Mike takes in his surroundings with a mental eye-roll. The restaurant is, of course, ridiculously upscale, and way too trendy for its own good. Getting a last-minute reservation in a place like this on a whim isn’t the kind of thing that impresses Mike—Harvey should know better. But then again, he always did try too hard to embody every cliché in the book, regardless of Mike’s preferences.
Mike glances at the sub-celebrities at corner tables, at the artistically minimal dishes of probably inedible food, at the waiters in Armani and Dolce—he snorts. Yeah, this is so not his scene. It never was, really. For one, Mike hasn't spent more than $400 on a suit in months, and like hell he’d go out of his way to appease Harvey today.
On the contrary, Mike is wearing a candy-striped tie that is both appallingly skinny and a four-month anniversary gift from Paul. The silent "fuck you" makes him feel slightly more optimistic about his chances of besting Harvey at a negotiation.
After all, Mike is a successful editor now, a rising star in a small publishing house, a couple of New York Times bestsellers under his belt. He's building a reputation as the guy who can fix any clusterfuck. He can more than hold his own against any so-called sharks the other publishing companies send to annoy him. He's ruthless; he's competent; he's a goddamn genius.
He's also utterly terrified of seeing his soon-to-be-ex-husband for the first time in seven months—and three days, sixteen hours and maybe nine minutes. (Not that Mike's been counting or anything.) There hasn't been a single call, e-mail or even a text since Mike walked out of their apartment, and he has no idea what to expect.
He's spent the past few weeks steeling his resolve for this meeting, but he's still not prepared for the moment when he hears an all-too-familiar voice call his name.
Mike hears Harvey step closer, but doesn't turn. Making matters worse, Harvey's hand finds its way to the small of Mike's back, resting there with mock intimacy. Mike's grip on his briefcase tightens as he forces himself to ignore the provocation—he can't let Harvey get under his skin just for the pleasure of bickering, as he did a thousand times during their time together.
"Harvey," he says through gritted teeth.
The warning seems to amuse Harvey, who keeps his proprietary hand in place—steady, warm and maddening—even as they follow the maître d’ across the restaurant to a table in the far corner.
He's staking his claim, even now, and Mike hates him for it—hates even more the ridiculous thrill that the action inspires deep inside him: half satisfaction, half arousal, all pathetic. The bastard knows it, too.
As they step closer to the table, Harvey’s hand presses a little more firmly for a moment. Mike remembers the gesture, and the familiar urge to lean back against Harvey when he did it. He focuses on keeping his breathing even. His face had been an open book, once; but Pearson Hardman taught him well. Harvey won’t see a thing—he can’t.
Training or no, it's been too long since the last time Mike navigated Harvey's minefield of bespoke suits and infuriating mind games; he's out of practice, and at a clear disadvantage.
Harvey moves away to sit across from Mike. Mike’s brain flicks back to their Pearson Hardman days, providing a helpful litany of Harvey's many negotiation tricks. This particular move—rattling one's opponents before they’ve even stepped up to the plate—is Specter 101.
That's what Mike loves about Paul. There's no emotionally stunted bullshit, no ridiculously steep highs or abrupt lows, and above all: no fucking mind games. They can communicate without breaking out in hives—have real conversations, even, without a single condescending speech or Important Life Lesson from The World According to Harvey Specter in sight. Paul is a great doctor, a magnificent human being, and a warm, understanding person.
Harvey could eat him for breakfast without even trying.
"So, I've prepared the separation agreement for you to sign," Mike announces, aiming for a cool, professional tone and probably missing by a mile.
"You should have a lawyer look it over." Harvey's tone is so bland no onlooker would notice the venom lurking beneath the words.
Mike feels physically ill. The joke is downright cruel. Harvey toes morally grey lines even on his best days, but he's not prone to gratuitous cruelty. He never used to be, at least.
"Classy." Mike pops open his briefcase, grabs the papers and shoves them in Harvey's direction. "I'd offer you the opportunity of drafting one yourself, but we both know you'd just fob it off on whichever associate you're tormenting this week, and I don't feel comfortable leaving my life in the hands of Kyle, Jr."
Mike's eyes widen. "What?"
Harvey doesn't answer in favor of pulling the agreement to him and making a great show of reading it.
Rachel's passed the Bar? Rachel's working with Harvey? Mike hasn't spoken to her since the whole debacle, so the odd development takes him by surprise. Harvey had won everything and everyone in the breakup, even people he couldn’t care less about—case in point. For his part, Mike did his best to sever all ties with people from Before. The career change alone would've been impossible to explain. But for a moment, Mike allows himself to remember Rachel, to miss her—he makes a silent promise to give her a call after all this is over.
Harvey sets the paper down. "This will never hold up in court."
Mike massages his temples. It's a decent agreement, and they both know it. Harvey's just dragging his feet out of spite, damn him.
"Oh, come on, I'm not planning to sue you. I'll swear up and down in front of any judge that I was the one who proposed these terms. I’ll sign an affidavit."
Harvey raises an eyebrow. "And of course they'll believe you because you're so very pretty. Does the phrase 'equitable division of assets' ring a bell? It doesn't matter what you say, Mike—you'll be up against a lawyer, you earn less than I do, and you're the one with smaller financial contribution. It's textbook. Any judge will think I'm screwing you over, and slap me with a ridiculous amount of alimony for life."
"I don't want your money," Mike spits.
"Well, either you change the agreement or we go to court, but one way or another you'll end up taking something." Mike closes his eyes and takes a deep, steadying breath. When he opens them, Harvey's examining him with a weird expression, which quickly disappears as Harvey adds, "And you're getting the apartment."
"No! No. I don't want the goddamned apartment. You paid for it almost entirely on your own anyway, and you already live there. You keep it; I don't care."
That's a lie. Mike had fallen in love with the apartment at first sight. It's huge, and not just by Manhattan standards; it has a gorgeous library, the most mind-blowing home cinema known to man, and a kitchen so awesome Mike was tempted to learn how to cook just to use it. It has personality, but unlike Harvey's former place, it's not quite as aggressive about it. It's perfect.
The problem is that he'd never be able to live there without Harvey. It was their place from the get-go. They'd got its former owner acquitted in court together, and she'd offered them the apartment dirt-cheap in gratitude. They'd pooled Mike's fourth-year bonus and the profit from selling Harvey's old condo, and celebrated their first (and only) Christmas as a married couple trying—and failing spectacularly—to inaugurate the kitchen.
(Things had been good, then. That hadn't lasted long.)
"It's been sitting there empty for months," Harvey corrects him. "We'll sell."
Mike blinks, confused. "Wait, you moved out?"
"We'll split the money in half—that should be enough for any reasonable judge. Make the changes and send the new agreement to Donna."
The order rankles Mike, pouring salt on an old wound. He clutches the edge of the table in an effort not to punch Harvey in the face. “Will that be all?” he snaps.
Suddenly, Harvey changes gears. "Well, I thought we were having lunch," he says, his tone cordial, as if he hadn't been ready to eviscerate Mike just moments before.
Right—manners. Of course. Mike tries to follow suit, his fake smile mirroring Harvey's. They can get through a lunch meeting without ripping each other's throats out, they can.
Harvey signals a nearby waiter, and barely spares Mike a glance before choosing the wine and ordering the hors d'oeuvre. It was an unspoken agreement of theirs, way back when—Mike was willing to try whatever gourmand crap Harvey came up with for the appetizer, and Harvey wouldn't complain when Mike ordered real food for the main dish.
The unexpected memory aches so much that Mike can't even bring himself to be angry that Harvey's presumed the old arrangement still applies.
"I can order for myself, you know."
Harvey looks chastised, but it's gone in a second. "Of course," he agrees amiably. "I'm sure they have a wine list—"
That's about as close to an apology as Harvey will get, so Mike interrupts before the man gives himself an aneurysm. "But that's not a bad choice." He grins, trying to lighten the mood. "I actually like foie gras now!"
"There's hope for you yet," Harvey replies, as expected, but it sounds...off, somehow. It's strangely neutral.
"Still can't stomach oysters, though."
"Nobody's perfect." His demeanor looks more forced by the second. Hell, Harvey doesn't even bother faking it this much with his clients.
"I take it you haven't accepted the love of cheese-crust pizza into your heart yet," Mike tries.
Harvey doesn't rise to the bait. "Of course not."
Mike crosses his arms and glowers. He knows it makes him look petulant, but he's annoyed enough that he doesn’t care. He actually prefers the barbs they traded at first—at least those had been real.
"Okay, no. Go ahead, be as pissy as you want to be, Harvey, but the Stepford act is creeping me out."
Harvey says nothing, but Mike knows him well enough to be able to read the clues in his eyes: they're furious. However, Mike's Harvey-to-human translator is too rusty for him to parse what that could mean. He's not sure what the most sensible course of action is here—so of course he chooses one that’s anything but.
Press until it hurts, Harvey had told him, a lifetime ago.
"Is there maybe something you want to get off your chest?" Mike goads.
Harvey continues to glare at him but says nothing. Mike plows on recklessly.
"Hey, if you want to talk about your feelings, go ahead. I'm all ears."
He watches as the muscles in Harvey's jaw betray his otherwise perfect poker face, and waits. And waits.
When Harvey does speak, Mike nearly falls off his chair. He's not sure what he'd expected—but it definitely wasn't this.
"Come back," Harvey says, softly.
At a loss, Mike's brain goes into overdrive. Harvey's customary impeccable demeanor, he realizes, is not quite right. He looks tired, maybe even sad, and he isn’t projecting any of his usual smugness. He didn't look this bad half a second ago—he's deliberately lowering his defenses to make his point.
Mike almost wishes it were an act, but knows better: Harvey doesn't believe in feigning emotional weakness. Mike has never known what vulnerable looks like on Harvey—he certainly hadn't looked any less sure-footed than usual the day Mike walked out, for one—but he suspects it may look a little like this.
"To Pearson Specter?" Mike tries, but it sounds ridiculous even to his ears. "But—but you haven't even contacted me in half a year."
"You left," Harvey snarls, and hey, annoyance—that’s something Mike's well acquainted with. "I presumed you were off playing house with someone nice." He says it like the term is the worst of insults—and in Harvey-speak, it may as well be. "Shouldn't have listened to Donna," he mutters, mostly to himself.
"Donna! Of course, I should've known." Mike scoffs. "What, did she tell you to pretend that you're a human being to get to me?"
Harvey ignores the invective altogether. "She thinks you want to hear me say the words, despite the fact that it's perfectly obvious—" Mike snorts, and Harvey meets his eyes sharply. "Well, then, I had a higher opinion of your intelligence. I thought you wouldn't need to be told something you already knew."
"Of course I wanted to hear it—only I wanted it months ago. Damn it, Harvey, we got married, and you still wouldn't get off your high horse for a second!" Mike shakes his head. "I didn't need any grand gestures, but it would've been good to be told at some point that I wasn't just someone you were with out of...convenience or something."
"Convenience?" Harvey seems genuinely startled. "What part of what we had was at any point even remotely convenient?"
"Come on. I'm brilliant, I helped you—don't bother denying it, we both know it's true—I got you—"
"And we were together so much of the time already that it was almost...too easy. Right?" Harvey doesn't look like he agrees, but Mike continues, "I mean, it's just—we never really talked anything over. We got so distracted kicking ass and having awesome sex that we forgot to have a real relationship in between the two."
"We were good together, Mike," Harvey says, and how sad is it that this pathetically obvious statement is the closest to a declaration of love he’s ever received from Harvey? "What the hell drove you to start expecting puppies and rainbows out of nowhere?"
And that's the eternal problem, isn't it? When it comes to emotions, Harvey is a firm believer in showing, not telling—and his way of showing has always been oblique at best, and sometimes downright oxymoronic.
Mike remembers with perfect clarity the moment he'd figured out that Harvey's emotional aloofness was the reason Mike had been feeling dejected for months. He'd realized that night that if they hadn't had Donna running interference—always reading between the lines, telling both of them the ways they'd fucked up without noticing—they never would have lasted beyond that disastrous first one-night-stand.
The waiter brings their wine, and suddenly, Mike feels tired. He's tired of having this fight with himself; he’s done it so many times by now that none of the arguments make sense. He's tired of feeling so much. This thing with Harvey, whatever it is, has long since become toxic—if it ever had been anything else, which Mike kind of doubts—and this conversation can lead nowhere productive.
He deflates. Harvey won't change. And Mike doesn't even want him to anymore; he just wants to leave, and put all this behind him. He has Paul now.
He takes a deep breath, and gives a speech he fine-tuned over countless daydreams in the long months since the break-up. It's the most polite and straightforward of the many versions he's come up with.
"I was your partner, not your associate—you didn't have to play mind games with me, but you still did. You thought I still had things to learn; well, maybe I did, but you can't have it both ways, Harvey. You can't expect me to put all my eggs in one emotionally-stunted basket, treat me essentially the same in and out of the office, and expect things to work out. I deserved more, Harvey, I deserved better: I needed someone who was there for me when I had a problem, not...pulling strings behind my back to make it go away. It's just the way you are, I know that. I don't blame you for who you are." He considers. "Well, not anymore."
"I trusted you," Harvey says accusingly. It feels like he's saying something else altogether. It's a painful reminder that trust is much more important to Harvey than mere love. Love is involuntary, unconditional, easy—trust is anything but. "I trusted you to tell me when something was wrong so we could fix it."
This is Harvey raw and exposed—hurting, and hurting so much that, for once, he's barely trying to hide it. Mike has a hard time holding back the impulse to make it better. He reminds himself that it's not his responsibility anymore. They can't change what's happened, and they can't change who they are.
"I didn't know how. I couldn't even put my finger on what was wrong until I couldn't take it anymore." Mike's shoulders slump. "I think the bottom line is that you're...just not the one for me. It couldn't have worked." Harvey doesn't react. He doesn't even blink. His absolute stillness is so unnatural that it has to be deliberate; Mike's stomach drops. He feels like a complete fraud as he adds, "And that's okay, really. I've moved on."
"To publishing," Harvey growls, with evident repugnance.
He’s clearly not referring only to the job—but of course he’d never deign to mention Paul by name. Mike doesn’t bother wondering how he heard about Paul: Donna always did have her ways.
Mike shrugs. "I'm happy."
Harvey's nostrils flare. "You're bored."
"Bored. There's no challenge."
“Right,” Mike scoffs, "you've clearly never edited a manuscript."
"It's not the same."
"It's still good."
Harvey sneers. "It's too easy."
"Nothing wrong with easy."
“Hey.” Mike smirks. "Learned from the best."
Harvey narrows his eyes, as if he suspects for a moment that Mike’s deliberately misunderstanding him. But of course they both know what’s at stake here. "I never settle for less than what I deserve," he points out.
"It's not settling if I'm getting precisely what I want, Harvey."
"You're kidding yourself. You can't possibly want this."
No, Mike does want this—publishing and Paul both. They’re the best things that have happened to him in a long time. There’s virtually no lying, no emotional trauma: it’s the first uncomplicated romance Mike’s ever had. The lack of conflict is so refreshing. He doesn’t miss the arguing one bit.
"Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do," he counters, grinning.
"Really?” The look on Harvey’s face says check and mate. Mike braces for impact. “We both know the books in your memory are far better than any tripe that reaches your hands nowadays.”
It's been too long since Mike's had to maintain a conversation on two levels. He's cornered, and has to admit, "Well, yes, but—"
"I'm better," Harvey gloats.
Mike rolls his eyes. "You don't even know him."
Harvey's smirk indicates he didn't miss the lack of disagreement, which Mike only catches in hindsight. He tries to remedy the slip, saying, "He's a great guy. Well—you'd hate him, but really, he's an amazing person."
Unimpressed, Harvey quotes, "People will say you're in love."
Much to Mike's dismay, the insult comes out a bit fond. The Hannibal Lecter impression was an unexpected throwback to the easy banter of their earlier years, and it has the intended effect. Just for a moment, everything has slotted back into place, and they've become them again.
Harvey's smile doesn't reach his lips, but Mike can see it plainly in his eyes. He almost grins in response, but the waiter returns with their appetizers, causing them to break eye contact. Mike takes advantage of the interruption to sit up straighter, tilt his chin up—right, this train wreck of a lunch has an actual purpose—and clear his throat.
"Will you sign the agreement, then, once I make the changes you suggested?"
"You won't?" Mike asks. Harvey leans forward to say something. It's an aggressive posture Mike recognizes at once, so he snaps, "Okay, if the next words out of your mouth are 'This is how it's going to work,' I swear I am walking away right now."
After a moment of silence, Harvey asks, "Why do you think I came today?"
This exact question has been haunting Mike for days now, ever since he’d called Donna about the separation agreement and she’d prompted him to name time and date for lunch. Harvey could've signed the papers and sent them back via courier—in fact, Mike had been certain he would do just that. The coldness of that prospect was precisely the reason he'd been postponing the official separation for months.
Mike had concluded days ago that Harvey didn't want to pass up one last opportunity to toy with his emotions, to get back at him for ruining everything. Now, he's not so sure.
"Well, I assume you're up to something, because you're breathing, but if I could read your mind, we wouldn't have found ourselves in this situation, would we?"
"No, we definitely wouldn't," Harvey says softly, his gaze so openly fond that something warm and bright blooms, unbidden, in Mike's chest. Fuck. He's so, so fucked.
He desperately hopes Harvey's playing an angle, any angle. He knows scheming, devious Harvey well enough; but in the past few months, he's all but excised affectionate Harvey from his conscious mind. He’s told himself over and over that Harvey had never cared all that much.
"What do you think I want?" Harvey prompts, tone still too warm.
All of a sudden, something clicks in Mike's brain: he comprehends what's happening here, and relief washes over him, though it’s tinged with bitter disappointment. Harvey is playing an angle. He's found out Mike is happy with Paul, and wants to ruin it as revenge; he's hoping to seduce Mike and get him to cheat to break them up.
It's a trite plan, not quite up to Harvey's usual tactics. Obviously, there's no way Mike will fall for it, unless—
"Oh, God," he groans, understanding. "Are you going to blackmail me for sex in exchange for your signature?"
Harvey's eyebrows shoot up.
"You are, aren't you. Damn it, Harvey, I can't go right back to where I was, it took me months to—this is insane." Mike sighs, rubbing the back of his neck in frustration.
He shouldn't do this. It's a terrible idea, of course, but...maybe it's not an entirely bad one.
It's tempting; he has no trouble admitting that to himself. After all, this is Harvey. The worst bits of their history are starting to feel hazy now—there's some warm residual longing for the way things used to be, with a dash of it-couldn't-possibly-be-as-mind-blowing-as-I-remember-it.
It would just be the one time, of course—for a worthy cause, even. This might help him move on for good, put the ever-present Harvey Specter paragon behind him and focus on his current—better—relationship.
Paul doesn't need to know—but if he did, he'd probably be the better man and forgive Mike. He'd understand what this is: a pity fuck, with no emotional entanglements, for the greater good. It's a heartening thought.
Harvey holds up a hand, halting Mike's spiraling descent into surrender. "I would never do that—I'm kind of insulted that you think I would sink that low—but it's interesting that you want me to."
His eyes have taken on a positively lecherous gleam; Mike's cock twitches in response, the traitor.
Well, if Harvey hadn't been thinking about it before, he definitely is now. Mike knows that look well enough. He watches Harvey's gaze sweep the room before lingering on the table between them. It's not hard to picture the scenarios he's coming up with, or to remember how good it feels to be manhandled by Harvey, especially in public. He thinks of how amazing Harvey felt against him, how well they moved together; and how the whole world paled in comparison to the raw energy between them.
Mike’s mouth is dry. He's very glad they're having this meeting in public, with a respectable distance between them—anything else would've led to some really questionable choices on his part. Like, say, jumping Harvey right now, and without the veneer of justification that blackmail would've provided.
"Why did you take the meeting, then?" Mike asks, desperate to change the subject.
Harvey tilts his head. Shit, he's not going to let this go. "Is that why you came?"
"No! No," Mike hurries to say. "Of course not. I wanted these papers signed, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get this done."
"Whatever it takes," Harvey echoes, pensive, and drains his glass. It’s not the proper way to appreciate fine wine, Mike’s brain echoes. Harvey’s nervous, then. "You really want this, then? I sign the papers, and we're done?"
Mike freezes. He wasn’t expecting a direct question. He doesn't trust himself enough to give an answer right now, let alone a good one.
Harvey seems strangely serene—resigned, Mike realizes. "If it's what you want, I'm not going to make your life difficult—I owe you that much." He fetches a pen from his breast pocket. "Despite what you seem to think, I never saw this relationship as a negotiation. Even I'm capable of not being a dick for half a second. I can even sign this draft if you want to have it in writing."
Mike finds his voice after a moment, and blurts out, "So what, then, you're just going to step away and let Paul have me? Since when do you throw in the towel that easily when you actually want something, Harvey?"
The fact that Harvey's willing to let him go without a real fight—without so much as a bitter argument, or a fucking lecture on the ways Mike ruined everything—that...kind of hurts. Mike knows this is insane, but he expected more than just a half-assed attempt at reconciliation. He expected—something.
A muscle in Harvey's jaw twitches. "You said that's what you want." He leans forward, and this time it doesn’t bother Mike one bit. Harvey states, in his trademark self-assured tone, "If you don't want me to back off, I won't. And we both know I'm going to win."
The cockiness should annoy Mike, but all he feels is relief. His entire body sags as the tension in him evaporates away, and his eyes drift shut for a moment. He doesn't know if he's reassured because he just wanted to hear Harvey say it, or—or the other thing, which he can't bring himself to put in words just yet.
"I'm not—" He runs a hand through his hair, avoiding Harvey's gaze. "I mean, there's Paul, he's my boyfriend—"
Harvey snaps, "I'm your husband."
"Right." Mike rolls his eyes. "You say that like it still means something."
"It does to me," Harvey retorts. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not the marrying type. I don't take this sort of thing lightly."
Mike stares. "We got married on our lunch break. Like, half an hour after I suggested it—as a joke."
"Your vows were a quote from Mississippi Burning."
"It's a good movie."
“We wrote our prenup on a hot dog napkin!”
“It would still be valid, if you hadn’t spilled mustard all over it.”
"I was wearing a skinny tie, Harvey!" Mike says, a little panicked.
His lips twitch. "Well, there was something in there about 'in sickness and in health.'"
"No, don't—it was a mistake, come on!"
Harvey has the gall to look offended. "Do you honestly think I've ever signed a contract of any kind without thinking it through? I'm married to you because I want to be."
The present tense does not go unnoticed.
"You didn't use to think it was a mistake." Harvey's voice is gentle, his cadence smooth and confident. Mike can tell he's about to be closed, but it doesn't bother him as much as it should. At his best, when Harvey's done making his case, he leaves his opponent unable to see any other solution. Mike would welcome that kind of simplicity right now.
And then Harvey—hesitates. He stops talking and frowns, watching Mike carefully. "Tell me what you want," he says, like it physically hurts him to get the words out, and whoa.
In Harvey-speak, that's as good as begging on bended knee.
The feeling of being completely in control of the situation for once is almost too heady to handle. He could break Harvey into a thousand pieces with a word, he realizes. Harvey still wants him, but he will believe and accept it if Mike says they're done. He'll back off, not because he doesn't care anymore, but because he cares too much.
Harvey's giving him the choice—but it's not really a choice, is it?
Mike already knows what he wants. He's known it for years—even before their ridiculous first kiss, before he learned every line of Harvey's body, before Harvey accepted Mike's madcap proposal with a smirk and a smart-ass quip. He's spent the last months trying to convince himself that Harvey isn't the one—that every sphere of his life wasn't decided in that chance meeting so many years ago.
He's tried to forget how right it feels, but forgetting isn't exactly his forte.
If there's any chance whatsoever that they can make this work, he has to try.
He takes a deep breath.
"Okay, this is how it's going to work," he says. Harvey grins and leans back, his gaze never leaving Mike's. "I don't need mind games or life lessons—we're supposed to be on equal footing. You wanted me to trust that you'd know what's best for me. But you're not infallible, Harvey. I've seen you at your best and at your worst; I know every last one of your flaws. You need to stop trying to keep up the whole act around me. You're going to keep in mind at all times that I'm an actual human being, not an associate—one you're allegedly in love with, at that."
Harvey has never used the L-word outside of movie quotes or the occasional sarcastic remark, but Mike feels confident enough to say it right now—and, as always, more than a little pleased when Harvey doesn't object.
"I'm not going back to Pearson Specter. Maybe I'll find a job at another firm, but you can't be my boss and my husband."
Harvey smirks. "No more publishing, then?"
There's no use denying it anymore: he's bored out of his mind with publishing. Mike smiles ruefully. This also means cutting Paul loose, of course—poor thing. He’s a genuinely nice guy, but this is Harvey. But there's no competition. The two of them simply aren’t in the same league; they’re not even in the same sport.
"Would you agree to revisit this ban on working together when you make junior partner at whichever firm you choose?" Mike nods. He's looking forward to that, actually. "Excellent. Now, will you come home and let me rip that fucking ridiculous tie to shreds?"
Mike beams, warming up inside. "I thought you hadn't noticed."
"Noticed? I'm minutes away from filing assault charges against that thing."
Mike reaches for his tie and slowly undoes the knot. "All right, then."
Harvey’s darkened eyes follow Mike's fingers as they work at it, and then drift to his lower lip, which Mike licks deliberately. Mike's pulse races in anticipation. He puts away the offending tie and starts unbuttoning his collar, still watching Harvey’s reaction.
“Stop stripping in public,” Harvey croaks. He tries to infuse his voice with some measure of authority, but he’s gagging for it—it almost sounds like he’s begging Mike to do the exact opposite.
“Aw, Harvey, missed me, did you?” Mike teases, grinning. “That’s adorable, tell me more.”
“You’re unbelievable,” Harvey says with a snort, but he’s too wound up to keep the affection from his tone. Mike notes with satisfaction that he’s fidgeting in his seat. René’s cuts are not made to accommodate hard-ons, after all.
He signals for the check—they haven’t even touched their food, but who cares—and Mike pulls out his wallet, flicking his platinum AmEx onto the table.
Mike smirks. “My treat.”
Harvey smiles, and doesn’t protest.