ana_khouri (ana_khouri) wrote,
ana_khouri
ana_khouri

Expanding Radius - The Good Wife (Mattie/Alicia) Part 7 (of 8)

Title: Expanding Radius Part 7 (of 8)
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?
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.  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 / Part 5 / Part 6

***

The elevator deposited Alicia on to her floor and yet it felt foreign, as if she was seeing everything through new eyes.  She opened her front door, taken aback when the television was on and Zach and Nisa lying on the couch, having obviously just shifted positions.

"What are you doing?" she asked, the shock making her statement more forceful then she had anticipated. 

Zach jumped up, "Nisa came over after school...I hadn't realised how late it was," he tried to explain. 

Alicia turned to Nisa, her tone softer but still firm, "Do you need a taxi?"

Nisa shook her head; her car was parked outside their building.  She said goodbye to Zach and left. 

When the door shut Alicia turned to Zach, "Homework-only computer for a week," she stated simply, "You do it again and you won't ever be having anyone over."

Zach made to respond but Alicia held up her hand to silence him, "This is not a conversation," she stated, turning from him and checking in on Grace before making her way to her own bedroom. 

She shut the door behind her and undressed but the action only brought back the thought of Mattie's fingers on her body.  She pushed the thought away as she put the clothes in the hamper, hoping the act would be significant enough, but the memory lingered.  She willed it to embed in her memory as she tried again and again to force it from herself, unsure how to proceed.  She pulled on her pajamas, heading to the sink to brush her teeth as her thoughts ran wild. 

Mattie had changed her.  She felt as if she had found a piece of herself, as if Mattie had exposed a layer of her self that Alicia hadn't even known existed.  She felt new in a very odd way.  It was disorienting and making what she had to do all the more difficult - because forgetting about it all was surely the only option.  But how could she?  And how could she face Peter and her kids if she didn't?

It wasn't just as if she had an affair, although had forced her from this path before.  But Will hadn't been like this, Will had been about self-fulfillment.  Mattie, on the other hand, touched something within her she couldn't shake.  But if she didn't let it go she would be having an affair with the woman who was running against Peter for Governor. 

She tried to get that to sink in but she couldn't distance Mattie from who she was to her.

Alicia slid in to bed, holding the covers at her face and realising that her hand still smelled faintly of Mattie.

***

As the door shut behind Alicia, Mattie could feel the emptiness of the house widen and echo around her.  She made her way back to her bedroom, readied herself for bed and slid back between the sheets.  She closed her eyes, focusing on the way Alicia's eyes had burned into her with desire, trying to hold on to the memory with the hope it would allow her to sleep.  But try as she might she couldn't help but agonise over Alicia's sudden coldness.  Despite trying to calm her own fears with whatever logic she could grasp, her brain was stuck in a loop of memory, replaying Alicia's face as she made to leave and her body language as she left the house.

She took a deep breath and threw off her covers, wrapping her robe around her and heading to her study - hopeful that she could find something else to hold her attention through the wakeful hours. 

***
Alicia sat at the island in her kitchen, conscious of Zach making his lunch behind her without acknowledging her presence.  She turned the page on the case file before her, trying to focus on the task at hand, when her phone rang.

It was Kalinda.

"Can we meet?" Kalinda asked without preamble.

"Hi Kalinda," Alicia replied, "is everything okay? she asked, concerned by Kalinda's tone of voice.

"I need to speak to you," she reiterated, "Meet you by the lake in half an hour?"

Alicia agreed, hanging up her phone, closing her file, notifying her oblivious son and heading out the door.

***
The wind was less blustery than the previous day but the lakeside was still empty. She watched Kalinda for a moment, sitting on the wall by the lake, looking out over the ocean, and felt like she was seeing her truly for the first time.  She was in her element here, a peace to her posture Alicia had never seen.

"It's almost like you belong here," Alicia commented, seating herself next to Kalinda and pulling her bag off her shoulder. 

Kalinda kept her eyes focused ahead, staring toward the distant shore, "I hadn't told anyone about this place before."

"Well thank you," Alicia said, taking Kalinda's hand as if to share some of the warmth she was feeling. 

Kalinda cleared her throat and pulled her hand away, dropping a file on Alicia's lap. 

Alicia opened it, flipping through the first few pages before finding pictures of Mattie with Indira Starr.  She looked up at Kalinda. 

"You checked into her," Alicia said, her heart catching in her throat, wondering what else she found.

Kalinda shrugged, "I wanted to make sure she was being truthful to you."

"And.."

Kalinda shook her head, taking the file from Alicia's lap.

"There are a few things I found but the one that worried me most is this," she pulled out a piece of paper and pointed to the third line down, "It's Mattie, speaking to someone on a wire tap."

Alicia read the passage, the context difficult to understand with the redactions, before she came to:

MH: Don't worry, I have an inside source within the Florrick campaign. 

She skimmed the following lines but nothing explained the statement.

She looked up at Kalinda.  "Me?"

Kalinda nodded, "That is what I assume she meant."

Alicia pulled out her phone, her body shaking with anger.  Kalinda took Alicia's phone from her hand and put her own phone in its place. 

"Better for me to be calling her... of course if she's tapped it won't matter," she cautioned.

Alicia nodded, dialing Mattie's number without hesitation. 

"Hello?" came the familiar voice.

"Mattie, it's Alicia."

"Alicia, good," Mattie replied, "We need to talk," she added, her tone both anxious an ominous.

"Yes we do, where?"

"Better you don't know, I'll have my driver pick you from outside the library," Mattie replied.

Alicia agreed and hung up, passing her phone back to Kalinda. 

"I'm coming with you," she insisted. 

Alicia shook her head, "She isn't going to hurt me, although this is become far too cloak and dagger for my liking," she sighed. 

"Be safe," Kalinda offered as Alicia shifted her bag back on to her shoulder and stood up.

"I will, and thank you," Alicia replied, warmth radiating from her eyes. 

Kalinda nodded and Alicia turned and left the park. 

***

An hour later Alicia found herself inside an unremarkable fifth floor apartment owned by Mattie's driver.

"Thank you Bruce," Mattie offered when he brought Alicia in.

Mattie was seated on Bruce's couch, leaning on one end with her legs curled under her.  She sat up straight when Alicia arrived, offering her the opposite chair as Bruce disappeared into another room. Alicia sat, watching Bruce leave before turning to Mattie as soon as he was out of earshot. 

"Why did you lie to me?" Alicia blurted out.

"What?" Mattie asked, true surprise painting her face.

"You have a source in the Florrick campaign?" she asked, trying to keep her voice even as the anger boiled just below the surface, "Is that what this is all about? Did you fuck me so I would betray my husband for you?" Alicia fumed. 

Mattie's face fell and she averted her eyes for a moment before meeting Alicia's eyes again.  "It's not you," she stated softly. 

Alicia sat open-mouthed, her anger ebbing.

"Who is it then? she asked, the disbelief evident in her voice.

"It's Jordan," Mattie admitted, the shame clearly written on her face, "I hired Jordan to join the Florrick campaign and spy for me."

She watched Alicia's face contort, trying to decide whether to believe her. 

"I fired him before I invited you to dinner," she explained, "I couldn't stomach betraying you."

"You seemed to have stomached it well enough," Alicia bit back. 

Mattie got off the couch and sat on the footstool in front of Alicia's chair. 

"Alicia, I will give you any proof you require - I swear to you, I am not hiding anything else."

"Give me your phone," Alicia commanded. 

Mattie took out her phone and put it into Alicia's hands, giving over the lock code without question. 

Alicia called Kalinda, told her the story and asked her to check into Jordan's financials. 

Kalinda was able to confirm Mattie's story, including that the last payment was a week before she had invited Alicia to dinner. 

Alicia let out a big sigh as she hung up and gave Mattie back her phone.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Alicia asked, her tone fractionally softer.

"Because I didnt want to see the disappointment in your eyes, Mattie replied honestly, I'm not happy about what I did but I did it from a desire to win, to make this world better."

"The ends don't always justify the means," Alicia countered. 

"I know.  But we have bigger problems," she leaned back and grabbed the laptop from the table behind her, opening it and turning to a tabbed page.

It was a trash blog but the headline story read: Governor Mattie's Mistress.  Below it was a picture taken through Mattie's window, her lying on the bed and Alicia's back facing the camera. 

Alicia stared at it without comprehension, her breath frozen in her chest.  She looked up at Mattie.

"I've been there," Mattie remarked, watching Alicia's confusion, "and then cursing and then trying to explain it away.  The only thing we have going for us is that they can't tell who you are." 

"But if they have that photo, how do we know they don't have others?" Alicia asked, her world mentally collapsing around her.  What would she say to her kids?

"We don't," Mattie said simply, looking forthrightly at Alicia. 

Alicia stood.  "I have to call Peter," she said, bringing her phone out with shaking fingers, no longer caring if they could track her here.

Peter answered on the second ring.

"That photo of Mattie's mistress," she said, swallowing the lump in her throat, "Did you leak that, is that from Eli's source?"

Peter paused, hesitant to answer, "I think so," he finally replied, "It's a dirty game Alicia," he tried to justify. 

"You need to un-leak it," Alicia insisted, her voice starting to shake.

"What? Alicia don't be ridiculous."

"Peter, You Have To Get That Photo Off The Web," Alicia stated emphatically, her heart speeding up inside her chest.

"Alicia..." Peter responded in his warning tone.

"Peter it's me," she blurted out, wincing.

Silence.

"Peter?"

"Oh God it is," Peter replied before she heard a dial tone.

***

Peter stared at the enlarged image on his computer, wondering how he could ever forget the pattern of freckled spots paralleling Alicia's spine, as Eli's phone rang and then went to voicemail.  

He rang again.

"God Peter I was in the bathroom!" came Eli's voice over the phone, "Surely nothing is that important."

"We need to get that photo off the web," Peter said simply, the usual energy gone from his voice.

"What? Why?  I know it isn't perfect fodder but every bit helps," Eli replied.

"I'm in the headquarters, get here asap," Peter instructed, hanging up the phone and opening his bottom drawer.  Within was a bottle of Whiskey he had received when he started his campaign.  He opened it now, decanting a substantial portion into a glass and downing it. 

He wasn't sure which part of the betrayal hurt more but it didn't matter.  He had a fire to put out or he was going to lose what he had worked so hard to achieve.

***

"Peter is on it," Alicia told Mattie as she hung up the phone. 

"Let's just hope there aren't any others."

Alicia looked up, realising that Mattie had already been exposed even if she herself hadn't been.

"How are you going to counter it if it does get picked up?" Alicia asked softly, sitting back in her seat.

"I am who I am," Mattie replied pragmatically, "If the voters don't like it then I'll lose but I won't lose for hiding."

Alicia nodded. 

"I should go," she remarked. 

Mattie nodded. "We need to talk about this sometime," Mattie reminded her.

"Not today," Alicia replied, unsure she could iterate even if she did know what she needed to say. 

Mattie nodded again, summoning Bruce to bring Alicia back in to town. 

***

Alicia opened the door to her flat with trepidation, knowing what she had to do. 

Zach and Grace were on the couch watching television.  It was a rare sight and she watched them in the television's reflection, trying to remember this moment of peace before the storm she knew was coming.

The program ended. 

"Hi mom," Grace said as she got up to grab something from the fridge.  She took out the juice and poured herself a glass, while Zach grabbed his phone out of his pocket and text. 

"I need to talk to you both," she said, her voice shaking as she went over to the chair beside the couch. 

Grace came back with her drink, concern written on her face.  Even Zach looked up with what resembled his usual countenance, his anger obviously waning. 

Alicia forced herself to look at her children's faces as she spoke, each word catching in her throat. 

"I became friends with Mattie Hayward," she began.

"And she betrayed you by running against dad, we know mom," Zach interrupted. 

Alicia folded her hands in her lap, wringing them. 

"Well I forgave her for that and we became close again," Alicia explained, worried that it all sounded like an over simplification. 

Zach opened his mouth. 

"Please let me finish," Alicia stated before continuing. 

"We realised we had... feelings... for each other," she said, hoping that was enough. 

They both looked at her in shock. 

"But Mom you like guys," Grace blurted out, "right?" she asked.

Alicia raised her eyes to the ceiling, trying to blot out the tears edging her eyes. 

"Yes, but it isn't that easy," she replied, knowing it was insufficient. 

"But Mattie Hayward?" Zach summarised with contempt, "How could you do that to dad? Does he know?"

"I told your father a few hours ago," she admitted, "I didn't mean to do anything to your father and I agree that it was the wrong choice..."

"Then why did you do it?" Grace asked simply, and Alicia could tell that she had lost some respect in her daughter's eyes. 

"I don't know," Alicia responded honestly. 

"And you're after me for kissing my girlfriend," Zach spat, getting up from the couch and heading to his room, "I'm going to Dad's"

Alicia nodded.  "You can go too if you want Grace, I'll understand.  I betrayed your trust and I am sorry for that."

"Do you love her?" she asked simply. 

Alicia thought about it for a moment, trying to figure out how best to preserve Grace's respect while being completely honest. 

"I... have a connection with her that I haven't had with your father for a long time," Alicia tried to explain, "I'm not sure how to explain it but I hope someday you'll understand."

Grace looked at her with uncompromising eyes, and Alicia could see her trying to determine how she felt about it. 

Zach came out of his room with his duffel bag, "You coming?" he asked Grace.

She looked up at him, "No, I'm going to stay here," she said simply.

"But she betrayed dad with his competition," Zach argued, the disgust plain on his face.

"And dad slept with prostitutes," Grace countered. 

"Fine, suit yourself," Zach said, leaving them without a further word.

"Thank you," Alicia said, after the door had shut.  

"Don't.  It doesn't mean I agree with what you did, or believe that dad had it coming.  But I will try to understand."

"That is all I can ask," Alicia replied, wiping away the tears that wanted to make themselves known. 

Grace nodded and left, heading into her room. 

Alicia grabbed the nearest pillow and muffled her cries until her body stopped shaking with the pain of her loss. 

***

"So what do you say to voters who believe this shows a loose morality?"

Mattie was sitting in her office on a live phone interview, rolling her eyes.

"I say there is nothing illegal with what I've done and if the voters really think that either my type or frequency of sexual relations matters with the way I will run the state, even though it has had no impact with the way I run my business, then they will have the opportunity to make that choice known."

"And what about the rumour that your partner is married?" came the telephone follow-up. 

"I say that people will say anything about anyone if it makes news more interesting."

Mattie bit her lip at that, feeling the discontent slipping out of her. 

"Thank you for your time Ms Hayward," the reporter offered. 

"Thank you Tricia," Mattie responded, her voice returning to its placating tone. 

She hung up the phone before returning to her computer and looking at the numerous other calls, e-mails and other assorted interviews she had offered.  If it wasn't so draining the free publicity would almost be worth it but she hardly had her head in the game.  She hadn't heard from Alicia in days and she was torn between giving her space and protecting them both, and needing to be with her.  But the desire to protect her was overriding no matter how much it hurt and so she plowed on with damage control. She scrolled to the bottom of her e-mails to look at the newest message.  The subject was: Do you recognise this woman?.  She opened it, saw that it was CCed to Peter and scrolled down, watching the images load. The first was the photo that had already been leaked with a date and time stamp: 4/14/13 12:54, the second was of Alicia, clearly identifiable, leaving Mattie's house, Mattie in the doorway in her robe.  The time stamp was 4/14/13 1:09. 

"Shit." Mattie breathed as she reached for her phone.

***


Part 8
Tags: expanding radius, mattie/alicia, the good wife
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