Donna doesn’t want to think about Harvey when she’s with Thomas.
Thomas is hot. And handsome, and experienced, and supremely capable. He’s got the body of a god and the disposition of a teenager and he checks all the boxes. He fills every requirement Donna could possibly have, and yet.
When he grabs her thigh a certain way.
When his tongue does that little flicky thing.
When he’s had a bit more to drink than usual and his voice gets rougher.
When the light hits him at a specific angle.
When he bites down on her nipple slightly more forcefully than he normally does.
Harvey explodes in her mind.
It becomes his hand digging into her thigh and pulling it higher against his torso so he can reach deeper.
His tongue sliding over her clit and her folds so damn well she’s sure she’ll get a complaint from her neighbors tomorrow.
His voice making her breath even quicker as he tells her in her ear how fucking hot she is all wet and tight for him.
His arms and back cast in hills and valleys as the golden light from her lamp shines down on his taut muscles.
His teeth toeing a line between pain and pleasure as he nibbles on her breast and makes her see stars.
It’s Harvey, everywhere all at once. It drives her mad in a way that has her needing to bite down on her lip and focus so that she doesn’t cry out his name.
And that makes her a whole different type of mad.
Because Thomas is amazing, and not just in bed. He makes her feel confident and safe and cherished, he tells her things about himself and things he likes about her, he doesn’t hesitate to hold her hand or take her to the ballet.
She is happy with him, so happy. And she believes with all her heart she can continue being happy with him.
So she doesn’t understand why Harvey keeps creeping in to give unsolicited, unnecessary and undesirable aid to her orgasms.
It all started one night. She’d had a day from hell at work, putting out fires left and right to the point where it gave her a headache. But Thomas had closed a great deal for the company, one he’d been working on for months, and he’d been so excited and eager to celebrate with her. She didn’t want to let him down, still relatively in the beginning of their relationship.
So she went to dinner with him and she let him take her home and she let him celebrate. And it wasn’t bad. Not at all. She just... wasn’t really getting into it. So she flipped them to get him on top, laid back and told herself to relax and let go. Her mind blanked, then conjured up stray images and sensations. She didn’t feel bad at first because she felt herself responding, felt the combination of Thomas and Random Thumb on her clit become a winning team.
Except the stray images and sensations started to slip into place and suddenly the puzzle revealed Harvey. And whipped cream. And strawberries. She came but her headache never went away.
She instantly felt nauseous. It wasn’t the first time that had happened, but it hadn’t happened since her early days with Mitchell. She’d thought of Harvey on occasion while she was with someone else, both intentionally and unintentionally, but never with someone she cared so deeply for and was so committed to as Thomas.
So it was a complete shock to her. She felt disgusted with herself, but Thomas was so happy and so proud of himself that she didn’t have the heart to take away from that in any way. So she smiled at him and agreed when he said that had been great and she let him pull her into him and caress her arm and she barely slept that night.
She thought that was a one-off thing, a mishap. But it wasn’t.
She doesn’t think of Harvey every time. And she doesn’t need his memory to come. Again, Thomas is highly skilled and he doesn’t need any sort of facilitator.
It’s just something that... happens sometimes.
Something that she doesn’t know how to escape - because she wants to escape it, so badly. She wants Thomas to be enough, needs him to be enough because she’s been down this road way too many times before and she doesn’t know how much more she can take of this. Of feeling like no one else is enough even though she herself isn’t enough for him.
She’s a slave to her thoughts and to the reaction her body has to anything Harvey and she’s so fucking tired of not being her own.
And on those nights, when he’s holding her close afterwards and her skin is tingling to the touch of somebody else’s fingers, she feels like crying. She feels like crying because Thomas is here and solid and perfect and hers. He gave himself to her from the start in a way that was unquestionable and crystal clear.
That’s what she wants. Someone who’s hers. Someone who tells her that, who isn’t afraid of it. She doesn’t want to be alone anymore.
And Thomas is willing and ready and wanting.
He is a gift and she feels like she’s squandering it every single time she lets this happen. She feels horribly guilty and horribly selfish and horribly deceiving even though it’s wildly out of her control.
She takes comfort in their other moments together; in being able to be there for him when he needs her, in listening to him talk about his day at work and in letting him take her to places he likes. Everything is perfect, far better than she could ever have expected or wished for.
But sometimes, some nights, when she has sex with Thomas, her heart is in it but her body is far away, trapped beneath Harvey’s weight thirteen years ago.