Actions

Work Header

Come Back to Me

Work Text:

I hesitantly approach the door. The blinds are closed so I can't see inside. But I know what lies behind the door. I wish I could say that this door is all that separates me from what lies beyond it, but the truth is that there is so much more standing in the way.

Don't get me wrong there people and things in this world that I love. My family, my friends, the firm, my cars, just to name a few. But beyond this door is my whole world.

I take a deep breath and hesitantly open the door and walk in, barely hearing the door close softly behind me. It's a fairly large room, filled with repetitive sounds. It's simultaneously the quietest and yet loudest room I have ever been in. But my eyes and my mind can only focus on two things. The sound of the heart monitor that reflects the blessedly continuous beating of her heart and the beautiful, loving, and perfect face of the woman who is absolutely everything to me. I step to the side of her bed and reach down and take her right hand into my left and gently rub soft circles on the back of her hand. Still holding her hand, I reach up with my right hand and softly, lovingly run my fingers along the edge of her face before running them through the soft ginger strands of her hair. She has several small cuts and bruises that mar her perfect face but to me she has never looked more beautiful.

"Oh Donna." I half expect her to sit up and give me her usual brand of red-headed sass but what greats me is silence. Silence along with the sound of all of the monitors in the room.

I've been so stupid. For over a decade I have been the biggest fool. I know now that I could have had this beautiful, perfect woman beside me as more than just my secretary and friend, but as the woman in my life all these years if only I had been such a stubborn fool. I wish I could go back. Back to when she kissed me in her office, back to when she told me she wanted more, back to when I told her I loved her and she asked me how, back to when she told me that I never fight for what matters when it comes to my heart, back to that day in the diner when she told me when had to put that night behind us. I could and should have opened up my mouth and said what I really felt, what I really wanted, but instead I sat back like the coward that I am and let the years pass us by. I let every opportunity pass me by. When it comes to the firm, my cases, a card game and every other situation around me, I never have a problem taking chances, being brave. But when it comes to the one thing that really matters, the most important thing in my life, the most important person in my life, I've always been afraid. Afraid to lose her. Afraid to take the risk and lose the one thing, the one person, that could actually destroy me.

But I see it now. I see it all so clearly. By not taking the risk, I've lost her anyway. And today, today I could have lost her forever. Not just as a secretary to Louis, or to another position as COO, or to another man, to Thomas, but really lost her. Lost the ability to see her, talk to her, hear her. She could have died today, and the truth is that she still could. These machines around me making all of these sounds could be annoying as hell if they didn't prove every second that she is still here. That she's still breathing, that her heart is still beating, that she's still fighting to live. They are the second most beautiful sound in the world right now. The first is the sound of her breathing and as I lean my head down and place my ear on her chest I can hear and feel the beating of her heart and I decide that I'm wrong, that's the most beautiful sound and feeling in the world.

I know that I'm crying. I don't need to see the tears in my eyes or on my face. I can feel them cascading from my eyes down my chin and onto her chest. I thought that I was broken when she left me to work for Louis, but that was nothing compared to this. I'd give anything to fix this.

I stand back up and I continue running my hands through her strawberry tresses.

"I'm so sorry Donna. I'm so sorry for not being who you needed me to be all of these years. I'm sorry for not saying the words you needed to hear or doing the things you needed me to do. I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

I just stand there and cry. Holding the hand of the only woman that I have ever really been in love with. Sure, I loved Scottie and Paula. I could have loved Zoe. But Donna is the only woman I have ever been in love with. When I think back, I realize that I have probably always been in love with her. Probably since the first moment I saw her. But I know for sure that I was in love with her the night of "the other time". It had never been that way with anyone else before and it hasn't been that way ever again. She's different. Everything about her and with her is different. I don't deserve another chance, but if she makes it through this, I'm going to tell her all of the things that she deserves to hear. And if by some miracle she decides to give me another chance, I am going to spend the rest of my life doing and saying all of the things she has always wanted and deserved. But if she doesn't give me another chance, if she decides to stay with Thomas or ends up with someone completely different, then I am going to be the best friend that she could ever ask for. I will be supportive and understanding the way that she has always been for me. Because that's what she deserves. She doesn't deserve to suffer anymore because of my stupid foolishness.

"Oh Donna. I should have told you this a long time ago. Thirteen years ago to be exact. I don't know if I'm saying it because you deserve to know or if it's because I need you to know or maybe it's both. But I just can't keep it in anymore. Maybe it's unfair to tell you now that you are with someone, but I need you to know. I love you Donna. I'm so head over heels in love with you. Please wake up and let me show you how much. You once I told me that I had everything, and in a way you were right. I had you and you are everything. But I lost you. I let you slip away. And I am so sorry. You will never know how sorry. But if you let me, I want to give you everything. Whatever you want. A house in the suburbs. Strawberry blonde babies and happily ever after. Because that's what I want. And I want it with you. Please wake up and come back to me Donna. I know it's selfish, but I'm not ready to lose you. This world isn't ready to lose you."

I lean back in the chair, remembering the exact moment that I found out. The moment that time stood still.

Flashback:

I was in my office reading the King deposition notes. My cell phone rang and I saw it was a New York number but I didn't recognize it. As I slid my finger against the screen to answer the call I subconsciously noted that the time was 2:06.

"Hello."

"Hi, is this Harvey Specter?"

"Yes it is."

"Mr. Specter, my name is Haley Keating. I'm a nurse at Bellevue Hospital. A Ms. Donna Paulsen was brought in this afternoon with injuries from a vehicle accident. You are listed as her emergency contact. We are trying to get in touch with her next of kin."

I'm pretty sure that my heart stopped and that I stopped breathing at her words. "Is she…...is Donna….is she alive?"

"Yes Mr. Specter, she is, but she does have life threatening injuries and she does need surgery. They are prepping her now." I release the breath I didn't realize I was holding, relieved that at least for now Donna, my Donna is still alive.

"I'm on my way, I will be there as soon as possible." It isn't until the words exit my mouth that I realize that I have already stood up and that I am already standing in front of the elevator. I should probably tell someone, Louis, Gretchen, Robert, someone. But all I can focus on, all I care about is getting to Donna.

"Can you give us information on how to reach her next of kin or do you want to call them yourself?"

"Her mother, Roberta Paulsen, lives in Connecticut. I will call her and let her know."

"Thank you Mr. Specter."

"Um, Haley?"

"Yes Mr. Specter."

"Ms. Paulsen, Donna, was she alone or was she with her boyfriend, Thomas Kessler?"

"She was with Mr. Kessler. He's being treated at the moment, but should be released sometime later today."

"Thank you Haley. I'll be there soon. Goodbye."

"Bye Mr. Specter."

Back to Present:

Thomas had come by to check on Donna after he was released from the emergency department. He'd held her hand and kissed her cheek, but had ultimately gone home to rest after his sister came to pick him up. His vehicle had been totaled in the wreck.

I'd learned that the other vehicle, a black Chevrolet F-150. The truck had run a red light and t-boned Thomas' town car on Donna's side. She'd suffered internal bleeding that resulted in them removing her spleen and having to repair damage to her liver.

I just need her to wake up. I need to look into her beautiful green eyes. I need to hear her soulful and melodic voice. I need to hear her make a joke or say something sarcastic. I need to hear her say my name. I need her to hear me say hers. I need her to hear me anyone else in the entire world. I need her to know that she is my entire world. But instead I wait. I wait with her hand in mine. I wait while I stare at her beautiful face. I wait while the machine beeps to tell me she's alive. I wait while the world keeps spinning while my world is lying in this hospital bed, not moving, not talking. I wait. And I will continue waiting. I will wait forever, if it means that in the end I will get to look into her eyes again, hear her laugh again.

Eventually I fall asleep. Minutes, hours later, I don't know.

When I wake up, it's still dark outside. The clock on the wall says it's 4:32 AM. The overhead lights are off but the lights from the hallway and the machines provide enough light for me to see her face. But it's the light from the moon that cast the most beautiful glow on her face. If I didn't know any better I would think that she was just sleeping. She looks like an angel. My angel.

I must fall asleep again because when I wake up the sun is up and there is a nurse in the room checking all the tubes and machines attached to Donna. She must notice that I'm awake because she turns towards me.

"Good morning. My name is Lila. I will be Ms. Paulsen's nurse today. Can I get you anything? A pillow or blanket? Maybe something to drink?

"Not right now. Thank you though. How is she?"

"Her vitals are stable. Her incision sites look good, no swelling or inflammation. We are just waiting on her to wake up at this point."

"Should she already be awake? Is there something wrong?"

"Not necessarily. Patients can take a while to wake up after this type of trauma and the surgery that she went through. It can take a while for the anesthesia to wear off as well. She's perfectly within the normal parameters. If she's not awake in the next four to six hours then we might need to do further testing, but for now she is looking good."

"Okay. Thanks."

"How long have you and Ms. Paulsen been together?"

Not for the first time I feel like I've been punched in the gut. It's not like I haven't been asked this question before, but this time it literally brings tears to my eyes.

"We're not, together I mean. She's my best friend and co-worker. We've known each other for almost fifteen years."

"Oh I just thought. They said you'd been with her since she was brought into the ICU. We all thought."

"It's okay. Really it is."

"I'm probably out of line, and you can feel free to tell me to shut up or mind my own business, but, the way you look at her, that's how my Dad looks at my Mom. You're in love with her, aren't you."

"I am."

"Does she know?"

"No, she doesn't." I laugh at the irony. I can sit here and tell this young nurse, that I've just met five minutes ago that I am in love with Donna and yet it's taken my thirteen years for me to say it to Donna herself, and she's not even awake to hear it. "We've always had a timing issue. We've never been ready at the same time."

"I can tell that she is very special to you."

"She's everything. She's my everything."

"Well if you don't mind me saying so, Ms. Paulsen is a very lucky woman. I would give anything to have someone look at me the way you look at her."

"I'm sure one day your prince charming will come along. When he does, you might have to have patience with him though. Guys aren't as smart as girls. Sometimes we have to have the truth pointed out to us with big neon signs." We both laugh.

Lila adjusts Donna's pillow and checks the machines one more time before telling me to let her know if I need anything and leaving the room.

I'd called Donna's mother, Roberta, last night to let her know what was going on with Donna and she is taking the train into New York this morning. Louis is supposed to pick her up and bring her to the hospital. Louis had been beside himself when I had called to tell him about Donna but in another surprising move, he once again reacted the way a managing partner would. He said for me not to worry about anything at the office and offered to help in anyway that he could.

Gretchen showed up shortly after Lila left the room with a large coffee, including a shot of vanilla, and a bagel. She said she knew Donna would never forgive her if she didn't make sure that I ate. She had prayed over Donna while holding both of our hands, told me to call her if I needed anything, and then headed to the office.

I had eaten my bagel, drank my coffee, and sent text updates to Louis, Ms. Paulsen, Mike, and Rachel all while holding Donna's hand. It was as I was hitting send on a response to Rachel that I felt something tug at my other hand. When I looked down at our connected hands I realized that Donna's fingers were tugging at mine. My eyes immediately flew to her face where I could see that her eyelashes were just starting to flutter. I leapt from my seat to stand close to her and bent over so our faces were just a breath away from each other.

"Donna? Can you hear me?" She squeezed my hand again and started to try to speak. Although her mouth was moving, there wasn't really any sound coming out. I pressed the call button and Lila was there before I could even process another thought.

"Ms. Paulsen, Donna, can you hear us, do you know where you are?"

Donna's eyes flickered open and when she looked at me, it took my breath away. She nodded and although I could barely hear it, I could see her lips mouth "Harvey". Once again, I knew that there were tears in my eyes and I didn't bother to hide them or try to wipe them away. I wanted her to see. I wanted her to know what she means to me.

Through the tears and the crack in my voice I spoke. "Welcome back beautiful."

"Your vitals look good Donna. I'm going to go call your doctor and let him know that you are awake. You are a lucky woman Ms. Paulsen. Very lucky."

Donna just smiled at her and when she turned to me the tears in her eyes and the look on her face left me breathless. "She's right. I am lucky."

"Are you okay. Can I get you anything?"

"No, I'm okay. What happened?"

I explained about the car accident. I told her Thomas was okay, but that he had gone home last night. I let her know that her mom and Louis would be there soon. That I had talked with Mike and Rachel and that they were ready to jump on a plane on a moment's notice but that I had told them to wait and see how things progressed. They are supposed to be flying in a couple of weeks for Christmas anyway and we would see them then.

"Harvey?"

"Yeah."

"Are you okay?"

"You're asking me. Of course I'm okay. I'm not the one lying in the hospital bed."

"You just….you seem different. I don't know. The way you're talking. The look in your eyes. I don't know."

It was sink or swim time. I knew I was limited on time anyway. Soon her mother and Louis, and probably even Thomas would be there. I have to tell her and I have to do it now.

"I need to tell you something. Something I should have told you a long time ago." I look into her eyes, her beautiful, deep, green eyes, that have always seen right through me, and I jump. "I love you. I'm in love with you."

"Harvey."

"I know it's not fair Donna. i know that. I've waited way too long. You are with Thomas. You've moved on with your life. You don't feel that way about me anymore, but I needed to say it and I needed you to know."

"Harvey."

"Yeah."

"How long have you been here?"

"Since the nurse called me to tell me you were in the accident yesterday around 2:00. So almost twenty hours I guess."

"Have you left this room?"

"No. Why?"

"Where is my cell phone?"

"It's over there with the rest of your stuff that was brought in. Your handbag and everything."

"Can you get it for me?"

"Um sure." I stand up and grab her phone and bring it back to her. Luckily it was in her handbag so there was no damage to it. She takes the phone from my hand and looks through it for a moment before laying it down on the bed.

"Harvey."

"Yeah"

"You are always, have always been there for me no matter what. You've supported and defended me. You've laughed and cried with me. You've been my best friend from almost the moment that I met you. We've had our ups and we've most certainly had our downs. We've seen each other through some pretty tough times but we've also had a lot of great times together."

"Yeah, we have."

"Lila was right. I am a very lucky woman. I could have died. But I didn't. I don't remember everything about the accident, which I am sure is probably a good thing but these are the things that I do know. I know that from almost the moment that I arrived, you have been right by my side. I know that the person who probably should have been, hasn't. Which I could probably excuse due to his own injuries, but he also hasn't called. Which tells me that he heard me and understood when I told him just before the accident that I didn't think we should see each other anymore. And the reason that I told him that is because I realised that some things were never going to change. And the most important thing that is never going to change is that I have always, and will always, be in love with you Harvey. I love you too."

We were both crying by then. Her hand still clasped in mine. I lean down and kissed her forehead and then we stare into each other's eyes, for only a split second, but it was all the time needed for a million things to be said, without really saying a word. I gently press my lips to hers and for the first time since that night in her office I could taste her. She taste like coffee and scotch and strawberries with whipped cream and fifteen years of memories. She was giving me another chance, giving us another chance and I wasn't going to waste it.

 

 

Epilogue

Thirteen Months Later: Thanksgiving 2019

Donna had fully recovered from the accident. I'd told her everything that I had thought and felt about her over the past fifteen years, but especially in those hours between hearing about the accident and the moment she told me she loved me too.

Things had moved fairly quickly after that. When she was released from the hospital she hadn't gone back to her apartment, but had come home with me instead. However in the past thirteen months we had bought a four bedroom brownstone and she had redecorated it to fit both of our taste. We moved in last month just in time for Thanksgiving. During Thanksgiving Dinner, here at the brownstone, with my mom, Marcus, Mike, Rachel, Louis, Sheila, and their little boy Donnie, we had all shared what we were thankful for and I went last and of course what I was most thankful for was Donna. As I was getting to the end of my part I got down on one knee and proposed to Donna. She screamed yes so loud I was sure the neighbors were going to complain.

It's now Christmas Eve and everyone just left the house. They will all be back first thing in the morning for breakfast and gifts. This time Marcus will have the kids with him as well. Donna and I agreed to exchange one gift each tonight and that it would be our most personal gifts, that we wanted to exchange just between us.

I am so excited to finally give her the gift I picked out for her. I've been keeping this secret since right after I proposed. I walk into the living room and Donna is sitting on the floor in front of our gorgeous Christmas tree. Her beauty makes our Christmas tree look like the shabby Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. She's so incredibly beautiful. She's absolutely stunning. I don't know how I got this lucky. This gorgeous creature loves me. She chose me. I've never been happier in my entire life. I'm finally home. And it's not about the house or the Christmas tree. It's about this woman. This amazing woman. My amazing woman.

"Hey beautiful. You ready for your gift?"

She turns to me and her eyes are shining so brightly. Will this woman ever stop leaving me breathless? Probably not. I'm not going to complain though. Who would?

"I am"

I step over to her and offer her my hand to help her up. "I need you to upstairs and give me five minutes before you come back down again."

"Okay. I'll go grab your gift while I am up there."

I watch to make sure she is upstairs before going to the backdoor, where I know that Louis delivered her gift. I gently pick it up and bring it into the living room and place it into her stocking, making sure that the holder is sturdy enough to hold it up. I hear Donna coming down the steps and I step right outside the room just in time to catch her before she comes in. I tell her to close her eyes and trust me. Once she closes her eyes I take the gift out of her hand and place it on the coffee table as I lead her to the fireplace. I lift up her right hand and just as I lay her hand upon her gift her eyes shoot open and I watch as her eyes light up even more as she takes in the tiny little strawberry blonde kitten that is poking out of the stocking.

"Oh Harvey. Oh My God!."

"It's a boy and if you are okay with it, I named him Macallan. I figured we could call him Mac. I thought it would be a nice way to honor our history."

"I love it. I love him. I love you! Oh My God! Thank you!"

"I figured we tackled the puppy already. It's time for us to add to our family with this little guy. But I also wanted to tell you or rather show you, that I am ready to really add to our family. I know we aren't married yet, but if it's okay with you, I'd like to start trying."

"Oh Harvey. I'm ready too. This is so sweet. He is so precious. Hi little one. Hi Mac." She said as she gently held the kitten close with one hand and softly rubbed his reddish color fur with her other."

"I'm glad you like him."

"Like him? I love him." She leaned over and kissed me and once again left me breathless. She always does. Whether the kiss last ten seconds or ten minutes.

She walked over and picked the gift she'd brought down for me up and gestured for me to sit down next to the tree before sitting down in front of me. She continued holding the kitten while handing me the gift.

"I hope you like it because it can't be returned." She said with a wink.

It was a square gift box and when I lifted the lid and pulled away the tissue paper I was left breathless once again. Laying inside were four items that left the meaning of the gift unquestionable. My eyes darted to hers and back to the box. The box which held a white piece of fabric, a handwritten note, a Christmas ornament, and the one thing I didn't have to pick up or read to understand.

"Really?"

"Really."

"Donna." I leaned over and gently placed by hand behind her head and pulled her towards me and kissed her with all the love I had to give. I pulled away and gently removed all of the items from the box with such reverence. The Christmas Ornament that said "Baby's First Christmas 2020", the onesie that said "Hello Daddy", the handwritten note that said, "The only thing better than having you as a husband will be our baby having you as a Dad." The final item from the box was the positive pregnancy test. The tears were flowing from my eyes now. They couldn't be stopped and I wouldn't even if they could.

"Donna Roberta Paulsen, soon to be Specter. You are my everything. You have given me everything. This is the second best gift I have ever received. You have been my family for sixteen years, but next Christmas will be the best Christmas EVER. You will be my wife and we will have a new little person to love and share this beautiful, crazy life with. Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for choosing me. I love you so much."

" I love you too Harvey Reginald Specter."

THE END