Title: Six Reasons Why
Category: Harvey Specter/Donna Paulsen
Spoilers: Season Two, Break Point
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Summary: Five Times Donna Drinks with Harvey, and One Time He Returns the Favor
“We’ve reasons, we have reasons, so we say,
For giving love, and for withholding it.”
-- Gjertrud Schnackenberg, ‘Snow Melting’
She introduces herself as Marianne Willoughby – spur of the moment whimsy rummaged up from the past depths of high school English – and arms herself with an accent to complete the persona. A Friday night on the town with some friends and a few drinks in her system are lifting her spirits considerably.
He shakes her hand politely, a strong and sure grip, but with no lingering hold despite the fact she knows she’s gotten his attention from the way he pauses in surprised appreciation before he says his name in return. At least the guys around the rest of the table with him are more interested in her, but it’s all the same, dumb smiles and open stares, most still roaming somewhere south of her eyes.
She’d noticed him, Harvey, she corrects, not long after his group had arrived. They had practically shouted Harvard Law graduates with their attire and attitude, much to her amusement, but there was something about him that caught her attention. He was good looking, no question, and seemed confident with an easy smile, or maybe it was simply that he’d brazenly looked over a handful of the attractive women close by, and hadn’t made a move.
She means to create some fantastical job to go along with Marianne, but the truth spills out. It's definitely not as glamorous as she could have imagined, but Harvey's still gazing at her intently, his smile relaxed and sexy, and it's oddly pleasing. Most of the time she just wants a free drink and an excuse to flirt, but damn if she isn't already set to call a cab and take him home even after these simple introductions.
One of the guys, John, or so she learns once Harvey chastises him, slides in from her right to snake an arm around her waist and get his face in close. She sees Harvey's expression change in an instant to match her own.
"I love fiery redheads," John breathes, tequila scenting the air.
She shrugs apologetically. "That's a shame; it's fake."
A split second later she turns and mouths no at Harvey who raises an eyebrow in response. She knows John isn't going to be dissuaded easily, and with fluidity that she wasn’t sure she possessed, catches Harvey’s arm and neatly spins herself out from John's grasp and into his.
She’s pulled them four steps away before she even thinks to look back and offer a quick ta! to John. Harvey laughs and keeps up the pretense all the way to the bar before releasing her waist, the last she notes with some regret.
Time at the bar passes in a bit of a blur, a drink each keeping them company, and conversation smooth once he impresses her with his ability to keep up with her banter. She’s thinking of how to advance the night to a cab when he surprises her.
“I’m not going to sleep with you,” he declares, and then adds, “though I want to.”
“Points for honesty.”
He smiles wide. “I’m going to hire you.”
It takes her nearly a minute to work the conversation through again in her head while he continues to rattle on about the DA’s former assistants – three of them? four? she’s not even sure now – but she finds she has her answer around the same time she’s fully processed his offer.
A thought suddenly dawns on her. “About my name…”
He calls her Marianne for a week though he knows the truth and more than one person in the office corrects him. The DA seems most perturbed by this, having hired her after all, and she can only imagine what lectures Harvey gets when he's pulled into the office each time.
She answers to his Marianne readily enough, accent and all, and after a few days the public reaction dies down although the odd glance or two continues. She's made herself known, quite possibly Harvey's intent, and they're the strongest pair in the DA's office before the week is out.
He treats her to dinner, and she selects the wine. It's without thought - their relationship already so easy.
"To Harvey and Donna," he says with a wink at the emphasis, and holds up his glass.
"To week one," she replies and they toast to that.
He watches her with that gaze of his, seeing everything in her, but not quite able to understand it. She smiles into her wine and breathes in the heady fumes. She knows full well what she’s walked into, but still she thinks, I’ve done it now.
"No regrets?" he asks.
She's made a promise not to lie to him again, so she simply deflects. "Well," she says, acting affronted, "this is certainly the last time you'll be able to take me to a restaurant in town that's only rated second best."
She finds him in his office, drunk out of his mind off the Black Bull whiskey he's had on display for years.
"Donna!" He says her name joyously when he sees her, waves her over to the couch. His jacket is crumpled on the floor, tie dangling from his desk, cell phone askew on the table in front of him, and she is thankful for the incredibly early hour - if she can get him home, no one will be the wiser.
She sits beside him, and he immediately clasps her hand, threads his fingers in hers and looks down. Donna isn't entirely sure where this is going, but it's not being helped by the sudden flip of her stomach and rush of blood filling her veins at his touch.
"No ring," he murmurs. "Take it off."
It takes her a moment to put the drunken pieces together, and she sees what she missed before, the darkening bruise on the side of his cheekbone, like he'd turned away nearly in the nick of time.
"She was married?" she guesses aloud.
Harvey grimaces. "I'm swearing off women."
"One in a few dozen aren't bad odds, you know." She knows the count; she books every dinner reservation.
He slumps down and sighs. "Swearing off married women, then."
"That'll make a dent in your black book."
He gives her a look. She shrugs innocently and is ready to pull him up to his feet when she realizes that he's looking at her looking at her. A flush creeps up her face, and she sends a silent prayer to the heavens as her heart pounds. Why did he have to pick now of all times?
"Harvey," she says sternly, discouraging him as best she can. "Not going to happen."
"I remember a time." He keeps looking at her, like he's finally figured out something about her. She swallows and refuses to look down at his mouth though the urge is strong.
"I was just there for the drink." It's partly true, but she's walking a fine line.
"Drinks here," he reminds her, glances at the bottle on the table.
His hand is hot in hers, thumb gently rubbing the inside of her wrist. It's setting off nerve endings all along her arm and she's sure the pulse in her neck is leaping. She's trying to think of something fast - her usual quips failing her as she looks at the far wall for inspiration.
Harvey's free hand comes up to her cheek as he moves strands of her hair away from her face. It's as intimate as they've ever been, physically at least, and it’s as intoxicating as she’s imagined.
She knows he’s going to kiss her next, and because she is sure there is little chance of going back after that, she finally finds the motivation to break the connection. Leaning forward, she sneaks her hand free of his grasp and grabs for the bottle. She takes a long swig, eyes watering and throat burning as the whiskey trails fire to her belly.
Harvey is frowning as she stands and motions him up. She quickly gathers his errant belongings and waits by the door as he stumbles to catch up.
In the doorway, she can’t help but wait for a breath, the two of them standing so closely, pressed in by the doorframe. She’s being an idiot, playing with her emotions like this, but she just has to see.
Harvey is still frowning at her.
“What?” she asks.
“That was one of the most expensive whiskeys in the world and you just… you gulped it!” He shakes his head in horrified disbelief.
Jessica invites them both to her loft to celebrate his move to Pearson Hardman.
“Where Harvey goes…,” she says by way of explanation when Donna glances at her quizzically.
Harvey just shrugs.
It’s not hard for her to know he’s made senior partner.
He smiles at a random file clerk in passing – clue number one.
He sits down to work and instead shuffles papers around to make it look to her like he’s working – clue number two.
He doesn’t immediately tell her – obviously, clue number three.
She hits the button for the intercom. “Harvey.”
When he glances at her, she pops open an imaginary bottle of champagne, pours them each an imaginary glass, and pretends to hand him one. He's grinning now, as she expects.
From their desks, they clink imaginary glasses and each enjoy an imaginary sip.
She’s miserably sprawled out on the floor of her bathroom when he walks in. He doesn’t look surprised, and even through her wine haze she can see he’s still dressed like he’s come from work.
“It’s two in the morning,” he tells her, as though he’s heard her thought.
She nods weakly. “I wanted an early start to the day.”
It’s when he takes her key off his key ring and sets it on the edge of her sink that the tears come. There’s nothing that needs to be said; friends for as long as they’ve been, she knows what she’s done has changed things irrevocably. That she would do it again, choose to sacrifice everything, doesn’t make it easier.
Harvey slides down to sit on the floor beside her, leans against the bathtub and reaches for her hand. A half empty bottle of wine - and god knows she hopes that was only the second – rests near her side. She hands it over to him and he dutifully pours the rest down the bath’s drain.
Only her ragged, hiccupping breathing fills the space, but he keeps tight hold of her hand as the room spins around her.