ana_khouri (ana_khouri) wrote,
ana_khouri
ana_khouri

Expanding Radius - The Good Wife (Mattie/Alicia) Part 8 (of 8 1/2)

Title: Expanding Radius Part 8 (of 8.5)
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 / Part 7

***

Peter sat staring at the images, although he knew what Alicia had done somehow the proof made it hit home.  As he stared at the photo he felt like he had been punched in the chest and realised this is how Alicia must've felt when she found out about the prostitute.  Yet that had been different in that it had been purely sex.  This was obviously more and that he wasn't sure how to deal with.

He picked up his phone and dialed.

***

Mattie unlocked her phone and in rang in her hands.  She answered it.

"Mattie Hayward."

"You bitch," Peter's voice was instantly recognisable.

"I gather you got the photos."

"It doesn't matter to me if you sleep with women, and I could forgive Alicia for cheating on me after everything I put her through, but what infuriates me is how you could so cavalierly seduce her and get her in to this situation."

"Seduce her?" Mattie responded, her voice rising in annoyance at Peter's assumptions, "Get her into this situation? She has her own free will and this 'situation' will be affecting all of us," she pointed out. "I care about Alicia, I do not want this to be happening to her but what's done is done and we need to focus on how to get us all out of this mess."

"What do you suggest," Peter replied with a sarcastic bite. 

Mattie heard it but continued with the idea that had been germinating regardless.  "My campaign won't survive this, I know that. Yours will take a hit but you'll survive.  But you won't survive Kristeva," Mattie enumerated. 

"Not without your cash," Peter agreed, "So support me again."

"No," Mattie replied, "not without being a part of the campaign."

"So now you want to be my Lt?" Peter asked, laughing at the preposterousness of the situation.

"Think of it as a partial apology for my part in your wife's current situation," Mattie offered. 

"And how are we going to beat Kristeva with double the family values baggage?" Peter asked, considering the alternative.

"Money, really good branding, and focusing on the issues," Mattie replied, "Talk it over with Eli and let me know. But if the story doesn't run then I rescind my offer."

"Agreed."

"I assume you'll tell Alicia," Mattie asked.

"Of course," Peter replied, "I'll give you a call after I speak to Eli."

The other end clicked.  Mattie hung up her phone, staring at it for a moment as she resisted the urge to call Alicia.  She had done enough damage. 

***

Alicia was lying in bed when her phone rang.  She begrudgingly turned over and answered it.

"Hi Peter."

"Alicia.  I have some bad news," he stated cautiously.

"Worse than sleeping with the woman you're running against and then losing the respect of your children?"

"Have you been drinking?" Peter asked, hearing the slight slurring of her words.

"Yep," Alicia confirmed emphatically.

Peter sighed, "They have a picture of you leaving Mattie's house." 

Alicia fell back into her bed, gazing up at the ceiling. 

"Are they going to run it?" She asked hopefully, sounding suddenly sober.

"I don't know for sure but I don't see why they wouldn't," Peter replied honestly.

"Huh," Alicia grunted.  "Well you'll probably beat Mattie now," Alicia pointed out, "the sympathy vote alone..."

"Alicia that isn't the point," Peter chided.

"What is the point then Peter?" Alicia asked, an edge of anger to her voice. 

"You are going to come under a lot of scrutiny," he warned. 

Alicia closed her eyes, remembering the press conferences, the media requests, and the paparazzi that followed Peter after the original scandal. 

"You should talk to Eli," Peter added when she didn't respond. 

Alicia nodded, her eyes still closed, "Ok."

Silence again.

"I'm sorry Peter," Alicia said softly.

"I know," he replied. 

***

Will was sitting hunched over his desk but looked up when Alicia entered and shut the door behind her.  His brow furrowed.

"Is everything okay?" he asked. 

Alicia's eyes painted the floor for a moment before she made her way to the seat opposite Will's desk.  She stayed standing behind it, taking deep breaths. 

"I had an affair with Mattie Hayward," Alicia stated outright, those seven words allowing the rest to stream, "and I'm telling you because I wanted you to hear it from me but also because I don't know what the publicity will do to this firm."

Will stood up and walked around his desk, wanting to comfort Alicia but aware of the glass walls.  He leaned back on his desk. 

"Is there anything I can do?" he asked, watching her intently as she tried to hold his gaze.

"No," Alicia stated firmly, "I just wanted you to know."

Will nodded. "Have you told Diane?"

"I'm heading to her office next."

He nodded again.

"Are you okay?" Alicia asked, trying to read his face. 

He took her hand for the briefest of moments, "I just wish any of this could make you happy."

Alicia nodded in thanks before turning from Will and exiting the room.  Will watched her enter Diane's office and followed the exchange in pantomime.  Diane was shocked but covered it well. Alicia sat down at Diane's desk and they continued to talk.  Will turned from the scene and went back to his file.

***

Alicia sat across from Eli in his office at Lockhart/Gardner. They stared at each other for a moment, Eli playing with the pencil in his hand. 

Alicia raised her eyebrows and spread her hands before her, "So what do I need to know?"

Eli put his pencil down and sat forward in his chair, folding his hands on his desk.

"Why did you do it?" he asked evenly.

"I wanted to," Alicia responded with a sarcastic earnestness. 

"No," he corrected leaning back in his chair, "because it isn't what you say its how you say it."

"Eli, I'm a lawyer, I think I know that," she pointed out. 

"If you don't want my help why are you here?" Eli responded.

"I do, I'm sorry, I just feel ridiculous," Alicia replied. 

"And we all know we need to manage this," Eli pointed out, "So why did you do it?"

"I don't stand by the legitimacy of my decision but as I have broken no laws, except the sanctity of my marriage, I do not believe my actions or Mattie's should be a matter of public discourse," Alicia replied with a disinterested formalism.

"Good, but you need to relax and connect with the audience.  Are you going to get back with Peter?" Eli prompted.

"I am currently giving Peter some space and then we will discuss our relationship, although, again, what we decide has no bearing on my husband's ability to lead this state," she replied changing her tone to her court room presentation.  She realised this was much like witness prep and so she tried to channel that to turn herself into the perfect witness

"Good, What about Mattie?" Eli asked, trying to prepare her with as many awkward conversations as possible. 

"What about her?" Alicia asked, her newly well-formed exterior showing a small crack.

"Do you still have feelings for her?"

"Whether I do or don't have feelings for Mattie Hayward has nothing to do with the way my husband, or Mattie, would run the state," Alicia countered. 

"And what about the rumours they are planning on working together?"

"I believe that each one of them has a significant contribution to bring to the table and from that point of view such a collaboration would be advantageous but otherwise am unable to comment."

"Who would you vote for if they didn't?"

"I have a right to not disclose my voting preferences," she paused for effect, "but it wouldn't be Kristeva."

It was a script, of this Alicia had little doubt, but it was a script mostly of her own making, one she would have to challenge again and again if she was to get through the press conference.

It was, of course, unusual for them to put her at the podium but she had offered as a form of penance and because she was sick of hiding in the shadows, she was going to attack this head on and rebuild from there.  She wasn't sure what the future held but she wasn't going to allow herself to continue hiding from it. 

***

Alicia stood at the podium and waited for the lights to go on. She found herself doing what many had done in the past, holding on to the sides of the podium for dear life.  She had always found the gesture annoying in others but now she understood it for what it was, an attempt to gain some sort of grounding and control of the situation. 

Her palms were sweating.

The lights went up.

***

Mattie watched nervously as the lights went up.

A murmur went through the room. 

"I know you were expecting to see my husband but I asked him for this chance to defend myself as I don't believe that is his responsibility."

She continued with her brief intro before accepting questions, Peter behind her point to those she would answer.

Mattie looked around the audience and smiled slyly. She had them. Not that Mattie was surprised; Alicia had commanded the room from the moment the lights had come up.  She was radiant.  Tempered anger seeped through when the questions warranted it but otherwise she remained on message while maintaining an aura of apology and honesty.  It was beautiful to watch and made Mattie's repressed desire twist within her.

The joke about Kristeva fell flat but it was better for having done so, it kept her real, relatable.

When she was done Peter stepped in.

"Not to waste a good press conference I also have an announcement to make."

The room noticeably quieted.

"I called Mattie Hayward after this all broke," he began, "It was hardly a polite conversation to begin with..."

Mattie heard a few chuckles behind her.

"But what we realised is that in order to do the best for the people of Illinois what we need to work together to promote the ideals of the Democratic Party.  Now Mattie and I come at those ideals from very different directions but I believe that our different views will make us stronger as a team than we were when we were as individuals.  That is why I would like to announce that Mattie has agreed to run as my Lieutenant Governor.  And together we will beat Kristeva."

He gestured for Mattie to join them on stage and she got up to stand beside him as hands furiously shot up.

***

Alicia stepped back, catching her breath, the elation at her accomplishment overwhelming. 

She watched Mattie ascend the platform, forcing her lips in an even line as Mattie gave the slightest of nods in acknowledgement.  Mattie stood beside Peter as he fielded the first question.

"How do you counter Kristeva's platform of family values with this current situation proving you with a very poor example?"

Peter paused before responding, it was a ploy Alicia occasionally recognised as him trying to add gravitas to a response.  "We may not be ideal examples of family values but that does not mean we do not value our family.  I would argue that because Alicia and I have had to fight to keep our family together, we are more grounded in what true family values are.  Love, respect, patience and forgiveness.  And by joining as my Lieutenant Mattie displays some of those values as well.  She is willing to give up her solo shot for the greater good - for the family of Illinois.  Next question."

"Mattie, what do you say to those who say that you only joined the Florrick campaign because you didn't think you'd survive on your own?"

Peter made a show of giving the podium to Mattie who instantly owned it, her personality filling the room.

"At one point I would've rather left politics altogether than join with Peter but then I realised I was being an egotistical ass.

A few chuckles ran through the room.

I realised that what the Democratic Party needs is togetherness, a team that stands the best chance of doing what needs to be done.  And what it still needs, as I've always said, is someone who understands womens issues to fight for them - it needs me.  So maybe I'm still an egotistical ass," she joked before surveying the room for the next question, "Yes, you in the back."

The questions continued but Alicia began to fade from it, the adrenaline falling away.  And then the lights went down and she was shuffled off stage and into the warm-up area.  The door closed behind them and Alicia turned to see Mattie and Peter looking at her. 

"You did well," Peter got out first.

Mattie closed her mouth and agreed. 

"How do you think it went?" she asked, feeling their eyes on her. 

"We'll know more tomorrow," Peter counseled. 

Alicia nodded, her eyes resting on Mattie as Peter faded into the background.

***

Peter watched the look exchanged between the women before him.  The tension in the room increased ever so subtly and he suddenly felt as if he was invading a very personal moment. 

He excused himself, shutting the door behind him, unsure if either of them had even noticed. 

There was something there then, something he hadn't wanted to acknowledge.  He forced a deep breath as his lungs struggled as if he had been hit in the chest.  Through it all he had always believed they would eventually get back together - no matter how long it took - but the intensity in her gaze when she looked at Mattie had blown him away and forced him to reassess their future. 

It seemed so sad that the campaign that had brought them together again was going to rip them apart more violently than before.  But maybe, just maybe, he was overanalysing the situation.  Either way he wasn't going to give up. 

***

Alicia reached out her hand as soon as her husband left, eager for the simple contact.  Mattie took it and they stood there, their linked hand dangling between them. 

"I've missed you," Mattie stated simply.

"I've missed you too," Alicia acknowledged, their locked gaze heightening the low-grade tingling Mattie's presence caused. 

She broke the gaze and their joined hands, moving to sit down in a chair behind them, her hands fiddling in her lap.

"Your husband left us alone," Mattie pointed out, closing the space between them and standing right in front of Alicia, her legs touching Alicia's knees.

Alicia nodded, looking up at her.  "I'm trying not to notice," she admitted, "We don't even know if we dodged the bullet yet but all I can think of is how much I want to kiss you."

Mattie took Alicia's hands and held them firmly in her own. 

"I know the feeling," she replied, her lips cracking a smile that lit up her whole face.

Alicia smiled back in spite of herself.

Mattie crouched down before her, "I don't want to make any more of a mess of this than I already have but I want to try this," she said, giving Alicia's hands a squeeze. 

Alicia nodded. 

"After the election," she qualified.

"Definitely," Alicia seconded, her smile falling into a frown as her brows furrowed.  She looked down at their interlinked hands. "I need to divorce Peter," she said quietly, part of her sad that she had endured so much only to put it aside.  But it had felt like a millstone for a long time and it was probably better for both of them not to hold to this dying thing between them.

Mattie nodded sombrely, "I am not going to push you into anything," she stated, "You two have been through a lot and I don't want to..."

Alicia put her finger over Mattie's lips, a thin smile appearing, "I've spent so long trying to hold my family together that I haven't stopped to realise that my kids have grown up and Peter and I are getting along much better now that we aren't together," she paused, "It seems right in a way it didn't four years ago.  As for everything else," She squeezed the hand she still held, "We'll see."

"After the election," Mattie added, her smile spreading across her face.

Alicia laughed, "After the election," she agreed. 

***
Epilogue
Tags: expanding radius, mattie/alicia, the good wife
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