ana_khouri (ana_khouri) wrote,
ana_khouri
ana_khouri

Expanding Radius - The Good Wife (Mattie/Alicia) Part 4 (of 8)

Title: Expanding Radius Part 4 (of 8 1/2)
Author: Ana_khouri
Fandom: The Good Wife
Pairing: Alicia/Mattie (with unrequited Kalinda/Alicia and cannon Alicia/Peter)
Rating: M
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...
Synopsis:
[Spoilers for Season 4]Mattie befriended Alicia and then declared her intentions to run against her husband.  Bad timing or betrayal?  And why cant either of them just accept that they really shouldnt 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 

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3


***

Mattie sat in her office, watching the sun set over the city, sipping the scotch she kept in her bottom drawer.  She was vacillating between the desire to see Alicia again as soon as possible/how best to make that happen and the concern that doing so would lead to betraying her.  The more she thought about it the less it mattered what happened, Alicia was talking to her again and she didn't want to lose her. 

What she completely ignored, despite the shadow it created in her mind, was what was spurring on this intensity. 

***

Alicia came into her office the following week to find a note on her desk. 

Dinner, Friday, the 30th floor.  Tell me you'll accept.

M

Alicia's brow furrowed as her stomach fluttered.  The offer appealed and appalled in equal measure.  Mattie's insistence bothered her and yet she wanted to accept, to ignore everything in her head screaming all the reasons she shouldn't. 

"What's that?"

Alicia looked up to see Cary entering their office. She folded the note away and tucked it into her purse.

"Nothing," she said, plastering on a smile.

"Didn't look like nothing," Cary commented softly, heading towards his seat and involving himself in his own work. 

Alicia shook her head, trying to dislodge the small bit of anarchy desperate to be heard.  She couldn't have anything to do with Mattie until after the election and in the privacy of Mattie's office it felt too much like sneaking around - like she had something to hide.  It was better for everyone involved if they waited until the election was over. 

And yet, if Alicia stripped away all the logic, in her heart she wanted to go.  Mattie affected her in some way she couldn't yet place and she wanted to an excuse to spend time with her.   She shook her head again, pulled open a brief and forced herself to concentrate. 

***

Alicia exited the courtroom later to find Peter waiting for her. 

"Is something wrong?" She asked upon seeing the serious downward curve of his lip that was his default expression.

"No," he assured her, a smile cracking his visage, "but can I speak to you for a moment?" He asked leading her to his office.

Alicia fell into step beside him as she tried to avoid the gaze of the other lawyers waiting around the courtroom. She could feel their gaze; predatory in a way it never was when she was alone. Peter opened the door to the DA's office and held it open, ushering Alicia in before him. He brought her through the hall and was nabbed twice by staff members with questions before making it to his office. The door closed behind them, a click followed by silence. Peter gestured to his couch and Alicia sat down, Peter unbuttoning his jacket and sitting beside her. 

"What is it Peter?" Alicia repeated.

"Come to dinner with me," Peter said, his eyebrows curving the way they did when he was nervous, unsure.

Alicia laughed, partly from shock and partly to think of what to say.

"Come on Alicia, I thought we could spend some time together. Just you and me."

Alicia cocked her head to the side. 

"I'll think about it," She finally replied.

Peter pressed his lips together in an almost frown, clearly not expecting this response.

"Ok," he replied raising his eyebrows and relaxing his face before leaning back into the couch, his arm draped along the back. 

"So what did Mattie want?" he asked casually. 

"What?" Alicia blurted out, shock crossing her face before she composed it.

Peter cracked a side-smile, "She summoned you to her office yesterday."

"Is that a problem?" Alicia asked, annoyed that she was being watched and the insinuation that Peter should have say over who she visited in the course of her day.

"That depends on why she wanted to speak to you," Peter replied, his lip curled in an affable half smile. 

Alicia considered her response.  On one hand Peter was doing what he needed to for his campaign, on the other he was being intrusive and possessive.  If she lied and he found out it would look exponentially worse but the truth sounded highly suspect.

"She was considering Lockhart/Gardner for some consulting work," Alicia lied ably.

"And she wanted to talk to you?" Peter asked, eyebrows rising in suspicion. 

"She wanted to ensure it wouldn't be a problem for me that the firm represented her," she explained.

"And is it?" Peter asked, leaning forward and clasping his hands in his lap. 

Alicia shook her head, "We're both professionals who want the best for Illinois but differ on what exactly that means," she replied, a smile playing on her lips, knowing that the implication would feed his ego just enough to throw him off track.

Peter nodded, leaning back slightly and placing his hands on his thighs as he pushed of, standing up and re-buttoning his coat.

"Thank you Alicia," he said as Alicia stood, "I'll let you get back to work." 

He gestured to the door, leading Alicia as she made her way to it. 

"Let me know if you are available for dinner," he said as he opened the door.

Alicia nodded, saying goodbye and leaving him at his office door.  She made her way back to the main hallway, seething below the surface as she swore she wasn't going to let the campaign get in the way of her life.

***

She returned to the office, taking a deep breath and pressing the button that would bring her to the 30th floor.  The elevator dinged and she walked through the doors, ignoring the reception and other staff littered before the main hallway.  She walked through the bare plaster halls, taking a left and then right as she made her way to Mattie's office.  She opened the door to find Mattie on a phone call.

Mattie looked up. "I'll call you back," she said, hanging up without taking her eyes off Alicia. 

"I'd say come on in but you seem to have found your way in already," Mattie remarked with a slight sarcasm as the corner of her mouth belied the anger her words may have held. 

"Sorry, I didn't think..." Alicia began, her initial determination fading in the face of her action. 

"Don't worry about it Alicia," she replied smiling, "come and sit."

Alicia sat herself in the chair opposite Mattie.

"To what do I owe the honour?" Mattie asked. 

Alicia met Mattie's eyes, holding them in her own and feeling her confidence return in the action. 

"I'm here to say yes.   I would love to have dinner on Friday," Alicia stated, her heart pounding nervously beneath the aura of false confidence. 

Mattie smiled, it made it to her eyes and beyond.  She aimlessly moved a pile on her desk before leaning forward on her desk. 

"You didn't need to come here to tell me that.  In fact it might contradict the discretion I was trying to allow us," Mattie said, meeting Alicia's eyes unblinkingly. 

"I don't care, Peter..."

Mattie cut off, holding her finger out toward Alicia's lips, "I don't want to know anything about Peter," she asserted.

Alicia nodded.  "Chinese wall," she replied. 

Mattie nodded in agreement, putting down her hand as her phone rang. 

Alicia got up quickly and made for the door.

"I'll see you Friday," Mattie whispered as she picked up the phone. 

Alicia nodded, her lips curved into a smile, as she turned and exited Mattie's office.

***

The week dragged on in a torrent of rain and the feeling of unrelenting drudgery it caused was paralleled by Alicia's caseload.  It was as if they knew that Alicia needed something more to distract her and firmly refused to do anything to allow it. 

At Peter's repeated prompting she agreed to have dinner with him on Saturday, part of her wondering if her capitulation had anything to do with her guilt over seeing Mattie the night before.  Otherwise the week was only extraordinary for its inability to progress at a usual pace.  Even her, now regular, dalliance with Peter in the campaign bus left her wanting, the thrill of it gone. 

On Friday morning the sun broke through the clouds and tried to dry a soaked Chicago. Alicia could feel the extra spring in her step but when Diane made a comment about her looking more chipper she chalked it up to the sun's return. 

As if the sun had reinvigorated everything, all the cases that had refused to budge over the week suddenly progressed or settled and Alicia's day ran by with a speed she had thought impossible. 

She was at her desk, finishing off a brief, when she realised the time.  She tried to concentrate on the last few sentences but found she was unable (why was she so nervous?) and saved it to finish over the weekend.

She collected her things, said bye to Cary and went to the elevator as casually as possible, hoping no one else would be going home at the same time and wondering why she was heading up.

She turned the corner and saw Will waiting for the elevator.  Before he could see her, and ensuring no one else saw her either, she instinctively ducked into the stairwell and took the two flights up. 

She opened the stairwell door at the 30th floor and saw Mattie, waiting in one of the reception chairs and clearly expecting her to come out of the elevator, turn in momentary confusion.

"Sorry I'm late," Alicia said before Mattie could open her mouth.

Mattie stood, "Glad you made it," she replied, taking the few steps in between them, "this way," she gestured, one hand motioning toward the hallway that lead to the offices, the other brushing against the small of Alicia's back in an unconscious gesture. 

"Something smells fabulous," Alicia commented as Mattie fell in to step beside her, directing her into a simple kitchen. A man stood at the stove, three pots and pans on the go, the oven producing a lovely aroma.

"It'll be done shortly," he remarked when the entered, the faintest trace of an Italian accent.

"Thank you Maurice," Mattie replied with a smile before she led Alicia away from the kitchen and through another hallway into her office.

"You hired a cook?" Alicia remarked as she followed Mattie to her couch and sat beside her but at a comfortable distance.

Mattie shook her head, leaning over to pick up an uncorked bottle of wine, sitting on the long coffee table in front of them. She offered some to Alicia, who nodded in acceptance, before pouring the wine into the two awaiting glasses.

"Maurice is my personal chef," Mattie clarified, handing one of the glasses to Alicia and turning sideways on the couch to face her. 

"Really?" Alicia responded as she took the glass, brushing Mattie's fingers and already feeling a little giddy before the wine had even come to her lips, "And how does one find a personal chef?" she asked to cover up her confusion, quickly putting the wine to her lips.  

"I picked him up in a bar," Mattie replied frankly, taking a sip of her own wine but watching as Alicia spluttered before wiping the edge of her mouth discretely and placing her wine glass on her other hand.  Mattie put her glass down and smiled before leaning her arm against the back of the couch and letting her head rest against it. 

Alicia narrowed her eyes, trying to judge the situation.

"I'm completely serious," Mattie continued jovially, happy to have something to say, "I picked him up in the bar, took him home, we had an okay night and then when I woke up he had made me breakfast.  And it was better than the sex.  I hired him on the spot."

"So you two..." Alicia trailed off. 

Mattie picked up her glass and took another sip, swallowing before shaking her head.  "Not since that night," she said seriously, before the edge of her lips cracked a smile, "He does make an amazing omelet though."

Alicia nodded, taking another sip. 

Mattie watched her for a moment, cocking her head to the side.

"Are you okay?" she asked as she leaned forward and covered Alicia's hand with her own. 

Alicia's heart pounded at Mattie's touch but Mattie's hand slipped away as Maurices entrance diverted her attention. 

The plates were set at a small table to the side of Mattie's desk, right beside a large window overlooking a small park.  Alicia followed Mattie to the table, thinking, not for the first time, that she was in deeper than she should be.  And yet Mattie drew her in, made her feel... what? And why was she so nervous?

"Thank you," Mattie offered to Maurice as he left the women to his meal.

Alicia smiled at him, trying to force the image of him in bed with Mattie out of her mind, and thanked him in turn before putting her cloth napkin on her skirt and picking up her knife and fork. 

The food was delicious and Alicia said as much.  In between bites Mattie regaled her with tales of her awkward high school years, asked about Alicia's kids and one conversation ran into the next with an ease neither woman had anticipated.  As the meal progressed Alicia felt less nervous and more comfortable and a bottle and a half later they were back on the couch, each woman a little more giggly that she would have liked to admit. 

Alicia's initial nerves had severely diminished and instead her nervousness resonated as a background hum, one the alcohol made feel warm and inviting.  She felt every accidental touch, the brush of Mattie's hands against hers, the press of Mattie's knee against her thigh, every glancing of Mattie's body against her own was a warmth, a release of endorphins that made her feel younger than she had in years.  She was enjoying herself, honestly enjoying herself, for the first time in a very long time. 

"...and that is why Ben became a hot dog vendor," Mattie finished, trying to keep a straight face. 

Alicia giggled, taking another sip of wine, nearly spilling it and accidentally landing her hand on Mattie's upper thigh as she rushed to get the wine glass on the table.  The contact shot through her and for a moment Alicia sobered.

"Mattie, this has all been lovely but what is this really about?" she asked, tempting the truth she didn't want to know, the one she wasn't allowing herself to recognise. 

Mattie averted her gaze for a moment, picking up her glass and taking a sip, making a show of putting it down and looking straight at Alicia before responding. 

Alicia watched those eyes, stared into them, and it was both a safety and a fear that somehow they would swallow her if she let them. 

Mattie's eyes slid from Alicia's, "I told you, wanted a friend," she responded noncommittally, picking up her now empty wine glass and playing it between her fingers. 

Alicia reached out to Mattie's face, surprised by her own resolve as she forced Mattie to look her in the eyes, pulling her fingers away as Mattie responded. 

"But now?" Alicia questioned gesturing to the remnants of their plates while staying focused on Mattie, "You could've waited until after Peter..."

Mattie's index finger shot out and covered Alicia's lips, "Don't mention Peter," she whispered, slurring the ends of her words. 

Alicia met Mattie's eyes, her heart caught in her throat as her lips parted ever so slightly, tingling in response to the touch.  The air around them grew thick. 

Mattie turned away, pulling away her finger and getting up from her place on the couch.  "I'll be right back," she mumbled unceremoniously as she exited the room. 

Alicia's lips tingled even in the absence of Mattie's touch, and she bit down on the lower one, finally recognising the signs her body had been giving her all evening, if not longer.  She shook her head, trying to clear it, trying to make this feeling go away.  But she realised it had been there from the beginning, from their awkward encounter in the court when Mattie had asked her for drinks, something had drawn her to Mattie even then.  But she was married.  Peter.  His name brought back the feeling of Mattie's finger on her lips and Alicia traced them with her own fingers, a pit growing in her stomach as her alcohol-drowned sense fought with the desire building in her body. 

Flight took hold and she grabbed the coat and purse she had left in the corner of the room and made her way to the elevators as quickly and quietly as she could.  She pressed the down button.  "Come on," she whispered under her breath as she watched the numbers ease their way up. 

***

Mattie made her way awkwardly to the bathroom, trying desperately to catch the breath caught in her throat. Maybe she had known all along, she had certainly forced away any inkling that had occurred to her.  And now her body was betraying her. She entered the bathroom, wet a towel with cold water and pressed it against her face, trying to sober herself up. She put the towel down and stared at herself in the mirror, hoping it would give her some answers. She turned away, disgusted, and left the bathroom.

***
The doors opened in front of Alicia and she stepped in.

"Alicia," Mattie called from the other side of the reception, taking hasty strides to the elevator, "I'm sorry," she cried out as the doors between them shut before she could reach them, "I didn't mean.."

She dropped off her sentence, not sure what she had intended to say, and stood there for a moment, watching as the number above the elevator counted down from 30.

***

Part 5
Tags: expanding radius, mattie/alicia, the good wife
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