Ya know? Perfect. Just perfect. Godammit.
Hiking up the collar of his coat Harvey set off down the sidewalk. It had been raining all day. Figures the skies would fully open after he had taken only ten steps out the door.
He was too wrung out to think on his feet. There weren’t any cabs on the street. At least that he saw. If he wasn’t in such a huff he would have seen the one that passed in the opposite direction. He was too aggravated to consider calling one.
The sun would be going down soon. Then where would he be? It was already dark enough with the overcast skies. It was all bullshit.
“Fuck!” He said to no one.
He hated being out of control. He hated when he had to deal with someone who just wouldn’t get with the program. He’s always the smartest guy in the room and this was no exception. At least not while he was so ticked; otherwise, he knew damned well of the two of them he came in second in smarts. But he wasn’t wrong this time, dammit.
He hadn’t heard the footsteps running up behind him and was confused by the sudden stop in the rain. But when the hand grasped at his coat sleeve and he glimpsed the umbrella overhead he knew without thought.
“Harvey. Please come back.”
“I need some time alone.”
“You’re soaked.” Mike tilted his head to one side and slid into a half smile.
Harvey just looked at him. That smile on Mike’s face was crumbling his resolve. “I’m really upset right now, Mike.”
With one hand holding the umbrella the other moved up to cup Harvey’s cheek. “I know you are.”
Harvey couldn’t argue it. He could see in those blue eyes it was true. Mike really did understand him. It may not always be the case at the office but it was when they were alone. When they were away from the work. When they were away from their colleagues. When they were.... right now.
“I don’t want you to go, Harvey. I especially don’t want you to go when you’re upset like this.” His eyes shifted from side to side as he looked from one brown iris to the other.
“Mike, we’ve been round and round it. What more is there to say about it? Huh?”
“Do we really need to say anymore tonight?”
“No. I think we’re done.”
“Then come out of the rain. Please?”
“I’m tired of waiting.”
“I thought we were done.”
Harvey tried to spin and walk away, but Mike was having none of that, grasping his coat sleeve in a talon-like grip.
Looking hard into Mike’s eyes, “Do I embarrass you?”
“Wait. Is this a trick question?”
“No. I want to know. Do I embarrass you? Are you embarrassed about us?”
“How could you even ask me that?” Mike scanned his eyes down, mouth open, slowly shaking his head. “Why would you ask me that, Harvey? You’re one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Do you really not know that? Why would you ask me that?”
Fuck! Plain to see. Now he had gone and hurt Mike. Why the hell did he push it? Now he felt like an ass. His thoughts then turned to something Mike himself had said to him. In his personal life, outside all the lawyering he was a pushover, easily manipulated. Was he being manipulated now? Jeezus, where did that come from? Mike was one of, if not the most sincere people he had ever known. If Mike hunkered down in a pumpkin patch for a night, The Great Pumpkin would show up for him. He kept forgetting the patterns he had grown accustomed to with previous partners no longer applied.
“Come back inside, Harvey. You must be soaked through. I can see you shivering.”
He was soaking wet and he was shivering. Like a little kid determined to make a statement only to end up having not thought it all the way through. And there stood Mike, mostly dry because he hadn’t stomped off in a huff in the rain without an umbrella. And still he wanted Harvey to come back. If it had been Harvey he would have left Harvey out there.
But no, Mike had hooked elbows with him and was guiding him back to the brick front entrance to Mike’s home. Harvey didn’t struggle. He went along willingly. He could see Mike’s concern and it was just another time he couldn’t say no to the blue eyed lover.
How the hell did he do that? Harvey had to ask himself. How the hell had he wrapped Harvey around his little finger. The man who was tough as nails, who took no prisoners? How had he been taken captive by this near-do-well who had done so very well?
They were back in the entry of the unit. Mike had set the umbrella in the brass floor vase to drip to its heart’s content. He had turned his attention to Harvey, peeling the saturated wool overcoat from his frame.
“You smell like a sheep just out for a dip in a pond.” He tossed the offending garment atop the umbrella and vase. Turning back again his mouth opened and a furrow developed in his brow. “Your lips are blue.”
Harvey was indeed shivering and pale, hair mostly plastered down on his head. He looked suspiciously like a miserable wet cat. It all transpired in a flurry. Mike was pushing him to the master bath, undressing him as they went. After setting the shower control to comfortably warm he finished stripping Harvey before escorting him to step under the rainfall shower head.
“You’re going to get sick. Just stay in there. You need to warm up.”
“You know it’s not true about catching a cold by getting cold.”
“I’m not an idiot. I know that.” Mike shook his head, indignant. “You don’t catch a cold. You get pneumonia. Now stay there til I come back for you.”
The heat of the shower was comforting. Harvey found himself with both hands in front of him on the tile. With his head down he tried to consciously absorb the heat. He hadn’t been outside that long but the cold shivering wasn’t dissipating. He took the hot water knob in hand and turned it open a bit more.
The effect was immediate, allowing him to hold himself steady. He turned to capture more of the heat over his left shoulder. After a moment he turned again for the other side. As he did he spied Mike’s shampoo. For a man making as much money as Mike did Harvey couldn’t help wondering why he bought grooming products that could be found in any pharmacy. Didn’t stop him from reaching for it thought.
It was a guilty pleasure of Harvey’s, using Mike’s toiletries. He loved how the scent following him from room to room, sometimes from office to office. It made him feel surrounded, engulfed in the man who was now sharing his life. This man he unabashedly loved. A man he wanted to show off and publicly claim. The man who wanted nothing to do with all that.
It’s what they’ve been arguing about for several weeks now, on and off. Tonight it was on. Harvey longed to make their relationship public, wanted to shout it from rooftops. He actually had shouted it from his penthouse balcony one night to prove a point when it was still a discussion, not an argument.
Mike was apprehensive. Kept saying he wasn’t ready. He argued he wanted to savor just the two of them. He didn’t want to share what they have with the world or at least New York City. Harvey’s a very well known man he argued.
“No one knows me as well as you do, Mike.”
“Try telling that to Donna.”
“I would love to tell Donna, but you won’t let me.”
“Harvey, you’re a celebrity. You show up in New York Magazine. You’re a regular feature on page six of the Times. You can Google ‘harvey specter vanity fair images’ and get a full page of listings. Why can’t you understand I want to have you to myself for awhile?”
Well, when he put it that way, Harvey felt privileged. He felt cocooned and cared for and secure. He felt they were in their own little bubble where the world couldn’t pry. There were few PDAs. Harvey had always thought it was fun keeping a secret about himself. He was, after all, a master at keeping his private life private. He could hide this away forever.
Except he didn’t want to.
Not anymore. He was so enamored he needed the release of telling everyone and anyone of his stroke of good fortune. This easily trumped any courtroom or conference room win. This was winning the fucking lottery. Yet he was stymied in that particular endeavor. Mike wouldn’t agree to any sort of announcement, whether it be a singular grand statement or more intimate, private discussions.
It had come to them butting heads over it which was the last thing Harvey wanted. He had tried to acquiesce gracefully, but as the days moved into weeks then closed in on months it was feeling very wrong to him. It was beginning to feel like a dirty little secret when it should have been anything but.
He was rinsing his hair and slightly startled when Mike began talking.
“Here Harvey. There are sweats here for you. As soon as you’re finished and dressed I expect you to go directly to bed.”
Harvey shut off the water and opened the door. “Are you mothering me?”
How could you be mad at that? He thought to himself. But he was.
“Why aren’t you under the covers?” Mike asked as he returned to the room with a steaming mug in hand.
“You know what Paula would say about this?”
“‘Why didn’t you ever mention you’re just as attracted to men as women?’”
“After that,” Harvey gritted out through his teeth.
“She would say that I’m frustrated. That even with all of the turmoil over the last, what, seven years, she could see nothing has been as frustrating as having a partner who wants to keep our relationship secret.”
“Harvey, I ...”
“I’m not done.”
“She would also say she sees the pain.”
“Her words, not mine........ I see you winding up to speak. Don’t. She would also say that even with my attempts at hiding my feelings about it, I’m hurt.”
Mike opened his mouth to speak, but quickly closed it again.
“This whole situation makes me question if we feel the same about each other. If it’s not the same it will kill me. So tell me Mike. Are we on the same page?” He now waited for Mike’s response.
“Don’t want to chase you away,” Mike answered cryptically.
“You’re doing it wrong.”
Mike slowly, lightly, shook his head before answering, “I love you, Harvey.”
“You have a funny way of showing it.”
“And that right there is why I was afraid to say it. I wanted to be able to tell you without having sarcasm ladled over it.”
“Mike, you’ve told me you love me a bunch of times. Why is now...”
Mike cut him off, “Until just now, I’ve never said to you the words ‘I love you.’”
“You have so. You tell me all the time.”
Could that be true? But Harvey well knew Mike loved him. If he hadn’t said it .... “Then you make me feel loved.”
“Isn’t that the point?”
Harvey saw it clearly. They were on separate planes. What Mike was arguing was on the nose; however, it wasn’t the same thing Harvey was on about, which for clarity was also on the nose. It didn’t matter Harvey recognized the difference, he had bit down and didn’t want to let go. It was his nature. It was his standard modus. It was what made him so difficult to get along with. Never mind Mike had struggled through all that baggage and yet still wanted to make a go of it with him.
But he did need to mind or he would be the one chasing Mike away.
“Come sit with me.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Don’t be mad at me.”
“You’re the one who was just mad at me! You can be such an ass, Harvey.”
“Then stop doing it.”
“Well try,” Mike barked.
Harvey wiped at his face with both hands. Dropping them back to his knees he nodded his head up and asked, “What do you have there?”
“Is it for me?”
“You want to drink it or wear it?”
“Which are you leaning towards?”
“At the moment, it’s a toss up.”
“Please come sit with me.”
“I still don’t want to.”
“Are you just playing stupid or is this really out of your league?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
And with that Harvey had a flash of him actually wearing the mug of tea. Instead, Mike spun and stalked out of the room. Harvey found him in the kitchen. The mug sat growing ever cooler on the counter between his planted hands.
“Mike?” Harvey leaned against the door jamb eyes on the expanse of Mike’s shoulders. He felt a flutter inside as he, like countless times before, got a thrill from the shape of the younger man’s back. The point of the V tapering to his waist and slim hips, the gentle slope of his spine as his shape rose to split high before curving back again to the slim legs.
“Even though you’re the one that brought it up, why am I the one standing here wondering what the answer is?”
“Mike I’m sorry, but I just don’t know what you’re getting at. Help me here.”
“You said you questioned if we feel the same towards each other.”
Mike spun around, “Really Harvey? Really?”
“Mike, are you crying?”
Mike huffed out a deep breath and blinked, effectively stopping the moisture from breaching. “I professed my love for you, Harvey. And.... And..... And you have nothing?!”
Starting to turn back to the counter Mike didn’t see him cross the distance, but Harvey had him, pressing his cheek firmly to his ear. His breath unfurling along his neck having the same melting effect it always had on him.
“I don’t know how to express how incredibly lucky I feel to ‘uv had you stumble into the interview that day. There’s nothing that can recapture those years we missed out being together, but there isn’t anything I want more than to try to make up for them.”
Mike listened as his head found its way to rest a cheek on Harvey’s shoulder. It didn’t stay long as Harvey leaned back, pressing Mike away with hands to his shoulders. “Mike, I’ve loved you for years. Almost from the time I met you. You, Jessica, Donna, and I can’t believe I’m even saying this, Louis of all people, are my dearest friends. I’ve loved each of you. But Mike, now that we’re together I can honestly say I’m hopelessly in love with you.” He smiled into those blue eyes. “When I was out on the balcony that night yelling like a madman that Mike Ross is mine it was pure goofiness.... but true. Mike Ross, I love you. I am utterly smitten.”
Mike giggled. Straight out giggled as he looked to the floor. Harvey broke the gaze by shifting his hips forward, bringing them together. Looking up Mike smiled into Harvey’s eyes. “Show me.”
“This isn’t the end of it.”
“Please give me a little more time.”
Harvey nodded silently.
Mike was always thrown by how gentle Harvey could be with him. He had dipped down, grasping Mike’s legs, urging them to wrap around him. It wasn’t hard to comply as Mike wound his arms around Harvey’s neck while being lifted.
Harvey had carried him to the bedroom, releasing his legs at the side of the bed. He took advantage of his forward momentum pressing him back with his chest. One arm held Mike around the shoulders for guidance and support. The other reached for the mattress as he lowered them down together.
Mike’s chin moved upward as Harvey busied himself along his neck: kissing the length, licking along his jaw until coming upon his lips. Harvey kissed him just to the corner of his mouth, a cue that this was for Mike. Harvey was going to make this all about him.
“Where is he?” Louis was impatient. He took it as a personal affront when Harvey hadn’t already been at the holiday party when he arrived.
Not only was he not already there, but Louis was fifteen minutes late as it was. The two of them had agreed they would be at the venue by 6:30 to ensure any early arrivals were greeted by the upper echelons of the firm. Thank heavens for the COO.
Donna stood to the side at the bottom of the grand staircase leading the partygoers to the chandelier lit, marble floored space. She and her date weren’t positioned for the makings of a reception line. Instead Scott’s back was to the staircase, Donna in front and a bit to the side where she could eye the entry. As guests filtered in she made contact with them, whether it be a hug with air kisses, a firm handshake, flashed smile, or discreet nod of the head.
Upon Louis’s arrival she constantly maneuvered around him ensuring he was the first person his clients encountered upon completing their descent of the stair case. Though no longer his secretary, she stepped in for Harvey to greet his invitees. Without working herself into the same dither Louis was working on, she too was beginning to lose patience with Harvey’s tardiness.
Donna and Scott drifted away from their station after the first hour. Her hard work at this type of social occasion hidden by her poise and charm. Scott would have sworn she was walking him through the room to introduce him to various attendees rather than actually working the room making each person encountered feel comfortable and welcome. While Scott hadn’t noticed a theme to the people he was meeting, the fact of the matter was Donna sought out elderly and disabled guests who had arrived not via the staircase, but instead from the elevator banks to the back and side of the hall.
Stopping by the Whitmans she engaged the older couple and Scott in a conversation of publishing. It was familiar ground for both the Whitmans, members of a publishing family, and Scott, a writer for the NewYorker. Checking the base of the stairs she found Louis still holding his own greeting guests, although now Sheila had arrived her presence had notably softened his sourpuss. Nonetheless Donna excused herself to step into a service hallway and again put a call into Harvey, still receiving only his voicemail.
While returning to rejoin Scott she scanned the room noting Mike wasn’t in attendance either. Figures, she thought to herself. From that night, now several months prior, when she had, unnoticed, spied the two together at the very beginning of their romance she put new meanings to situations such as these. Knowing Harvey, she couldn’t imagine him being any less Harvey with Mike than he was with any of the women who had filtered in and out of his life.
He was a slightly changed Harvey though. Still the determined and calculating attorney he had ever been, there seemed to be a softening around the edges of his non-attorney mode. She still occasionally caught him peering out the windows of his office as he had in each of his offices in the building. Yet now he didn’t seem to be, as before, mulling over the best tactical efforts of a case. Instead he looked decidedly caught while daydreaming.
It didn’t take a genius nor someone with as distinguished powers of observation as Donna’s to determine what, or more precisely, whom the thoughts were about. It was driven home one snowy afternoon as Donna caught Harvey unawares. His back was to the door when she entered. His head turned just enough to give a glimpse of expression, of an easy smile.
He had spun when she cleared her throat to clue him in to her presence. Before he could open his mouth to address her his eyes shifted past her. She watched as the expression returned to his face, the one with a light smile and soft eyes.
She glanced over her shoulder to see Mike passing by in the hallway, file in hand, head down, not reading but absorbing. After all, we all know Mike doesn’t read so much as sop up knowledge. When he was out of view and she turned back to Harvey, his all business face was directed at her.
Harvey had never spoken to her about his and Mike’s relationship; although, that moment and several similar had kept her up to date in the knowledge it wasn’t a passing thing. Those incidents and Harvey’s overall slightly more relaxed demeanor made her think this was different. This could be “the one” and not just a distraction.
She felt a vibration come from her handbag. Flipping the latch she looked within it, not wanting to be so gauche as to pull her phone out standing in the middle of the crowd.
“Be there in 5,” read the text from Harvey.
She looked up to see Louis swinging around to face forward again, pocketing his phone. Good, he had the decency to let Louis know as well.
“Honestly Mike. What is taking you so long in there?” Harvey was leaning on the master bath door at Mike’s apartment, head down, talking to the doorknob.
“My hair is being weird,” filtered through the wood panels.
“We’re already late. I promised Louis I’d be there early to greet people.”
“He and Donna can handle it.”
“That’s not the point. I told them...” He startled backward when the door swung open without notice.
“Excuse me,” Mike mumbled as he ducked around.
“Jesus Christ, Mike! You’re not dressed!”
Mike stopped and spun back to the stroke waiting to happen. “Are you seeing a naked man in front of you?”
“No! I’m looking at someone wearing a shirt, pants and socks!”
“You forgot to mention my hair is perfect.”
“Miiiike,” Harvey whined.
“I’m almost there.”
“You still need cuff links, studs, shoes and a tie.” Harvey was following him to the dresser and mirror where his appointments case sat open beside a bow tie. He watched as the younger man began inserting the onyx studs Harvey had given him for Christmas. “Where are your shoes?”
“Should be by the bed. I was polishing them this afternoon.”
Harvey looked to the bedside. A can of Pledge furniture polish and soft cloth sat on the nightstand? One shoe lay on the floor.
“I really need to learn to tie a bow tie,” Mike noted.
Standing from where he had dug the second shoe out from under the bed Harvey was getting overheated in his wool tux and outer coat. “I’ll tie it in the car.”
“Hey! I think I’m getting better at this. What do you think?”
Harvey dropped the patent leather shoes to the floor beside the younger man. Holding up a shoe horn and glancing at Mike’s neck he again said, “I’ll tie it in the car.”
The shoes were on and Harvey was now watching as Mike tried to line up the four holes of his cuffs. He rolled his eyes and sighed before snatching a cufflink. “Hand,” he barked.
With the cufflinks in place Harvey took the tux jacket from the hanger and held it up for Mike to slip into. A loud huff of breath burst from him. Mike was playing with his hair again. “Have you never heard the term ‘having a sense of urgency’?”
As Mike slipped his arms into the sleeves of his upheld jacket he said, “Relax Harvey. You’re getting all red.”
“Everyone’s going to be watching when we walk in. Late. Thinking, ‘It’s about fuckin’ time he showed up.’”
“We’re going to make an entrance.”
“Ya think?” Harvey asked as he handed their coats over to be checked.
“I know,” Mike said as he slipped into a smile while flattening Harvey’s lapel with a stroke of his palm.
Standing at the top of the staircase the two men watched as eyes lifted and heads turned.
Harvey huffed before leaning toward his companion to say low, “Guess we’re making an entrance.”
“Yep. I planned it this way.”
Harvey only got out, “Whah....?” before Mike smiled wide, took his hand and moved to lead him down the staircase.
Harvey balked, looking down on Mike who had already descended two steps.
Arm extended upward, hands fitted together, Mike gently squeezed. Smiling up he said, “This for you, Harvey.”
Thanks for reading.
So the story ends here.
Time for me to stop writing and start reading!
Thanks for following along.