01 | a marriage proposal, of sorts

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0001. CHAPTER ONE
— a marriage proposal, of sorts

TO BE FAIR, HARLOW FINLEY NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ANY OF HER LIFE PLANS OUT

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TO BE FAIR, HARLOW FINLEY NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ANY OF HER LIFE PLANS OUT. She was always the person to jump straight into something and figure a problem out as it popped up. But this? This probably took the cake for her ideas of what hints she should have thought out before ever bringing them up. How was she supposed to ask her childhood best friend that she hadn't seen in a year to marry her? She supposed she could just ask him and explain the reasoning behind why. It could work (possibly) and it would be the most straightforward way to do it. But another part of her wanted to make a show out of it (not much unlike how she asked him to attend prom with her) (he strongly disliked the number of balloons that filled his living room because of that). Surprise him with something, pop up at his door with her hands raised out like 'surprise I'm home' and then hit him with the 'marry me so my dad can walk me down the aisle before he dies' ending. Harlow Finley knew Bruce Wayne, she liked to think she did at least. And she knew the years of being apart changed them in ways she couldn't even begin to explain, but she knew he was still the man who spent years by her side. The same person who had known her since they were babies, grew up next to each other. With each other. If there was anyone who would agree to a nonsensical plan such as that one, it would be Bruce Wayne.

It's why she stood in front of his front door, pacing as she questioned whether she should even knock. It wasn't too late for her to turn on her heels and walk back to her car. Not at all. Somehow, she had an inkling that Alfred knew she was there. He always did, when she was a teen and showing up at the penthouse at random times of the night, he always knew. He always had her favorite foods and tea set up, questions about how her day had been. Alfred Pennyworth had an alarm that went off about two people in this world: Bruce Wayne and Harlow Finley. That's why she wasn't shocked to see the front door open just as her fist raised to knock on it, Alfred giving her a knowing smile. "Doctor Finley, how nice it is to see you in Gotham again."

"Hi Alfred," Harlow smiled, her shoulders sinking a little. "How are you doing?"

Alfred opened up the door further, waving a hand to welcome Harlow inside. "I'm doing great. It's been a while since we last spoke, how have you been?"

Harlow set her bag down on the table beside the door, beginning to peel her jacket off of her body before walking any further into the home. She put it up on the coat rack, turning back to face the man who had gone greyer over the years she was gone. He leaned onto his cane, waiting for a response from the blonde in front of him, "I've been good."

Alfred eyed her, he was always able to tell when either she or Bruce were lying (they were never able to get away with anything when they were younger) (or well, they thought that they did but it was only because Alfred let them get away with it). He walked her further into the penthouse, sitting down at the dining room table where (coincidentally) he had all of her favorite snacks resting for her (maybe he had some sort of supernatural powers for knowing her location) (though, perhaps, Harlow was just overlooking the obvious point of Margaret calling and letting him know she was on her way over). "Sit, I washed some berries for you." She knew better than to argue with Alfred, so she sat down at the table and popped a raspberry into her mouth. "Now, I'm not going to ask why you're here. I assume it's so you can see Master Bruce, but he's not in at the moment. So, you're stuck with me. Which means ..."

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