Fandom: The Good Wife
Pairing: Alicia/Mattie (with unrequited Kalinda/Alicia and cannon Alicia/Peter)
Word Count: over 27,000 total
Disclaimer: I don't own this show... (and am not getting any profit from this etc etc)
Spoilers: Written after Season 4 Ep15 (with bit of eps embedded) but it goes a bit AU from there...
[Spoliers for Season 4]Mattie befriended Alicia and then declared her intentions to run against her husband. Bad timing or betrayal? And why can’t either of them just accept that they really shouldn’t have anything to do with each other anymore?
Author Note: The very fact that nothing seems to exist for these two, especially after the eye!sex in Season 4 Ep 6 boggles the mind. So I had to fix that. And evidentially spend over 20,000 words doing it. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed excuses to rewatch specific Good Wife scenes... ;-D
A/N2: The beginning is a bit bitty as I walked through the eps (a necessary evil as otherwise I'm relying quite heavily on stuff I don't mention).
Alicia waited at the top of the stairs for Mattie Hayward to arrive. She checked her watch; she had exactly 20 minutes before she had to be back in court. She put her arm down and sighed before hearing footsteps on the stairs. She waited patiently as they made it to the top, two men already in conversation and a somewhat casually dressed woman she instantly recognised as Mattie Hayward.
Mattie greeted her warmly, "Mrs Florrick."
"Ms Hayward," Alicia replied.
"Mattie," she corrected, "Or Mz Hayward, I don't mind being objectified," she added lightly with a smile that seemed out of place.
Alicia smiled politely while trying to assess if she should believe the words or the tone, briefly wondering if she should apologise, but Mattie had moved on.
"So we're here to renegotiate your firm's lease?" Mattie asked as they walked through the empty office.
"Yes," Alicia agreed before breaking down the issues facing Lockhart/Gardner and their plan to re-emerge from the current financial pressure.
Alicia was mid-sentence when Mattie stopped and turned toward Alicia, "How long have you worked at Lockhart/Gardner?" she asked out of the blue.
"How long?" Alicia repeated, thrown off by the seemingly unconnected question, "Four years, this is my fourth."
"And you like it," Mattie followed up.
"I do," Alicia affirmed, trying to figure out how this would play into her proposal.
Mattie nodded and continued walking. When Alicia fell in step Mattie spoke again.
"Do a lot of people ask you about sticking by your husband?"
This Alicia had been expecting, this she was used to.
"They do... they did, it's died down a bit," she replied easily.
"Well he's running again so it will probably start up again," Mattie countered.
"I think you're right," Alicia agreed.
"Do these questions make you uncomfortable?" Mattie asked, bringing them to a stop once again, her hands held in a triangle before her.
Alicia shook her head, "No," she replied confidently.
The two men from earlier walked by and the silent one smiled at Mattie.
"That's my driver," she confessed, "I bring him along, they think he's the buyer and I get some time alone."
Alicia smiled, it was smart.
"So, are you campaigning with your husband?" Mattie continued without segue.
"Yes," Alicia affirmed.
"And you agree with him politically?"
"Enough," Alicia replied after the slightest pause.
"I can't find five people in the world I agree with politically."
Mattie smiled and Alicia found herself following suit. She remembered the documents in her hands and produced them for Mattie, trying to get back on track.
"So, will you have a look at our proposal?"
"Do you have to head off?" Mattie asked, her eyes suddenly sad and Alicia realised that the awkward questioning might've been more personal than political.
"I came right from court, lunch break," Alicia replied as Mattie took the documents.
"Ok," she demurred, looking down at the documents without interest, "Well leave this with me and if I have any questions..." Mattie began, the entire tenor of her voice changing to resignation.
"My number is right there," Alicia pointed on the business card paper-clipped to the front of the papers.
"Cell phone number?" Mattie asked, her eyes meeting Alicia's again.
"Yes," Alicia confirmed.
Mattie's lips pulled up in the hint of a smile as she nodded and pulled the documents towards her.
They stood their in awkward silence for a moment before Alicia realised she had been implicitly dismissed. She voiced a polite 'bye,' before turning from Mattie and heading back down the stairs.
Mattie watched Alicia leave. She had always wondered about the type of woman would support a man who had betrayed her and caused her very public embarrassment. She had always assumed it had been driven by weakness but the article she had read showed a strength that she didn't think could be true to form. It had been a self-indulgent test, getting Alicia to visit, finding the means to meet her, and the results had proved beyond assumption. Alicia was confident, self-sufficient, smart and determined. More than that, she felt an odd connection to her, kindred, sympatico, as if she was already a friend she didn't know yet. It was a surreal experience she wasn't sure she wanted to repeat... and yet...
Mattie sighed, putting the paperwork under her arm as she pushed the thought from her mind and went off in search of her driver.
A few days later Eli stopped Alicia in the hallway of Lockhart/Gardner to thank her for sending Mattie to them. When Alicia asked him to clarify Eli explained that Mattie was supporting Peter's campaign because of her and after thanking her again he continued his transit, leaving Alicia looking after him with incomprehension painted on her face. She was trying to imagine what she had done when the firm trustee walked up to her, pulling her away from her train of thought.
Alicia was standing outside the courtroom when she heard her name. She turned and saw Mattie approaching her.
"I'm not stalking you I promise," Mattie insisted, "I had to meet a Judge here, Kate Conroy, do you know her?"
"I don't," Alicia responded.
"Well I'm backing her for Illinois appellate court but I knew that you had a case so while I was here I thought I would..."
"Eli told me you are backing Peter?" Alicia cut off, sensing Mattie's words trail off.
"Yes," Mattie replied, her suddenly serious demeanour at odds with the boundless energy she had moments before.
Alicia smiled broadly, "I don't know what to say, thank you. I hope you didn't think that I was..."
"No not at all," Mattie cut off with a swipe of her hand, "No... I... I was impressed," she assured her. "Speaking of which.. and this is a little bit awkward so I'm just going to say it," she continued looking around nervously before meeting Alicia's face, "would you like to have a drink sometime?"
Alicia paused, trying to ensure she had heard correctly, but surely Mattie’s nervousness could only mean one thing?
"Mattie, I'm flattered really.. I just.. I'm married."
"Oh.... I wasn't hitting on you... oh no," Mattie looked at the ground, pulled her hair behind her ears in a nervous gesture before clearing her throat and continuing, "Well now it's really awkward.." she continued.
"Oh god, I'm sorry," Alicia backtracked, trying to make sense of her confusion - why would she assume? "I just misunderstood, this day it's just been one thing after another," she tried to explain.
"Don't worry about it...look..umm..." Mattie paused, trying to find the words, "the thing is I don't have many friends Alicia. There I said it. Sometimes it is hard to know if one wants to be your friend or if they want something from you."
"I can imagine," Alicia sympathised, nodding.
"So, I'll say it again, would you like to have a drink sometime?" she repeated, her confidence returning.
Alicia laughed, her eyes scanning the hallway before Mattie spoke again.
"What's so funny?" Mattie asked, a smile across her face.
"I just don't remember the last time someone just approached me for a drink," Alicia clarified, "And I would be delighted, how's that?"
"Good, good. We're talking like normal human beings," Mattie replied, her cheeks turning red as she laughed, "How about tomorrow night?"
"Sounds good," Alicia replied, her smile broadening as she nodded in an implicit farewell.
"Looking forward," Mattie replied as Alicia made her way back to the courtroom.
Mattie watched Alicia walk down the hallway towards her courtroom as she swallowed the lump in her throat. She took a deep breath, trying to calm the nerves fluttering in her chest and wondering why, when she could face down statesmen and money hungry executives, it was a fourth year associate making her so nervous. Alicia opened the door to her courtroom and was gone.
Alicia was called in to Diane's office later that day. Mattie had refused their renegotiation proposal.
"But she is giving to your husband's campaign," Diane continued.
Alicia tried to assure Diane that she had in no way solicited Mattie and while Diane eventually nodded and dismissed her it was obvious that Diane was quite upset by the turn of events.
Alicia wondered, not for the first time, what she had done to convince Mattie to donate. It was even more odd in the light of her refusal to help Lockhart/Gardner. She sighed, thankful, at least, that she would only have to cover one political angle when they went out for drinks.
Alicia entered the busy bar the following night and scanned the room for Mattie, finding her on one of the bar stools. She made her way through the room to the stool beside Mattie.
"Alicia," Mattie welcomed, signaling the bartender.
"Hi Mattie," Alicia replied as she sat beside her.
"Gin and tonic," Mattie ordered as the bartender came over to them, before looking over at Alicia.
"Same," Alicia ordered before looking somewhat sheepishly over at Mattie, suddenly realising that they had such a tenuous connection to each other that this couldn't help but become horribly awkward.
"So here we are," Mattie said, reinforcing Alicia's thoughts.
Alicia nodded, glancing over to see how fast the bartender was making their drinks.
"I don't do this very often so I'm not sure... what the expectations are," Mattie fumbled nervously.
Alicia smiled broadly, "Surely you've been out for drinks before?" Alicia asked, the laughter in her voice unavoidable.
The bartender came back with their drinks and the women took them appreciatively.
"To new friendships," Mattie toasted, clinking Alicia's glass before taking a sip. "To answer your question though, not really. I've been out for drinks with work prospects, on dates, back in high school, but there was always some objective - something I could string the conversation around, money, sex..." she gestured with her hands as if to say 'etc'.
"Hum," Alicia muttered, sipping her drink before putting it down again, "And now you have no objective," Alicia clarified earnestly.
"Exactly," Mattie beamed, happy Alicia understood, "So I'm not sure what to talk about," she added.
Alicia nodded, "Well generally I'd see how your day went and you'd see how mine went and we'd go from there," she said, her serious tenor undermined by the hint of a smile crossing her lips.
"Sounds reasonable," Mattie agreed, mimicking Alicia's mock seriousness.
"So how was your day?" Alicia asked, her attempt to remain serious failing as her mouth broke into a wide grin, the alcohol affecting her quicker than she thought. She looked down and realised her drink was almost empty.
Mattie laughed with her, ordering them both a second drink.
Alicia closed the door to her apartment, it had been a strange evening. In addition to Mattie being an odd combination of strong, smart and commanding on one hand and very unsure on the other, Alicia had, of her own volition, pushed forward Eli's propaganda about the scandal around Peter being untrue. She had tried to justify it but it fell flat and the evening had ended a bit more somber than the previous hours had been. She had enjoyed herself, of that she had no doubt. Mattie was compelling, quick witted and intelligent and it felt good to finally be around someone who wasn't connected to work or politics. An evening that was just for her. And except for a few hiccups it had been easy conversation. They had made another drink date for the following week and Alicia found that she was already looking forward to it. There was something about Mattie that made Alicia want to be around her. She pushed the half-formed though out of her mind - it didn't matter right now. Right now she needed to sleep. She changed, slipped into bed and willed herself to sleep as fragments of the night drifted in and out of her consciousness.
Alicia sat in Lamont Bishop's house, watching him say good bye to his son, listening to Mattie Hayward pull her support of Peter because of a false story and then ask to remain friends. This little boy was going to loose his father and all Mattie could think about was how a fake story was making her look.
"...I think you and I are sympatico. Is that possible? Staying friends?" Mattie's voice asked through Alicia's phone.
"Sure," Alicia replied, the dull edge to her voice relaying her displeasure.
"Well, I'd like to try," Mattie replied.
She continued but Alicia didn't bother to listen, barely catching the 'Good night' before she hung up the phone.
Mattie waited in Alicia's office, the nerves in her stomach jumping the moment she saw Alicia round the corner through the glass wall. She gave a thin smile as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
Alicia hadn't been purposely avoiding Mattie but she hadn't gone out of her way to speak to her either, the thought of Mattie's self-importance leaving a bad taste in her mouth. Which is why she was surprised, but not overly so, to find Mattie standing in her office as she came back from a case review, files loaded in her arms.
She froze when she saw her, taking a moment before entering tentatively, watching Mattie's expressions shuttle between degrees of nervousness.
Cary, who Alicia hadn't initially noticed, excused himself.
"Hi," Mattie said when Cary had exited the room, her tenor clear but edged with an apologetic softness.
"Hi Mattie," Alicia replied, keeping her tone even.
"I tried to see you earlier but you're busy."
"We're fine Mattie," Alicia stated flatly, walking past Mattie and putting the files in her arms on her desk, "We are. You're not giving money to my husband. It's okay."
"No..umm... It's just..." Mattie began, searching for the words. Alicia watched her carefully as she lowered her head for a moment to reorient herself. "It's just that I wanted to warn you before I announce," Mattie stated.
"Announce...what?" Alicia asked, none of the answers she was coming up with made sense.
"My candidacy," Mattie replied, "I'm running against your husband."
Alicia faded out of the conversation for a moment, her mind whirring with the repercussions.
"...I thought your husband could represent our interests but with this latest story..I know you say its a lie but women have always.."
"Mattie," Alicia cut off, "You don't need to explain anything," she said seating herself at her desk, the words forced from her lips by rote as her insides screamed against the betrayal she had no right to feel so acutely.
"I know," Mattie replied, a pleading in her voice, "But I want you to understand."
"I understand," Alicia replied, forcing a smile, "and you don't have to explain anything."
Mattie sat down opposite her with a loud exhale, her eyes connecting with Alicia's, trying to force their way past the shield Alicia had erected.
"Ok," Mattie replied resignedly, "Maybe we can still talk," she offered.
"Sure, whenever you want," Alicia replied, the lack of emotion behind the words causing them to echo with their real meaning.
Mattie's face contorted in apology, "I'm sorry Alicia, the issues are too important to delay."
"And you have the money to run," Alicia pointed out.
"It's not personal," Mattie insisted, trying to hold Alicia's eyes.
"Yep," Alicia replied, her anger leaking through despite her attempt to control it, "Just business."
Mattie opened her mouth to say something before thinking better of it, picking up her things and leaving Alicia's office.
Alicia watched her go, thinking of everything that had passed between them and realising that she knew things that she could now use against her husband. She picked up her pocketbook and went straight to Peter's campaign headquarters.
Mattie had given Alicia a week before leaving a message on her voicemail asking how she was. Alicia shook her head as she listened to it, her annoyance fuelled by the fact that the betrayal still stung. She deleted it, and the numerous others left in the following weeks, and tried to forget about their short-lived friendship. But as much as she tried to get over it, the pain lingered, it's tenacity unmatched by the length of their acquaintance.
Alicia had been ignoring Mattie's phone calls for over three weeks when she walked in to her office to find Mattie sitting opposite her desk in the otherwise empty office. Mattie looked up and turned as Alicia entered.
"Hi Alicia," she enunciated carefully, rising from the seat and taking a step towards Alicia, inadvertently hampering the path to her desk.
Alicia remained standing on the inside of the doorway for a moment, lips pressed in an even line.
"Mattie, what are you doing here?" Alicia asked firmly, as she brushed past the other woman to stand behind her desk, moving the files on her desk automatically.
"Drinks. I thought we should do drinks," Mattie replied, slightly flustered.
Alicia's phone rang. She sifted through her pocketbook, pulling it out and answering it without re-acknowledging Mattie's presence.
It was Kalinda.
"Hi Kalinda, I know I'm late for our drinks," she said pointedly before Kalinda could say anything, hoping her friend would follow along. "I will be down in a few and we can discuss it then," Alicia instructed, hanging up once Kalinda assented.
"Sorry Mattie," Alicia replied unapologetically, pocketing her phone back in her purse.
"You already have plans," Mattie finished, standing and pulling her purse strap over her arm.
Alicia nodded, coming out from behind her desk.
Mattie took a step before pausing in front of Alicia, "I know it might look otherwise but I did not seek your friendship just to get information on your husband," she said sombrely. "I will not intentionally betray your confidence Alicia," she stated firmly, about to reach out for her, make the statement tangible, before she thought better of it and withdrew her hand, "I hope you can believe me."
"I hope I can to," Alicia replied, a trace of sadness in her otherwise stern response as she gestured to the door.
Mattie took her cue and bowed out of the office, her hand resting on the edge of the door as she stuck her head back around, "If you ever want to have drinks give me a ring, otherwise I will leave you alone," Mattie stated, "But I do hope we can still be friends."
"I doubt it Mattie but thank you," Alicia replied politely, her lips pressed in an unemotive line as Mattie nodded her head and left the office.
Alicia watched Mattie through the glass walls with a mixture of relief and sadness as she made her way up the stairs to the elevators that would bring her back to her own floor.