ana_khouri (ana_khouri) wrote,
ana_khouri
ana_khouri

Expanding Radius - The Good Wife (Mattie/Alicia) Part 5 (of 8)

Title: Expanding Radius Part 5 (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 / Part 4


***
Alicia didn't remember the taxi home. She found herself at her door, keys in hand, knowing only that her stomach twisted inside of her as she ran through what had happened again and again. 

She tried to convince herself it was only a touch, that it didn't mean anything but she had seen Mattie's eyes, had felt her own reaction and saw their past in a whole new light.  Even if she was imagining the rest she could not ignore her body's reaction - but what could she do about it?

She turned on the shower, as cold as she could bear it, and weighed her options. She could confront Mattie.  She ran through possible scenarios but each felt empty, cardboard. She wasn't sure she could maintain that level of disconnect when what she really wanted were those 'innocent' touches that made her body feel electric. But she had to; she could not betray her vows, as tarnished as they already were, she wouldn't do it to her family again and certainly not with Mattie. She pictured the headlines, horrible paparazzi shots of her and Mattie with dark glasses trying to leave the building that house their offices.  It would be too painful for the children.

She got out of the shower, the cold having done little for the heat inside her, and got in bed. She picked up the brief she had been working on the previous night and tried to enforce a semblance of normality. A few hours later, she put the brief down uselessly and turned off the lights.

***

"You don't get to be sorry," Alicia exclaimed, stepping out of the lift and throwing her coat and purse on the floor, "You can go back to your life," she raged, stepping ever closer and pointing emphatically, "Me? I go back to my husband, and my children and what?" she was in Mattie's face, "What do you expect me to do now?" she asked, breathless with anger and adrenaline as she held Mattie's eyes, feeling breath against her face. 

She felt the fingers in her hair moments before she felt Mattie's lips against her own, soft and pliable, and then they were gone and Alicia was staring wide-eyed as Mattie took a step back, repeating 'I'm sorry' under her breath. 

Alicia took two steps forward, trapping Mattie between her and the back of one of the reception couches.  She froze for a moment within Mattie's personal space, her body thrumming with the proximity as stared into Mattie's eyes, first one and then the other, their depths mirroring her own desire with an intensity that scared her and made the air hard to breathe.

"Alicia, don't..." Mattie began softly.

Alicia placed her finger gently on Mattie's lips, watching her breath hitch. 

"You don't get to be sorry," she said, leaning in and replacing her finger with her lips. 

She felt the gentle pressure of Mattie's lips respond, a few moments of searching, gauging, before the hesitancy was replaced by a deeper need.  Her mouth opened and she felt Mattie's tongue begin its exploration of her mouth....

Her alarm made her jump out of bed, her heart racing.  She could still feel the lingering effect of Mattie's kiss and, as she got up, she realised how wet she had become.

"Shit," she uttered under her breath.

It was going to be a long day.

***

Mattie sat by her office window well into the night sipping her scotch. The night blurred into colours, the sound of Alicia's laughter and the deepening pit in her stomach, all ending abruptly with the warning that resounded when she had put her finger on Alicia's lips to quiet her.  She had seen Alicia's reaction; the mixture of fear and lust had been unmistakable.  Excusing herself seemed the only reaction and yet part of her was kicking herself for it.

She turned from the window, downing the rest of her scotch and slamming the empty cup on her desk.  She walked in front of her desk, pacing a line in front of it.  Part of her had always wanted this, to get close to Alicia, but the plan had gone awry and she had lost too much of herself in the process.  She realised now that the excuse of her political ambitions had always been a smokescreen for the real reason she wanted to get to know her. 

She sighed, picked up her phone and called her driver before picking up her coat and making her way to the elevator. 

Home and changed she threw open the door to her pool and split the water with her dive.  She pushed herself from one end to the other, loosing count of her laps as the moon shone in through the windows. 

Pushed to exhaustion she pulled herself out of the pool and dried off, making it to her living room couch before collapsing. 

***

Alicia pushed herself through her errands, ordered the shopping, cleaned the bits of the house that were essential and then made her way into the office, still in her sweater and jeans, to finish the work she hadn't finished the day before. 

She entered the elevator, half afraid, half wishing that Mattie would be there.  She breathed a sigh of relief at her absence, forcing away the anticipation that had risen in her throat as the elevator dinged and she entered the 28th floor. 

There was a serenity to Lockhart/Gardner on the weekends.  She was hardly the only person in the office but the atmosphere was calmer, almost sedate.  She made her way to her desk; all of her present colleagues absorbed in their own work, and sat down, turning on her laptop and trying to focus on the task at hand.

She fought her way through the intrusive 'what if's' that plagued her, 'What if Mattie came to her office right now?' being the most persistent, and pushed herself to finish the brief she had started the day before. 

She was just reviewing the rest of her work to see what else was urgent when there was a knock at the door.  A lump rose in her throat so fast Alicia nearly jumped out of her chair but when she looked up it was Kalinda. 

She exhaled, gesturing for her to come in. 

"Everything okay?" Kalinda asked cautiously as she came in and hovered on the other side of Alicia's desk. 

Alicia nodded, not trusting her voice, before averting her gaze.  Kalinda positioned herself closer.

"Alicia," she prodded, a gentle warning tone. 

Alicia buried her head in her hand for a moment to regain her composure. When she looked back up Kalinda was watching her intently from the side of her desk, carefully keeping her distance. 

"You're not okay," Kalinda factually stated. 

Alicia shook her head, unable to lie in the face of Kalinda's kindness.  All of the tension of the past few days splintered within her and tears welled up in her eyes.  She cleared her throat and forced them away, wiping her eyes of the excess water. 

Kalinda took a careful step closer, "Let's get out of here," she offered, her voice just over a whisper.

Alicia nodded, shut down her computer and collected her belongings. 

***

The wind was bitter and Alicia pulled her coat tighter. She couldn't fault Kalinda for the spot though; they were sat on a bench overloooking Lake Michigan and despite it being early afternoon no one was around except for the odd determined jogger. 

Alicia sipped the coffee in her hands, chaffing it for its warmth. 

"Do you want to talk about it?" Kalinda asked before sipping her own coffee, wondering when she became the sensible friend. 

Alicia sighed, fighting with her own fear of betrayal.  She believed that Kalinda would keep her secret but she was hesitant to give voice to all that had happened, as if that would make it more real. 

She took a deep breath, it caught in her throat as she tried to find the words.

"Mattie..." she began, not sure where to start.  She swallowed.

"We had dinner...," Alicia voiced, as if that alone could hold all that has occurred between them.  She took another breath and tried again, "There is something...we...she.. I think she almost kissed me," she finally spat out, averting her eyes, "I think I wanted her too," she whispered, looking out into the ocean.

The confession stung Kalinda as she realised that part of her had never given up hope that Alicia would leave Peter to be with her.  It had always been an impossible fantasy and yet it still hurt that someone else was getting what she had always wanted.

When Kalinda didn't respond Alicia turned to face her, recognising Kalinda's silence for what it was, her coming to terms with her own loss.  She took Kalinda's hands.

"I know you.. care for me," Alicia began, careful not to harm Kalinda's feelings any further or crack her fortress-wall, "You  have always been a good friend and I am sorry that it took me so long to realize that," she admitted earnestly. 

Kalinda nodded, forcing herself to leave her hands within Alicia's despite her flight instinct telling her to pull away. Alicia needed this as much as she did, this simple connection to another person, and it was for Alicia's sake that she was able to keep them steady, letting Alicia's hands warm on her own. 

"If someone finds out now the press will make your lives hell," Kalinda pointed out pragmatically, "You need to stay away from each other until the race is over."

Alicia nodded.  She had known it of course, somewhere in the chaos of her own thoughts, but it was reassuring to have the pieces slotted together, the decision simplified.

"And if it isn't what I really want?" Alicia asked softly, avoiding Kalinda's gaze.

Kalinda waited until Alicia raised her eyes again, "There is only one way to find out," she replied softly, raising her eyebrows.

Alicia swallowed the lump in her throat unsuccessfully and nodded.

"Thank you," Alicia offered sincerely.

Kalinda pulled her hands away, the sudden cold surprising her, "That is what friends are for," she stated casually as she stood up, "shall we?" she asked. 

Alicia nodded following Kalinda out of the wind. 

***

Mattie woke up to the sunlight streaming in through her bay window. Her head throbbed and she was still in her bathing suit with her towel wrapped around her.  She disentangled herself and made her way to the bathroom.

An aspirin and a shower later she still had a throbbing headache but she felt slightly more human. 

***

Kalinda left Alicia at her car and immediately went back to the office.  She began trolling through whatever information she could find about Mattie Hayward, desperate to protect Alicia however she could.  A small part of her wondered if this was selfishness on her part, the desire to prove Mattie unworthy, but even if there was she would use it to fuel her.  She would not see Alicia hurt if there was anything she could do to prevent it. 

***

Home again, Alicia readied herself for her date with Peter.  She was loathe to go but she knew that if she didn't it would raise alarm bells and at the moment she needed Peter to trust her. 

The doorbell rang perfectly on time.  Alicia did one last check of her appearance, took a deep breath and forced her mouth into the fake smile she had taken years to perfect, toning it down with the hopes Peter wouldn't notice. 

She opened the door. 

Peter turned and took her in, "You look amazing Alicia," he said offering his arm. 

She thanked him and took his arm, releasing it for a moment to lock the door behind them.  She took his arm again as he led her the few steps to the elevators. 

"Thank you for coming tonight," Peter offered as the doors shut before them. 

Alicia turned to him and gave a small smile, "Of course," she replied, pushing away everything that had been tormenting her and reminding herself that she did love Peter, despite everything. 

"How are the kids?" he asked, "Even when they're with me I feel like I never see them," he remarked. 

Alicia nodded, a single laugh passing her lips, "They're growing up," she stated, "I feel the same.  I think they're okay though," she added nodding. 

The elevator dinged and they left the empty elevator, Peter ushering Alicia into a waiting car. 

Alicia raised her brow at the extra expense. 

"You're worth it," Peter said with a smile, reading Alicia's expressions as fluently as always, before leaning over and speaking to the driver. 

Alicia watched as the car pulled away and started off toward the restaurant, enjoying the silence between. 

"Alicia," Peter started, and the tone of his voice made her snap to attention.

"What is it?" she asked, concern painted on her face as she instantly arrived at numerous worse-case scenarios, most involving Mattie in some way. 

"Nothing like that," Peter calmed, raising his hand slightly before putting it on her lower thigh, "I just worry about the impact my campaigning has on the kids," he stated soberly. 

Alicia exhaled louder than she meant before looking ahead pensively, trying to think how the children were directly affected. 

She shook her head.

"I think all kids have similar trials, as long as we keep them out of the limelight as much as possible I don't think they are being harmed by it."

"Of course I'm not sure how much longer we can keep Zach out of it," she amended. 

Peter nodded, "He will be an adult soon enough," he remarked distantly. 

Alicia nodded, various images of Zach when he was young flashing through her mind. "Do you remember when he was three and you took him to fly a kite outside the circus?"

Peter nodded, "He was so excited to have that kite in the air."

"And then the band struck up in the circus, and he was so scared he lost the kite?" Alicia continued. 

"He was devastated," Peter finished, nodded, "I can't believe how much has changed," he added looking meaningfully at Alicia.  He took her hand and squeezed it and Alicia looked back at him and smiled. 

The car slowed and Alicia slipped her hand away as Peter leaned over to speak to the driver again. 

They pulled up to the restaurant she knew well and Peter escorted her in, making their way to an isolated table in the back.  They ordered dinner, something they had both ordered dozens of times before, and, as the waiter left, Alicia had an odd moment of suffocation, as if she was trapped in this dinner, in this life.  She exhaled, recognising this as a side-effect of her anxiety over Mattie, and picked up her wine, trying to calm her nerves. 

"A toast," Peter offered, stopping Alicia as she was about to put the wine to her lips, "To working things out."

Alicia forced a smile on her face, clinking their glasses before taking a sip. 

Peter followed suit, putting his glass down and leaning forward, reaching for Alicia's hand.  Alicia tried to avoid contact without making it seem too obvious but failed as Peter caught her hand before it slid off the table. 

"Alicia," he began but before he could continue his phone rang.

He pulled his hand away apologetically, "I told Eli not to bother me unless it was important," he explained, pulling the phone from his pocket and making his way back to the door. 

Alicia watched him depart; glad for the headspace it allowed her.  She picked up her wine, realising that whether Peter had changed or not was no longer the issue, she had changed, she had evolved without him and the rest of this was play-acting to a script she knew by heart.  It was a performance she was usually comfortable in but as of late it had started to grate on her and she now realised the cause of this friction. 

As the pieces fell into place in her head Peter came back to the table, tucking his phone back in his pocket, his whole face formed into an uncomfortable frown.  Alicia put down her second glass of wine, sitting up straighter and trying to read the cause of Peter's expression.

"Bad news?" she asked as he sat back in his seat opposite her. 

"In a way, yes," Peter responded cagily. 

The waiter, seeing Peter return, gestured for their meals to be brought to the table. 

"What is it?" Alicia asked putting down her glass.

Peter forced his politician smile on as the food was placed before them.

"It can wait until after we eat," he assured her. 

Alicia was unconvinced but tried to force away her own fears, knowing they were unsubstantiated, it wasn't as if Mattie was going to tell Peter, and there was nothing really to tell anyway.  Nothing had happened. 

They made conversation but it was all on the surface, Alicia could tell Peter was holding back something and all this was shadow-play as he fought to figure out how he wanted to address something. 

"Do you still see Mattie?" he asked in a moment of silence.  It would've appeared to the world like an innocent enquiry but Alicia felt the weight of it as Peter's eyes bored into her before taking another bite of his meal, masking his concern over the response. 

Alicia put her fork down and picked up her wine glass, "What do you mean?" she asked, glad her voice remained steady despite the lump that had jumped into her throat. 

"She tried to befriend you, right? Before she ran?" Peter clarified, putting down his fork and reaching for his drink, "Do you still hear from her?"

"I see her around," Alicia offered, trying to remain evasive, "She does work two floors up from me so we bump in to each other." 

"Of course," Peter acknowledged, nodding as he went back to his dinner.

Alicia could feel the change in his demeanour from restrained to downright cold and her brain went in to panic mode, thinking of all the possible ways he could know.  Of what could he know. She had thought it impossible but something had Peter on the defensive. 

They finished dinner in silence, each politely refusing desert when the waiter came around.  

Peter paid and ushered Alicia back into the waiting car.

Peter took out his phone again as the car pulled away, flicking through various menus until he found what he was looking for.  He placed the phone on Alicia's lap.  Alicia picked it up, recognising the photo in that jarring way of seeing something from a different angle than remembered.  It was an image of her and Mattie eating dinner taken through the window of Mattie's office. 

"You bump into her in her office with a three course meal?" Peter shot, the sarcasm apparent in his voice. 

"Who took this?" Alicia asked firmly, handing the phone back. 

Peter was taken aback for a moment, "Why did you lie to me?" he asked trying to regain the high ground.

"Because I knew you would question her motives but you know what?  I like Mattie, we're friends and so yes, we had dinner last night," Alicia shot back, her voice raising with indignation, "Now how did you get that photo?"

"Someone Eli knows," Peter muttered, brushing it off, "And thankfully this was him and not someone working for.." 

"You mean thankfully no one is watching me dining with the enemy?" Alicia cut off, "You're mad at me for having dinner but not Eli for hiring someone to follow Mattie?" she fumed, "Get out," she commanded. 

"What?"

"Get out," Alicia insisted. 

"Alicia," Peter responded trying to placate her.

"Either you get out or I do," Alicia stated, her voice brokering no argument. 

Peter leaned forward and told the driver to pull over.  He did as much and Peter got out. 

"I don't trust her Alicia," he said, holding the door and leaning into the car.

"Like it or not Peter, I don't share your opinion in all things," Alicia replied, voice steely cold as she leaned over and pulling the door from him, feeling it shut with a satisfying bang. 

She leaned forward and asked the driver to bring her home. 

***

The car dropped her off at her apartment complex but she couldn't go inside yet.  She started walking in a random direction, taking deep breaths as she tried to process all that had happened. She was lucky really, there would've been more compromising photos.  But now that she knew what was she going to do?

She got out her phone, took a deep breath and rang Mattie. 

***


Part 6
Tags: expanding radius, mattie/alicia, the good wife
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