There was a time when she thought that nothing would ever be normal again. Political maneuvering had left Lockhart Gardner & Bond with nothing to do but implode. The lawyers were thrown aside like shrapnel, and the damage was irreparable. Will started his own firm and, due to hard feelings about her turning him down romantically, Alicia didn't feel comfortable joining him. Diane made her an offer, but Alicia could look down that road and see where it led. More Machiavellian plotting in back rooms, more focusing on the case rather than the truth. It didn't matter if their client was guilty or innocent, all that mattered was winning. As long as you beat the other guy, the rest was just gravy.
At the same time she lost her job, her marriage had finally entered its death throes. Peter had lost the election and, with the public eye off of them, she realized that she didn't really love him anymore. There was a brief court battle which ended with her reluctantly allowing the children to stay with him. His money would help them retain their lifestyle, and conceding prevented an all-out war with Jackie. She would see Zack and Grace on the weekends.
She was allowed a monthly stipend from Peter, part of the deal for letting him have the kids, and she used her first check to rent a small space in a strip mall. She was between an antique furniture store and a copy place, and the walls were thin enough that she could hear everything going on in both businesses.
The front window was painted on her fourth day of business. FLORECK Attorney at Law. She was on the phone with the company about getting it corrected when the door opened. She looked up and automatically said, "Sorry, we're not really seeing... clients right now." She lowered the receiver and frowned at her guest. "What are you doing here?"
Kalinda held up her hand, palm-out. "I don't want to work for Diane."
And apparently that was all the explanation she was going to offer. Alicia blinked and hung up the phone while still on hold. "I can't pay you very much. If at all."
Kalinda walked to the client's chair in front of Alicia's desk and sat down. "I'll do freelance work on the side to pay the bills. I have some money saved up."
"Why? You're... sorry. You're better than this place."
Kalinda laced her fingers together in her lap, assuming the posture of someone willing to wait a very long time. "So are you."
The phone rang.
"You should get that."
Alicia stared at Kalinda as if waiting for her to disappear as she picked up the phone. "Alicia Florrick, how may I help you?"
Their first real case came a few days later. Kalinda did the leg work and provided Alicia with an ironclad case to present at their client's arraignment. The judge agreed there was enough basis for a pre-trial release, and the client was sent home to his family. Alicia had little doubt they would end up getting the charges dropped, and she took Kalinda out for drinks to celebrate.
Outside on the sidewalk, in the freezing drizzle, Alicia tried to hail a cab without leaving the safety of the bar's awning. After a few minutes of Alicia waving and leaning toward the street, Kalinda stepped out to the side of the street and held her hand out in a "Stop!" gesture. A cap screeched to a halt in front of her, and Kalinda opened the door as Alicia hurried from the safety of the awning to get into the car.
"Alicia." She stopped and straightened, the open cab door between her and Kalinda. Kalinda blinked, the raindrops already freezing on her face and eyelashes. She blinked them away, looked out at the street. "It doesn't matter how big or small your firm is. It doesn't matter if I take a ninety percent pay decrease. I do this job because I enjoy it, and because I'm good at it. And I do it for you because I like you."
Alicia was about to respond when Kalinda took the back of her head and drew her forward. Their lips met, and Alicia felt the rain on Kalinda's mouth thawing against hers. Alicia felt a warmth rising in her cheeks, and elsewhere, and could only stare open-mouthed when Kalinda broke the kiss. Kalinda smiled and stepped back so Alicia could get into the cab.
"What are you doing?" Alicia's voice was angry, but she knew it didn't carry over into her expression. She was just confused.
"Putting my cards on the table." Kalinda put her hands into her pockets and nodded at the cab. "Go. You'll catch your death out here."
Alicia stayed standing despite the cold, staring at Kalinda's departing back until the driver yelled at her to get in the cab or let him go.
That night, Alicia changed her perspective. The only reason Kalinda hadn't been on her romantic radar was because of her gender. But take that out of the equation, and wasn't she the perfect partner? Dedicated, loyal, intelligent... she could trust Kalinda. And her choices in men couldn't have been based on fiery passion. She had loved Peter and stayed with him out of loyalty. She had lusted for Will but refused to take the next step because it would be too complicated.
The more she thought about it, the more viable Kalinda became.
They explored the possibility with dinner dates. Both in restaurants and eating take-out at their office. The erroneous front window paint was cleaned off and replaced with FLORRICK & SHARMA, Attorney at Law, Private Investigations.
After a night of putting together a case, sitting with their backs to Alicia's desk with cartons of Chinese takeout between their legs, Alicia cupped the back of Kalinda's head and kissed her. It was an experiment, dipping her toes in the water just to see how it felt. She waited until the initial thrill of kissing a woman faded, moaning when Kalinda's tongue flickered and begged entrance to her mouth, and Alicia knew that she was in trouble. Ten days later, she invited Kalinda to her apartment at the end of the day.
They kissed while Kalinda undressed her. She sat on the edge of the bed and watched as Kalinda undressed, shaking as she watched each layer come off and be cast aside. Kalinda leaned forward and cupped Alicia's face; Alicia wanted to memorize every inch of Kalinda's naked body, but she forced herself to look into Kalinda's eyes.
"I want to make this as comfortable as possible for you." She kissed Alicia and then leaned back. "Lie on your stomach."
Alicia hugged the pillow to her chest, cheek against the mattress as Kalinda stretched out on top of her. The toy had been in Kalinda's bag, and she wore it like it was actually part of her anatomy. The tip of it teased Alicia's folds, and she whimpered as Kalinda kissed her neck and whispered against Alicia's earlobe. When Alicia nodded, Kalinda rolled her hips forward and she slipped inside. She ran her hand down Alicia's back, curled her fingers around Alicia's hip, and began to move her hips gently.
Alicia came quickly, clenching her fists in the sheets and pressing back against Kalinda as she screamed into the pillow. Kalinda stroked Alicia's back, slowing her movements as Alicia relaxed. When she withdrew and rolled to lie beside Alicia, they kissed. Alicia facedown, Kalinda lying on her back with the strap-on sticking up from her hips. Alicia wrapped her fingers around it, stroking it as she rested her cheek on Kalinda's arm.
"I want to make you feel that good," Alicia said. She kissed the inside of Kalinda's elbow, and Kalinda shuddered. "How do I do it? Tongue? Or fingers? I don't know how to... to do that..."
Kalinda loosened the harness. "Why don't you show me how you do it to yourself?"
"Just in reverse?"
Kalinda grinned. "Not exactly."
Alicia sat on the edge of the bed, and Kalinda settled on her lap with her legs spread. Her toes were pointed on the carpet, her back arched as Alicia wrapped her arms around Kalinda's waist. Alicia squeezed Kalinda's thigh with her left hand while she used two fingers of her right hand to stroke Kalinda's center. She liked the position as it gave her ample opportunity to kiss and lick Kalinda's neck. She massaged Kalinda's inner thigh while using two fingers on her, moving faster as Kalinda's moans grew louder.
"God, that's good... Alicia, don't stop..."
Kalinda came, her hand resting on top of Alicia's during her climax. When Alicia withdrew her hand, their fingers laced together and Kalinda twisted to kiss Alicia.
"Now that's one position you know."
"How many are there?"
Kalinda's eyes sparkled as she pushed Alicia down on the mattress. "Let's count."
They both happened to be in the office a week later when the bells over the door chimed again. Alicia was smiling at a story Kalinda was telling, but the smile faded when she saw who their guest was. "What are you doing here?"
Cary held his hands up. "Whoa. I come in peace, trust me. I heard about you starting this place up and I had to see it with my own two eyes. Florrick and Sharma... it kind of sounds like a kosher Italian deli, but it works. I like it." He smiled. "In all honesty, the state attorney's office is looking for someone to take a little pro bono work off our hands. We're swamped, and I know you're good at what you do. They're yours if you want 'em."
Alicia looked at Kalinda, who shrugged almost imperceptibly.
"Thank you, Cary. We'll take a look at them."
Cary grinned again. "Excellent. I'll have a messenger bring them over." He started to back toward the door and pointed at Kalinda. "Shame you decided to slum it here. The S.A.'s office could have pulled some strings and found a position for you."
"I've found a very nice position here, thank you."
Cary clucked his tongue and shook his head as he left. Alicia ran her hand down Kalinda's arm and took her hand, lacing their fingers together as Kalinda smiled back at her.
"Actually, I think we're up to... eight positions?" Alicia said.
Kalinda grinned. "Nine, actually. Remember, standing against the wall with you kneeling between my legs?"
"Right," Alicia whispered. "How could I forget? Nine.
They kissed, and then Alicia closed the blinds so they could get to work on number ten.