The cool September breeze blows through her long, red locks. Donna shivers, pulling her cardigan around herself as she settles at the patio table. Her eyes scan the expanse of the backyard, the Happy 6th Birthday, Lucy banner flapping gently against the house behind her.
She takes a deep breath as she watches Louis join their group at the table, her heart still aching for the loss of Sheila. They've all learned how to grieve and move on with life over the last two years, but it's always on big events — holidays, birthdays, anniversaries — that her death still hits Donna square in the heart.
Harvey reaches over, obviously reading her mind like he's gotten so good at doing. He takes her hand in his, giving her a soft, sympathetic smile when she catches his gaze.
He mouths a, You okay?, and she nods, assuring him she's okay.
She pulls her thoughts away from Sheila as she looks around the table. Their friends are all gathered for Lucy's birthday. Katrina and Samantha are here, laughing together at the group of six year old girls all chasing each other around in glittery unicorn headbands.
Mike and Rachel had flown in, surprising Louis yesterday when they showed up to help decorate for the party.
"Alex is coming later, right?" she asks, looking to Harvey.
He nods his confirmation, informing her that he was having to finish up a brief for the case he'd completed this morning.
Alex had been a nice addition to the Ross & Ross east coast branch, joining Harvey and Donna almost two years ago as they opened up the new firm, collecting clients regularly to add to their roster.
The east coast firm was going just as well as it had in Seattle. They were able to conference call with Mike and Rachel almost daily about work, while running the new firm together: Harvey as a partner and Donna in her rightful place as COO.
It was nice, being back in the city but still working for a smaller firm. They were able to leave work at a decent hour most days, save for the occasional late night (a hazard of the job). All in all, though, Donna was able to pick up Rose from pre-school each afternoon, bringing her to the office to play in the little daycare they'd set up for other employees with small children. Rose would toddle around, helping the daycare worker with the babies and playing with toys the last few hours of the day before the whole Paulsen-Specter clan loaded up and went home for the night.
It was working for them thus far, able to have family dinners almost every night, whether that was one of them cooking or them grabbing take out on the way home from work some nights. Their family dinners were something she had come to love; they were a chance for the three of them to bond and spend some quiet time inside their apartment, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City.
"Mama! Watch!" Rose calls, interrupting Donna's thoughts. The little girl giggles as she tries to mimic the silly dance move Lucy and her friends had just taught her.
Everyone on the porch laughs, Donna smiling at her daughter. "Awesome job, baby!"
The three year old laughs as if the dance was the most hilarious thing ever, head thrown back with wild abandon, before she trots off back toward the birthday girl with Bobby on her heels.
She watches as Rose and Bobby bounce around the yard together, happy to be reunited.
It was nice, she has to agree, having everyone back together again.
"How long are you guys staying?" Harvey asks, standing and walking toward the little table filled with party treats.
He grabs a unicorn plate, placing a cookie for him and a slice of yellow tomato pizza on it for Donna. Louis had ordered from Giano's, getting enough cheese and pepperoni pizzas to feed an army of hungry children, and specifically requesting a personal pan size just for Donna since no one else likes the topping. He also fills a pink solo cup with water, bringing it back over to his seat. He hands her the water and pizza, and she smiles her thanks up to him, pinching off a piece of his chocolate chip cookie and popping it into her mouth with a smirk.
She adjusts her sunglasses as she settles further into her seat, glancing out into the backyard where the children are all running around, laughing and dancing to the music Louis has playing from the speakers on his back porch.
"Just a few days," Rachel says, giving them a sad smile.
Donna gives one right back, knowing her best friend misses having them right down the road. It's been two years since they decided to move, and Donna can honestly say that moving back to New York was the greatest decision they could have made.
Rose has grown so much the last few years, and she and Lucy have become a dynamic little duo that worries Harvey but makes Louis beam with pride. Rose thinks the world of the curly-haired little girl, following her around wherever she goes and trying to copy the things she says.
Donna misses Rachel though, completely, but their weekly FaceTime dates have helped. They've been able to keep each other up to date on what's been going on in their lives, and have planned several trips to visit each other over the years.
"We'll have to go to dinner at Marcus' new place before you leave," Harvey announces, pulling her from her musings.
Mike nods excitedly, stating that he's excited to try it. Marcus had opened up a new restaurant a few blocks from Times Square and it had been a big hit so far. He'd been begging Harvey and Donna to come in and eat for months now, but they just hadn't had the time.
"Daddy!" Bobby calls, garnering the attention of the adults. "Is it time for cake?"
The adults snicker, and Louis stands excitedly, getting the attention of all the children. There are five other little girls from Lucy's class that had been dropped off, Louis assuring their parents that they could stay if they wanted but that there were plenty of adults already if they wanted to go run some errands.
Each parent had happily, and eagerly, agreed to come pick their girls up in a few hours and high tailed it out of there, probably glad to have an afternoon free. She knows she would've taken him up on the offer had she been a random parent friend.
Rose was loving it, though. She already loved Lucy more than anything, and having a handful of other girls Lucy's age was like heaven to Donna's little girl.
"Lucy," Louis calls, waving her over to the back porch, "are you ready to open presents?"
The kids come bounding up to the porch, sweat forming on their brows from all the playing and running around they've been doing.
Louis had, like always, outdone himself. The backyard already had a swingset in it, but he'd also added white fairy lights to hang from the trees, colored streamers wrapped around the trunks (which Donna and Harvey had been in charge of doing last night), and a handful of toys for the kids to play with. There was an area of the yard designated to dolls and their wardrobes, which Rose had immediately zeroed in on, making her way there as soon as they arrived.
It was a unicorn themed party so there was also pin the horn on the unicorn, which they would play later, along with the unicorn headbands the girls had already put on, and little tutus that had rainbow colored tails coming out of them to complete their transformation into little unicorns.
Rose climbs into Harvey's lap, her tutu smushing into the fabric of his jeans and the horn on her head almost poking him in the eye. He closes one eye, leaning away so as not to get taken out by his little unicorn, and twists Rose's body so she can fit comfortably on his lap. She leans back against his chest as Donna hands the little girl her cup of water to drink from, gulping it down as she breathes heavily from her backyard activities.
"Are you having fun, baby?" Harvey asks, kissing her dark hair.
She nods excitedly, telling her mom and dad all about the party as if they weren't sitting right there watching the whole thing. Donna just smiles, though, loving how animated Rose has gotten lately. She'd picked up on talking quite easily, which Donna has to think Bobby was partially responsible for since Rose just copied everything he did back in Seattle, and ever since then she's become more and more talkative. She provided loads of entertainment at dinner each night telling them about her day at pre-school and her friends and everything she was learning as best as she could in her simple toddler sentences.
Louis lets Lucy sit in her special birthday girl chair, which Rachel had decorated with balloons, rainbow streamers, and a little birthday banner with a sparkly unicorn on the front, while Louis brings her presents over to her.
They watch as the six year old excitedly opens her gifts, each one filled with more glitter and rainbows than Donna thinks she's ever seen before. Lucy thanks each of her friends for the new toys and coloring books, getting up to hug each person personally.
"She'll probably send out thank you notes after the party," Harvey jests, "seeing as Louis is raising her."
Trying to suppress her smirk, Donna elbows Harvey in the ribs, shushing him and telling him to pay attention.
While Lucy opens the next few presents, Donna can't help but watch Harvey and Rose. She's still amazed, even after all this time together, how loving of a father he is. He sits there, thumb easily tracing up and down Rose's little arm while her brown eyes grow heavy.
"Someone needs a nap," she whispers to Harvey, head jutting down in the direction of the sleepy toddler.
Harvey grins, nodding. "Maybe she'll sleep well tonight while we're gone."
He gives her a wink, and she smirks, rolling her eyes playfully at him. Being Lucy's birthday, it also means that it is Donna and Harvey's anniversary, a night they refuse to not celebrate each year no matter what.
Ever since moving to New York, Louis had agreed that Rose could spend the night with him and Lucy each birthday so that her parents could celebrate their happy day.
It worked out well so far, the only two they've celebrated here on the east coast, because Rose always enjoyed a slumber party with Lucy. Donna knows that Louis plies them with snack after snack, and probably a few kid-friendly prunies, but she can't bring herself to care too much when she gets a kid free night with her husband, and Rose is always so happy the next day when they pick her up, never wanting to leave Uncle Louis' house.
"Happy anniversary, by the way," he murmurs, leaning over as best he can with Rose in his lap, kissing Donna's cheek. "I love you."
Smiling, she sends the sentiment back to him with a sweetly murmured, "I love you, too." Donna sits back in her chair, watching Lucy open her last gift and taking a deep breath as she rubs her protruding stomach.
"How's she doing in there?" Harvey asks, glancing down at her growing baby bump.
Chuckling, she assures, "She's fine. Just moving around a lot."
"She wants cake," Rose pipes up, grinning at Donna with a little grin on her face. It still amazes her how many mannerisms of her and Harvey's their little girl has picked up. She may not be theirs by blood, but that Cheshire Cat grin was all Harvey.
Donna takes a look over to Louis, making sure he doesn't need any help cutting the cake now that Rose mentioned it. Rachel must see her look, because she nods at Donna, saying she'll help. "Don't get up, Mama!"
Rachel stands happily, taking the ice cream scoop and placing a dollop next to the slices of cake on the small, unicorn birthday plates.
"Maybe she does," she giggles, tickling Rose's little foot. "She'll probably want a second slice, too."
Rosie giggles, perking up as she agrees. She slides off Harvey's lap, then, taking the two steps over to Donna's chair. Her little hand reaches out, rubbing softly against her bump, and Donna's eyes mist over, the hormones racing through her body always making her extra emotional, especially when their little girl loves on the new baby the only way she can right now.
The pregnancy had been a surprise to say the least. She'd been feeling off for a few days, but chalked it up to food poisoning or maybe the flu. It wasn't until a few weeks later, when she realized she hadn't had her period all month that Rachel convinced her to take a test.
Once she saw the two little pink lines, tears instantly flooded her eyes, unable to believe what was happening. As soon as Harvey got home, she'd shown him the test, both wrapping their arms around one another as they cried.
"Holy shit. Is that… are those two lines?" Donna mumbles to herself, hidden away in her bathroom.
Rose beats on the door again, pulling Donna from her swirling thoughts and calling for her. "Mama! Come watch Moana!"
She smiles, knowing how much her daughter loves that movie.
Leaving the pregnancy test on the counter, she walks out, chasing Rose out of the bedroom and down the hall, the little girl squealing the whole time. Her loud cries of elation echo down the hall, and Donna laughs, loving the sound of childhood in their home.
Holy shit. Now there's going to be two kids to fill their home.
She can't believe it. She's terrified, fear consuming her as images of her first pregnancy flash through her mind. After the fear comes shock but also happiness, which don't even begin to explain how she's feeling right now. She wants, no, needs, Harvey to get home soon so she can share the news; it's about to burst from her chest at any moment.
She bites her lip as she settles onto the couch with Rose, the little girl snuggling into her chest as she presses play on the remote.
The movie picks up from where they'd left off, and Rose sings along with Maui as he dances around the beach.
Just then, she hears the keys jingle in the door, and Rose perks up. "Daddy's home!"
She hops off the couch, running toward the door. When it opens, the little girl jumps into Harvey's arms, barely giving him enough time to react.
"Oof," he grunts with a smile, his briefcase falling to the floor at his feet. "Hey, there, baby!"
Donna stands nervously, hands sweaty all of a sudden as she watches him pepper kisses to their little girls' cheeks, making her squirm and giggle in his arms. Harvey bends down, picking up his briefcase and walking into the kitchen. He sets Rose down on the counter, his hand landing on her little knee to make sure she doesn't get any crazy ideas of hopping down in a daredevil stunt.
It's a practiced move at this point, their girl being as adventurous as she is. She'd tried to leap from the counter one good time before they learned their lesson.
While he's preoccupied with that, Donna dashes off to their bathroom, grabbing the rinsed off test and wrapping it up in toilet paper.
When she walks out, she spies Rose on the living room floor, dancing her Moana doll around in the air and trying to mimic the lines of the movie in sync with the television.
She grins, making her way into the kitchen. "Hey, there." She leans in, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips.
"Sorry I couldn't leave with you two earlier," he declares, telling them he was in the middle of a negotiation. He returns the quick kiss, then resumes rinsing off the vegetables she'd pulled out to cook with dinner.
She shrugs it off, telling him it was fine. "All we've done is start dinner and turn on Moana," she chuckles.
She goes silent for a second, watching him work. His sleeves are rolled up, the muscles in his arms flexing and she has the sudden urge to reach out and stroke his arms. They're one of his sexiest features.
Shaking her head, she laughs at herself. She can only imagine what the hormones will do (if this pregnancy lasts, her mind whispers dolefully, that fear creeping inside again), knowing how much she wants her husband on a daily basis already.
Her face, and the way she's slightly bouncing on the balls of her feet, must give away that she has a secret, because Harvey's eyebrows raise, then scrunch, asking, "Why are you so bouncy?"
Giggling, she shakes her head again, unable to really comprehend what she's about to tell him. In an ideal world, she'd come up with some elaborate, Donna-esque way to announce the pregnancy to her other half — a cute onesie like she did all those years ago, a mug that reveals he's going to be a dad, a cute sign for Rosie to hold up proclaiming she's going to be a big sister… something… but the overwhelming onslaught of emotions is too much to keep a secret for any longer.
She glances over her shoulder, confirming that Rose is still thoroughly occupied, before looking back at him.
The knots in her stomach grow, leaving a pit in her belly as she pulls out the wad of toilet paper from where she'd stuffed it in her back pocket. Pulling a layer of it back, she reveals the pregnancy test. "This."
Harvey's breath catches in his throat as he looks down at the item in her hands. He looks confused, but then he looks to her and she nods, a wide smile on her face.
Her eyes mist over as she watches the emotions cross his features. "Donna," he breathes, turning off the water and drying his hands quickly. He takes her in his arms as if she's the most precious gift he's ever been given, asking, "Are you sure?"
She nods into his chest, the test long forgotten on the counter as her arms wrap around his middle. "I have two more to take to make absolutely sure, but… yeah."
Harvey chuckles, the vibrations of his chest making hers do the same. He pulls back, a few tears slipping down his cheeks.
Donna reaches up, wiping the tears from his face as she cries softly, too.
"I can't believe it," he says in wonderment, and all she can do is nod in nervous excitement for this new chapter of their lives that was beginning.
A beaming smile slowly grows on both of their faces, and Harvey steps closer, wrapping his arms around her waist. Her hands wind around his shoulders, one hand gently trailing through the hair at the back of his head.
Harvey bops his nose to hers, making her own scrunch in response before he presses a kiss to her lips.
They stand there, completely lost in the moment and each other, both seemingly caught up in the feel of the other's lips and the future that lies ahead for them.
Nervous, however, was an understatement at each appointment she went to. She was older now, so she was already considered high risk, especially with one miscarriage in her past. She'd fretted and worried for weeks on end, Harvey finally convincing her to talk to Stan.
Sessions with the older man had been good, great even, and exactly what she needed to calm her nerves and anxiety. Harvey had admitted to being scared as well since none of this was planned and there was always the possibility of another miscarriage happening.
Once Donna hit sixteen weeks, past the point of when they lost their first child, she started to relax a little bit more. At twenty weeks, halfway through, she started to feel more and more confident each day that this little girl was going to make it.
They'd set up a nursery (with Louis' excited help, of course), had a baby shower with their friends and family, and everything else that comes with a pregnancy. Luckily for them, they had kept some baby stuff they'd received at her baby shower for Rose, but with them both assuming they'd never get pregnant again, she'd given most of it away to younger co-workers who were expecting.
It was surreal, knowing that after everything, they'd been gifted another little miracle, but Donna couldn't be any happier with the way things had turned out.
Once the kids have devoured the cake and ice cream, Rose's chubby little cheeks being covered in the dessert, they all run off to play some more in the yard.
"Love you, baby," Rose whispers, kissing Donna's belly and grinning up at her parents before running off to catch up to Bobby.
Harvey scoots his chair closer to hers now that there's room, his arm draping over her shoulders. He presses a kiss into her hair, asking if she needs anything.
Smiling over to him, she shakes her head, telling him that she's fine. "I mean, a back massage never killed anyone, but…" she trails off with her signature grin.
Harvey laughs, reaching over as best he can the way they're sitting and gives her shoulders a little squeeze. "I'll give you a real one tonight," he whispers into her ear, winking as he pulls away.
She bites her lip, her hormones going haywire at the way his hot breath tickled her ear. She presses her lips (and legs) together, containing the moan that wants to escape. Swatting his arm, Donna uses the pretense of scooting her chair closer to the table to slide it over a smidge, giving herself some distance from her hot husband.
"What are you two going to do tonight?" Rachel asks, looking over at the couple.
Donna smiles, thwapping Harvey on the knee as she hears his suggestive chuckle from beside her. The men all laugh, Mike shaking his head as he says he doesn't want to hear about mom and dad having sex, and Donna just rolls her eyes.
"We're going to dinner at Del Posto," she grins, rubbing her belly, already excited for the food. "After that," she shrugs, "I left that up to this guy." She points her thumb in Harvey's direction, and her husband grins that signature Cheshire Cat smile of his.
"You don't have anything planned yet, do you?" Mike asks dryly, giving Harvey a knowing look.
Harvey brushes him off, announcing that he has a wonderful night planned for the two of them.
She smirks when everyone else seems to not believe him, but she knows he does. She'd seen an email from an owner of a small theatre the other day confirming his request for a private showing of The Merchant of Venice while they had a candlelit dinner together.
She assumes Louis helped with the planning due to his sneaky little grin he's trying but failing to hide from across the table, but she knows Louis is a hopeless romantic so he'd be the perfect guy for Harvey to get help from.
She won't ruin the surprise, though, knowing he's been trying so hard to make their last anniversary before becoming parents of two kids extra special.
The adults all talk for a bit more, Alex finally showing up, saying he'd been trying to put together a statement of defense that was due on Monday and couldn't get away. He joins them all at the table, thanking Louis for the drink when he hands him one.
"Are you two going on a babymoon?" Louis asks, eyebrows raising in excitement.
Harvey gives him a confused look, glancing over to Donna. Katrina and Samantha roll their eyes, both taking sips of their (adult) beverages as they all watch Louis gear up for an animated explanation of what a babymoon is.
She giggles, holding up her hand in Louis' direction to let him know she could explain. She tells Harvey that a babymoon is when the parents go on a vacation before the baby comes, could be the beach or a mountain cabin getaway, anything, really. "It's like a honeymoon, but… not."
Harvey chuckles, taking her hand in his. "We can go on one if you want. Just name the place, and I'll book it for us."
He lifts her hand, kissing her knuckles as she blushes. She nods, saying she'll think about it, then looks out to the yard again.
Rose is running around with Bobby, both with wands in their hands. Rose's looks like a fairy wand, while Bobby's looks like a lightsaber that he brought from home. They're pointing them toward each other, one or the other falling over dramatically each time, and Donna laughs, catching Rachel's attention.
The women watch their kids playing, both chuckling at the dramatics of their playtime. "They're something else, aren't they?" Rachel asks, giggling.
"They sure are."
She stands then, needing to move around. This baby is taking up so much room already, she's not exactly sure how she'll make it another two months before giving birth.
Donna walks to the wooden railing of the porch, watching all the kids play.
"You okay?" Harvey asks, walking up behind her.
He places his hand on her lower back, pressing his shoulder against hers.
Nodding, she straightens up, explaining, "Just needed to stretch and give her some wiggle room," while wrapping her arms around his shoulders. The noise of the party seems to fade away as she looks into his brown eyes; she can hear their friends talking behind them together, but it's muffled as she focuses on her husband. "I love you, you know that?"
Harvey smiles, eyes growing soft as he looks down at her. "I know," he whispers, tapping the end of her nose. "And I love you, too."
She rests her head on his chest, Harvey slowly swaying them back and forth. She turns in his embrace then, his front pressed to her back as they both watch Rose run around the yard.
The little girl stops for a second, beaming over to her parents and waving before running off to join Bobby and Lucy.
Smiling, Donna looks back over her shoulder to Harvey. "Can you believe this is our life?"
Laughing, his head tilts back a bit before he looks down at her. "Not at all." He smiles, adding, "But I wouldn't change it for anything."
She nods in agreement, pecking a kiss to the side of his lips.
He moves his hands from around her belly to her shoulders, turning her around in his hold. Harvey presses his lips to hers tenderly, head tilting slightly. Pulling back, he sighs, looking into her eyes. She can visibly see the love he has for her shining in his, and she loves this, loves him. He's such a softie when it's just the two of them, and she watches as he looks off into the distance thoughtfully. His head slightly shakes as he brings his chocolate brown orbs back to meet her hazels. "Everything worked out like it was supposed to."
His hand reaches down then, landing softly on her bump between their bodies.
"It sure did."
Smiling sweetly at one another, they both lean in simultaneously, lips meeting more deeply. Harvey's head slants to the side, and Donna's lips part, letting his tongue slip inside. Before it can get too heated, her pregnancy hormones adding fuel to the fire even in just a simple kiss, someone throws a plastic fork at them as Samantha yells a teasing, "Get a room!"
They pull apart, laughing, as Harvey leans in just for her to hear, murmuring, "Didn't exactly need a room to make this one, that we know of," rubbing circles on her bump as their little girl kicks her hello to her father. Her eyes widen as she looks over his shoulder at the other adults, flashes of all their many nights on the kitchen counter, the couch, the shower, and all the times they joked about not knowing exactly where or when this baby was conceived fly through her mind.
She bites her lip, stepping out of his hold to face the patio table everyone else is congregated around and tells him lowly, "You're an idiot," with a sultry chuckle, the images of their bodies joining together making her grow needy. Goddamn it.
As they make their way back to their chairs hand in hand, joining the rest of the gang to watch their children play, Donna smiles to herself, knowing this is never the life she imagined for herself, but always the one she dreamed of.
Rose and Bobby run up onto the porch then, each plopping down into their mother's laps.
Donna grabs the water from the table, handing it to Rose. She swallows it down quickly, a tiny hand reaching up to push the matted, black hair from her forehead. "Why don't you stay here for a bit and cool off, hm?"
The little girl nods, panting as she leans against Donna as best she can with the growing bump in between them.
Donna wraps her arms around Rose's belly, pressing a kiss into her hair as she whispers to her daughter how much she loves her. She inhales slightly, the baby shampoo smell still there from this morning, yet mixed with the aroma of grass and outdoors.
Rosie reaches a hand back behind her, cupping Donna's cheek then trailing down to tangle in a long, thick lock of hair. Her little finger twirls around the tendrel, an action she's done since she was a baby, and Donna's heart flutters with the love she feels for her child.
She glances around the table, laughing softly as she watches the rest of her friends crack up at something Alex had just said.
It was nice, seeing everyone so settled in their lives now and happy. Truly happy. That was honestly the only way she could describe it, and it brought her an immeasurable amount of joy to see all of her friends, her family, really, so content.
Catching Harvey's gaze, she gives him a loving smile. He reaches over, left hand taking hers and resting it back against Rose's stomach. The metal of his wedding ring presses cooly against her skin, and she smiles, totally at peace with the life they've created for themselves.
She presses another kiss to Rosie's head, pretending to nibble her ear which makes the little girl giggle. "Mama, stop!" she chokes out, squirming against the tiny space left in Donna's lap.
"Okay, okay," she murmurs, not wanting their little moment to interrupt everyone's discussion.
She looks to Harvey once more and butterflies swarm in her stomach just looking at him. This little life they've built over the last few years may not be everyone's idea of perfect, but it was for them. She was completely happy with Harvey and Rose by her side, and she was excited to see what the future held for them. Her family.
There we have it. Hope you enjoyed…. Please review!