It was safe to say that Diane Lockhart was extremely stressed.
After a client’s disturbing views on feminist issues that had shocked her to her very core and the possibility of several budget cuts lurking on the horizon, she was not having a good day.
She was, however, intrigued as to the competition for the Junior Associates. Alicia Florrick and Cary Agos were currently hard at work in their small offices. Alicia was scribbling something down on a legal pad about one of her upcoming cases and Cary was rifling through copious deposition transcripts in order to find a loophole for the very same. Diane wasn’t sure why the two weren’t working together to lighten their workload even a little bit, but she was not going to question it.
When Will had approached her with the suggestion of hiring Alicia after a period of thirteen years sans any practising of law, she had thought it outrageous. Will had campaigned hard for her to take the position, but Diane had scouted Cary Agos, a Harvard Law graduate with a keen mind and exciting prospects for his future in the field of law. She and Will had agreed to hire them both with the intention of letting one go after a period of six months.
Both of them actually had quite a few things in common. They were both quick to speak their minds and often had sharp observations brewing on their tongues. Diane figured that they would get on rather well when they had time to gel with each other.
It was Cary who had first approached her about his busy schedule. She knew that he was not whining, but more pointing out something that could be improved. Diane was impressed.
“Hello, Cary,” Diane greeted. “What is it that I can do for you today?”
Cary Agos coughed and grinned slightly, in the polite way that Diane thought set him back to his teenage years. “Well, Diane, Alicia and I are both hard at work on the case, but there are some things that we’re both finding a little hard to deal with.”
“In regards to the law?”
“Not as such. Alicia and I talked it over during lunch and we think that we need an assistant. Before you say anything, we know that budget cuts are in the works and Alicia pointed out that we could get an intern. That way, you wouldn’t have to pay them.”
Diane smiled slightly. She had wondered when this day would come. When they joined forces and requested an assistant. She had actually been interviewing for an assistant’s job for them. Somebody with a go-getting attitude and a basic knowledge of the law. Not a law school student, but rather a graduate who is out of work and wants some experience before moving onto other firms.
“Okay,” she nodded. “I concur with your observation. I have already been in the process of interviewing them ready for you. I have a narrowed down list to five potential candidates. They’re all smart and they seem to really want the job. I would like you and Alicia to choose.”
Cary regarded this coolly. He thought that that was only fair. After all, it was their assistant she was hiring. Whoever was hired would work closely with both he and Alicia; so it made sense that they would have to gel in terms of personality. “Thank you, Diane. I will pass the message onto Alicia. Just let us know when you want us to start the interview process.”
Diane peered through her glasses. “I will, thank you, Cary.”
When Diane left, she hoped that he and Alicia would pick the one who she had thought best for the job during the preliminary interviews. Will had also taken a liking to them, as well.
Alicia Florrick sighed as she handed her findings off to Will.
She had sensed some residual sexual tension between the two of them. They had been on the cusp of something at Georgetown but the timing was off. And then she met Peter and everything was sent into turmoil.
Things with Peter were definitely not easy. He was her husband, yes, but Alicia wasn’t sure whether she still loved him. Adultery was a thing to be taken realistically. Peter had slept with a prostitute. She was a younger, much perkier girl, the girl that Alicia never was, not even at the age. It told her that Peter either wasn’t happy in their relationship and sought out sexual gratification from somebody else, or that he simply didn’t care about Alicia anymore.
On countless occasions, Peter had sworn that neither were true. His claims revolved around him making a single mistake and that he was paying for said mistake every single day. Prison seemed to be giving him some thinking time.
Things with Will could have been good. Great, even. They understood each other, they had many shared character traits and they had fun together. Even there, complications arose. There were the occupational troubles. She would be sleeping with her boss, which was not a thing to be taken lightly at Lockhart/Gardner.
She was married.
Alicia wasn’t sure whether she would consider divorce. Divorce would impact Zach and Grace just as much as it would her and Peter. She didn’t think it was fair to them to split up the family without complete, precise consideration of their potential future together. Alicia decided to make the decision when Peter was released from prison.
“You busy?” Cary’s voice disrupted Alicia from her Peter and Will conundrum.
If Alicia were younger, and in different circumstances, she believed that she could have really fallen for Cary Agos. He was plenty attractive, had intellect in spades and had the same quick-witted attitude that Alicia herself possessed. She figured that they would have fit well together.
If she wasn’t married.
And if he wasn’t gay.
Alicia had never really understood when women complained about the numbers of desirable men who were gay. She had never really come across that many who had piqued her interest. Cary hadn’t piqued her interest, it was merely an observation.
“No, not at the moment,” Alicia spoke after a few seconds. Cary’s signature childish grin stretched across his face as he perched on the edge of the desk. “I talked to Diane about our assistant crisis.”
“Cary, it’s not a crisis. We can manage without. It’s more of a forethought in case things get sticky in the future.”
“Right,” Cary replied. “Anyway, she said that she’s already been looking for people to hire and she wants us to check out the last five applicants from her elite shortlist.”
Alicia nodded. “That’s fair. When does she need us?”
“Whenever she can arrange for them to come in. I expect it on short notice, though. Make sure your work is done.”
Alicia smirked. “Are you giving me tips on how to win the competition?”
“No,” Cary shook his head innocently, though Alicia couldn’t read him properly yet. “I’m merely giving you a chance to lose by a close margin. It wouldn’t be totally fair if I won by a landslide, now would it?”
“Don’t write any checks that your legal talents can’t cash, Agos.”
“You will notice that I’m already ahead on billable hours.”
“Didn’t you read Aesop’s fables?” Alicia raised an eyebrow, silently hoping she could take further advantage of Peter’s mother, Jackie, in order to spend more time at the office beating Cary for the job.
“Oh, I did, Alicia. But the hare wasn’t as smart as me. I can keep at this pace for the whole six months.”
“We’ll see about that. Cary, it’s going to be fun beating you.”
“Dream on, Florrick.”
Alicia looked to Cary pointedly as their final shortlisted interviewee sat before them, smiling brightly at them both.
“Good morning, Mr. Agos, Mrs. Florrick. I’m Kurt Hummel. Mrs. Florrick, I have to say that I’m a big fan of yours. I hope this isn’t mistaken for sucking up. I’m merely commending you on your public presence.”
Alicia liked Kurt Hummel already.
And, from the look he was giving him, so did Cary.
“Thank you, Kurt, but please call me Alicia.”
“Cary,” Cary echoed weakly.
Kurt nodded, exhaling deeply as he looked at them expectantly. Seeing as though Cary was…indisposed, Alicia took the reins.
“So, you graduated summa cum laude from Yale Law School, impressive, and you’ve done three international volunteering programs building houses. May I ask what made you undertake that and also what you learned from the experience?”
Kurt smiled. He had prepared this question. He knew that people were silently impressed with his contributions to charities worldwide and noticed that Diane Lockhart had also asked him about it. His answer was swift and eloquently phrased.
“Well, I grew up in Lima, Ohio and, although I was very financially privileged during my childhood and adolescence, it was seeing my best friend omit her college education due to the exorbitant tuition that made me ponder the idea of economic declines. She was a very talented academic and had the intellect to be accepted anywhere of her choosing. Yet the cost was too expensive. The idea was posited to me through a family friend and I accepted.
“As for what I learned through it, it wasn’t your usual enlightenment regarding third-world economics which you would probably expect. I learned a lot about myself in the process. I always thought that I was somewhat apathetic to circumstances not directly involving myself, but my work with Habitat for Humanity showed me that I had more depth and compassion that I had realised. It warranted a great deal of self-introspection afterwards, though I believe that I am a better person for having done it.”
As Alicia listened patiently and attentively to his response, Cary watched how Kurt’s lips moved and how his eyes lighted when he spoke of something important to him. Cary was mesmerised in a way that he had never been by a guy before. It was…electric.
“Cary?” Alicia nudged him. “Next question?”
Cary cleared his throat and realised that Kurt knew that he was staring. “So, Kurt, what is your favourite hobby for your free time?”
Alicia knew that a sophisticated string of hobbies was about to grace her ears. Kurt Hummel definitely seemed the type to be playing several instruments and speaking in at least three languages.
Kurt thought for a moment. “Well, I am an avid musical theatre fan. I go and see shows whenever I can. I like classical literature, I play the violin…I also like baking.”
After several more questions revolving around Kurt’s future prospects and academics, it was becoming far easier to make a decision.
Alicia wanted to laugh at how perfect Kurt was on paper. Sophistication poured from him yet he was humbly refined in a way that Alicia respected. She wanted to hire him right there, but decided to have a little fun first. Throwing curveballs was always fun…and this was all but locked down. She would not take the response into account when making a decision. She didn’t think she needed to. Kurt probably already had the job.
“Kurt, I was wondering if you could tell me about your honest opinion about my husband and the scandal involving him.”
Cary frowned at her. Alicia quickly side-eyed him and he got the meaning instantly. She was toying with Kurt to test his bluntness or perhaps his discretion when face-to-face with somebody involved.
Kurt understood what was happening. Simply because he would have done the same thing. He would just…be himself and speak his mind, no matter if it offended Alicia or not. He figured it wouldn’t, but you never knew with some people.
“Frankly, I hope you do not mind my reticence in censoring myself. I think your husband is a fool.”
Alicia nodded, showing no signs of personal reaction. Cary smiled. “Elaborate, if you will?”
Kurt nodded. “While I admire your desire to stand by him publicly, Alicia, I think you are putting on the respectful façade in order to placate the press. I know you wish to shield your children from this so that is possibly why. I think that Peter would definitely be asking a lot of you if he expected your forgiveness. Adultery is unforgivable, in my opinion. I apologise if I have overstepped, I was answering the question with completely honesty.”
Alicia blinked. “I appreciate that, Kurt. Would you excuse Cary and I for a moment?”
“Please,” Kurt smiled politely as the two junior associates left the room. As they left the room, Kurt took the opportunity to notice how utterly perfect Cary Agos’ ass was.
In fact, Cary Agos was an extremely well put together human being.
Kurt suddenly had a new motivation for acquiring the job at Lockhart/Gardner. Diane was a lovely, strong woman and Will wasn’t too bad to look at, either. Then again, he did have the forehead problem which Kurt honestly thought was scary if nothing else. He did have that authoritative intelligence thing going for him as well and he rather thought that Cary would have the same influence, but over him. Being the intern of a hot guy was exactly how Kurt wanted to spend his time before becoming a fully-fledged criminal litigator. He had considered going straight from law school into a firm but wanted the experience first. He wouldn’t have wanted to make a commitment with a firm and then realise that he didn’t like the life there. No, this was a better way for him personally.
He smiled to himself as he realised that he only had to beat out four other applicants to get the post.
Outside the conference room, Alicia smirked to Cary.
“You like him.”
Cary kept his poker face up and tilted his head. “Alicia, I’ve spent less than an hour with the guy.”
“But you were practically drooling from the moment he started talking.”
“No, I wasn’t. Cary Agos does not drool. Or practically drool. The guys come to me.”
“I see. I have a feeling that Kurt Hummel likes to play it cool. You’re going to have to go for him.”
Cary shrugged. “And you’re going to have to go for Will, Alicia.”
Alicia’s lip quivered slightly, and Cary knew that that was her tell for when she didn’t want to answer a question or respond to something. “Irrelevant,” she snarled.
“Exactly,” Cary replied. “Just drop the subject. Now, I say that we hire him. He’s the best candidate.”
“You mean he’s the most desirable candidate?”
“I wonder what Will thinks of him.”
“Okay, I’m shutting up now,” Alicia said. “I also say we hire him. Do you want to give him the news? He’ll like you a lot more.”
Cary put a hand on Alicia’s arm and smiled with a silent gratitude. Slipping into the room first, Cary sat down, leaning back on his chair and linking his hands together.
“Alicia and I would love to hire you as our intern. When can you start?”
Before Kurt could reply, Diane walked by and cocked her head towards her office. Alicia noted that she had on her stern look. Kurt got the message immediately.
“I can start right now if you want me to.”
“Excellent,” Alicia smiled and Kurt stood up, going straight for the hug with Alicia.
“Thank you for the opportunity, I very much appreciate it.”
“Our pleasure entirely, Kurt.”
Kurt beamed back and slipped his hands around Cary’s neck. “Thank you, Cary. It was very nice to meet you.”
“Likewise. I think you’ll…fit in well here.”
“I certainly hope I do,” Kurt nodded as he stepped back. “I guess I’ll be at my desk. Actually, I’ll get you both some coffees. Your orders?”
“Caramel macchiato,” Cary replied thankfully.
“Non-fat mocha latte,” Alicia said smoothly. “Thanks, Kurt.”
Kurt dug out his portable headset as he pushed the elevator button, watching the lawyers rush about the firm and thinking about how interesting his time as Lockhart/Gardner was going to be.