“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Kalinda thought, but didn’t say, instead resettling her ear buds and turning the volume of her iPod up. If Lockhart, Gardner and Canning had been a nest of conspiracies and power-plays, Florrick, Agos & Lockhart was like a frat house some days.
First Robyn, “OMG! That sofa!”
Then Carey, “Those Japanese snacks should book a [sic] OBGYN STAT!”
Even the normally mild-mannered receptionist Sondra, “Ewww! Gross!”
They all emailed her the link. That link. One of those stupid clickbaity Buzzfeed links.
25 Things That Look Like Vaginas But Are Not Vaginas -- Yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Far less entertaining than Cats That Look Like Hitler, and lampooning the wrong kind of pussy.
Based on the sniggering going on intermittently around her, it was circling the office -- a virus waiting to infect everyone’s workday.
Even Diane was not immune. She saw her boss push her glasses up her nose with annoyance. Her “Oh good lord!” was audible because of some stupid decision at Lockhart, Florrick & Agos (shouldn’t it be?) to not have walls, just glass partitions. As if LG’s endless glass upon glass upon glass hadn’t taught anyone anything.
Diane made a very pointed deletion click with her mouse. Kalinda caught her eye and raised eyebrows derisively.
When even Clarke emailed her to say “This is rather inappropriate for the office, but a good chuckle nonetheless . . .” Kalinda had had enough.
No wonder the firm had been about to founder before Diane had moved in with her billable clients -- and Kalinda of course.
She started a new email, fresh and unsullied with endless repetitions of forwarding; pasted the link like everyone hadn’t already seen it; and selected “all staff” from her address options.
Actually they look like vulva.
Then she logged on to one of the many professional websites she had membership of due to her work, saved a crisp photograph of a dewy pink vagina as seen via speculum, and inserted it into her email.
This is a vagina.
She caught Diane’s eye again and winked before hitting “send”.
Moments later Diane snorted appreciatively. Kalinda smiled back, before ducking her head back down to her work.
However, a few minutes hence, her computer alerted her that she had email. And with some surprise she saw the notification flash across her screen announcing that it was from Alicia. For someone she worked with, Alicia had very little to do with her.
When Diane had sat down for her second meeting with Florrick Agos & Associates (the proper meeting, the one where brass tacks were discussed) Kalinda was in attendance. At Cary’s baleful glare, and Alicia’s studied indifference (although Kalinda detected some momentary discomfort) Diane stated firmly “We’re a package deal.” And they were, not because Kalinda needed the job, but because loyalty to Diane was something she’d pledged. And if Diane decided to quit shark-infested waters, preferring to swim in a toxic soup of past wrongs and corruption -- Kalinda was bound to keep kicking alongside her. So Kalinda came too, had an office next to Diane’s, and the two of them kept mostly to each other. She even signed on as an employee, not for the dental plan, but to enjoy Cary’s facial expressions during the negotiations. When Kalinda’s rather substantial new salary (much more than Robyn thank you!) was agreed upon, Kalinda took Diane to a very expensive bar (far away from their dive of an office) and shouted her boss a series of excellent martinis. It wasn't tequila shots, but Kalinda's white russians were strong, a little bit sweet, and had cream on top.
Kalinda opened the email. Alicia had elected to “reply all”.
Explains why so many women don’t orgasm.
Now Kalinda was the one sniggering. She surreptitiously looked around to confirm that more than a few people were squirming. She wasn’t sure if it was purely because Alicia was the boss, or if she was now old enough to discomfort people with the idea of her getting off.
Finally . . . thankfully, the office manage to settle down into its work for the rest of the afternoon.
“I’m done for the day. Do you really need to keep going on the Weaver case tonight?” Diane leant on the edge of Kalinda’s desk and leafed through the top of her stack of paper from discovery.
“Thirty more minutes and I’ll be done with the financials.”
“Okay.” Diane slung her handbag and took her leave. Kalinda kept turning pages; pen in hand; notebook open on the desk.
The floor lighting shut off as it did each night at eight, and only the glow of task lamps and monitors (left on by the careless) illuminated the floor. From the looks of it, she was the last one left. No, not the last: one-by-one the lights blinked off as someone wove a meandering path from the far end of the floor.
So that meant it was probably Alicia. (Diane had the good sense to claim the corner opposite from the other name partners of the firm.) Yes, Kalinda could see her now, just coming into view near the newly-leased and expensive-to-run colour laser printer. She returned her attention to Weaver’s financials.
“Oh for fuck’s sake!”
Kalinda looked up again. She could see Alicia yanking a thick stack of pages from the printer's output tray. She didn’t need to see it to tell that some idiot had either accidentally or deliberately printed out that stupid “article”.
Alicia was striding over to the wall that carried a rather quaint, traditional pin-board. Some fool of an interior designer had insisted that an office noticeboard would become a “focal point of staff interpersonal engagement” that would “foster informal team-building”. Instead it had become known as the "Wall of Shame" due to Clarke’s habit of taking any misbegotten colour printing; (“How many times do I have to send the memo? It’s for client deliverables only!”) attaching it to the pin-board; and writing the hapless staff member’s username on each sheet. In fact, a staple gun hung from a string now -- ready for action.
Kalinda was quick across the floor. Alicia was already holding the stack up to affix it. Kalinda’s hand seized Alicia’s wrist. To her credit, the First Lady of Illinois only jumped slightly. Kalinda enjoyed the feeling of Alicia’s body anyway.
“Let me.” Kalinda disarmed Alicia, and used the staple gun to pin the first page. She then produced a red Sharpie from somewhere on her person and flourished an arrow into existence pointing at the first image’s clit (if it were, in fact, a vulva.)
She started on the next page with another two pops of the stapler. Alicia smiled and pulled out her fountain pen. Her left hand slanted “Public Service Announcement” atop the first page, and then she added her initials to the bottom left corner of each sheet.
The two women worked together seamlessly until most of the noticeboard was covered with their revised mark-up. They had been a good team once -- apparently it was like riding a bike.
Kalinda was just recapping her Sharpie when Alicia floated words aloud. “So, had any good orgasms lately?” Alicia found herself hoping not. At least Kalinda wasn’t having them with Cary. An overheard “Don’t touch me. Ever.” hissed with cold finality by Kalinda, when Cary brushed past her on day two of Agos, Florrick & Lockhart (alphabetical wins?) made Alicia confident that was the case. She wasn’t sure what happened after she’d told Cary to “take it out on Kalinda.” but something had.
Kalinda didn’t even pause though. “Sure, last night . . .” Now she paused. “. . . by myself.”
Alicia snorted out a breath. By herself was the only way she had them now. Quickie fucks with Peter were for a different purpose, and even those didn’t happen any more. She looked at Kalinda, really looked, for the first time since the investigator had started working in the office. She could rekindle the stirrings she used to have four years ago, back when Peter was banished to the maid’s room. Alicia would stumble in the door late -- primed by tequila and the full force of Kalinda’s attention -- and bring herself to satisfying completion, alone in her bed.
“Peter and I aren’t . . .”
Alicia didn’t have to finish before Kalinda’s “I know,” was heard. Of course Kalinda knew without being told. Kalinda had always been like a barometer for Alicia’s sex life. She was probably gauging “unsettled conditions, possible thunderstorms overnight” right now.
All of a sudden, Kalinda seemed like the perfect solution. It had already reached her ears that Peter had chosen the least discreet way to exercise his options with some nubile intern. If news of her adventure made it back to Peter -- how appropriate!
She was already leaning down to Kalinda’s face when hands stopped her. “We’ll only have to wait to fix lipstick if you do that.”
The elevator creaked and groaned its way to the ground floor. “Do you need my address?”
Alicia shook her head. Kalinda’s details, once entered, had since carried across to several new phones thanks to Zach’s technical prowess. Also, a lingering something stayed Alicia's finger every time she purged her contact list.
Alicia’s breaths replenished her cells with oxygen. Kalinda sprawled next to her, all black hair and brown skin -- contrasting with the white of her sheets, her walls, her furniture.
Alicia’s hand found Kalinda’s hip and began to move. Kalinda could tell the actions stemmed from a sense of justice that was prepared to sacrifice the drowsy haze that usually took Alicia a bottle of wine to achieve.
“Do you need to get home?”
“No.” Zach was gone, and Grace was with friends.
“Then there’s no rush.” Kalinda settled back into the pillows and draped an arm over the pale of Alicia’s waist. “Relax.”
Alicia tried to. “You don’t have a couch.” The tour of Kalinda’s apartment had been momentary, but then there wasn’t much of Kalinda’s living room to see.
“I don’t bring company home.” Kalinda wondered if smalltalk was going to be part of this new version of their relationship.
Alicia drank in her status as an exception. “Maybe you should get one.”
“I'd need one that wouldn't clash with my décor.” Perhaps she would be entertaining a guest in future.
"Someone sent me an email today. It had a couch."
Kalinda's hand dipped lower, she smirked lazy and feline -- all the time in the world. "Do you think this couch was me?"
Alicia's fingers arrested Kalinda's wrist. She reversed their positions, her left hand assuming the role that Kalinda's right had performed so satisfactorily earlier. "Definitely you."