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Manhattan Holiday

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“At noon we have lunch at the French Embassy, then an appearance at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, then the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then - Michel?  Michel are you listening?  It is very important that you pay attention.”

“Son, please pay attention to your father.”

Michel Rousseau Delacroix, crowned prince of Malibor, glanced over at his parents and sighed.  “I’m listening,” he said, “Lunch, children’s hospital, museum.”

“Really,” Michel’s mother Nina said with a sigh.  “This is very important.”

“But Mother,” Michel replied.  “We are in New York City!  Just for a day can I be a tourist?  I want to see Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building.”

“You know that is not possible,” James, Michel’s father said.  “We have had obligations everyday and today is our last full day in the city before we leave to fly home.”

“Exactly,” Michel replied.  “Today is our last full day here, why can’t we do something fun?”

“You are twenty-one and about to graduate from college. You should be taking a bit more interest in your responsibilities as heir to throne,” Nina said.

Michel just rolled his eyes and frowned.  “One day,” he said.  “I am asking for one day.”

“One day that we cannot give you,” Nina said.  “Now go and get changed, the car will be here shortly.”  She and James left Michel alone in his room and went to get changed themselves.

Michel waited about five minutes, making sure his parents were appropriately occupied in their own rooms getting dressed, before tugging on a pair of trousers, button up and coat and slipping his feet into a pair of shoes.  He also took a moment to disable the GPS on his phone and put it on ‘Do Not Disturb’ - he didn’t want anyone knowing where he was going or be able to get in contact with him.

He cautiously opened the door and peeked outside to see if his security detail was there and found himself in luck - the hallway was empty.

Michel made sure he had his key and crept quietly to the stairs - the ding of the elevator would surely bring the security team and he wanted to avoid that.  He closed the doors to the stairs behind as quietly as possible and rushed down the stairs, eager to get out of the hotel before his parents realized he was gone.  He hit the lobby and walked as calmly as he could towards the front doors, trying not to catch anyone’s attention.

He was so worried about not getting caught by anyone as he went through the lobby of the hotel, Michel ran right into someone trying to come into the hotel.

 

* * *

 

“Donna, I still have no idea why you set the meeting at this hotel when the client isn’t even staying here,” Harvey said as he juggled his coffee, his briefcase and the notes clasped between his fingers.  He was grateful his phone was tucked into the pocket of his coat as he talked to his assistant via bluetooth headset.  He didn’t think he could handle one more thing in his hands.

“Because it’s understated, yet chic,” Donna replied.

“No, it’s a pain in the - oof!” Harvey just barely bit back the curse as hot coffee splashed all over his suit and shirt.  He glanced up from the notes he’d been trying to read, ready to curse out whoever had made him spill his coffee and stopped.  Stared.

The man in front of him was the most beautiful man Harvey had ever seen.  Hair a bit old fashioned, but Harvey was drawn to the man’s eyes … and lips.

“My apologies,” the man said.

“Donna, cancel the meeting and clear my schedule for the day,” Harvey said, ending the call before Donna could reply.  “No, I wasn’t watching where I was going …”  Harvey paused, hoping the man would provide him with a name.

“Mi … ike.  Mike Ross,” the man said, offering a hand to shake.

“Harvey, Harvey Specter,” Harvey said, shaking Mike’s hand.  “Well, Mr. Ross, what were your plans for the day? I mean, besides barrelling into strangers and making them spill their coffee.”

“I do apologize,” Mike replied.  “I was just in such a hurry to get going.”

“Going where?” Harvey asked, watching Mike carefully.  It had been a long time since he’d felt so drawn to someone.

“I wanted to go to Central Park!  And the Statue of Liberty!  And the, um … the … the Empire State Building!”

Harvey just barely held back the wince.  He’d assumed the young man was perhaps a student who’d just arrived in town on a visa, not a tourist.  “Well, I happen to have an apartment near Central Park,” he said.  “If you’d like to come with me there so I can change my shirt and coat -”

“Again, my apologies.”

Harvey smiled and waved off the apology.  “I would gladly play tour guide for you today,” he said.

“I would like that very much.”

“Wonderful,” Harvey said, hailing a cab.  “Let’s go.”

 

* * *

 

Michel felt exhilarated - he and Harvey had been having invigorating discussions during the ride to Harvey’s apartment.  Too many people felt like they had to agree with everything Michel said due to his lineage, but Harvey had no knowledge of his lineage which made for interesting discussion.  While they had been waiting for the cab, Michel had surreptitiously done a search on Harvey Specter and found that Harvey was a Junior Partner at the law firm Pearson Hardman - he would have been terribly embarrassed if he’d gotten into a cab with some sort of criminal.

Once the cab stopped, Harvey climbed out and Michel quickly followed him - he’d been surrounded by security his entire visit and did not know the city at all aside from the few places he’d been with his parents.

“I’ll just be a couple of minutes,” Harvey said as he led the way to his apartment.  “If we’re going to be out all day, I need to change.”

Michel stood just inside the doorway of Harvey’s apartment.  He still couldn’t believe he’d just gone off with a random stranger - but there was something about Harvey that just spoke to him.  And their conversation during the cab ride had proven that Harvey wasn’t just a pretty face.

There was a connection that Michel couldn’t deny and if he only had one day, he was going to make the most of it.

“All right.”

Michel blinked and gave himself a mental shake as Harvey reappeared in the living room.  Harvey had changed into a pair of light brown slacks, a white button up and a moss green sweater.

He looked stunning.

“Ready to go, then?” Michel asked.

“I am,” Harvey said.  “Was there any particular place you wanted to go first?”

“Actually,” Michel said, running a hand through his hair.  “I didn’t get a chance to get to the barber before my trip and I’m getting a little … shaggy.”  In reality, his parents would have never allowed him to veer from the very specific style that had been chosen for him, but Michel had always wanted to do something a bit hipper with his hair.  Now was the perfect chance.  Not to mention it would help him hopefully not look so recognizable.

“I know a lot of people are loyal to their stylists,” Harvey began, “but I could take you to the place I go.”

“That would be lovely, thank you,” Michel said.

“After you,” Harvey said, letting Michel lead the way out of the apartment.

Once outside the building and back on the sidewalk, Michel headed to the curb to hail a cab, but stopped when he felt Harvey’s hand on arm.

“No cab?” Michel asked.

“No cab,” Harvey said.  “The best way to see the city, Mr. Ross, is to walk.  Also, my barber is just a few blocks away.”

Michel stuck close to Harvey as they walked down the street, trying to take in the sights and keep up with Harvey at the same time.  Every few minutes he’d pause briefly to snap a picture on his phone.

When they finally stopped, Michel glanced up and frowned.

“This is not where I’d pictured you going,” Michel admitted.

“Expect the unexpected, Mike,” Harvey said a he opened the door for Michel.  “The best barber in New York works here.”

The salon was filled with loud music and lots of talking and laughter; the stylists and patrons were all very … alternative.

“If you say so,” Michel replied.

“I do,” Harvey said as he approached the reception counter.  “Skye, my love, please tell me that Derek has an opening.”

“You’re in luck, Harvey,” the girl behind the counter said.  “He’s free for the next hour.”

“Perfect,” Harvey said.  “My new friend is going to take that opening.”

“You got it,” Skye said.  “Go on back.”

Michel was a bit surprised when he felt Harvey grab his hand, but smiled shyly and let Harvey tug him towards the back of the salon.  He felt distinctly out place as he walked through the salon - logically he knew no one was paying him any attention but it felt like everyone was staring at him.

“Harvey!  You were just here!”

Michel glanced around Harvey and blinked a few times at the man who greeted Harvey, who Michel presumed was Derek.  The man was tall and broad with almost a perpetual frown and … very judgy eyebrows.

“Derek,” Harvey said warmly.  “I know, but I have a new friend who needs you to work your magic.”

Michel gave Derek a timid smile and a small wave, then just barely held back a squeak as Harvey pulled him around and pushed him forward.  He tried not to flinch under Derek’s scrutiny as the man walked in a circle around him.

“Bit old fashioned,” Derek commented.  “Take off your coat and take a seat.”

Michel removed his coat, hung it up and hesitantly sat in the chair at Derek’s station.

“I’m going to get some coffee,” Harvey said.  “Mike, do you want something?”

“Anything chocolate,” Michel responded.

“Done,” Harvey said.  “Derek, be nice to him, I’ll be back in a little bit.”

“I can be nice,” Derek said as Harvey left, then turned his attention to Michel.  “So Mike, what are you looking for?”

“S-something different,” Michel said.

“Mmmhmm,” Derek hummed as he wrapped a cape around Michel’s neck and snapped it snugly.  “You want to look different.”

“Yes?”  Michel looked at Derek’s reflection in the mirror, surprised when Derek’s expression softened.

“I recognized you when you came in,” Derek said as he began to spritz Michel’s hair with water.  “But Harvey doesn’t appear to know your real identity - he never did follow celebrity gossip or royals.  Not that I do either, but my clients do.”

“Please don’t -”

“I won’t,” Derek continued as he reached for the comb.  “He looked really happy when he came in here, happier than I’ve seen him in a while.  So my one request is, make sure he has the happiest day with you.  I know you’re flying home sometime tomorrow.”

Michel swallowed and gave a small nod.  “He only met me today,” he whispered, watching Derek comb through his hair.  “I quite literally ran into him while I was escaping and got coffee all over him.  And suddenly he was offering to spend the day with me.”

Derek smiled a bit.  “That’s Harvey,” he said as he reached for the scissors.  “So, you sure you want something different?”

“Yes,” Michel said.  “Something different.”

“All right,” Derek said.  “Different, coming right up.”

 

* * *

 

“Yes Donna, I know what I’m doing,” Harvey said as he walked from the coffeeshop back to the salon.  “I’m taking a chance.”

“Some chance,” Donna said.  “You don’t even know this guy.”

“I’m not marrying him, I’m spending a day with a beautiful man,” Harvey said.  “And I still have my phone, and clearly I haven’t been kidnapped or involved in anything nefarious since I answered your call.”

“Fine.”

Harvey chuckled at the heavy sigh that came through the phone at him.  “I will send you a text every once in a while so that you know I’m okay,” he bargained.

“Every hour,” Donna said.

“Hell no,” Harvey said.  “Every four hours.”

“Fine,” Donna said.  “Go back to being reckless.”

“Thank you, I will,” Harvey said, hanging up and stepping back into the salon.  He gave Skye a wink as he walked past, headed for the back of the salon.  He stopped near Derek’s station and listened to Mike and Derek chat.  In French.

“I didn’t know you knew French,” Harvey commented as he stepped closer, passing Mike his coffee.

“You don’t know a lot of things about me,” Derek deadpanned.  “Mike, be careful not to move your head when sipping that coffee or I might mess up.”

“Careful sipping, understood,” Mike said.

Harvey sat on a chair near Derek’s station and watched Derek work.  That was a lie - he spent the time watching Mike.  The young man was absolutely beautiful and exuded an innocence and naivete that had Harvey captivated.  And perhaps a small part (okay a large part) of Harvey wanted to debauch Mike Ross … to see him spread out beneath Harvey, begging for him …

Harvey gave himself a mental shake, sipped his coffee and turned a slightly critical eye to Derek’s work.

“I know that look,” Derek said.  “I know what I’m doing.”

“I know you do,” Harvey replied.  “It looks good.”

“Of course it does.”  Derek glanced over his shoulder at Harvey and winked.

Derek had taken Mike’s hair to the brink of being brutally short, but had left the top just a bit longer.  It definitely looked better than it had before, leaving Mike actually looking a bit older - which had the added benefit of making Harvey feel less like he was breaking the law just by being near Mike.

“Stop being a perfectionist,” Harvey said as he watched Derek.  “Mike and I have places to be.”

“Yes, yes,” Derek said as he removed the cape from Mike.

Harvey reached for his wallet and pulled a few bills out to pass to Derek, but Derek shook his head.

“Mike already pay you?” Harvey asked.

“On the house,” Derek said with a small smile.

“Wow, Mike must have made an impression,” Harvey said, pocketing the cash.  “Ready to go?  We’re just a few blocks from Central Park.”

Mike practically jumped off the chair and went to Harvey’s side.  “Ready to go,” he said.

Harvey gave Derek a wave as he turned and left the salon, Mike next to him.

“Did you know,” Harvey said when they were out on the sidewalk, “that there’s a castle in Central Park?”

“No!” Mike said, his eyes wide with surprise.  “Can we see it?”

“But of course,” Harvey said.  He offered his arm to Mike and just barely hid the grin when Mike slipped his hand into the crook of Harvey’s arm.

 

* * *

 

There was indeed a castle in the middle of Central Park, which Michel discovered was named Belvedere Castle.  It was small and quaint and Michel loved it.  

Harvey bought them a couple of sandwiches from a nearby food cart, as well as waffles from Wafels &  Dinges and they sat on a ledge and ate lunch, chatting and people watching.

“Can I take our picture?” Michel asked Harvey.

“You’ve been taking pictures all day,” Harvey replied, tone teasing.

“Yes, but I want at least one of the two of us,” Michel said.  One picture so he could remember this man that fate had placed in his path.

“Okay,” Harvey replied.

Michel pulled his phone out and fiddled with the camera for a minute so he could get a picture of the two of them.  He held the phone out in front of them, grinning when Harvey leaned in close so he was in frame.

“Okay, on three,” Michel said.  “One … two … “

As he counted down, he noticed Harvey leaning in closer, closer, closer … Michel turned his head and found himself with Harvey’s lips pressed to his just as he snapped the picture.  Michel squeaked in surprise and pulled back, blinking at Harvey who was smiling back at him, Harvey’s own cheeks slightly pink with embarrassment.

“I meant to kiss your cheek,” Harvey said.

“I gathered,” Michel mumbled.  “But that was -”

“Awkward,” Harvey finished.  “I’d like to try that again.”

Michel smiled and nodded.  “I would like that as well,” he whispered.  He felt his cheeks flush as Harvey took the phone from Michel’s hands and set it down on the ledge.  The second he felt Harvey’s hand cup his cheek, he leaned into the touch, humming softly.  He heard Harvey hum and then Harvey’s lips were again pressed to his.  This time the kiss was far from awkward, and Michel gasped softly when he felt Harvey bite gently on his bottom lip.

“Much better,” Harvey said when he pulled back.

“Mmmhmm,” Michel hummed, licking his lips.  “Better.”

“Have you seen enough of Central Park?” Harvey murmured.  

“I believe so, yes,” Michel said.  “Could we perhaps go to the Empire State Building?”

“Of course,” Harvey replied.  “Do you want to walk, take a cab or take the subway?”

“What do you suggest?” Michel asked.

“Mike, I go pretty much everywhere by car,” Harvey said.  “I enjoyed walking today, and I know I said walking is the best way to see the city, but it’s about half an hour walk and since you only have today, perhaps we can take the subway.”

“The subway!” Michel replied.  “I have never been on the subway!”  He jumped up and grabbed his phone.  “Let’s go!”

 

* * *

 

Mike’s energy was infectious.  Harvey smiled as he and MIke made their way back out of Central Park to the subway so they could go to the Empire State Building.  He honestly couldn’t remember the last time he’d done something so reckless as call out and have a day in the city.  But he’d met Mike and it just felt like Harvey needed to spend time with him.

It was oddly endearing to watch Mike’s face as Harvey explained the subway system and the metrocards.  Harvey tried to concentrate as he added money to his own metrocard, very aware of Mike practically pressed to his back.

“No public transit where you’re from?” Harvey asked as they made their way through the turnstile and down to the subway platform.

“I never utilized public transportation,” Mike replied.

“Never used public transit?” Harvey asked as they joined the crowds of people waiting for the subway.

“I never had the need to,” Mike said.

“I lived on public transit when I was younger,” Harvey replied.  “Only way to get around this city without paying out the nose for a cab or a driver.”

The subway arrived and Harvey grabbed Mike’s hand to make sure he made it into the car with him - he didn’t want Mike to get lost or left behind.  There weren’t any seats, so Harvey and Mike stood close together as the subway made its way towards the Empire State Building. During the ride, Harvey found himself watching Mike, who seemed utterly intrigued by the motley crew of New Yorkers that filled the subway car.

They disembarked at Penn Station and Harvey again kept Mike’s hand in his as they navigated through the throngs of people.  Up to the station and then up to the street, Harvey made sure Mike was right there with him.  Once they were up on the street and on the sidewalk Harvey reluctantly let go of Mike’s hand.

“Madison Square Garden is just there,” Harvey said.  He pointed in its general direction and chuckled when Mike pulled out his phone and took a picture.  “The Empire State Building is that way.  We’ll walk down 34th Street and then 5th Avenue.”

“There are so many shops,” Mike commented as they walked.

“There are,” Harvey agreed as they maneuvered around people.  “I don’t patronize many of them.”

“Are they not your style?” Mike asked.

“Not really,” Harry replied.  

They walked for a few more minutes before Mike stopped and was suddenly not at Harvey’s side anymore.

“LUSH,” Mike said slowly.

“What, they don’t have LUSH where you’re from?” Harvey asked, tone teasing as he moved to stand at Mike’s side.

“I have never been in one,” Mike said, then turned to look at Harvey.  “Can we go in?”

Harvey glanced down at his watch.  “The Empire State Building is open late, so that’s not a problem,” he said.  “But if you wanted to see the Statue of Liberty -”

“I saw that on the flight in, that’s fine!” Mike interrupted.  “Let’s go in!”

Before Harvey could respond, Mike had grabbed his hand and practically dragged him into LUSH.

They had barely made it through the door before they were approached by two separate employees, both wanting to get as much information about their hygiene routine as possible in order to get them the best products.

Harvey idly scratched the inside of his left wrist as he watched Mike, amused at how intent Mike looked as he listened to everything the employees were telling him.  He seemed a bit hesitant to divulge too much information - Harvey felt the same.

Mike started to look overwhelmed and Harvey felt the sudden urge to pull Mike to him to protect him from the employees.  He settled for stepping a bit closer, allowing his shoulder to brush Mike’s.

“Maybe we could get some samples,” Harvey said.  “We wanted to get to the Empire State Building ... “  He trailed off, hoping the employees would get the message that they wanted to head out.  They did, hurrying off to get samples and leaving Mike and Harvey alone.

“Thank you,” Mike whispered as they headed over to the register to wait.

“No problem,” Harvey replied.  “Some of the stuff they talked about is good.”

“You use it?” Mike asked.

Harvey glanced over at Mike and found Mike grinning at him, eyes twinkling.

“I use a grand total of three of their items,” Harvey admitted after a couple of minutes.  “Mask of Magnaminty, the Five O’Clock Whistle shaving smoothie and the Gorgeous moisturizer.”

“Well you are,” Mike replied.  “Gorgeous, that is.”

Harvey was about to respond when the girls who’d helped them returned with a bag full of samples.

“Thank you,” Harvey said as he gave the girls a charming smile.

“I will try all of them,” Mike said.

“Enjoy the rest of your day,” the girls said as Harvey escorted Mike out of the store.  

 

* * *

 

Michel felt like he was floating as he and Harvey left LUSH and walked the rest of the way to the Empire State Building.  Between Central Park and the subway and their time in LUSH the sun had set and a light chill had set in, which left Michel shivering a bit when arrived at their destination.

“Still want to go up?”

Michel looked over at Harvey and smiled, nodding enthusiastically.

“Yes,” Michel said.  “I want to go all the way to the top.”

“All right, let’s go.”

Michel kept close to Harvey as they went inside.  He tried to pay for their tickets to the top, but Harvey waved him off and paid for both of their tickets to both the Main Deck and the Top Deck.  

They went to the Top Deck first, and Michel took a slow walk around, snapping pictures every few seconds.  He could hear Harvey chuckling and ignored him as he continued to take pictures.

“It’s amazing!” Michel exclaimed.

“I’m partial to the Main Deck,” Harvey said.  “It’s the highest open-air observatory in the city and the views there are lovely.  Plus, I admit I’m a bit of a movie fanatic and whenever I’m there I think of -”

“An Affair to Remember!” Michel said.  “And Sleepless in Seattle.”

Harvey laughed and nodded.  “Both of those, yes,” he said.

“Could we go down to the other deck?” Michel asked.

“But of course,” Harvey replied.

Michel smiled and slipped his arm into the crook of Harvey’s arm as they headed back to the elevator and rode it down to the 86th floor.  The elevator ride down was short and quiet, and when the doors opened on the 86th floor, Michel stepped out of the elevator and gasped softly.

“Oh my,” Michel whispered.

“It’s an amazing view,” Harvey said.

Michel hummed as he felt Harvey’s hand on his lower back, urging him across the deck so he could really appreciate the view.

“Wow,” Michel said as he looked out on the whole city, looking at all the lights.

“Mmmhmm,” Harvey hummed.  “No other view like this one.”

Michel scratched a bit at his left wrist as he took in the view, then shivered as he felt Harvey’s warm breath on his neck.  He barely bit back a whimper when he felt Harvey’s lips on the back of his head.

“Harvey,” he whispered.

“I was going to suggest a lovely restaurant downtown for us to go for dinner,” Harvey said.  “But now I have a better idea.”

“You do?” Michel asked, leaning back against Harvey and smiling when he felt Harvey’s arms wrap around him.

“You come with me to my apartment, I make you dinner,” Harvey replied.  “And then you spend the night.”

“I like that idea,” Michel whispered.

“I thought you might,” Harvey said.

“What did you have in mind?” Michel asked, humming when he felt Harvey press another kiss to the back of his head.  “I’m starving.”

“I’ll think of something,” Harvey said.  “I have plenty of food at home.”

Michel smiled and relaxed back against Harvey, taking another picture of the two of them.

“To remember,” Michel whispered.

“Ready to get out of here?” Harvey asked.

Michel hummed and nodded.  “Ready,” he replied, letting Harvey lead him back to the elevators.

Once they were out of the building and safely ensconced in the back of a cab, Michel snuggled into Harvey’s arms for the ride back to Harvey’s apartment.

 

* * *

 

“Do you like steak?” Harvey asked once he and Mike were back in his apartment.

“I do,” Mike said.

“Good, then I know just what to cook,” Harvey said.  He turned on a few lights and set about working in the kitchen, somehow not at all worried about the almost stranger he’d let wander around his apartment.  He’d known Mike for less than twenty-four hours, but he trusted Mike implicitly, without question.  There wasn’t another person around he’d let wander around his apartment unaccompanied, but with Mike it was different.

“You have a record player!” Mike called from the living room.

Harvey peeked around the corner into the living room and smiled.

“I do,” Harvey replied.  “Pick a record and put it on.”

“Are you sure?” Mike asked.

“I’m sure,” Harvey said.  He was surprised when the sounds of smooth jazz filled the apartment and almost dropped the frying pan when he heard the sound of his dad playing saxophone.

“Is this alright?” Mike asked.

Harvey turned and saw Mike in the doorway to the kitchen.

“It’s fine,” Harvey said.

“I noticed someone with your last name on the back of the the record cover,” Mike commented.  “Your father?”

Harvey glanced over at Mike and nodded, smiling sadly.  “Yeah, he was one of the greats,” he whispered.

“I’m sorry,” Mike said.  “I can go turn it off -”

“No,” Harvey said.  “No, it’s fine.  It’s one of my favorite records, actually.”

“If you are sure,” Mike murmured.

“I am,” Harvey said, offering a hand to Mike.  Once Mike had slipped his hand into Harvey’s, Harvey tugged Mike close, laughing when Mike emitted a high pitched squeak.

“This is cozy,” Mike said.

“Mmmhmm,” Harvey hummed.  “Although I don’t know how I’m going to keep cooking if I’ve got you in my arms.”

“Well if you let me go, I can try to help with dinner,” Mike replied.  “So long as you tell me what to do.  I am no good in the kitchen.”

“Deal,” Harvey said and let Mike go.

Together, the two of them got dinner cooked and plated in the dining area.  Harvey marvelled at how seamlessly the two of them worked together, how Mike just seemed to fit right into his apartment, his life.  Harvey watched Mike sit at the table as he poured them each a glass of wine, smiling softly.

Harvey handed Mike a glass of wine and sat down next to him.

“It smells delicious,” Mike said.

“Let’s hope it tastes as good as it smells,” Harvey replied with a wink.

“I’m sure it does,” Mike said.

Harvey sipped his wine, took a bite of food and hummed.  “It does,” he said.

“You’re a good cook,” Mike said.

“Years of practice,” Harvey replied as he ate.  “Also, my brother is a chef.”

“That explains it,” Mike said.

Harvey just barely resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at Mike before going back to eating.  The rest of the meal passed almost too quickly, full of wine, witty banter, innuendo and many lingering glances.

“Do we need to do the dishes?” Mike asked as he drained his third glass of wine.

“I have this lovely thing called a dishwasher,” Harvey replied.  “As long as we rinse and put them in the dishwasher, we’re fine.”

“Then let’s go,” Mike replied.

Harvey laughed and stood, gathering some of the dishes.  He and Mike worked together to clear the table, then rinsed and placed the dishes in the dishwasher.  Harvey again marveled at how easy he and Mike seemed to work together - they moved around the kitchen almost like a dance.

“Care to move this to the bedroom?” Harvey asked once the dishwasher was running.  “You can say no, Mike.  But I have to admit, I have been thinking about it all day.”

“I want to move this to the bedroom,” Mike murmured.

“Lovely,” Harvey said.  He reached for Mike’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze as he led the way to the bedroom, turning off lights as he walked.

 

* * *

 

Michel was nervous as he followed Harvey through the apartment to the bedroom.  He’d had a few encounters with men - men that had been arranged for him through a long trusted aide in the castle, in order to keep things from reaching the papers in Malibor.

But it was different when it wasn’t pre-arranged.  When it was spur of the moment.

But he wanted this.

Wanted Harvey.

Once he was with Harvey in the bedroom, Michel hesitated.

“You can say no.”

Michel turned to where Harvey was turning down the bed.

“I know,” Michel whispered.  “I know I can say no.  But I don’t want to say no.”

“I’m glad,” Harvey whispered back.

Michel took one step closer to Harvey, then another.  He closed the space between them and pressed his lips to Harvey’s in a sweet kiss.

“I want this,” Michel said when he broke the kiss.  He hummed as he felt Harvey’s hands move from his shoulders down his arms, then around and up and down his back.

“This would feel nicer,” Harvey said, “without clothes.”

Michel chuckled softly.  “Trying to get into my pants?”

“Trying to get you out of them,” Harvey replied.

Michel slipped out of Harvey’s grasp and took a step back.  “All you had to do was ask,” he said and started to get undressed, dropping his clothes into a messy pile at his feet.  He started to feel a bit shy, because Harvey’s entire attention was focused on him as he stripped down.

Michel pushed past his shyness as he stepped around Harvey and climbed onto the bed, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the mattress.

“Your turn,” Michel said softly, then sat in rapt silence as he watched Harvey get undressed.  Harvey took great care with each item of clothing, folding it carefully and setting it aside, so different from how Michel had gotten undressed.

“Now we match,” Harvey said.

Michel gave Harvey a timid smile as he watched Harvey climb onto the bed.  Michel shifted back a bit and laid down, opening his arms and reaching for Harvey.

“I want this, Harvey,” Michel whispered.  “Please, I want this.”

“So do I, Mike,” Harvey said.  “So do I.”

Michel hummed as he felt first Harvey’s hands, then his lips, trail across his skin.  Beginning at his neck and then trailing down, Michel wiggled a bit as he felt Harvey’s hands start to tease him.  Michel spread his legs a bit and pulled his knees to his chest.

“Mike,” Harvey groaned.

“Harvey,” Michel said.  “Our whole day, I feel as though it has been foreplay.  Every look, every touch - teasing me, tormenting me.”

“Feeling’s mutual,” Harvey said.

“Then what are you waiting for?” Michel asked, spreading his legs wider, opening himself up for Harvey.

Michel bit his lip and whimpered as he felt one lubed finger slip inside him, stretching him gently.  It felt like hours until he finally felt a second finger, and arched into Harvey’s touch as the fingers inside him scissored and stretched him further.  None of his other encounters had treated him like this; cared for him like he was a treasure, a gift.

Harvey looked at him like he was the most precious gift in the world and it left Michel breathless.

“Harvey,” Michel breathed.  “Please.  Please, Harvey.”

Michel closed his eyes, felt Harvey’s lips against his, then keened as he felt Harvey push into him.  It felt excruciatingly slow and yet too fast all at the same time and Michel wrapped his arms around Harvey to keep him close as he felt Harvey start to move, to thrust gently.

“Touch me, Harvey.”  Michel broke the kiss and begged.  Begged for Harvey to touch him, to stroke him.  He wanted to come, wanted to come with Harvey’s hand on him.

“I am,” Harvey replied.

Enfoiré!” Michel exclaimed and pinched Harvey’s ass.  “Touch my cock, damn you!”

“Bossy,” Harvey said.

Michel resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at Harvey and groaned when he felt Harvey’s hand on his cock, stroking in time with his thrusts.

“Yes, please, Harvey,” Michel gasped.  He knew it wouldn’t take much more from Harvey before he came.

“You feel so good, Mike,” Harry whispered.

“You … you too,” Michel gasped, digging his fingers into Harvey’s hips as he felt his orgasm building.  It didn’t take much more from Harvey before Michel was coming, and he cried Harvey’s name as he felt Harvey come as well.

“Harvey,” Michel whispered as he fell back onto the mattress, limp and sated.

“That was beautiful,” Harvey whispered back.

Michel wore a silly smile, only wincing a little as he felt Harvey slip out of him.  He let Harvey clean him up, but then pulled Harvey close and burrowed into his embrace.

“This has been the best day,” Michel whispered.

“For me, too,” Harvey whispered back.

“I think I need a nap,” Michel mumbled, his eyes already closing.

“That’s okay,” Harvey said softly.  “We’ll nap together.”

Michel hummed, pressing a soft kiss to Harvey’s cheek as sleep claimed him.

 

* * *

 

It was pre-dawn when Michel woke again, still snug in Harvey’s embrace.  He sighed softly and carefully slid out of Harvey’s arms and out of bed.  It only took him a couple of minutes to get dressed and then he went in search of a piece of paper and a pen.

He found what he needed in Harvey’s office and wrote a short note.

My dearest Harvey,

Thank you for the lovely day.  Words cannot express what it meant to me.

I wish I could stay and explain everything to you, but I can’t.

Please know that I care deeply for you and I will never forget our day together.

-Michel

 

Michel placed the note on the pillow next to Harvey and quietly crept out of the apartment.  Once he was down on the street and in a cab back to the hotel he turned the GPS back on on his cell phone.  He watched the missed calls and the hundreds of unread text messages load on his phone and waited.  Waited for his security detail, and possibly the New York City Police Department, to converge on his cab and escort him the rest of the way back to the hotel.

But it was worth it.

 

* * *

 

When Harvey woke that Saturday morning, the other side of his bed was cold and he knew Mike was gone.  He sat up, stretched and reached for the note on the pillow next to him.

“Michel,” he said as he read the note.  Harvey groaned and rubbed his face as he climbed out of bed and grabbed some clothes.

He wasn’t going to let some note on his pillow be the last word from Mike, or Michel, or whatever he called himself.

Harvey tugged some clothes on, made sure he had his phone and wallet and rushed out of the apartment and hailed a cab.  He tapped his knee impatiently as the cab made its way through the city to the hotel where he’d encountered Mike the morning before.

When the cab came to a stop a feet from the hotel, Harvey was surprised to find a throng of people crowded around the entry and a town car waiting at the curb.  He thrust some money at the driver and climbed out, making his way over to the hotel and pushing his way through the crowds of people.

He couldn’t actually get into the hotel, so Harvey was stuck waiting amidst the throngs of people.  He didn’t have to wait too long before a large security detail came through, along with an older couple and … Mike.

Waiting at the front of the crowd made it easy for Mike to see Harvey, as Mike shook hands and gave the people cordial smiles.

Harvey waited patiently for Mike to reach him and offered his hand with a soft smile.

“Merci,” Mike said.  “Thank you so much for being here to see me off.”

“Michel!”  The woman, presumably Mike’s mother, called from just outside the car.  “Michel!  We must get going.”

“Thank you,” Mike whispered, giving Harvey’s hand a squeeze before hurrying to the car.

And just like that, Mike was gone.

 

* * *

 

“If you think we are going to let you of our sight again, you are mistaken!” Nina said as the plane made its descent into Malibor.  The rest of the flight had been in uncomfortable silence, neither of Michel’s parents wanting to broach the subject of Michel’s disappearance.

“I am an adult, Mother,” Michel responded.

“Who behaved like a child and could have been injured or worse!” Nina added.

“But I was not,” Michel said.

“You could have been,” James said.  “We had no idea where you were.”

“Clearly I was fine,” Michel said.

“And your hair,” Nina exclaimed.

“Really Mother,” Michel replied.  “I looked like Great Uncle Rene before.  It looked old and stuffy and I am neither.”

“He has a point,” James said.  

“And we both saw you with that man outside the hotel,” Nina said.

“His name is Harvey,” Michel replied.

“Whatever his name is, you won’t be seeing him again,” Nina said.

“That is where you are wrong, Mother,” Michel said.  He shrugged out of his jacket, rolled up the sleeve of his shirt and showed his mother the inside of his left wrist, and the small black crown on his skin.  “I felt my wrist itching all day, but did not see it until we were already on the plane.”

“A soulmark,” James said.

“Exactly,” Michel replied.  “And I would hazard a guess that Harvey has one too.”

“You do not know that,” Nina said.

“Send your private investigators and look into it yourself,” Michel said.  “And if I am right, I get to return to New York and pursue my Masters in Business Analytics at NYU.”

“If you’re right,” James agreed.

 

* * *

 

It hadn’t taken Harvey long to figure out who Mike, Michel, really was.   Michel Rousseau Delacroix, crowned prince of Malibor was who Harvey had spent that eventful day with.

Later that day he’d also noticed the small black crown in the inside of his left wrist.  He remembered his wrist itching all day, but hadn’t thought much about it.

“You have a soulmark.”

Harvey glanced up from his computer to see Donna striding into his office, carrying a package.

“What makes you think that?” Harvey asked, trying not to tug at the left sleeve of his shirt.

“Please,” Donna said, rolling her eyes.  “I saw it that first day back in the office after you recklessly spent a Friday in the city with a complete stranger.  So I suspect your soulmate is said complete stranger.”

Harvey didn’t respond and turned his attention back to his computer, where he was editing a brief one of the associates had drafted for him.

“Fine, don’t tell me,” Donna said.  “I’ll just take this package addressed to you back with me.”

“Donna,” Harvey said.  “Bring that over to my desk.”

When she didn’t immediately bring it over, Harvey glanced up and found Donna steps away from his desk, package tucked under her arm.

“Confirm my statement,” Donna said.

Harvey eyed her for a moment before sighing and nodding.  “Yes,” he said.  “I have a soulmark.”

“And?” Donna prompted.

“I met them that Friday in the city, now hand me my damn package.”

Harvey waited until Donna had placed the package on his desk and left his office before picking it up and opening it, careful not to tear the paper.  He couldn’t help but smile when he removed the paper and found a framed photograph of him and Michel at Belvedere Castle - their first kiss.

Harvey,

I didn’t mean to leave like that.  I wanted more time.  I wanted a lot of things.

Don’t give up on us.  I’m making plans.

Trust in me.  Trust in us.

-Michel

Harvey tucked the note into his wallet with the other note from Michel and set the framed photograph on his desk where he could see it.

He trusted Michel.

 

* * *

 

Time was a funny thing.  Sometimes it felt like Harvey would blink and weeks would have passed.  Other times it felt as though Harvey was stuck in some dimensional vortex where time slowed to a snail’s pace.

He did his job.  He allowed Jessica to tease him a bit about his soulmark, did not allow Louis the same pleasure, and quietly talked about his fears in private with Donna.

Harvey made multiple attempts to contact Michel through every avenue he could think of but was blocked at every turn, which meant he was stuck waiting.

Spring turned to summer.  The weather got hot and humid and Harvey spent all his free time in his apartment with the air conditioning on.

It was a Friday night, nearing eight o’clock and Harvey sat watching the San Francisco Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers as he nursed a glass of bourbon.  He was surprised when the doorbell rang.

He wasn’t expecting anyone and security knew better than to let someone up without notifying him.  He set his bourbon down on the coffee table and made his way across the living room to the front door.  

He opened the front door and almost didn’t dare to breathe when he saw Michel there, with three suitcases and a security detail.

“Harvey,” Michel said.

“Mike, I mean Michel,” Harvey said.

“You can call me Mike.”

“I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Harvey replied, just taking in the sight of Mike.  There, back in his apartment.

“It was too long,” Michel whispered.  

Harvey reached over and tugged Michel into the apartment, wrapping him in a hug.

“Michel,” Harvey said, closing his eyes and pressing his lips to Michel’s hair.

“Soulmate,” Michel said.

“Soulmate,” Harvey said.  “So, what’s with the luggage?  And the security detail?”

“Well.”  Michel pulled back and gave Harry a smile.  “I got accepted to NYU’s Business Analytics graduate program.  Looks like I’m going to be in town a while.”

“Are you now?” Harvey said, reaching out and cupping Michel’s cheek.

“Three years at least,” Michel replied.  “Know anyplace I can stay?”

Harvey laughed and leaned in, kissing Michel sweetly.

“I think I know a place.”