Harvey walked down towards his office and peered over the wall when we couldn’t see Donna sitting there. He found a small ginger haired person in Donna’s office chair armed with colouring pencils and a Pearson Hardman notepad.
“You’re not Donna.”
“Uh-uh. I’m Abby.”
“Are you Auntie Donna’s boss? She said if you turned up I had to be quiet so you didn’t hear me.”
Abby (apparently) nodded. “Yup. She did. But not to let you push me around.”
Harvey, despite what people seemed to think, didn’t dislike kids, he just hadn’t spent a lot of time around them either. Not since he was looking after his brother anyway. They were fine … if you liked that sort of thing.
“Okay. I’ll just ... talk to Donna when she gets back.”
He went into his office. Abby seemed capable of looking after herself and happy enough drawing a red cape on … a dinosaur? Harvey didn’t really get a good look at it.
Harvey knew Donna had sisters and vaguely recalled they had children (he may have seen photos) but he was fuzzy on names and ages (of both the sisters and their offspring).
He looked briefly out the window before hearing, “Wow, you have a big office.”
He turned around. Abby had left Donna’s desk and was standing in the doorway. She was wearing a pair of jeans, pink converse sneakers and what looked like a unicorn on a baseball jersey.
“What are … ?”
“Ooh, baseballs.” She walked over towards his desk and looked at the ones in the plastic containers but thankfully didn’t pick them up. Harvey breathed a small sigh of relief.
Donna was going to bug him about calling Angela de Souza when she got back. He knew it. He really didn’t want to make that phone call because it would go on and on and it was going to be boring, and he couldn’t make Mike do it. So he decided to humour the kid a little.
“You like baseball, kid?”
“I’m the best player on my Little League team,” Abby replied, very matter-of-fact. “And I’m Abby, not kid.”
Harvey smirked a little. “Really?” The kid had an attitude.
“Uh-huh. I told you before. “ She turned around to look at him. “Do you like baseball?” Her eyes narrowed sharply as if ready to judge his entire character based on this one simple fact.
Harvey liked her already.
“Yeah. I love baseball.”
“Did you play Little League?”
Harvey felt himself smile.“A long time ago now. And I played in high school. I was a pitcher.”
“Were you good?”
“Yeah, I was very good.” He’d never been one for false modesty.
“Baseball’s fun. Dad takes me out to play catch. Auntie Donna too sometimes.”
Harvey was outright grinning now. “She does, huh?” He filed that piece of information away. “She any good?”
“Yep. Auntie Donna’s good at everything.” Abby’s face very clearly said that this was an undisputed fact.
“So she keeps telling me.” Most of the time he thought she was right, not that he’d ever tell her that.
Abby looked over at him shrewdly. “Do you still play?”
Wanting to know everything ran in the Paulsen line apparently.
“I hurt my shoulder when I was 17. I can’t really pitch anymore. Not for long anyway.”
“Wow, 17. That’s really old.”
Harvey’s eyebrow raised but he didn’t say anything. She had turned her attention back to the baseballs. His mind flashbacked briefly to his Dad taking him to the Baseball Hall of Fame and looking at all the old balls from World Series’ games. He hadn’t been there in years and years.
He walked over to where his ‘thinking baseball’ sat on his desk and handed it to her.
“Here, Abby. Have a look at this one.”
Donna came back from averting disaster elsewhere in the building to find her desk empty. She swore quietly under her breath and looked up into Harvey’s office.
“Abigail Ryan, what did I tell you about staying … “ her voice dropped away as she saw Harvey sitting beside Abby showing her how to hold a baseball.
“Yeah, you got it. It’ll be better when you have bigger hands.”
“And you just let it go holding it like this? And that’s a sinker?” Abby’s tone was serious. Like she was really trying to commit this to memory.
“Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. But yeah, pretty much.”
Abby grinned and looked up at Donna. “Auntie Donna, Harvey was talking to me about baseball! He used to play!”
“I see, honey. I thought I told you not to bother Harvey if he turned up.”
“He doesn’t mind.” She said it in a very matter-of-fact tone that reminded Donna of her mother.
“Oh, doesn’t he?”
“You don’t mind, do you?” Donna almost laughed at the face Harvey pulled being looked at imploringly by an eight year old.
He looked up at Donna and shrugged. “It’s fine.” Something weird was going on with his face. She could count on one hand the amount of times she’d seen Harvey interact with kids. He was always polite enough, but distant. Never really engaging with them. But not this time for some reason.
Donna’s stomach took a funny dip. A dip she thought she’d banished for good, but sometimes came back when she least expected. While she loved her nieces, she didn’t really love kids in general and certainly didn’t want her own and definitely not with Harvey. This was ridiculous.
“See, it’s fine.” Abby said.
Donna smiled at them both. “Well, okay. But you better grab your things, your Mom just text me that she’s on her way back to pick you up.”
“But I wanna stay here a bit longer.”
“I’d like you to, Abby but I have to work and Harvey has to make the phone call he’s very clearly avoiding.”
She smiled at him over Abby’s head and Harvey pulled a face at her. He was twelve.
“… okay, fine.” Abby headed towards the door, dropping the baseball into Harvey’s hands as she stood up.
“Thanks for showing me how to do that.”
Donna looked at Harvey for a few seconds.
“What?” He said accusingly.
“You really thought …?”
No, she didn’t really think.
“I’m ready, Auntie Donna.” Abby had her backpack on now.
“Okay, sweetheart, let’s go see your Mom and explain to her that while it’s always lovely to see you, a little warning is also nice.”
“Okay. Bye, Harvey!” Abby waved through the door as Donna ushered her towards the elevators.
Donna glanced back to see that Harvey had given her a small wave back.
Donna walked back into his office ten minutes later.
“Okay, that was weird. My sister is in town and dumped me with her at the last minute and she swore she’d be an hour and I thought you’d still be in your deposition and instead she was nearly two hours. “
Harvey shrugged. “She seems like a good kid.”
“She is. Has a lot to say for herself.”
“Thinks she knows everything, huh?” He smirked.
Donna gave him her you-do-not-impress-me-mister face. “I don’t know who told you you were funny, but they were wrong.” He kinda liked that face on her.
She gave him that look again. The one she’d brought out when she’s found him and Abby with the baseball.
“What? I can’t be nice to children? You really thought I was going to be an asshole to an eight year old?”
“Of course not, but I also didn’t expect you to entertain her.”
“She likes baseball. She has good taste.”
Donna grinned. He knew that smile. She had something over him.
“Her parents are Red Sox fans.”
He looked up from where he’d glanced down to check his email.“No.”
‘Yup.” Donna’s grin was bordering on triumphant.
“Donna, you have to save her.”
“Pretty sure it’s already sunk in. Her favourite player used to be Jason Varitek.”
Harvey shuddered a little at the mention of the name. “Wait, you have Red Sox fans in your family?”
“I need a better screening process.”
“What screening process? Our first conversation was making fun of Lionel …”
Ah, Lionel. They’d shared an office when he’d first started as an ADA. He and Harvey were pretty much as different as two people could be and still work in the same profession.
“... and then two months later I might as well have been working just for you. It wasn’t like there was a questionnaire.”
“Maybe I should make one.”
“And hey I am not a Red Sox fan.” She sounded a little indignant.
His eyes narrowed. “I’m not even sure that’s true anymore.”
“You’re such a child. And you still need to call Angela de Souza.”
Harvey pulled a face.
“You know, it’s no wonder you and Abby got along so well. She pulls that exact face when my sister tells her to finish her broccoli.”
“Did you just compare me to an eight-year old?”
“Oh, I think you know I did. Call. Her.”
“Oh and Harvey?”
“Pretty sure Mike likes the Red Sox too.” Donna had adopted a sing-song tone of voice now.
“Mike grew up in New York!”
“Ooh, maybe he’s a Mets fan.”