various piles, and Mike was listening intently as Wyatt explained why the odds were in his favor on a particular bet.
"Where's Rachel?" Harvey asked.
"Louis called, he needed something urgent," Mike said. "We've just been hanging out. No caffeine."
"Even though I tried to pay him triple," Wyatt said under his breath. "Are we ready, then?"
"I'm just going to use the bathroom," Wyatt said, almost running to the back.
"Can he escape that way?" Harvey asked.
"No windows, if that's what you're asking," Mike said.
"If this doesn't work out, he loses years of work and lots of money," Harvey said. "That's why Rachel was supposed to stick with him, keep him calm. We don't want the opposition to know he's nervous."
"He was plenty calm before you came in here," Mike said.
"You were teaching him to cheat at cards."
"It's not cheating. Some people just naturally have good memories."
Harvey looked at him, consideringly. "Rachel shouldn't have dumped this on you," he said.
"I talked her into it. She seemed really worried about the Louis thing. Besides, we're right around the corner, and I'm trustworthy."
Harvey raised his eyebrows and watched silently as Mike gathered up the cards and shuffled them a couple times. It was not as creepy as it maybe should have been. "What are you doing tonight?" he asked finally.
"Maybe nothing," Mike said. It was not his night to visit his grandmother, but if he didn't have something to get done he tended to wander over there anyway. On the other hand, he had no idea what made Harvey tick, and it was intriguing.
"How do you feel about fast cars?"
Watching Harvey work was enlightening. For one thing, he was very good. Objectively Mike knew that one didn't get an office like Harvey had, at a firm like Pearson Hardman, without being smart and working hard. But it was entirely different seeing him in action, where he was coming at people with a combination of smooth charm and forceful personality. Mike didn't know a lot about negotiating contracts (although for kicks he'd discovered he could pass the LSATs with flying colors), but he'd be surprised if Harvey ever lost.
He also seriously knew his way around cars, or at least the ones in this particular company, and Mike had a weakness for competent people. It was part of why he liked working with Tracy; he'd never seen her mess up a drink, and her hands sometimes moved so fast they were blurry.
If he were being completely truthful, he could entirely understand why Celia might have a bit of a crush on Harvey (which was presumably the root of all the giggling). The brain and the suits, combined with the charm, were a very nice combination. Add in the occasional smirk or hint of sarcasm, and the ego that said he knew exactly what he was doing and could prove it, and he wouldn't say it was actually kryptonite but it was something close, anyway.
"You the associate?" a gruff voice asked, startling Mike out of his thoughts. He was not as polished as the other people in the room, but he looked more comfortable, and his eyes were shrewd.
"What? Um, no, Rachel couldn't come. Harvey thought he could handle things by himself, I guess."
"Then who are you?"
"A... friend," Mike said. What a good question; he'd mostly been staring at Harvey all night, so who knew how that looked to an outsider. "Who are you?"
"I run the plant," the man said. "Dominic." He held his out to shake, so Mike shook. He had a firm grip, but not the kind that was so firm he was clearly compensating.
"Mike. Nice to meet you."
They stood in silence for a little bit. Mike was not sure what he was supposed to do next.
"So... Harvey tells me you build cars that win races," he said finally.
"Yup, Formula One championships," Dominic said. "Let me ask you something. You know what Harvey does for a living?"
"Um," Mike said, because it seemed like a trick question. He was a lawyer. There wasn't much else, was there?
"Just checking," Dominic said.
"Dominic, great to see you," said Harvey, coming up behind him.
"Likewise," Dominic said. There was a decided chill in the air. Mike wasn't necessarily great at reading people all the time, but he figured that meant neither of them thought it was actually great to see each other.
Harvey's lips twisted in a supercilious smirk, and Mike wondered if he was going to say something horrifically cutting, but instead he tapped Mike's elbow lightly.
"If you'll excuse us, I see Lawrence has arrived and I do need to speak with him."
Dominic inclined his head, and Harvey led Mike across the room.
"We were just having a nice chat, you know. You didn't have to rescue me."
"He hates me," said Harvey. "We have a couple major differences of opinion on company policy. But he's very good at his job, and it's better to not be antagonistic. I admire his work, which helps."
"Did you finish your business, then?" Mike asked.
"Yes. We've hit the celebration part of the evening, when I get to take a car and drive around for awhile."
Mike was not really a car person, mostly because he'd lived his entire life in New York City and there wasn't much call for driving, not when there was public transportation and cabs and biking and he could actually walk a lot of the places he needed to be. He didn't have a lot of experience with cars, and therefore he felt that he was unable to sincerely appreciate them.
But he was completely able to appreciate Harvey's masterful handling of the car. Mike would not have said that he had any sort of hand fetish, but watching Harvey's hands on the steering wheel and the gear shift, the way his fingers stretched out and settled again periodically, the way he ran his palm lightly over the shift knob while waiting at stoplights, was changing his mind on that.
They hit the outskirts of the city and Harvey opened up the car and shifted up, putting his foot on the gas. The engine growled and jumped forward, and they were suddenly going much, much faster than they had been. It was awesome, and Mike relaxed and let himself feel the way the car was responding. He watched the scenery as much as he could in the dark.
Harvey seemed content with silence and driving, and so Mike let himself be content, too, for a little while. It had been some time since he'd been on a road like this, and probably forever since he'd been in a car like this.
"Can I ask you a question?" Mike asked, after a little time had gone past and he didn't feel like he was ruining the moment by opening his mouth. "I don't know your company policies on human resources, so if it's privileged information..."
"If you want to know how much money I make," Harvey said.
"No, no. Hiring procedures. Tracy put me in charge of replacing Shaun, and I've been interviewing but I haven't had a lot of luck."
"So you want to know what made me hire Rachel?"
"Sure, or Donna, or whoever."
Harvey tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. "When I got promoted to senior partner, I had to hire my own personal associate. We only hire Harvard grads, so that narrows the scope some."
"Seriously?" Mike asked.
"We have a reputation to maintain. It's a big deal. Anyway, there were still a fair number of applicants because it's a desirable firm. So we scheduled a lot of interviews, and I had Donna give me her opinion as they came in to give me an idea of what was happening."
"They're all basically qualified, then, right? What made Rachel stand out?"
"Well, she'd worked for us as a paralegal back in the day, which might be why Donna recognized her. But I never worked with her then. It was more a case of her attitude. She was smart and interested in doing her job correctly, but she also knew she could pull it off. You need a certain amount of confidence to be at all successful."
Mike looked out the window for a bit. He was not sure exactly how far out of the city they were, but Harvey was driving very fast. The kind of fast where he didn't want to look at the speedometer, so he'd have plausible deniability later, just in case.
"I think Rachel is afraid of you," he said, mostly without meaning to. Harvey might not mind talking about his hiring experience, but this was none of his business at all.
"As she should be. I could make or break her career." He whipped around a curve on the road, barely slowing down. It was a little bit terrifying and a lot exhilarating.
"But she's good at her job."
"That's why it's going to be make, and not break."
"Maybe you should tell her you appreciate her, then."
"She knows. It's why she got to come to the baseball game."
"I thought she got to come to the baseball game because you gave me four tickets, and I invited you and Celia," Mike said.
"If you hadn't, there would have been something comparable. It's important to reward employees with things periodically," Harvey said. "Even if it's something small like baked goods or an extra day off."
"Or like helping them study for the MCATs?" Mike said.
"Or like that, I suppose," Harvey said. "Did you try to go to medical school?"
"Nah, I just like learning things," Mike said. "And I'm very good at tests. There's a strategy. It doesn't correlate perfectly to being smart."
"I'm so glad you just boiled down into thirty seconds what the LSAT prep courses take weeks to teach," Harvey said. He checked his very expensive watch. "Unfortunately, I think we have to get back soon to drop off the car."
"You should buy it and keep it forever, it's a nice car," Mike said.
"That's what I have a driver for," Harvey said. "It's easier than driving myself and parking. I just go out sometimes, like this."
"It's awesome," Mike said. "I never drove much, since I've always lived in the city. Bike riding gets me pretty much everywhere."
"It's not a very good image for a lawyer, to show up at work with a bike helmet and a suit all rumply from riding. But I can see the appeal," Harvey said. "Do you want me to drop you off at your place?"
"Sure!" Mike said. "That would be awesome."
"As long as you don't live someplace obnoxious," Harvey said.
They pulled to a stop outside his apartment building, and Mike had literally no idea what he was supposed to do. Hop out of the car with a jaunty wave goodbye? What was the proper protocol for bidding farewell after a night driving in a fancy borrowed car with someone?
"So, this is me," he said.
"Mike," Harvey said.
"Yes?" He turned to look at Harvey, who was closer than he had been before. Was he leaning across the gear shift?
Harvey slid a hand around the back of his neck and pulled him in, slowly, so Mike could say he'd seen it coming and pull away if he needed to. Instead, they were kissing. Harvey's lips clung to his. Mike didn't particularly make a habit of analyzing these things, but it was probably the most sensuous kiss he'd ever received when all his clothes were still on and no tongue was involved at all.
Slowly, so slowly Mike thought he was imagining it, Harvey pulled back.
"Oh," Mike said.
"Hm," Harvey said, letting him go and putting his hands back on the wheel of the car.
"So, um, I guess I'll see you soon," Mike said, opening the door of the car and sliding out.
"Mike?" Harvey said. Mike leaned back down a bit to look at him. "Have a good night."
"Right. You too," Mike said. He shut the car door, and Harvey drove off.
Mike stood on the front step of his building for a long time, staring at the road. "Well, fuck," he said, getting some weird looks from passersby.
Mike thought about Harvey, and the kiss, and what he realized in retrospect was obviously a sort of weird date, as he got up in the morning, packed up Jenny's newest creation so he could pawn it off on unsuspecting dieters, and biked to work.
He'd probably thought about it while he was sleeping, too, but he wasn't really the type to remember his dreams, which was for the best because it would have been something odd like he and Harvey in baseball uniforms driving through a river of dirty chai in order to get to work on time. Not really that appealing.
Tracy was, once again, already at work in the office when Mike arrived. She had a ton of paperwork spread out over the desk, but she looked up when he waved.
"Everything cool?" he asked.
"Yeah, just working out some things."
"Is that Chicago?" Mike asked, seeing some pictures of what he was pretty sure were the skyline over Lake Michigan. Not that he'd been there, but it was fairly distinctive.
"Yeah," Tracy said, shifting papers around to cover up the photos.
"Mini cheesecake?" Mike asked, pulling a muffin-sized delicious package out. "Part of a balanced breakfast!"
"Dairy and carbs?" Tracy asked.
"It's like eating a bowl of cereal," Mike said.
Tracy laughed, which had been his goal, and took the cheesecake.
"Jenny doesn't mind feeding us?"
"I'm pretty sure she tastes as she works, and then by the time everything is out of the oven she's moved on and doesn't want to think about it anymore," Mike said. "Not that she lets me catch her licking the bowl, but."
Celia was out front again, and Mike handed her a muffin cheesecake too.
"Oh my gosh, I love you. And Jenny. And everything. Can we give one to Rachel?" Celia asked, after her first bite.
"Cee," Mike said. "We aren't selling them, and there could be some problem with customer satisfaction, and what if people get food poisoning?"
"That's not going to happen! Besides, Rachel knows it's a friend thing. We're friends! We trash talk baseball, and she sends me text messages about - um, when she's coming to get coffee, that sort of thing." Celia had her phone out and was waving it around demonstratively, so Mike snatched it from her hand.
"'Coming down shortly,'" he read. "That's informative."
"Give it back," Celia said, but she was still holding the rest of the cheesecake in her hand, and it hampered her ability to actually grab the phone.
"'Hope you have baked goods again, Harvey's in an oddly good mood and it's freaking me out,'" Mike read next. He wondered why Harvey being in a good mood would freak her out; Harvey was always reasonable, and often in a good mood. And then he wondered why Harvey was in a good mood, if it was especially good for some specific reason.
"Mike, are you blushing?" Celia asked.
"'We should get Jenny to hang out with us,'" Mike read, and that was a good distraction. "You should, by the way. I think a lot of the people she used to see all the time were Trevor's friends, too, and it's a little awkward."
"Okay, but seriously, why were you blushing? What's blush-worthy about Harvey being in a good mood?" Celia asked.
"Nothing," Mike said.
"You blushed! Something happened. I'm sure of it."
"Hi Rachel," Mike said, waving at her around Celia's back. "I brought mini cheesecakes."
"You are a lifesaver," Rachel said. "Harvey is up in arms about something, I need a distraction."
"I thought you said he was in a good mood," Celia said, leaning on the counter like they were going to be in for a nice long gossip session.
"He is, it's really weird. He's snapping at everyone and he told Jessica he had things under control but she seems suspicious. But then he'll turn around and smile, when no one is looking."
Mike stared at the coffee grinder, willing his ears to not turn red. What was the right thing to say when the guy you hadn't realized you might be dating kissed you and then sent his associate over to pick up coffee with stories of him being happy? He settled for drawing a row of smiley faces around the bottom of the cup. It was kind of stupid, but everything he could write also seemed stupid.
"I would love to stay but I really can't," Rachel said. "I'll call you later, Cee."
"Soooo," Celia said, as Rachel dashed out the door. "Something happened. I know it must have because you're blushing and Harvey is smiling at people."
"Then you don't need me to tell you, do you?" Mike said.
"Come on. You can tell me one thing."
Mike looked at her consideringly. "Harvey is attractive, right?"
"I have eyes. This is not a revelation."
"He's a catch," Mike said. It was true, too; Harvey was successful and intelligent as well as attractive.
"You're gloating," Celia said. "You have an interview today, right? So just, go prepare for that. I'll stay here and let Rachel know that you're being a pill and she'll have to figure Harvey out herself."
Two days in a row passed by with no word at all from any of the lawyers or their employees, which was totally fine with Mike because he had to concentrate on teaching Priya how to do everything.
"Tamp it down more," he said, looking over her shoulder. "No, more. A little bit - okay, that's good."
"I'm going to have nice looking arms after this job, aren't I?" she asked.
"Yes, the inventor of the coffee bar had a fetish for biceps," Mike said. "Now, you line up the shot glasses here - if you know you need both shots you can get them both in one glass, but if you're splitting the shots between drinks you need to do separate glasses."
"And then the milk?"
"And then the milk. You want to use the thermometer here to check that you've hit the right temperature. A little bit of variation is okay, but not too much."
"When you made those drinks earlier you didn't look at the thermometer at all," Priya said.
"Well, that's because I'm a genius, and I can tell the temperature through pressing my hand against the pitcher."
"Really to the genius part? Yeah, probably. Or really to the temperature thing? You can learn that, too, it just takes practice."
Celia stepped in just then and waved at Mike.
"What are you doing here?"
"Got a text, they're about to take a break. Rachel wanted a change of shoes and since I had to run an errand over here anyway, I figured I could drop them off. Hey, new girl, I'm Celia."
"Priya," said Priya, leaning over the counter to shake her hand.
"This is your first day, right? How are things going?"
"Well, I think. I mean, it's complicated but not too bad."
"Mike's a good teacher. You should take a break and come over here and tell me all about yourself."
"Oh, well," Priya said, looking at him like she was asking permission.
"Sure, go ahead. I got this."
"So you're a college student?" Celia asked, pulling Priya to her favorite table, the one she always sat at when she was taking a break.
"Just graduated. Columbia," Priya said. "I'm thinking about going back to school, maybe law school, but I wanted to take a little time off."
"Did you tell Mike you wanted to go back to law school? Because he's really good at helping people study for stuff."
Mike rolled his eyes at her, but was spared further thoughts on his character by the arrival of Rachel and Harvey.
Rachel hugged Celia and collapsed into a chair. Harvey strolled casually towards Mike, his hands in his pockets, and Mike didn't know much about suits but he looked seriously hot.
This was the first time they'd seen each other since The Kiss - and since when was Mike capitalizing that in his head? He wasn't at all sure what to do.
"Tea for Rachel," Harvey said.
"Peppermint," Mike said, grabbing a cup.
"And whatever Donna gets."
"Black coffee, room for cream."
"And mine, make it hot, and a medium vanilla latte."
Mike raised his eyebrows.
"It's for Louis. I think we just broke the case, and now we have to meet with opposing counsel and sell it."
"Tough couple of days?" Mike asked, setting the drinks down on the counter as he got them.
"Embezzling. All the associates working non-stop on this for days." Harvey leaned in a bit, dropping his voice. "I meant to call you."
"But you didn't," Mike said.
"I'm thinking pizza, tonight. Lombardi's?"
Mike thought through what he had to do. Grocery shopping, but he could put that off if he was eating out. Visiting grandma, but it hadn't been that long since he'd done so. Hanging out with Jenny, which he'd done earlier in the day.
"As a celebration?"
"Sort of. I haven't had pizza in awhile."
They timed it right, and the wait was not as long as it could have been, by any stretch.
"So, you won?" Mike asked.
It was hard to explain, exactly, but it appeared that a huge weight had been lifted off Harvey's shoulders, like he could breathe easy.
"I can't divulge any details," Harvey said. "But essentially, yes. On several levels."
"That's good," Mike said. He let Harvey smile at him, slow and genuine, and continued, "I think Celia really missed Rachel, and if things ease up a bit at work for her, then they can hang out again and she'll stop bugging me so much."
Harvey smirked at him. "You hired a new girl, right? The one who was there today?"
"Yeah, Priya. She's smart, I think she'll be fine. She wants to be a lawyer."
"So you'll read up on all of that stuff and help her out, like you're doing for Russell and the MCATs?"
"If she wants me to, but there won't be much reading necessary."
"You already know everything there is to know?" Harvey looked amused again.
"Well, not all the practical applications, I'm sure. But academically, I know quite a lot."
They had to pause to order their pizza. Harvey professed hatred for the Hawaiian style, and Mike was inclined to agree, so they settled on pepperoni.
"So if I quiz you, say, on what happens if you disobey a subpoena..." Harvey said once the waitress was gone.
"Failure to comply with a subpoena issued by a judge, clerk or officer of the court shall be punishable as a contempt of court. If the witness is a party the court may also strike his or her pleadings. A subpoenaed person shall also be liable to the person on whose behalf the subpoena was issued for a penalty not exceeding one hundred fifty dollars and damages sustained by reason of the failure to comply. A court may issue a warrant directing a sheriff to bring the witness into court," Mike recited.
Harvey was staring at him.
"That's for judicial subpoenas, of course. I can continue with what happens if the person refuses to answer questions after they're brought in, or we can move on to other types of subpoenas. But you're a lawyer, you know all this stuff. You probably don't want to hear me recite more things."
"Maybe I do," Harvey said, his voice a little bit rougher than usual, and Mike realized he was staring at his mouth.
He could honestly say that he'd never thought the civil code of New York was sexy before, but he might have to reconsider. He pitched his own voice a little bit lower, leaned in over the table, and looked at Harvey through his eyelashes.
"The first six persons who appear as their names are drawn and called, and are approved as indifferent between the parties, and not discharged or excused, must be sworn and constitute the jury to try the issue."
"So, how about those Yankees?" Harvey asked, clearing his throat and sitting back in his chair.
He could screw with Harvey's composure by quoting civil practice law at him. That could come in handy.
"Okay. Here's a question," Mike said. "If Posada isn't catching any games, and his batting has been off for awhile, why is he still on the team? Don't they have other people who could do those things, who aren't 40 years old? I mean, 40 is old for a professional athlete."
Harvey blinked. "I thought you didn't do baseball."
"Well. I figured, it can't be that hard to look some of it up. I'm good with numbers, and stats are just numbers. And it could come in handy, for conversational purposes, since I do live in New York and baseball is kind of a big deal."
By the end of his little speech Harvey was outright grinning. "You thought it would come in handy for conversational purposes?"
"Apparently sometimes people get together and discuss baseball," Mike said, totally unable to keep a straight face.
"Okay, to answer your question, conventional wisdom is that it might do more damage monetarily to try to dump Posada now than to keep him. Of course that depends on if we can still win games. If he's causing games to be lost that could change."
"The race for the pennant is pretty close, right? Even if he only loses a game or two it could make a difference."
"It's going to come down to the Red Sox and the Yankees this year, and frankly, this is blasphemous but I think the Red Sox have the edge. Their pitching staff is better. The Yankees have a lot of highly paid talent which was very good a couple years ago and might now be past their prime. Like Posada. Some say maybe Derek Jeter, too."
"He's still in fantastic shape," Mike said.
"He is, but his stats have been slipping, just a tiny bit. It's not that unusual. Reaction times make a difference, and as people age those slip. Maybe not enough to notice among normal people but among pro athletes playing at that level? It's noticeable. Plus injuries start to stack up over time."
Their pizza arrived, and Mike let his eyes slide closed as he took his first bite. It was hot, a little greasy, absolutely delicious.
"This was the right decision," Harvey said, and Mike's eyes snapped back open. Harvey had his pizza slice folded over as he nearly inhaled it, allaying a worry Mike hadn't even known he had - that if Harvey was wearing a fancy suit (and he was), he might be the type of person who was overly proper and insisted on cutting his pizza with a fork and knife. That would have been a deal-breaker.
Instead he got to watch Harvey eat pizza in a three piece suit like he was in jeans, totally comfortable with himself, not a drop of sauce or grease out of place. This was another thing he'd never thought he'd do. Watching people eat didn't seem appealing; except Harvey was a confusing jumble of contradictions, and Mike could watch him do things all day and not get bored.
It was distinctly possible that he was in over his head.
Harvey finished his first slice with a sigh of satisfaction and pretty much immediately grabbed the next. "You aren't eating," he said.
"Right. No, I was just... savoring," Mike said. It wasn't that he wasn't hungry, or didn't like pizza. He was very hungry, and he loved pizza. Harvey was just a little bit distracting.
Harvey grinned at him. "Well, savor faster."
They discussed the Phillies' batting lineup as they finished eating, since Mike had actually researched them and Harvey seemed to think they had a good shot at winning the National League. Mike was just thinking of things they could do next (hang out at a bar and catch whatever game was on? go back to Harvey's place and watch whatever game was on? catch a movie? wander around the city, since it was a nice night?) when Harvey paid and hustled Mike out the door.
"I'm sorry to eat and run. I have to get back to work," he said, when they were standing on the sidewalk waiting for taxis.
"But you just finished a big case," Mike said.
"Yes, and now we have to clean up everything left behind while we worked on it. I will call you, soon. Thanks for coming to dinner with me."
"Of course," Mike said, and then Harvey brushed his hand across Mike's arm, maybe apologetically, and pulled his phone out as he slid into the waiting cab, leaving Mike feeling a bit disappointed. He wouldn't say bereft. It couldn't be bereft if he hadn't really been expecting anything.
The phone rang while Mike was getting ready for work. Mike checked the time, saw that he had enough to take a couple minutes, and picked it up.
"Oh, hello, dear," his grandmother said. "I just wanted to talk to you a bit, since you haven't been to visit in a couple days."
"I'm sorry! I've been swamped, but tonight, I should definitely have time," Mike said. It had been at least a couple days; he'd lost track of time, between problems at work and Harvey.
"Well, it's so nice of you to send Jenny to visit instead."
Jenny had been going to visit the retirement home? That was news.
"She baked us vegan gluten-free cupcakes! You know so many of us have dietary restrictions, but everyone could eat them, and they were just so delicious."
Ah, so Jenny was visiting to give away some of her baked goods. "Well, she is a good baker," Mike said. "I've had some of her things myself."
"And she knit me some wonderful knee warmers! They're so warm and stretchy, they go right over my shoes but still fit snugly around the knee. They're a very pretty shade of yellow."
Mike had never seen Jenny knit before.
"She's so sweet. She even offered to make some for Glennis and Edna and Miriam. You know we used to have these blankets we would take everywhere to keep warm but this is so much better."
"Of course, I remember the blankets. Yours was red, and you'd put it over your knees."
"It was nice, but if I had to move it would fall, and I had to keep adjusting it. These newfangled knee warmers don't slide, even if I stand up."
"I'm glad to hear it."
"I'm just so glad you're dating Jenny now. I really like her."
"Oh. Oh, no, we aren't dating. Jenny was Trevor's girlfriend, remember? And they broke up, and she's been hanging out with me while she gets back on her feet. They were living together, and she needed a place to stay."
There was a bit of silence, and that was weird. Grandma liked to talk a lot on the phone; maybe she felt she had to fill up the silence and put all the time spent to good use.
"But I am dating someone else. His name is Harvey. He's a lawyer," Mike said. Did it really count as dating if they'd gone on two dates, one of which he slept through, and kissed once, a truly awesome kiss, and send a bunch of notes back and forth using his employees as messengers? Well, if it didn't, it was too late now.
"Oh! Well, I hope he's nice like Jenny. And you tell her she can come over and visit anytime she likes."
"Of course. I'll come over tonight, okay? We can play cards."
Something had to be done. It wasn't that Mike didn't like Jenny - he did like her. She was an awesome friend and she had mad skills and they went back pretty far. But she was clearly bored if she was spending all her time showing him up with his own grandma, and while she was paying for her own baking supplies and working very hard to never be in his way when he needed to get ready for work, he was starting to resent her mooching.
Maybe a tiny little bit because, if he'd wanted to, he couldn't have invited Harvey up the other night. Jenny didn't have anywhere else to go. He wouldn't kick her out, but he missed his own space. He missed being able to get out of the shower and eat breakfast naked.
So, he took a couple sketchy shortcuts and arrived at work early to find Tracy. She was sitting in the back, again, while Russell held down the bar up front (and it wasn't too busy, so that was probably safe). There were papers spread all over and she had spreadsheets open on the computer. She was frowning.
"Is now an okay time to chat?" Mike asked. Maybe it wasn't. On closer inspection it almost appeared like she had a headache. She looked stressed, and had a hand resting against her temple.
"Sure," she said, sliding the papers into a neater pile and minimizing the open windows. There'd been a lot of red, but the text was too small for him to read.
"So... remember when you said you'd hire Jenny if she needed a job?"
"That was before you hired Priya," Tracy said.
"I know, but," Mike said, wondering how to bill this. What if all the red meant they were running low on funds? What if they couldn't afford to hire another person?
"You want her to bake," Tracy said.
"How do you do that? You always seem to know exactly what I mean before I say it."
"You're hopelessly transparent. It's good you never became a lawyer," Tracy said.
"Oh. Well. Anyway. I think there are a number of factors to consider. For one thing, the food would be better, and that leads to more customers, more funds, people come in for food and buy coffee and vice versa. I mean they could do that now. But she's good. Plus we do have some facilities which we aren't really using. She could bake in house."
"We're a coffee shop, not a bakery," Tracy said.
"We could be both! She's baking gluten-free vegan cupcakes and they're delicious, she can do anything. Also, she's bored. She offered to knit my grandmother and all her friends knee warmers. And she can't afford to move out because she hasn't found a job. It's a win-win situation. Please, Tracy!"
"You make a compelling argument."
"I do?" Mike felt personally that his argument had been hopelessly unorganized and derailed, but okay then.
"No. But I've actually already been thinking about this some. You're right that she's good. It offends me as a food industry manager that she isn't in the business right now. You know, I went to visit The Shape of a Muffin the other day, and it's not as good as the reviews said it would be. I think they were stupid to get rid of her."
"Um, okay," Mike said.
"I'll think about it, okay? I don't know. I need to figure some things out. But this isn't a no."
"Hey, guys?" Russell called. Mike headed out to the front to see that Russell had a bit of a line.
"Sorry about the delay, be right with you, thanks for your patience," Mike said to customers as he stepped in and started helping out with half-finished drinks. With two of them the line cleared out quickly.
"I'm sorry, I didn't want to disrupt your conversation," Russell said. "There weren't that many people, either. It would have been okay."
"Don't worry about it! We were almost done anyway, and the customer has to come first. You're fine." Mike looked at him; he looked tired, massive dark circles under his eyes. "It's almost MCAT time, isn't it?"
"This weekend," Russell said. "If I can't pass then I have to wait forever to take the test again. Plus if I'm not in med school next year, what am I going to do with myself?"
"Work here," Mike said, smiling gently. "Take more shifts. Study again. Take a prep class, maybe, and ask me to help more, and whatever else you need to do to make it."
"Don't give up on your dreams."
"Cliche for a reason, huh," Russell said. "Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Yes," Mike said.
"Didn't you want to go to law school?"
"Yes. But what you really want to know is why I didn't, right? Why I'm here, making people coffee?"
"Yeah, but it's personal. You don't have to talk about it. I wouldn't want to talk about it," Russell said.
"It's not a horrible thing. I'm not angry about it. I made a stupid mistake, but it was recoverable, if I'd worked at it. I didn't. And now I could, but I don't know that I want to."
"Look, it's not that hard. You want to be a doctor, right? Why?"
"I want to help people. I want to fix things, or at least improve their life. I know it's a lot of work but I think the reward of a purposeful life far outweighs that. The material is interesting, which is good, but I want to go home after a long day's work and know that I saved a life."
"I didn't have those reasons for being a lawyer. So the thing is, you can change your dreams. My dream right now is for you to ace the MCATs. Hit it out of the park. Whatever other sports metaphor you want to use."
"If I fail..." Russell said.
"If you fail you get a couple days to wallow in your grief, and a couple days to think about if you really want it. And then you pick up and move. You go back and try again or you move on."
"You're pants at inspirational speeches."
"I like pants, myself," Mike said. "They're essential. Seriously, don't worry about it, okay? You are super prepared. Walk in there knowing you can pull it off, because you can. But first, get these people their coffee."
One of the people was Harvey, and Mike felt a tiny flutter in his chest. It was stupid; they'd had a total of three dates, one of which had been literally the night before. That was too soon for heart flutters.
Harvey met his eyes with a quick little twist of his lips. "Is Tracy in the back?" he asked.
"Yeah," Mike said.
"I'll be back shortly," he said, and slipped around the edge of the counter to go into Tracy's office, which was unusual.
Mike busied himself helping Russell with the customers. They all wanted pretty basic things, but it was enough to keep his mind off why Tracy might need a lawyer, and whether it had anything to do with the financial records she had spread out all over her office. He wasn't really one for panic attacks or unfounded speculation or making decisions based on nothing at all.
Except she did seem worried. And Harvey was a lawyer.
Harvey came back out quickly, and if whatever they were discussing had been that short, it couldn't really have been a big deal.
"I'll have Rachel get in touch," he said, and Tracy nodded and waved.
"Your dirty chai," Mike said, sliding the cup across the counter. He wasn't going to ask. He wasn't. It wasn't his business.
"Are you free tonight?" Harvey asked, sliding his fingers along Mike's and resting them there way too long for plausible coffee-changing-hands deniability. Mike felt his pulse pick up, just a little, because they could do that, now.
"Yes," he said, and Harvey smiled, and then, "no, no, I have to visit my grandmother."
"Hm," Harvey said.
"I haven't seen her in awhile. She asked about me, and what I was doing, and I need to go. It's important. She doesn't have anyone else." Well, except Jenny, now, apparently.
"Then I'll call you, later."
Mike waited until he was gone to put his head down on the counter. "God."
"You were much better at that before you got all self-conscious," Russell said.
"You aren't that great at inspirational speeches yourself."
"I'm just saying, that was a 'hm, I need to see if my awesome plans for tonight transfer to another night', not 'hm, now I don't want to date this fool.'"
"You have personal experience with this?" Mike asked.
"Sure, multiple times. It happens, you have to stay cool. He's still interested."
Mike straightened up and looked at him, to see if he was lying.
"Wow, okay, Tracy told me you were seriously smart but not always so great at reading people, but I didn't really believe her until now," Russell said.
"You're texting Celia about this right now, aren't you."
"Well, I wasn't, but now I'm going to."
Mike went over to visit his grandmother as soon as he was done at work. Her next door neighbor, Mildred, was feeling better and wanted to play cards, so they played sheepshead for pennies for awhile. Mildred had been playing for decades, and the experience made her dangerous. His grandma was a veritable cardshark. If they'd been playing for anything more than pennies Mike would be flat broke all the time.
Tracy called on his way home. "Can you bring Jenny tomorrow?" she asked.
"Of course," Mike said, swerving around a car.
"Are you talking on the phone while riding your bike?" she asked.
"Not anymore," Mike said, and hung up.
Jenny was busy rolling out pie crusts when Mike got home. "I think I can shift the spice ratio a little bit and get a much more delicious pie. There is room for improvement."
"Do you have plans for tomorrow?"
"If the apple works tonight, I'm moving on to blueberry. But that's flexible. What's up?"
"Can you come in to work with me?" Mike asked.
"Um," Jenny said. She grabbed a pie pan and slid the crust carefully into it, neatly cutting off the extra bits. She spread more flour on the rolling pin and started rolling out a new batch of dough.
"I mean, I guess you don't have to," Mike said. "But Tracy said you should, she'd like to talk to you."
"I don't want to be a barista," Jenny said. "Although if you're kicking me out, I would take what I could get."
"I'm not kicking you out. And not coffee, baking," Mike said.
"Oh," Jenny said. She grabbed another pie pan and slid the crust into it, then stepped back, stretching her arms out and wiping a hand across her face.
"You have flour, there," Mike said.
"I'll wash up after." She pulled out another section of dough and patted it down a bit, then put some flour on the top. She ran her hand over the rolling pin, frowned, and put more flour on that, too.
She slammed the rolling pin into the dough and then pressed the side of her face against her shoulder. "I'm thinking!"
"Okay," Mike said. She didn't look happy. He'd thought she would be happy, and he was not stupid enough to say that to her right now. "But?"
Jenny looked up and met his eyes. He didn't know what to expect. "Did you ask her to ask me to come in?"
Mike frowned. "We discussed it. She said she'd been thinking about it, too, but I guess technically I brought it up."
"Mike, I," she said. Her voice was shaking.
His phone rang. Jenny flinched. "You what?" Mike asked.
"Aren't you going to answer that?" she asked.
Mike pulled his phone out of his pocket. It was Harvey. He really, really wanted to answer it, but he thought if he did it would totally ruin the moment. What there was of the moment, anyway.
"I'll go for a walk, okay? I need to think. You talk on the phone, or whatever. Don't touch the pies or I will gut you." She grabbed her keys and slammed the front door behind her.
Mike answered the phone, because if he hadn't he probably would have followed her, and that would not have ended well.
"Yeah," he said.
"Yeah?" Harvey asked.
"How is Tuesday?" Harvey said. "For the thing you couldn't do tonight?"
Mike had to look at his work schedule, but, "Tuesday is fine."
"Good," Harvey said.
"Good," Mike said. Now what? Did they have a sappy phone conversation? Mike was not sure he could actually concentrate on such a thing. He kept hearing Jenny's voice shaking, the sound of the door slamming behind her.
"Is everything okay?" Harvey asked, and Mike realized there'd been an awkward silence. Awesome.
"Do you ever have conversations with people where they're coming from some totally opposite direction and you just can't figure out what the hell is going on?"
"Sometimes, when talking to clients. You have to sit back and try to understand their points, and then come at them from a different direction yourself, so you can end up on the same page."
"Right," Mike said.
"What did you do?" Harvey asked.
"What makes you think I did anything?"
"If you hadn't done something, you wouldn't be worried about it. But you don't have to tell me."
"I might have to tell somebody, but. I need to think about it," Mike said.
"Okay," Harvey said. "I don't know what my schedule is going to be like the next couple of days, but if I can stop by I will. Otherwise I'll see you on Tuesday."
"Sounds good," Mike said. "You could tell me what we're doing."
"You'll find out," Harvey said. "I'll see you later."
"Bye, Harvey," Mike said. He slid the phone back into his pocket and ran a hand through his hair. What to do until Jenny came back? He paced back and forth in the limited space. He had to jump over Jenny's bag and go around the couch, and it wasn't very satisfying.
He looked at the pie stuff on the table. If she didn't come back soon the dough might dry out, although he didn't know much about how that worked. Besides, she wasn't really a violent person but he believed her when she said she'd gut him if he touched anything.
He poured himself a glass of water and sipped it slowly, more for something to do than because he was seriously thirsty. By the time Jenny came back he'd finished the whole thing.
"Before you say anything, I need to ask you a few questions," she said, picking up her rolling pin again. Mike stayed back, pressed against the fridge, in case she decided to swing it. Not that he seriously thought she would, but it was better safe than sorry.
"Of course," he said, when he realized she was waiting for an answer.
"Do you talk to Trevor?"
"No, not really. The last time I talked to him was the night I came over for dinner. And before that, it was a long time."
"All right. I should assume he lies, I guess. Why did you talk to Tracy about me baking?"
"Um," Mike said. "Well. I mean, you're really good. Celia keeps giving some of your things away to her favorite customers and they're all asking for more all the time. I think it would be good for business."
Jenny grabbed another pie pan and slid the rolled out dough into it.
"How many pies are you making?"
"A bunch. I have to test all the varieties. You have to test all the varieties, too. Actually, I'll need several opinions, so if Celia and whoever else are interested, that would be great. But we're not done here. I'm flattered that people think I'm good, but was that the only reason you brought it up to Tracy?"
"You want, what, my entire thought process?"
"Do not laugh at me," Jenny said, pointing her rolling pin at him. "You think this is some stupid thing but I need to know."
"Okay," Mike said. "I talked to my grandma on the phone this morning, and she said you'd been coming by to visit with your baked goods, and knitting her things. I thought maybe you were lonely. And I also thought that you couldn't get your own place again until you had a job, and I certainly don't begrudge you the space but I was on a date the other day and I couldn't invite him up because I didn't want to kick you out."
"In the first place," Jenny said, slamming the rolling pin down into the dough hard enough to make a sharp cracking sound on the board, "I don't have to be lonely to visit your grandma. She's a very nice person, good at conversation, and she loves visitors. And maybe I was just giving back to her because you've been so nice about putting me up here, and because I like being needed, and because I enjoy it. You certainly aren't lonely, and you go visit her all the time, and it's not because you're a dutiful grandchild."
"I love her," Mike said.
"She's kind of awesome, and I'm happy to visit her, and I would probably keep going even if I wasn't living here anymore. And in the second place!" Jenny slammed the rolling pin down again, and ripped a big hole open in the dough. "Oh, goddamnit."
"Jenny," Mike said.
"Shut up. You shut up. You think I'm lonely and I need help with things and you think I'm incompetent and I can't get a job by myself and so out of the goodness of your heart you're going to get me one, because secretly you hate the fact that I'm here. And you could just say it! Alice will be back soon, I can go stay with her. I'll leave you the pies to pay you back for hosting me."
"Jenny," Mike said, for lack of anything else. What did he say to that?
"Would you just," Jenny said, her voice cracking. She covered her face with her hands. "Goddamnit!"
"Hey, listen, I'm sorry. Most people think it's weird that I go visit her all the time, so I just tend to assume that. But of course I understand. You should go back, they love visitors, and not everyone there has anyone to visit. You should ask them to teach you cards, they take all my money when I visit and they'd love to teach you to do the same."
Jenny started piecing the pie crust bits back together. She was refusing to meet his eyes on purpose, he was sure of it.
"I don't think you're incompetent," Mike said. "Jenny. We've known each other awhile, right? I don't! I think you're very good at what you do. I think you got stuck in a bit of a bad spot, through no fault of your own at all, and it's certainly not admitting incompetence to take a little help if you need it. Tracy took a huge chance on me, you know, a long time ago, and if she hadn't I wouldn't be here today. She knew I could do it, but I needed a hand up."
Jenny wiped a hand over her face, leaving more flour streaks. "I'll come in and talk to Tracy, tomorrow, because it would be phenomenally stupid not to take advantage of an opportunity like this. But you can't fix my life for me, and I need you to get that."
"I promise to talk to you before I come up with any more brilliant ideas," Mike said.
Jenny laughed a kind of watery laugh, but she wasn't crying, so he was going to count that as a win.
"Do you think it's too late to call Celia and have her come over and taste these tonight? Because they're best fresh."
Mike checked his watch. "She should be getting off work shortly. I can see if she's available."
About an hour later, Mike was hidden in his very tiny bedroom, sitting on the bed and attempting to read over a computer programming book he'd gotten from the library. He normally didn't have trouble concentrating; he read very fast and he remembered everything.
But it was kind of hard to concentrate because Celia had brought Rachel and a bottle of chocolate liquor and they were liberally dosing their decaf coffee with it while chatting with Jenny and waiting for the pies to come out of the oven. In fact, it was Celia's decision that she needed less coffee and more liquor in her mug that had driven him into the bedroom in the first place.
Not that he really minded. Rachel was nice, and he liked to think Celia would consider him a friend, and Jenny sounded a lot happier. But they'd mentioned Harvey's name several too many times, and combining that with how often they were laughing made him deeply suspicious of the topic of discussion. They were relatively quiet, though, and since he'd shut the door he couldn't hear enough to actually know what was happening.
If your associate comes to work tomorrow with ridiculous tales about me, you shouldn't believe them, Mike texted to Harvey, just to cover all his bases.
What sorts of tales are those likely to be? Harvey texted back almost immediately.
I don't know, I took refuge in my bedroom.
His phone rang, and he picked up. "Yes?"
"You took refuge in your bedroom?" Harvey asked.
"They're drinking spiked decaf coffee. It was the only solution," Mike said.
"Spiked decaf coffee?" Harvey said.
"It's late. Apparently other alcoholic beverages don't go well with pie."
"Jenny is trying out new recipes. She wanted taste testers," Mike said.
"And you're hiding in your bedroom, from three women, alcohol, and pie," Harvey said.
"I'm reading," Mike said. "And talking to you."
"Did you manage to fix your problem, then?"
"More or less. At least partially, anyway." Mike shut the textbook, because it was a lost cause, and lay back on his bed. "What sort of general thing are we doing on Tuesday? Is it fancy?"
"Are you trying to ask me what you should wear?" Harvey asked.
"Of course I'm not asking you what I should wear. You wear three piece suits all the time. You have unrealistic expectations."
"Are you talking to Harvey on the phone? Because we need you to come out here and break a tie," Celia said, pounding on his bedroom door.
"I better get that. I'll see you later," Mike said. He pulled open the door and frowned at Celia. "I was reading."
"You were talking to someone! And you mentioned suits. That's a clear indication of Harvey time because you don't wear suits."
"What tie do you need me to break?" Mike asked, pushing past her to see that they had partially eaten pies all over the kitchen.
"We've narrowed it down to three, but we need some more opinions, so you have to try them and tell us which one is best," Jenny said.
"Well, I suppose if you're going to twist my arm, I could eat some pie."
Rachel had curled an arm possessively around one of the pie pans, but Mike took tiny pieces of the rest and settled in to try them all out.
Mike knocked on the bathroom door. If Jenny didn't hurry up, he was going to be late to work. She could come in whenever and see Tracy with plenty of time to spare, but he had to supervise Priya's training and he didn't have enough time to call up someone else and ask them to take over.
Luckily, Jenny yanked the door open. She'd clearly just showered; her hair was wet, the mirror was steamy, and she was wrapped in a towel. "Sorry. Pie hangover," she said.
"You can't get a hangover from pie," Mike said.
"You can if you eat way too much of it. In retrospect variations D, E, and F were completely unnecessary, and I shouldn't have made them."
"Okay, well, late to work, etc, so can I get into the bathroom?"
"Oh! Right, of course, sorry," Jenny said, skipping out of the way. "Um, I'll be ready to go in with you, I think."
Mike took a very fast shower, not quite the fastest he'd ever taken because he did stop to shave, and then ran back out of the bathroom. Jenny was dressed and packing up leftover pies, and he threw on his clothes and grabbed his wallet and keys.
"Will you carry these?" Jenny asked, handing him some covered pie pans.
"You're bringing all of this?" Mike asked. "Because it's a lot."
"Well, Rachel said she'd take some to work, and Celia wanted another pie to take home to her roommate, and also I should have samples for Tracy."
"She's already had your baking, though."
"That's different. That's you taking leftovers to work and sharing them. This is me, interviewing, and I need to make a good impression."
Priya was in the front of the shop by herself, tying her apron on and telling Russell he could leave for his appointment, she'd be totally fine by herself and Mike would be there any minute.
"Sorry I'm late," Mike said. "MCAT day? Go, kick ass, prove how awesome I am."
"Okay," Russell said. "Right. I'll try."
"Come back later if you want to celebrate or commiserate, okay?"
Russell waved and headed out.
"Tracy is probably in the back," Mike said, pointing Jenny to the right door. "You can just go through, she's expecting you."
"Okay, you keep those pies, for Rachel," Jenny said. "And this one in case you want to give out a couple slices, or just eat them yourself."
"You made us pie?" Priya asked.
"She made so much pie she gave herself a pie hangover," Mike said.
"I didn't know that was possible," Priya said.
"Me either," Mike said.
Jenny rolled her eyes at them and headed back to find Tracy. They talked for over half an hour in the office, during which Mike showed Priya how they made cold brew coffee for iced coffee and did not go spy on them.
"So," Tracy said, clearly continuing some sort of conversation, "I don't know if you'd want to bake on site, but we do have this kitchen we don't use much." She took Jenny into the kitchen.
"Why don't you just go participate in the discussion if you're so interested?" Priya asked, and Mike realized he'd been totally ignoring her so he could try to listen in surreptitiously.
"Jenny said I had to back off and let her run her own life," he said. "So, I'm backing off."
"Ah. Well, apparently you offer LSAT tutoring services? You should tell me about that."
Mike had to laugh. She'd fit right in with all the rest of them. "You can't leave so soon."
"I'm planning on at least a year off, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared, right?"
They spent another half an hour, or maybe longer, in the kitchen, and Mike explained his basic test-taking philosophy and what he'd recommend in terms of studying.
Rachel came in and waved off Mike's offer of the pies, heading instead into the kitchen to talk to Tracy and Jenny.
"This is really freaking you out, isn't it?" Priya asked.
"I'm fine," Mike said. "I'm a little distracted, but I'm fine. We should go over cleanup, and what needs to be done when."
Jenny and Tracy reached some agreement, for which he was not privy to the details (although it must have involved the pie, because her experiments on various fruit fillings doubled), and business picked up within twenty-four hours, so much so that Mike was already looking at hiring at least one more person. Luckily they still had all the applications from last time.
He also debated crying off Tuesday night because when Russell found out he'd be alone with Priya he looked like he might cry. But Celia told him that Harvey had been sneakily plotting for days, and according to Rachel would make everyone cry for real if Mike had to cancel again. Plus he'd been looking forward to it for what felt like forever. So, Celia was on call in case a disaster happened, and Mike left work after his shift was over to shower and change into something that didn't smell like coffee.
He went downstairs to wait because it seemed weird to make Harvey call up when he'd arrived, so he saw the fancy car pull in smoothly to his front door and Harvey slide out of the back, all elegant and perfect in brown slacks and a light blue button-down shirt. Mike had a moment to be glad he'd put on khakis and a not-horrible green polo shirt, and then Harvey was guiding him into the car with a casual hand on his lower back. It was a bit unusual, but he thought he could get used to it.
"Okay, when you said you were going to pick me up, I assumed you were... I don't know, but I didn't think you had a chauffeur," Mike said.
"It's much more convenient if you need to get around the city," Harvey said. "I don't have to worry about the actual driving or the parking, but I get door to door service exactly when and where I want it."
"Or you could ride a bike," Mike said.
"Which I'm sure would get me there, but riding a bike in inclement weather isn't my favorite thing, and it's better if my suit isn't wrinkled when I get to a meeting with a client."
Mike rolled his eyes. "But you're not going to meet a client now."
"I have things in the trunk of the car and I couldn't carry them on a bike," Harvey said.
"Are you going to tell me where we're going, or what sorts of things you brought?" Mike asked.
"We'll be there shortly! It's like you don't like surprises," Harvey said. "But I'm pretty sure that's not the case. At least, no one had heard you say that you hated them and would hurt someone who gave you a surprise party."
"It's not my birthday," Mike said.
"And it's not a surprise party, trust me. But I didn't want to ask Tracy if you appreciated being surprised on dates, so I made it more generic."
"She's got ears like a bat, you know. She probably knew exactly what you were implying."
"That's fine," Harvey said. The car stopped, and Harvey opened the door and stepped out of the car and then held out his hand to help Mike out after him. He continued holding Mike's hand for a couple seconds, then squeezed his fingers lightly and let go.
If he was going to be like that all night, Mike was not sure he'd survive. Also, they appeared to be at a marina. "Do you own a boat?"
The chauffeur was pulling what appeared to be a cooler out of the trunk, and Harvey went over to grab it from him. "Thank you, Ray. Excellent as always. Mike, I'm afraid I'm going to need you to help carry this. And no, I don't own a boat. I have a lot of colleagues and other work associates, though, and some of them do."
Mike took one end of the cooler and followed Harvey down the dock to a mid-sized boat, which they boarded swiftly.
"Mr. Specter?" inquired one of the men on the boat.
"Ready whenever you are," Harvey said.
The boat - yacht, Mike supposed, probably - had a better kitchen than his own apartment did, which just figured. Harvey did a bunch of complicated-looking things with pots and pans and who knew what all else, and then he handed Mike a bowl of soup and a plate of flaky pastry things.
"There's a table set up outside," he said.
"Okay. Are you coming?" Mike asked.
"I have to keep an eye on this, and get the salad ready."
"Then I'm eating in here," Mike said, and balanced the plate carefully on a small bit of unused counter. The soup bowl was very warm, but just this side of 'would burn his hands if he held it too long'.
"Suit yourself," Harvey said. "The soup is lobster bisque."
Mike took a spoonful and tasted it. The temperature was just right, which he noticed first; then the taste hit, rich and creamy.
"Mmm. Yes," Mike said. Harvey was chopping something with little flourishes of a very sharp knife. It, like the car driving, was competent and surprisingly sexy. When he was finished he tossed them together with some salad green stuff.
"You need to eat those," Harvey said, pointing at the pastries. "They go with the soup."
"My hands are full," Mike said. His soup was already half-gone; it really was delicious.
Harvey reached over and grabbed a pastry thing, popping it into his mouth. Then he picked up another one and held it out. Mike opened his mouth, and Harvey slid the pastry in. It was bite-sized, and Mike closed his lips, licking over Harvey's thumb as he swallowed. Harvey's eyes darkened, and he picked up another pastry and held it out. This time Mike drew two of his fingers in between his lips and flicked them with his tongue before letting go.
"Good," he said. His voice was a little rough around the edges. He took another sip of soup to cover that up.
"Good," Harvey said, clearing his throat and picking up his own bowl of soup. "Wow, I did a good job with this."
Mike finished his soup and set the bowl carefully into the sink. "Am I allowed to eat more of the pastry things even though I'm done with the soup?"
"Anything you want," Harvey said, smiling.
Mike picked one up. It was a little bit cheesy on the inside, which he hadn't noticed before when he'd been distracted by Harvey's fingers. The pastry things were actually better than the soup, if that was possible, so he had another one. Then he had to lick the butter off his fingers. Harvey watched him avidly, pausing with his spoon in his mouth, so Mike drew out the licking a little bit, saving his thumb for last.
"Mmmm," he said.
Harvey swallowed hard. "Do you want to move on to the salad? It's baby spinach, with mandarin oranges, strawberries, walnuts, and a little orange sauce as dressing."
"Sounds great!" Mike said. It was great, too; the textures and flavors blended very well. He would never have thought to combine those things but they were clearly made for each other.
Harvey ate his salad quickly, with small neat bites, while he checked how things were progressing on the stove and in the oven.
"There's a bottle of wine in the bag, and two wine glasses," he said, gesturing over to the side by the cooler. "If you drink wine."
"What are you going to do if I don't?" Mike asked.
Harvey made a disgusted face. "Stick to water, I guess. Or drink the whole bottle myself, but then it might be hard to cook dessert."
Mike took pity and got the bottle out. "Chateau Mont-Redon," he read off the label. "French."
"Good with your languages," Harvey said sarcastically. "It's a Chateauneuf du Pape, from 1998. I had the 2001 a couple months ago and I think it was too soon, but the 1998 should be just right."
"How do you age wine satisfactorily in an apartment in New York?" Mike asked. "Don't you need a cellar?"
"They make these things called refrigeration units," Harvey said.
"You have a wine refrigerator?" Mike asked. "I don't know much about wine, but that's awesome."
"It's mostly important to keep it dark, and keep the temperature constant. It doesn't precisely have to be cold," Harvey said.
"So you could keep a blanket over it in the corner and it would be fine," Mike said.
"It's wine, not a bird cage."
Mike took a small sip of the wine. "Tastes good," he said. "This goes with the main course?"
"Steak, potatoes, broccoli," Harvey said. "Just about done. There are candles for the table, if you want to light them."
"A candlelit dinner?" Mike asked.
"You can eat in the dark if you want, but I prefer to see my food," Harvey said.
The table outside was already set, so Mike added the wine glasses and then lit the candles. It wasn't fully dark yet, but the sun was setting, and it would be dark before they were done eating.
Back inside the kitchen, Harvey had put steak with what looked like a bit of blue cheese on the plates, as well as some broccoli, and he had a small tart dish fresh out of the oven.
"What is that?" Mike asked.
"Potato galette," Harvey said. "Basically potatoes and cheese. You'll like it."
"It looks fancy."
"Well, it's all kind of fancy, that's the point. The potatoes are just sliced thin and then layered with the cheese and baked. There's some prep time but it's pretty easy."
"You should tell me it's really hard, and you slaved over it in the kitchen for hours. That gets you maximum appreciation points," Mike said. "You're raising my standards pretty high, so you're going to have to work extra hard to keep up."
"I don't mind," Harvey said, smiling. It was a true smile, sweet, and Mike's heart skipped in his chest.
"Okay, well, I just wanted to warn you," Mike said. "I'm cool if you're cool."
Harvey carried their plates out to the table, then pulled Mike's chair out for him, so Mike humored him and sat down, letting him push the chair back in in a gentlemanly fashion.
The potatoes were, in fact, very delicious, and pretty damn fancy. The steak was rare and delicious. The broccoli was simple, but it was almost a palate cleanser since the other dishes were so rich.
"So, this wine is from the Avignon region?" Mike asked.
"The Rhone, yes," Harvey said. "I thought you weren't a wine person."
"I'm not, but Chateauneuf du Pape is essentially the new home of the Pope, in French, and the only time the Pope moved out of Rome was during the Avignon period. Also the Avignon Papacy is noted for encouraging wine production. I mean, not as noted as for being in Avignon, but."
"That is believed to be the origin of the wine," Harvey said. "I went there a couple years ago for vacation. It's very beautiful."
"I've never been outside the good old US of A," Mike said. "But sometime I would go, if I get the chance. Why did you say the 1998 vintage would be better?"
"It's not a very good wine in the early years. You're supposed to let it age at least 10," Harvey said. "Sooner and it's too leathery. But older years are very good. Of course everyone seems to prefer the Bordeaux anyway, but I've been partial to the Chateauneuf du Pape for awhile now."
"I'm really more a beer person," Mike said. "I don't drink wine all that often."
"Well, if we're going to confess, I prefer single malt Scotch myself," Harvey said. "But it doesn't pair well with dinner."
"That's probably true," Mike said. "I don't drink much Scotch either. Do you get to travel abroad often?"
"Pretty much never," Harvey said. "I work hard, I don't vacation much. But that was a present for making partner, from me. And nothing collapsed while I was gone, so I could probably do it again sometime if I wanted to."
"More fun with other people?" Mike asked.
"That, and if you're going to travel, you should do it right."
"This steak, by the way, is really good," Mike said. "I mean, really."
"I'm glad you're enjoying it," Harvey said. "I meant to ask, did you resolve your problem from the other night?"
"For the most part," Mike said. He explained the argument he'd had with Jenny, the pie testing, the arrangement she now had with Tracy, and their increased business.
"So you'll need to hire and train again, and you'll be busy a lot longer?" Harvey said.
"Probably. It's good business is up, and I'm hoping Tracy can help with some of the training, or will agree that Celia can pitch in. If Russell passed the MCATs he can take on more responsibility too. Those results can take a couple months, though, so it mostly depends on how he feels about the test."
"And how does he feel?"
"He thinks he did all right, but he wasn't sure. I think he'll settle down. He's a smart guy. He's actually pretty good at the job, but he's been preoccupied."
"You have a lot of faith," Harvey said. "Do you want some dessert?"
"Of course," Mike said. "What are you making?"
"I'm thinking crepes. I have blueberries, some light cheese that should go well with them."
Mike drank the end of the wine, and then he did some dishes while Harvey cooked the crepes. Harvey had said he should relax, but Mike had a lot of practice doing dishes for Jenny's baking, and Harvey had done a lot of work cooking. It only seemed fair. Plus, it was weird to go outside and sit by himself. Even not talking, working companionably side by side in the kitchen was nice.
They ate the crepes back outside, watching the lights of the city. Mike was sure he'd been out in a boat at some point before, but he couldn't remember it ever being so beautiful. Probably he'd been distracted by all the other people and not paying attention.
The boat headed back in to the marina, and Mike again insisted on helping Harvey clean up. They timed it well and were ready to disembark when they docked. Mike helped Harvey load the mostly empty cooler into the trunk of the car and they set off.
When they pulled up to his apartment, Harvey again got out of the car and helped Mike out after him.
"Thanks for cooking," Mike said.
Harvey smiled. "Of course. I like doing it, and it's much more fun to cook for other people."
"I - oh, screw it," Mike said, and wrapped his arms around Harvey's shoulders to pull him in for a kiss.
It was better than the first one, which Mike wouldn't have thought was possible prior to that very moment. Harvey put an arm around his waist and the other hand in his hair and angled his head slightly, and Mike could have stood pressed up against him forever, lips meeting again and again in a series of soft and sensuous kisses. Harvey's teeth nipped at his lower lip, and Mike couldn't stop the moan that rumbled up from his chest.
"Been thinking about this since you were eating the appetizers," Harvey said against his mouth.
"Good," Mike said, pressing closer and kissing him again.
"Unfortunately," Harvey said, pulling back a little bit. He was breathing hard, and Mike leaned forward, chasing after his mouth again.
"Mmm?" Mike asked, when it appeared that Harvey was not planning to continue his thought.
"Hm," Harvey said. He ran his lips across Mike's jaw, then stopped to kiss just under his ear.
"You said unfortunately," Mike said.
"Right. I have a very early morning. Also, I overheard Rachel making plans to taste more pies, so they'll probably all be in there if we go up."
"Damnit," Mike said.
"I'll call you," Harvey said, and kissed him again. "Or stop by."
"All of the above," Mike said.
"All of the above, then," Harvey said, kissing him one more time before stepping back to the car and getting inside. "Sleep well," he added, just before he closed the door.
"Right. That's going to happen," Mike grumbled to himself.
Mike actually slept quite well, once he managed to fall asleep, and he woke up still feeling shivery and happy. He almost did a little dance on his way to the shower, except that would have been undignified and also Jenny would have woken up on the couch and made fun of him.
He had to open with Tracy, and they were so used to each other and the rhythms of the morning rush that they didn't really need to talk to get anything done. Typically they did talk, of course, but Mike was a little bit caught up in his own head, thinking about Harvey's legs in tailored suit pants and his shoulders in tight shirts, and the way he smirked when he was amused, and the taste and feel of his thumb between Mike's lips when he'd fed him appetizers the night before.
Okay, Mike was actually a lot distracted.
"Is Jenny in?" Rachel asked, leaning against the counter in the late morning.
"Yeah, in the back," Celia said, and Mike did a double take because he'd been expecting Tracy.
"I've been here for an hour," Celia said. "Over an hour now, actually. You said hi when I came in!"
"Sorry," Mike said. He wasn't about to explain his actual current thought process. "Do you need Jenny? We can go get her."
"No, but I was thinking about grabbing a bite to eat, and she said she was going to bake some focaccia and make caprese paninis for lunch, because maybe if it went well she could serve it here," Rachel said.
"Oh man, that sounds delicious," Celia said. "I'm going to go check what she's up to, then. I wasn't hungry before but now I am." She bounced back into the kitchen.
"I'm just going to spread my files out on that table, okay?" Rachel said, pointing to the biggest table in the back corner.
"Sure," Mike said. "You brought work with you?"
Rachel rolled her eyes. "I vaguely recall a time in which we weren't ridiculously swamped, but not anytime recently. I'm doing this housing court case by myself, because it should be easy, but there's something fishy going on. Anyway, it's quieter over here, and I'm hoping I can actually concentrate with some time to myself."
"You want some tea? Or something else?"
"Tea would be great," Rachel said.
Mike went over to grab the tea, and by the time he got back Rachel had pictures and documentation of all sorts spread over the table. There was probably client confidentiality of some sort, so Mike tried not to look at anything in particular when he handed over the cup of tea, but something caught his attention.
"What?" Rachel asked.
"This is like Celia's rugs, when we had to move her out of her apartment a couple weeks ago. Her lease was about up anyway, but there was this bug problem, and she said the landlord was skeevy, so she roped me and Russell into helping one day when we all had off."
Celia bounced out of the kitchen and over to their table in the back. "Lunch is on!" she said. "And there will probably be enough for a couple other people, too, or we can not tell anyone and just eat it all ourselves."
"Hey, Cee, Mike said this looks like the carpet in your old place?" Rachel asked, passing one of the pictures over to her.
"Oh, yeah. It was pretty gross, actually. So glad I moved out, and found a spot with a new management company."
"This might be nothing, but can you tell me about where you used to live?"
Mike went back over to the coffee bar. There was some time left before lunch would be served, but it was typically a lull in work before they hit the lunchtime rush of customers needing a pickup before the afternoon started. He wondered briefly about how Jenny serving lunch while they were dealing with a small rush would work, but Tracy was in the back office, so they could probably pull her out for help and stagger eating to make things work.
Celia and Rachel had their heads bent close together over some other pictures, and Rachel was taking frantic notes. Mike could go back over there and listen in on their conversation, maybe contribute whatever else he remembered, but it probably wasn't necessary to the case, and he couldn't text while he did it because that was rude.
Got lunch plans? he sent to Harvey. If he was in a meeting with a client or other partners at the office, he wouldn't respond, but he spent at least some time by himself in his own office doing whatever lawyers did by themselves - reading over contracts, or writing them from scratch, maybe. Investigating things. So if he wasn't busy, Mike would probably get a reply pretty quickly.
As it happens, just had lunch meeting rescheduled.
Mike resisted pumping his fist in victory. Jenny is doing a lunch experiment, you want to come?
Is this the sort of experiment which will result in food poisoning? Harvey asked.
Mike grinned. Probably not. Not that experimental.
I'll stop by in a little while.
"Texting with your lover boy?" Celia called across the shop.
"Don't be ridiculous," Mike said. "He's not my lover boy."
"But you did invite him for lunch, right? Because you better have."
"Good, because I called Priya and said she should come in early and work with Tracy some, so you can actually take a longer lunch break today."
It was about half an hour before Harvey showed up, and Jenny was just serving up the first paninis. He sat down next to Mike at the tiny table in the corner of the kitchen; they had to crowd together some, but Mike was fairly sure that Celia and Rachel weren't actually pressed together shoulder to knee. Not that he was complaining. He shifted his leg back a bit and wrapped his foot around Harvey's ankle.
"So, how is the case coming?" Harvey asked.
"I think I figured out a break. I need to talk to some people and get everything together. Do you want to come?" Rachel asked.
"Do you need me to come?"
"I can handle it."
"Then you should handle it. You can use the conference rooms if you want, and I can come for moral support if you need it."
Mike had to shift a little bit to get his hand free for eating, and Harvey shifted next to him, dropping his hand down to rest on Mike's knee. Mike shifted a little bit, and Harvey slide his hand up a bit and over, so it was resting on the inside of Mike's thigh.
Mike took a bite of the panini. The mozzarella was melty and the tomatoes were juicy, and the toasted bread held them together perfectly.
"Oh my god, this is delicious," Celia said, once she swallowed. "You need to serve lunch here. You would have so many customers."
"Really?" Jenny asked. "I know the bread is good, but the panini as a whole?"
"Did you make yourself one?" Rachel asked.
"It's still toasting. I don't have space to make tons at once, I have to do them in small batches."
"Well, when you have one, you can say if you think it's not good," Celia said.
"It's good," Harvey said. He tapped a bit of a rhythm on Mike's leg with his fingers, and Mike almost choked on his food. "You have the right blend of spice in the bread and simple but good ingredients in the panini. It's authentic."
"Harvey's been to Italy, he would know," Rachel said.
"But authentic doesn't matter all that much," Celia said. "I mean, not that I disagree, just that if we're a coffee shop and we want to expand to offering some additional food options, we don't need to bill it as authentic cuisine from wherever. It can just be things which taste good."
"People pay more for authentic," Harvey said. His thumb was stroking some kind of pattern across the top of Mike's thigh. Mike had no idea what it was because he couldn't think beyond the point where they were cozied up in the kitchen and Harvey had his hands all over the place.
"You look a little flushed, Mike," Jenny said. "You aren't coming down with something, are you?"
Harvey coughed, like he was trying to suppress a laugh and not succeeding very well.
"I'm good," Mike said. Rachel traded a look with Celia, and then they both looked at Jenny. Mike leaned in closer to Harvey, which maybe should have been impossible given how close they already were.
"Yes?" Harvey said, low and quiet in his ear. Mike could feel him breathing.
"You're doing that on purpose," Mike said.
"You started it," Harvey replied.
Mike knew all three women were watching them avidly, but he couldn't let that go. "I never," he said.
"You wrapped your foot around mine."
"You -! That's like, miles away from what you're doing," Mike said. He'd moved beyond whispering furiously to probably just talking in his normal voice, but Harvey was being ridiculous, it was totally justified.
"It's actually more like less than three feet away," Harvey said, and Mike hadn't really thought he could be more ridiculous, but there it was.
"Do you have a foot fetish?" Mike asked.
"No, but I do have a meeting shortly, and I need to go get ready for it." He stood up, disentangling everything effortlessly. Mike would have tripped over his own two feet, he was well aware. "Jenny, that was delightful. Thanks so much for letting me come."
"Of course, I'm glad you could make it," Jenny said. "Come back anytime."
"Celia, lovely to see you. Rachel, don't spend too long, we still need to go over the rest of the merger paperwork. Mike," he said, and Mike turned to look up at him. Harvey pulled him half out of his seat and dropped a hot and too-brief kiss on his lips. "I'll call you."
Celia, Rachel, and Jenny all watched him walk out.
"Does he really call you when he says he will?" Rachel asked.
"Who cares about that! Does he really have a foot fetish?" Celia asked.
"So far he calls me when he says he will, and I don't know if he has a foot fetish."
"You should find out and tell us," Celia said.
"I'll take your opinion under consideration," Mike said. "Do we have enough food for seconds?"
"I was planning to feed Tracy, but yeah, we should," Jenny said.
Celia got up to relieve Tracy so she could eat, and Rachel headed back to work. Soon enough Mike and Tracy were sitting at the small table, which felt a lot bigger with only two people, and Jenny had left to take a quick walk as a break before she cleaned up the lunch dishes.
"Priya is a good hire," Tracy said after a couple comfortable minutes of silence. "She'll be steady with a little more training. You did well."
"You said I should interview her," Mike said.
"I said you should interview about five people. You did it, and made the final selection."
"I guess," Mike said.
"Listen, we need to talk," Tracy said. "Which is why everyone has left us alone."
Mike watched her, but he couldn't tell what she was thinking at all. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
Tracy ran a hand through her hair. "Well. Not wrong, precisely. The thing is, I'm moving."
"Oh!" Mike said. "Do you need help? I hate moving, myself, but I can carry boxes around for cheap."
"Um, maybe. I don't know for sure yet. I didn't want to talk to you today to just tell you I was moving, though. It's not that I'm moving at all, it's that I'm going to Chicago."
"What?" Mike said. "Chicago, like, the city in Illinois? As in, not New York?"
"I'm impressed with your geography," Tracy said. "Also Chicago as in the city where I grew up and where my parents and sisters still live, and the city where my former business partner is thinking about expanding and wanted to know if I'd come back and help out."
"Oh," Mike said. "So... what does that mean? Are you shutting down? Because I set up an interview tomorrow, with a girl named Mirai, because we need at least one additional staff member... and we just hired Priya, and Jenny, and when is all this happening?"
"I don't think we need to shut down," Tracy said.
"Are you going to sell? Are you going to sell out to Starbucks? I know there's one just a block over but some places have them every block," Mike said. "I don't really want to work for Starbucks, though."
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," Tracy said. "So please don't panic before we discuss this, okay?"
"Not panicking," Mike said. "Just thinking through all the possibilities, with medical bills, and whatever else. I will think quietly, and you can explain the rest."
"Well, to make a long story short, what I'd really like to do is put you in charge," Tracy said.
"... um," Mike said. "Do you think that's a good idea?"
"I know you can't buy the place off me, but I can stay a silent partner and leave you in charge. I've been crunching numbers and talking to Jenny and I think if we expand the food options like she wants to, we'll increase the intake plenty. You can increase your salary and buy me out long term."
"But I don't know how to be in charge," Mike said.
"Of course you do. You already have input into the scheduling, which I'm sure you can take over with no problem. You've trained the last three employees we hired, and one of them you interviewed and hired yourself, and you're also interviewing another. You had the original idea about bringing in Jenny. The regular customers all know you and like you, and you're good with them."
"But... ordering supplies! And like, who gets raises when? What if there are staff management issues?"
"Do you know the last time I changed one of your orders? I think it was a year ago. You know how much coffee we need when. And I'm not worried about the food, because Jenny is good at what she does and she was ready to go into business with other people before. She knows what she's doing there. As for raises, you give them when they're deserved and when we can afford it. You can give Celia a raise if you want, and have her take on a bit more responsibility for training."
"I was going to ask you about that," Mike said.
"See, you have good instincts. And I also think you hire people who are going to work well together, and you're setting a good example for them, so you shouldn't run into that many management issues."
"So you honestly want to leave me in charge."
"I don't want to sell, and you're almost in charge already. I think you can handle it. I want to make it legal, with property paperwork and stuff, so I've been talking to Rachel about options. If it makes you really uncomfortable I can put Jenny and you equally in charge. I don't really think it would be a good idea to make you manager and me sole owner if I'm not in the state ever and can't stop by to fix problems. You need to have power to sign off on things."
"Can I think about it?" Mike asked.
"Yes, absolutely. I don't want you to make a decision either way in haste. I want you to agree, obviously, because I think it would be best for keeping us in business, and I want that. But you need to make the end decision for what's best for you. So take a little time, come back with questions if you have them."
"Okay," Mike said.
"And maybe you should take the rest of the day off. I know you were planning to be here for another couple hours, but we can handle it."
"Right," Mike said. It would be for the best. His brain was whirling, and he wasn't sure he could actually make coffee at the moment.
He left a note for Jenny ('lunch was delicious, seriously, see you later tonight'), waved goodbye to Celia and Priya (who already looked like they would be best friends, which was just what he needed, although it was actually good they were friendly), and grabbed his bike. He mostly intended to ride aimlessly around for awhile, get some exercise and think through issues, but it was not a huge surprise when he ended up at his grandmother's nursing home. He was sort of conditioned to go there after all this time.
He laid out the entire issue, complete with diagrams and the history of each player, and hand gestures to explain the importance of each thing. "So I don't know what to do."
"You think you would not be able to run the coffee shop by yourself?"
"I don't know. I might be able to, but what if I can't?"
She hummed lightly and ran her hand over the covers on her bed. "You need a little more self-confidence," she said finally. "This job has been good for you, and I think you are ready for more responsibility."
"But you're contractually obligated to say that, right? You're my grandma."
"There are no contracts, silly. You should do what you want, but think about what will make you happy and where you want to end up in life."
"Thanks, grandma," Mike said.
"Now, tell me all about your young man," she said.
Lunch tomorrow, or Friday? he texted Harvey once he got home. He popped open a beer and lay on the couch. Jenny would make pro and con lists, and Tracy would mock up how everything would work and run numbers, and they'd both probably already done those things and would share the results with him if he asked. Mike preferred the sleep on it and make the decision in the morning method.
The phone rang. "I was planning to call you, you know. You didn't have to text me as a reminder," Harvey said when he answered.
"Oh, no, I wasn't saying that. I just wanted to see if you had free lunch time," Mike said.
"Friday would work. Is Jenny doing more lunch stuff, or do you want to actually go out somewhere?"
"Out," Mike said. It would be awkward to discuss job prospects in his place of employment. Not that he was planning to leave, but he had to consider all angles. And not that he particularly needed to discuss things with Harvey specifically, but he was a successful adult who was not a relative and not an employee.
"There's this nice bistro two blocks away, it's generally pretty quiet during the day."
"That sounds fine," Mike said.
"Are you home?"
"Yeah. Are you?"
"Not even close. Meeting, meeting, dinner meeting, then I might be done," Harvey said.
"You should get back to work, then," Mike said.
"I have a couple minutes," Harvey said, and Mike grinned at his beer, because no one could see him anyway.
On Thursday Jenny had three new muffin recipes and some gooseberry tarts out for sale during the breakfast rush. They sold decently, although Priya ate three of the tarts herself, but on Friday the breakfast rush was half again as busy and everything sold out, causing Jenny to start baking frantically as soon as she arrived.
"I told you this plan would work," Mike said to no one, because no one had doubted his plan when he'd brought it up in the first place.
"Just tell me Mirai can start now," Jenny said. She was tired; she had flour all over everything, even worse than usual.
"Monday," Mike said. "And if we're going to be this busy all the time we might need more people so we can have an extra person around for every shift. I'll keep an eye on it."
"I won't make it until Monday," Celia moaned.
"I saved you a tart," Jenny said. Celia held out her hand for it, imperiously, and Jenny put a little dollop of whipped cream on top before handing it over.
"I love you," Celia said.
"Okay kids, I'm out," Mike said when Russell walked through the door.
"But we need you," Celia said. "You have the magic touch."
"He has a hot date," Jenny said, and Mike mouthed 'traitor' at her, shaking his head. "He tried on three different shirts this morning," Jenny said.
"And that's what you came up with?" Celia asked.
"You've been over. Did you look in his closet? It's kind of sad," Jenny said.
"I think that's your cue to leave," Russell said.
Harvey was outside the bistro, talking on his cell phone, looking every inch the super successful lawyer in a pin-striped three piece suit, with his hair all fancy and every single piece of fabric in place. Women and men were both giving him admiring looks as they walked by, but he ignored all of them in favor of sliding his phone elegantly into his jacket pocket and taking Mike's hand.
"How was your day so far, dear?" he asked, and Mike rolled his eyes.
"What else do you talk about when you both leave work in the middle of the day for lunch?"
"I don't know, whatever you find interesting? If you really want to know, it's been quite busy. Jenny's been drawing in all sorts of new customers with her baking, and we have a new girl starting next week but I think we may need another new person after that. Plus Tracy is still working, and we're going to need yet another new person when she goes."
"So she told you," Harvey said. "I take it you're going to stay on, take over part ownership?"
"I'm still thinking about it," Mike said.
"It doesn't sound like you're thinking about it."
"I'm going to do it, but I just hope it's the right thing to do," Mike said. "When I'm essentially being assistant manager I can tell her I need her to make the decision, or I need a second opinion on whatever it is, and she's always willing to step in."
"They have phones and computers in Chicago," Harvey said.
"I don't know, I've never been there. Are you sure about that?" Mike asked.
"Pretty sure," Harvey said. "We have some clients out there and they do manage to contact me occasionally."
"Speaking of clients, how was your day?" Mike asked.
"Oh, the usual. Saved a merger, negotiated a settlement, signed a new client, wrote the first draft of some incorporation paperwork."
"Generally is. Business has been very good recently. Actually - we're having a formal benefit thing, which we do annually, for employees, clients, some rival firms. I was thinking about asking you to come with me, but if you want you could come as a client instead."
"Freeing you up to take some other date?" Mike asked.
"No, I'd go alone. It depends on how you want to be introduced to people, that's all. You could be my arm candy, which might mean you'd get stuck talking to other dates or having to listen to shop talk all night. But if you come as a client then you might have to network with other clients. People expect that sort of thing, and they'd want to know if you were available for collaborations."
"Are you actually benefiting something?" Mike asked.
"Yes, one of our clients is a charity which does things similar to Habitat for Humanity, if you're familiar with that: building houses or refurbishing houses for the disadvantaged people. We raise some money for them every year."
"To be honest, I'd probably rather be introduced as your date than as a client," Mike said. "Being important enough to have a lawyer kind of freaks me out. Although what's to prevent you from doing both?"
"Saying you're a client but also my date? There's a little bit of a conflict of interest. We aren't supposed to date clients, because it's hard to determine whether the client is then being treated fairly, or if they get special treatment they haven't paid for and which could cause problems for other clients. There's also the issue of if the relationship dissolves. It's just general firm policy. As lawyers we have to be able to make the best decisions we can make for the client and for the firm."
"Do we get in trouble for dating?" Mike asked, suddenly nervous. Harvey didn't seem worried, but he pretty much never seemed anything other than cool and collected.
"I don't think so. For one thing, Tracy's had all her official legal discussions with Rachel, who has been going to Louis for advice on them and not me. I only had the very first unofficial off the record conversation when she asked a couple questions and we discussed some very general options. So she's not technically my client. For another thing, I told Jessica we were dating when the whole potential legal thing came up, so she's aware of the possible conflict of interest."
"So then it's not really an issue, right?" Mike said. "If I'm client and date."
"I suppose it's not. Okay, you can come as both if you're so insistent. I wasn't sure you'd want to come at all, not everyone likes formal events," Harvey said.
"How formal is this thing?" Mike asked.
"Do you have a tux?"
"So, Mirai," Mike said, when she was washing dishes carefully in a lull on her first day. She hadn't complained about him watching yet, and she didn't seem the type to drop things, but he was meeting with Tracy and Rachel later that day to sign off on partial ownership, and it was making him feel a little bit possessive.
"Yes?" she asked.
"You can rent a tuxedo, right?"
"I think so," she said.
"So that's fine, right? Like, I don't need to own one. I can rent, find something which fits pretty well and is, you know, a tux. It's a valid life choice."
"Um, I don't know," Mirai said. "I've never done it."
"Sure, but theoretically. If you had to get a tux, you could rent one."
"Mike, stop scaring off the new girl with your crimes of fashion," Celia said. "You don't have to listen to him, Mirai. His ridiculously awesome boyfriend is taking him to this formal event and got him an appointment with his personal tailor, and said that he would pay if Mike got the tux he wanted. And we all think he should do it but he doesn't want to."
"Um," Mirai said. "I'm just trying to do the dishes here."
"Is it black tie? White tie?" Celia asked. "No real reason, I'm just picturing how Harvey, I mean you, will look."
"Technically, the tuxedo jacket only goes with black tie. It's not formal enough for white," Mike said.
"Ha! You researched it! You do care!" Celia said.
"Of course I care. I just am not sure I want to go to a tailor and get measured for things," Mike said. "It seems complicated."
"But you might make Harvey sad if you don't go," Celia said. "No one wants to see Harvey sad. It would be wrong."
"Not that you have to take my opinion into consideration," Mirai said, drying her hands. "But if you go to a tailor and get measured, the tux will fit better, which means you'll look more attractive. If this is black tie, you want to stand out because you look good, not because your pants don't fit."
"Yeah, you want your pants to fit right so Harvey will be distracted by your attractiveness all night, and not ashamed of you."
"Okay, if I go to the tailor, will you stop talking about it already? We are trying to learn things here," Mike said. "If you distract us and later Mirai puts soap in the cold brewed coffee, I am blaming you."
"She would never," Celia said, grinning at Mirai. "But I can take a hint. Thanks for the assist."
"No problem," Mirai said, and they bumped fists. Mike could just see that he was doomed to hire people who would gang up on him all the time. Not that he minded that much; he liked it when people were happy. But it might be nice if they thought he was a little more mysterious or scary.
"Celia says you should thank her. She's convinced she talked me into this," Mike told Harvey quietly when they met at the tailor's the next day. There was a hushed atmosphere, kind of like a library, and there were rows and rows of suits of varying types. They were intimidating.
"What does she want?"
"Oh, probably tickets to a baseball game. But don't encourage her. She's already a pain."
"You say that, and yet you took her to a baseball game yourself."
"That was a one-time thing which I am regretting because she is scary enough by herself, and now she has Rachel. And also, I can't have her getting an even bigger ego, you know."
A fashionable man came hurrying out from the back of the room. "Harvey, so nice to see you as always. We should discuss fall and if you want to try the new lines. They look very nice in pinstripe."
"We should, but I don't think anything double-breasted."
"Rene, this is Mike. He needs a tux for the benefit."
"This will be some work," Rene said, looking askance at his work uniform of black jeans and a reasonably clean plain t-shirt.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know I had to dress up to buy a new suit," Mike said, unable to hold the snark back.
"I have to get back to the office," Harvey said. "Donna could not reschedule all my meetings. You'll be okay without me?"
"Yes," Rene said.
"Do you have cufflinks?" Harvey asked. "And you'll need dress shoes, black, and black socks."
"I have cufflinks, inherited from my dad, and I have dress shoes, and before you ask they're in good shape because I don't wear them very often," Mike said.
"Good. I'll talk to you later, okay? Rene, thanks as always for your assistance."
They both watched Harvey walk out the door.
"You don't think this has any value," Rene said, when he was gone.
"I think some people have to dress in a certain way. I serve coffee all day. Suits would be out of place there. They'd get ripped and need cleaning every day and it's not worth it," Mike said. "But I certainly don't mean to disparage what you do for a living. I'm sure people find it useful."
"Do you serve good coffee?" Rene asked.
"I serve excellent coffee. Come in sometime and I'll show you."
"I make excellent suits," Rene said. "We will start with the shirt. Don't say you don't need your shirt tailored; the shirt needs to fit well so it will lie evenly under the waistcoat and jacket. If the shirt is not right, nothing else will be right either."
"It's like roasting the beans correctly. I am familiar with the concept," Mike said. "You can do all of this in time for the benefit?"
"We will be tailoring pieces which are already made, not creating from scratch. There is no time for that, but this will do."
Mike entertained himself with texting Jenny all the things he was learning about suits (the waistcoat should at all times cover the waistband of the trousers; the trousers should come down just past the tops of the shoes but no further, so the crease is not wrinkled and hangs straight; the bow tie must match the lapel facings on the jacket, which should match the seams on the trousers; the shirt must have a turn-down collar and French cuffs and studs, never buttons), but he resisted all the snarky comments and let Rene take measurements to his heart's content.
"Pick up the suit this Friday. It will be ready by 3, which will give you time to try it on here and make sure everything is perfect," Rene said finally.
"Sounds good," Mike said.
"And if I may give you some advice: do something with your hair, and learn how to tie a bow tie straight. Polish your shoes."
"Right," Mike said.
By Friday, Mike was starting to think maybe Harvey had been right, and he wouldn't enjoy attending a black tie benefit given by a fancy lawyer firm to benefit some other fancy charity, none of which he was directly involved with except for the dates he'd had with a senior partner of the firm.
And maybe that was due to the fact that he was hopeless with bow ties and had no idea what things he could do with his hair other than get up in the morning, shower, and towel it dry. Other men managed to figure these things out, somehow, so he was sure he could handle it. Reasonably sure.
It might not hold up in court, though.
The shoe polishing he could, and did, handle, on Thursday night. So that was okay, at least.
Jenny offered to come with him to see Rene that afternoon, and then Celia said she could come too, and Mike had to assure them all that he was fine, and it was fine, and they should not come over and help him dress or do his nails or whatever it was girls did when they were getting ready for fancy events, because he didn't want his nails done, and he could get dressed by himself, and it would probably freak him out to have people there, watching.
But that meant that, after the tuxedo was picked up (and it was nice, fit very well, clean lines and perfect layering but he could still move freely; Rene proclaimed it a work of art, which Mike was not under any circumstances going to argue), he had no other options than finding videos of tie tying on youtube.
He was a fast learner but he wasn't exceptionally good with his hands, only passable, so by the time he got the tie perfect it was nearly time for Harvey to pick him up. It was a fairly nice day out, and he figured he would wait outside, get some fresh air. Also, outside had more pacing room than inside.
It was cloudy outside, like a big storm was rolling in. Mike spared a thought for the weather forecast, and how maybe he should have checked it before blithely assuming it would be clear and temperate, and then the fancy car pulled up and Harvey climbed out and just - looked at him.
"Yes?" Mike prompted, when he said nothing.
"I'll be sure to give Rene my compliments," Harvey said.
"You clean up nice, too, I guess," Mike said.
"Thanks, I guess," Harvey said. "Shall we?"
Mike slid into the back of the car. "Will the game get rained out tonight?" he asked.
"They haven't made the call yet, but it seems likely," Harvey said.
"If it hadn't been rained out, would you have been listening on the radio at the event?" Mike said.
"Unfortunately, it's a little hard to pull that off. For one thing, headphones are pretty obvious. For another, it's generally expected that we mingle and chat up clients and present a cohesive and attractive public image for the firm."
"I am so glad I didn't go to law school," Mike said.
"You're going to have to mingle and chat up clients and present an attractive public image for the coffee shop, now that you're a part owner and Tracy isn't around," Harvey said.
"Yeah, but people who come in there want coffee. We give it to them. They're generally grateful and caffeine-deprived, so it's not that hard to have an overall positive image. Whereas regardless of actual intent, the general public already has an assumption about lawyers, and that's that they're sharks."
"I see your coffee serving and raise you upholding the law and standing for justice. There are people who are in law to make money, but being a lawyer is about public service."
"You're secretly an idealist, aren't you," Mike said.
"What? No. I like to win," Harvey said. "Oh look, we're here."
It was probably the swankiest party Mike had ever attended. He was more a low key hang out in someone's apartment kind of guy, so it wasn't like he had a ton of experience, but everyone was in tuxedos and fancy dresses and there were waiters in all black circulating with champagne and appetizers.
"I think these are better than yours," Mike said, having thirds and fourths at the same time because he was greedy and also kind of hungry.
"If they weren't, we would be overpaying," Harvey said.
"But the personal service isn't quite as good."
Harvey smiled at him, a soft look in his eyes.
"Harvey, I hate to interrupt, but if you could just-" said a shortish man.
"Of course. I'll be back," Harvey said to Mike, which was fine. Mike could take care of himself, and it wasn't like he didn't know anyone else there either. He looked around for Rachel but didn't see her; maybe the associates weren't invited to swanky parties like this, only higher ups. Of course, Donna was there, but maybe she was attending as someone's date, or maybe she was just so Donna that they would never dare not invite her. Mike wouldn't put that past her.
He made eye contact and got a smile and a little wave, but she was deep in conversation with some other people and he didn't want to interrupt.
A woman in a gorgeous white dress came up to him, then, and offered her hand.
"Dana Scott," she said.
"Mike Ross," he replied.
"Lawyer?" she asked, which was a little bit blunt, wasn't it? He could probably pull off lawyer for a short conversation, but then there was Harvey and having to associate with some of these other people again later and that probably was not a great idea.
With a mental shrug, he replied, "barista."
"They're serving coffee here?" she asked.
"Oh, no, not for the event, that's just my profession," Mike said. She still looked confused. "I own the place, actually. And it's more a cafe than a coffee shop, now."
"Interesting," she said. Had she moved a little bit closer? It was kind of hard to tell but he thought she had.
"We have a CIA-trained baker," Mike said. "Um, Culinary Institute of America, not CIA like the spies." And now he was just babbling, and she was definitely closer than she had been, and he had no idea what was happening.
"Fascinating, in fact," she said, and put her hand on his arm.
"If you want to stop by sometime, which you could, we're very happy to have customers, it's Sixpence, just around the corner from Pearson Hardman."
"Sixpence?" she asked.
"Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie," Mike said. That got him a blank look, so he continued. "When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing?"
"Of course, the nursery rhyme," she said.
Harvey appeared beside him out of nowhere, like he could turn invisible at will and used that power solely for sneaking up on people at swanky parties, and tangled his fingers with Mike's.
"Scotty," he said.
She looked at their fingers, then took a couple steps back. "Ah," she said. "You know, I had some business to discuss with Jessica, so I'm just going to look for her." She took off with a quick little wave.
"That was weird," Mike said.
"We had a - thing, back in law school," Harvey said.
"I was talking about how I think she was hitting on me, actually. But that is also very interesting. Tell me more," Mike said.
"I told you the tux looked good," Harvey said.
"Not about that. About the thing you had back in law school."
"Oh. Um, it's long over? I think she's engaged now. She doesn't live in New York, she's just here on business, and she's handling all her business with Louis, another guy who works at the firm."
"Wow, you really don't want to talk about this, do you?"
"There's nothing to talk about."
"If you say so," Mike said. He was going to be amused about this. It would end better that way.
"Come on, there are some people you may want to meet," Harvey said.
They mingled some more, and Mike was surprised to discover that he actually wasn't that bad at small talk, especially when it was about something he could follow, like baseball due to his recent interest in the game or lawyer things due to his longstanding interest in the law. Or coffee, and lawyers were not surprisingly into coffee. Maybe Harvey engineered those conversations on purpose to get him more business, but he couldn't tell for sure, so he decided not to worry about it either way.
The dinner itself was good, quite delicious, and the company at their table, composed of a couple other partners in Harvey's firm and their dates, was pleasant. Even the speech about contributing to the community was pretty painless.
Still, Mike preferred spending time alone with Harvey, and so he was happy when Harvey said they could go.
And of course, it was pouring when they got outside, so much so that even though they stood back under the awning on the building, they got soaked by the time a cab pulled up.
"I gave Ray the rest of the night off," Harvey said. "He has kids, he likes to spend time with them. I didn't think it was going to rain this hard."
"It's fine," Mike said, because he was far more used to attempting to bike in this sort of weather than in finding and taking a cab, much less a personal chauffeur. But Harvey had mystical cab-finding powers which went along with his look good all the time powers.
"It's not that late. Would you like to come over for a drink?"
"Sure," Mike said, and out of the corner of his eye he caught Harvey shifting a tiny bit, like he'd just relaxed. It hadn't been a super hard question; there wasn't really a reason for him to be tense, unless he was more invested in the question than its casual nature would suggest.
The air conditioning was on high in the cab, and after a couple minutes Mike was thoroughly chilled and thinking he'd almost have rather been outside in the rain still. And then, even though cabs always disappeared in the rain and by right they shouldn't have seen any cars, they hit a huge traffic jam.
Harvey frowned out the window, then leaned forward to talk to the cabbie.
"Accident or something?" he asked. "We're only a couple blocks from here. It might be faster if we got out." They negotiated the price, and then Harvey and Mike got out into the pouring rain and the cab pulled a probably illegal U turn and sped off.
Harvey grabbed his hand again and tugged. They hurried down the sidewalk, which was not very crowded, although they still had to skirt around some tourists who were, even in the rain, meandering around staring at things. Harvey's building was all understated elegance except for the totally ridiculous glass elevator, and Mike swiped a hand through his hair, shaking water off all over. His clothes were sticking to his skin uncomfortably now that they were inside.
Harvey let go of his hand but guided him over to the elevator with a hand on his back. "You're going to have to get the tux dry cleaned," he said. "No help for it, I'm afraid."
"You don't think I can just hang it up so it air dries?" Mike said. Harvey shot him a horrified look. "I could probably get Jenny to help me iron it so it's not wrinkled?"
"You don't deserve to own nice things."
"Oh, calm down. I even know where a dry cleaner is near my place. Most of my clothes don't require it but I'm familiar with the concept."
Harvey rolled his eyes. "Do you want to change into something dry? I can find something that will fit, I'm sure, and you can check what you want from the liquor cabinet."
"Sure," Mike said. He knelt down to take his shoes and socks off; nothing was grosser than wet socks. Then he tossed the jacket over an empty side table, and followed it with his vest. The bow tie came off a lot faster than it went on. He pulled out his cufflinks and fastened them to the shirt so they wouldn't get lost. Then he unbuttoned the shirt and pulled it off, dumping it on top of the jacket and vest. It had been raining so hard that even his undershirt was soaked, despite being covered by several layers of fabric.
"You're very efficient," Harvey said. Mike looked up and realized he hadn't moved at all since he'd started essentially stripping down in the front hallway.
"I don't want to catch a chill," he said. He was absolutely sure his face was flushed. Maybe it made Harvey uncomfortable, and he should have waited and asked to change in the bathroom; but in for a penny, in for a pound, and all that. He pulled the undershirt off over his head and left it in a wet clumpy pile on top of the rest of his clothes.
Harvey was a lot closer when he looked up again. "Your hair is gravity defying."
"That happens sometimes when it's wet," Mike said. He scrubbed at it with his hands, but that probably was just making things worse.
Harvey put one finger on his chin, tilting it slightly, and then they were kissing, soft drugging kisses that made him want to curl up in them forever. He stepped closer, and then closer again. Harvey slid a hand around the back of his neck, and he really liked that spot. Mike put his arms around Harvey's waist and pressed closer, then pulled back. Harvey made a frustrated noise and tried to pull him in again.
"Your buttons are uncomfortable," Mike said. "Take your coat off. And the vest, too."
Harvey slipped the buttons free and started pulling the coat off, so Mike pressed in, cupping his jaw and kissing him again. It was addictive. Harvey let the coat and vest drop to the floor, and Mike was abruptly certain he'd never been so careless with his clothes before, ever. It was gratifying.
Harvey was handsy, and Mike didn't mind at all. He let Harvey press him closer, tangle a hand in his hair to angle his head a bit, run a hand up and down his back and then grip his shoulder hard. He nipped at Harvey's lower lip and pressed a trail of kisses across his jaw. It really was a very nice jaw. Harvey was walking them somewhere, slowly, and Mike took careful steps backwards, but he'd had the foresight to put his shoes up against the wall and he didn't trip over anything.
Harvey pressed him up against the wall and trapped his hands against it. He rocked his hips, and Mike felt shivery and flushed and awesome. He wanted to take off all his clothes, but he also wanted to stay there forever, pressed against the wall and kissed within an inch of his life.
"Harvey," he said, trying to pull his hands free.
"Mmm," Harvey said.
"Your shirt studs, they're really," Mike said. Harvey had his mouth on Mike's collarbone, and his hips pressed snugly against Mike's, and he could not concentrate on what he wanted to say.
"Really what?" Harvey asked, pulling back a little bit.
"Um, really digging into my skin," Mike said.
Harvey looked down at his chest, and there were actually some red marks where they'd been rubbing against each other. He bent down and kissed the top one gently. "If you wanted me to take off the rest of my clothes, you could have just asked," he said.
"I want you to take off the rest of your clothes," Mike said.
Harvey let his hands go and started working on his cufflinks, which put both of his arms crossed between them, which meant Mike couldn't kiss him, and that was just not on. He pulled Harvey's bow tie off and started in on unbuttoning the shirt himself.
Once Harvey was occupied with pulling the shirt off, Mike moved on to untucking his undershirt, but he pulled it halfway up Harvey's chest and got distracted by running his fingers over all the bare skin. Harvey intercepted his hands and brought them up to his lips to kiss each fingertip one by one.
Mike pulled his hands free so he could finish taking Harvey's shirt off. He wanted to do everything, and he wanted to do each individual thing forever, and he was aware that those two desires were not entirely compatible.
Harvey pressed into him again, sliding a leg in between his thighs so they could get even closer. His lips were a little swollen from kissing, which mostly made Mike want to just kiss him more, until they'd forgotten about everything that was anything other than each other. He tilted his head up a bit - Harvey really needed to take his shoes off, they made him too tall when Mike was already barefoot - and kissed him again, and again.
There was a ringing in his ears. He'd never actually felt this blown away before, and they didn't even have their pants off yet. He'd had sex before, too, lots of sex, some of it while high, and it had never been like this. It was possible he was a little bit further involved than he'd thought.
"Hold on, I'm sorry, wait a second," Harvey said, panting. He pushed on Mike's chest a little bit, and Mike let him go so he could step back. He pulled his cell phone out, and that's what the ringing was. Mike was a little bit relieved that nothing was wrong with him, and a little bit disappointed that the kiss hadn't been so awesome his ears were literally ringing.
"Crap, it's Rachel. I sent her on an assignment for work, this could be important."
"You should take it," Mike said. "I won't leave."
Harvey nodded. "Hi, Rachel. Did you get them?" He paused a bit. "Okay, hold on, let me write that down."
Mike wandered away. He kind of wanted to take his pants off, because they were soaked and still sticking to his skin, but it seemed rude to do it while Harvey was on the phone with work and couldn't participate.
He poked around in the kitchen a bit, and then wandered into the living room, where there was a huge television and what was probably an insanely comfortable leather couch. There were some bookshelves, but the last one in the corner didn't have any books on it, so he went over for a closer look.
There was a neat row of autographed baseballs, which he carefully observed but didn't touch. Some people were picky about touching their valuables, and he didn't know if Harvey was but he didn't want to push anything. There was a doll in a box, which was a bit weird. On closer inspection it resembled Harvey, with his trademark hair carefully styled and a suit Mike had seen him wear once. That was an interesting sort of thing to keep around.
Slightly behind the doll, so that it wouldn't be easily visible if you weren't standing right in front of the shelf, was a coffee cup with Sixpence's logo proudly displayed. It had been carefully rinsed out but there was a tiny bit of coffee residue in the join on the side. He turned the cup around to put it back, and saw Celia's handwriting.
"Mike?" Harvey called.
He put everything back where it had been, carefully, in case Harvey wouldn't want him prying. "In here," he said. "Didn't want to distract you while you were working."
Harvey appeared in the doorway, looking stupidly hot in his pants and dress shoes, his hair sticking up all over from Mike messing with it, and bare-chested.
"I honestly meant to get you something to wear," he said.
"I think we've kind of moved past having a nightcap while clothed," Mike said. "If you're worried about this relationship moving too quickly, trust me, it is absolutely not."
"In that case, would you care to see the bedroom?"
"If you take your shoes off. The height differential is weirding me out."
"I can do one better than that," Harvey said, and his voice was low and rich with promise. Mike shivered all over.
"Then it's a deal," Mike said.
Harvey took his hand for the third time that night, and Mike's heart fluttered in his chest. It wasn't a huge thing, handholding; he'd held hands in seventh grade with his first girlfriend ever. But it felt like the biggest thing ever.
"I should get my jacket and vest, hang them up. We can hang yours up too," Harvey said.
"You already said you're taking them to the dry cleaners. What will some time spent on the floor matter?" Mike asked. He dragged his thumb over the side of Harvey's hand, nice and slow. Harvey shivered.
"Philistine," Harvey said, but he led Mike to the bedroom instead of towards his pile of clothing.
Harvey had a huge bed, and floor to ceiling windows, and what might have been a nervous look in his eyes. Mike pulled him in for a kiss and dropped his hand so he could work on unfastening his pants, shoving them down with his boxers and stepping neatly out of them. Then he fell backwards onto the bed and spread his arms out.
"You promised to take off your shoes," he said.
Harvey smiled, balancing on one foot so he could untie them. He shucked his pants and promptly tripped when his half-removed shoe got stuck in the pant leg, falling half on top of Mike.
"I really thought you'd be smoother at this," Mike said, laughing.
"I thought you'd know when you should be doing other things with your mouth instead of sassing me," Harvey said.
Mike pulled Harvey more solidly on top of him. It had been a long time, and it felt really good to have his cock pressing up against him. "You love it," he whispered against Harvey's mouth.
"I plead the fifth," Harvey whispered back between kisses.
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation," Mike said, shifting so he could wrap his leg around Harvey's and tilt their hips together.
"I'm going to come in my boxers," Harvey said. His eyes were dark and his voice was gravelly and fuck, that was seriously hot. Mike wondered if he could make Harvey come just by reciting the whole constitution.
"You should take them off, then," Mike said.
Harvey nipped at his lower lip and rolled his hips down. "Hmmm."
Mike braced his leg, took a deep breath, and flipped them. "Or I can do it for you."
"Okay," Harvey said, pulling him down for a kiss. He lifted his hips up obligingly when Mike tugged at the boxers and slid them down to his knees before giving up and lining up their cocks for some quality frottage.
Harvey's eyes slid closed, and Mike kissed him again and thrust down against him, setting a slow and steady rhythm. "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," he said.
"Fuck," Harvey said. He grabbed Mike's hips and arched up into each of his thrusts.
"Succinctly put," Mike said.
"How are you so coherent?" Harvey asked between kisses.
"I'm just that awesome," Mike said. "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." He could quote amendments while their cocks slid together all day, although he was skipping around to his favorites.
"Can I," Harvey said, panting.
"Yes. Anything," Mike said.
"In that case," Harvey said, and flipped them over again. He wrapped a hand around both of their cocks and started stroking fast. "This will probably be fast."
"I can do the rest of the constitutional amendments next time," Mike said. "No worries."
"You will be the death of me," Harvey said. He put a little twist in his stroke and slipped his thumb over the head of his cock on the next upstroke. "Oh, oh god," he said, and came all over his hand and Mike's cock, which made Mike come, too.
"Not god, Mike," he said.
"Shut up," Harvey said, collapsing next to him on the bed and wiping his hand on the sheet. Mike could do that. It would probably be a good idea, in fact, because he tended to say stupid stuff when his mind had just been blown, and he needed to catch his breath anyway.
He had been thinking that Harvey was never going to make a move. And true, Harvey had said this wasn't a move, precisely, although maybe he'd just said that to cover his tracks. It was hard to say. And also true, Mike had ordered him to take his clothes off.
"So, tomorrow," Harvey said, interrupting Mike's train of thought.
"Saturday," Mike said, in case they were playing the 'name the days of the week' game. Which, come to think of it, wasn't really a game and only got played by small children or drunk people, generally. He couldn't be expected to think coherently; he'd just had the best sex of his life and the sweat on his skin wasn't even dry yet.
"I was planning to stay in, watch the game. Since we got rained out tonight, it's an important game, and since you've decided you like baseball, you should stay over and watch it with me."
"I have to work," Mike said.
"Ah. Yes. Of course." Harvey shifted a bit restlessly, and Mike was not at all sure what he meant by that. The shades on the windows were up and the city lights outside were just bright enough to see that the line of his shoulder looked tense.
"In the morning. Opening shift," Mike said. If he kept talking he would eventually say something meaningful, right? "I have to get up in four hours. Oh god, I have to get up in four hours." And this was why he didn't go to fancy events and stay out super late often, because he had far too many opening shifts, and his ability to function on no sleep was vanishing rapidly, the older he got.
"It was just a thought."
If Mike hadn't known better, he would have assumed Harvey was disappointed. It wasn't like either of them were the clingy boyfriend PDA spend every minute of every day together type. Mike valued his alone time, he always had; plus he wasn't going to bring Harvey with him everywhere, although he suspected his grandmother, at least, wouldn't complain if he did.
On the other hand he did find that he thought about calling or texting Harvey all the time if they weren't together, because he wanted to tell him things that happened. And it was better in person because then he got the facial expressions and the on purpose casual touching.
Harvey kept his cards close to his chest. Mike was relatively certain it might take him a lifetime to learn all his tells. But Harvey called when he said he would, and made time to hang out even if he was stressed at work, and there was the small matter of the coffee cup he kept on his shelf of what appeared to be keepsakes.
"But apparently I do really like baseball, so if you don't mind me being tired..."
"You've fallen asleep on me while watching a game before," Harvey said immediately, in what Mike would have assumed was a casual or possibly even slightly bitchy tone of voice, yesterday. He was tired, and distracted by work, and maybe just not at all good at reading people. But he was beginning to suspect that it wasn't casual at all.
"I did, didn't I. Well then, it sounds like a plan."
Harvey was a little bit too satisfied there, like the fate of his entire weekend rested in the balance, which definitely supported Mike's hypothesis. He supposed it was actually less of a hypothesis and more of a theory at that point. Harvey turned over, sliding his arm under his pillow and rearranging the covers, and Mike figured it was safe to let his own brain turn off and fall asleep.
All too soon, his cell phone alarm went off, leaving him flailing until he realized he was at Harvey's condo, in Harvey's bed, and his phone was in his pants, which were on the floor. He leaned over the edge of the mattress and managed to hook the pocket with his fingers, letting him draw them close enough to fish the phone out and turn off the alarm.
Harvey pulled him back into the center of the bed, where apparently they'd been cuddling while asleep.
"Sorry, sorry," Mike said. "I have to get up, work, opening shift."
"S'not morning yet," Harvey mumbled into his shoulder.
"I know, believe me," Mike said. "I'm going to shower, maybe steal some of your clothes so I don't have to work in a tux. I think that would be weird."
"You talk too much," Harvey said. He pulled the pillow over his face when Mike climbed out of bed.
The shower was as decadent as everything else in the condo, which was not a surprise. Mike honestly would not have been surprised to see a huge whirlpool bathtub, although there wasn't one.
Harvey was probably back asleep by the time Mike came back to look for clothes. At any rate, he didn't object to Mike rifling through his entire closet, looking for something that was low key and would fit. He eventually settled on an old worn-out Harvard baseball t-shirt and some soft grey workout pants. It was a Saturday; besides, he didn't necessarily need to be super dressed up just to serve coffee. And he was in charge, so he could do whatever he wanted anyway.
Harvey was blinking slowly at the ceiling when Mike emerged from his closet, so he walked around to the other side of the bed and leaned in to give him a quick goodbye kiss. It seemed appropriate.
"Bring me coffee," Harvey said, his voice still rough with sleep. He couldn't keep his eyes open. It was kind of adorable.
"Okay, if you want to wait until when I get back from work. You have a coffee maker in the kitchen, I saw it yesterday."
"Not the same," Harvey said.
"Right," Mike said. "Then I'll bring you back something. You want some pie, too? Jenny said she'd have some."
"Apple," Harvey said.
"Dirty chai and apple pie it is," Mike said. He pulled the shades partially across the windows, so Harvey wouldn't get woken up by the sun when it came up. Then he grabbed his wallet and Harvey's spare keys and headed out. He felt exhausted, but he could already tell it was going to be a great day.
Mike and Jenny were in the back office with menu options spread out all over the desk and taped to the walls.
"The benefit of going with this plan is that we mix up the options," Jenny said. "I like variety, and some customers will like variety, too. Plus there's nothing to say that we can't bring back favorites more often."
"I agree, but, there are people who want to stick to tradition and have the same thing for lunch every day," Mike said. "And I think we have to cultivate our regulars. You're going to get people who come by occasionally, tourists, people who switch lunch locations on a whim, etc. But regulars recommend things to their friends and come in every day even if the weather is bad."
"We might have enough business to go fifty-fifty," Jenny said. "Have a regular menu, but also daily specials."
There was a knock on the door, and they looked up to see Harvey leaning casually against the door jamb.
"Hey," Jenny said.
"Is it that time?" Mike asked.
"It's that time," Harvey said, walking over and wrapping an arm around Mike's waist. Mike slid his hand around the back of Harvey's neck and pulled him in for a kiss.
"I'm going to go see if... the pie takes... how long," Jenny said, escaping into the back room.
"'If the pie takes how long?'" Mike said under his breath.
"Stop worrying about pie," Harvey said. "You brought her in because she's an excellent baker and her food sells very well."
Mike looked at him. He wanted to muss Harvey's hair up, like it had been last night, but Harvey didn't really appreciate that behavior in public and Mike was compromising. "Are you advising me as my lawyer?"
"As your lawyer, I would advise you to stop asking me silly questions because I'll have to bill you for this consultation," Harvey said.
"And as my boyfriend?" Mike asked, knowing he was on thin ice because Harvey hated that word but pushing anyway.
"As your 'boyfriend'," and he used the air quotes, as Mike had hoped he would, because it was adorable, "I would remind you that your shift is over, you promoted Celia to assistant manager and she's very competent, and we have reservations."
Mike frowned. "I'm not dressed up."
"Not that kind of reservations," Harvey said.
"What kind, then?"
"Oh no, you're clever, you figure it out."
"What do I get if I do?" Mike asked.
Harvey raised his eyebrows and looked at him.
"Gourmet, probably French but maybe Italian, on a helicopter ride over the city," Mike said.
"Would I ride in a helicopter?" Harvey asked.
"Yes, if you thought I'd like it."
That got him another eyebrow raise and a piercing look that was good cover-up for sappiness, but not quite good enough.
"I know you always try to play it like you don't have a heart. Well, there are two responses to that. The first is that being romantic serves your own self-interest because you want to get in my pants and a little romance makes things smoother. Of course you have to discount the fact that you're already in my pants, and you know very well that you don't need sappy romantic stuff to keep that going." Harvey had this superior not-amused-at-all look on his face, so Mike went for broke. "The other response is that you are a toasted marshmallow."
"... what?" Harvey asked.
"Crispy and weird looking on the outside, but soft and gooey on the inside. And," Mike leaned in to whisper, for dramatic effect, "a bit sticky but really fucking delicious, totally worth licking my fingers when I'm done."
There was a soft little sigh, almost a laugh, and Mike turned and saw Celia leaning against the counter and watching them while she played with her phone.
"Did you need something?" he asked.
"No, but you better go, or you'll miss your reservations," Celia said.
Harvey grabbed his messenger bag and escorted him out the front door. "You realize she's texting everything to Rachel."
"You should be glad I didn't tell her about your foot fetish," Mike said.
"I don't have a foot fetish!"
"It would be okay if you did, you know. I'm very accepting. We can compromise."