Thomas Kessler really is something else.
Donna is... completely smitten. She can honestly say she has never met anyone like him. He is handsome and smart, kind, great sense of humor, a successful businessman who built a thriving company on his own from the ground up. And, frankly, she likes how forward he is; she likes the feeling of being wanted, of being desired, after so long being the only one wanting and desiring.
She’s hesitant to go on a date with him at first because he’s a client and, frankly, she isn’t sure she’s completely ready to go back into the dating scene after everything that happened the past year.
But then Gretchen talks some sense into her and, well, what the heck.
So she says yes. And she grooms herself, picks out a special dress, a special coat, special earrings and shoes. She wants this to work; she wants to give him an actual chance.
And boy, does he seize the opportunity. He charms her beyond what she thought was possible, they laugh the whole time, sharing stories of their families and early careers. He’s easy to talk to, knows how much to speak and how much to listen. She leaves the restaurant feeling light and bright in a way she hadn’t felt in a while. She was willing to offer him an opening but she ends up wanting to tear the whole door off the hinges.
And he seals the deal when he tells her he doesn’t want to play the tired old games, doesn’t want to wait three days to call and doesn’t want to follow ridiculous dating etiquette that serves no one.
So she invites him up.
And it’s amazing.
They start with drinks. They exchange mellow words, more intimate in the quiet of her apartment. They sit closer together, first around her dining table, then on her couch. He lays soft touches here and there, but he doesn’t force anything. He acts like he doesn’t want to push his luck, which she finds utterly endearing.
So when he offers her a strategically placed compliment at the same time as he brushes his fingers against the tips of her hair, she doesn’t have to think twice before leaning forward and kissing him.
He kisses her without rush, taking time to explore and experiment and she feels an unexpected thrill. It’s like she’s a teenager all over again and she likes how easy it feels, without all the weight of a decade of history.
Once again, she is the one to take the lead and move things to the bedroom and suffice it to say, she is not disappointed. They have fun together, more fun than a couple their age ought to have in bed, frankly. It’s hot and uncomplicated and he makes her feel incredible.
And afterwards, he pulls her close to him and she feels so content she almost bursts out giggling.
Wow. Thomas Kessler really is something else.
Her heart is racing in her chest and it takes her every last penny’s worth of her theater education to keep her reaction to herself. For the first time as far as she can remember, really, Harvey has been a non-issue in this relationship. And that is bound to change if Thomas notices Donna is practically having a meltdown next to him because he caught her and Harvey in the middle of a fateful conversation.
Her mind is racing, wondering if she should have stayed and heard what Harvey had to say. She feels caught with a hand in the cookie jar, even though she is well aware she is under no obligation to tell Harvey about her dating life. And she feels guilty standing here next to Thomas, listening to him rattle off comments about the restaurant he picked for tonight and pretending like something earth-shattering didn’t almost just happen.
Suddenly, something that had miraculously not crossed her mind beyond the occasional despair when she remembered she had yet to tell Harvey about Thomas becomes the only thing she can focus on during their dinner.
She tries to pay attention to what Thomas is saying, tries to respond appropriately but her mind keeps wandering off to Harvey’s face, the way he looked terrified and marvelled and ready. She keeps analyzing and reanalyzing the whole sequence of events, trying to remember the exact position of his tie and his brows to see if she can guess what he was about to say. She gets stuck in a maddening loop of wanting Harvey and wanting Thomas.
“Are you okay? You seem a bit distracted,” he grins at her, laying a hand on hers on the table.
Donna takes a deep breath. “Yeah, sorry, just... busy day at work,” she offers lamely, rolling her eyes internally at herself for becoming this person.
“I’ll tell you what. How about we get the bill, go back to my place and I’ll help you forget all about it?” he leans forward, tone lowering in a way that would have her buzzing with excitement on any other night.
Frankly, she is decidedly not in the mood. But she’s worried she’ll turn him down and he’ll see through it and connect the dots, and she is even less in the mood for the “Harvey talk” than she is for sex.
So she forces on a small smile and nods.
At his place, he tries to go straight to bed but she manages to convince him to have a drink first; she pours them herself, adding an extra dose to see if it takes the edge off.
She’s a little dizzy from the alcohol and his kisses are making her even dizzier and she gives in to sensation, trying to drown her conscience because she’s still hung up on “Did she say something to you about...”.
She presses their bodies together, moans a little louder than usual, spurs him on in any way she can think of because she really needs him to fuck her into oblivion tonight. He doesn’t seem fazed by it, responds in kind.
And eventually she loses herself. They become a mess of limbs and groans and sweat and she loves it, loves him inside her, their bodies rocking together and their skin slapping against each other. She likes the imprints of his fingers and his rough voice murmuring sweet nothings in her ear.
He’s so good at this, at making her come and making her feel good and making their nights unique and special, and even if she initially wanted this to be a bit rougher she can feel her insides slowly tighten in her chase for release.
Until he buries his head in her neck, readjusts her legs and somehow pulls in even deeper, hitting a spot that instantly jolts her back thirteen years, a spot that no one else had managed to hit since. Her eyes fly open and she gasps audibly at the memory, which Thomas takes as incentive.
And it is.
Except that each new thrust pushes her further away from reality and closer to a night over a decade ago, when her fingernails dug into Harvey’s back as his tongue swirled around her throat and she called his name an embarrassing amount of times.
Donna comes fast and hard to the memory of lips sucking whipped cream off her nipples.
Thomas keeps going a bit longer until he’s coming inside her, and thank God that his face remains hidden in her hair because her eyes are still bulging wide and her mouth is still ajar as her insides clench for a whole different reason.
This... hadn’t happened in a very long time.
“Wow,” he breathes out and chuckles and fuck, she needs to get away from him because the second he lifts his head to look at her he’ll see she looks shocked in a very bad way.
She can’t find words, so she just forces a chuckle, replies a faint “yeah” and excuses herself to the bathroom.
Her heart is racing and her throat is clogging up and she licks her lips as tears prick her eyes.
It’s one thing to think of him when she’s home alone, getting herself off and using the memories as aid.
It’s something else entirely to think of him while she’s with someone else, someone she likes, someone she cares about and is supposed to be fully happy with.
And the worst part is she wasn’t trying to think of him. If anything, she was trying to do just the opposite, to forget him and focus on the wonderful man waiting for her in bed, and yet. Panic rises in her chest as she thinks back to all the years she spent being accosted by the memory of Harvey and how she clearly never did manage to get rid of it.
She lifts a thumb to her mouth, nibbling on the nail unconsciously. Here was Thomas, so devoted and intent on making her feel good, and he did.
But she doesn’t know what to make of the fact that when she came, it was with Harvey on her mind.
She wants to think nothing of this, to write it off as a Freudian slip or a product of her worry of the night. But it’s not the first time, and she realizes with dread that it likely won’t be the last.
She’s shaking and her skin is covered in goosebumps. She needs to cover up and just sleep so this night can end.
She gets up from the toilet and walks over to the sink, splashing her face with water. She refrains from looking at her reflection in the mirror, afraid to find her tousled hair, her plump lips and the red marks down her body lest she ends up seeing the ghost of Harvey’s fingers on her.
Thomas is waiting for her with a sleepy smile and she feels like she’s going to be sick. She hastily slips on her panties and grabs his undershirt to cover herself up, then slips back into bed.
She wants to leave, wants to snap her fingers and be home, where she can despair in peace. But he worked so hard to ensure they had a good night and she knows he’ll think he did something wrong if she doesn’t spend the night.
She gives him a chaste kiss and lets him wrap an arm around her waist as he snuggles up against her back.
She focuses on her breathing, concentrating on bringing her heart rate down so she can eventually fall asleep. She tries to loosen her tight muscles and clear her mind.
Most of all, she tries not to think of Harvey’s mouth, of his hair between her fingers, of his strong back and his relentless hips.
She tries not to think about how this whole thing feels like betrayal but she can’t tell of whom.