11:37 AM Saturday
Harvey leans back in his chair, sets his bottle of Pellegrino down next to his sandwich, and looks up to see Mike striding toward him, camera in his hands, pink glittered fairy wings strapped onto his back.
They were a gift from Chloe, Harvey's seven-year-old niece. It's her birthday today.
Mike, it turns out, is a hit with seven and eight-year-old little girls. They flock around him, demand his attention, the attention of the camera in his hands. They pull him in ten directions at once. Mike, look at me! Do you see me, Mike? Do you see me? Mike! And Mike patiently allows it, joins in their games, flutters the wings on his back to make them giggle.
He hasn't had a moment's peace since they walked in the front door.
It doesn't look like he minds much.
Harvey's brother Ben shifts in the chair next to Harvey, watches his daughter and her friends run up and down the stairs giggling, and smiles.
(The little girls are celebrating Chloe's seventh birthday. Harvey and Ben are celebrating the end of a long court battle. It's only been three days since the judge awarded Ben full custody of Chloe, and Ben still looks as though he doesn't believe it, as though he's waiting for someone to knock on the door and tell him there's been a mistake.)
Mike reaches out for Harvey's sandwich, takes a big bite, chases it with some of Harvey's Pellegrino, steps into Harvey's space. Harvey lets him, takes the camera out of his hands, scrolls through picture after picture of smiling, giggly girls in tutus and fairy wings. Smiles when he reaches a picture of himself and Ben, leaning close, laughing at a childhood story.
Mike takes another bite of the sandwich, actually chews this time, and looks down at Harvey with concern, nudging Harvey's knee with his. "Do you think I took enough pictures?"
There are two hundred and ninety-four pictures on the camera, taken in just under two hours.
Harvey eyes him with amusement and Mike ducks his head, takes another sip of Harvey's Pellegrino.
Harvey sets the camera down on the table, nudges Mike a little with his knee, non-verbally asks for his attention. Mike gives it, looks down at him. He looks ridiculous, the pink wings on his back, a tiny streak of mustard in the corner of his mouth, sparkly unicorn sticker stuck to the back of his hand.
Harvey pulls Mike down into a kiss, smiles when Mike relaxes into it. They break apart when a chorus of little giggles erupts.
Mike turns to look at them, his hand on Harvey's shoulder. "Ladies."
More giggles. "You promised to play hide and seek with us!"
He nods solemnly. It only makes them giggle harder. They're clearly smitten. "I did, you're right."
He turns to Harvey.
"Your public awaits."
Mike picks the camera up off the table, follows after the girls, looks back at Harvey once with a happy smile before he turns the corner and heads to the backyard.
"Shut up." Harvey looks at Ben, watches as amusement and surprise fight for dominance on his face. "What?"
Ben settles back in his chair, takes sips of his soda. Watches Harvey.
"Mike isn't just my associate."
Ben's eyes crinkle at the corners. "Okay."
He takes another sip of his soda, watches Mike chase his daughter and her friends through his house, smiles to himself until his mouth is stretched as wide as it'll go.