Chapter 18-False reassurance-
Alicia smiled as she heard the sound of celebration erupt from the other room. Not too long before the final votes had come in, she had chosen to find a more private room, an office she wasn`t sure ever had been used. The place looked sterile, not a post-it or a paperclip to indicate any inhabitants.
But maybe Eli had vacated the office already. There was no way for her to be certain.
The emptiness however reflected well on her feelings and the place calmed her. She was glad he had won, even though it meant they would probably change their life drastically, AGAIN. She was pleased she found out she was glad, because with all her reservations she had felt guiltily insecure on whether she wanted him to be elected.
She heard the door and expected 1 of 2 people. She either thought the person, who entered quietly, was Peter, coming to share his success with her in private, or it was Kalinda, finally freed from the current State’s Attorney’s presence. The latter seemed more likely, Peter would have to shake hands and would most definitely be missed at the hour of celebration. But why was the latter also more desired? When she turned around to face whoever it was who had entered, she was surprised her eyes first met a stroller.
The man who pushed it was an investigator she recognized. He had worked with Cary when he investigated Kalinda and she immediately was on her guard. Before she could ask him anything however, he approached, hand outstretched, to introduce himself.
‘ Wiley, Mrs Florrick. It’s nice to finally meet you in person.’
He seemed shy and a little awkward, but there was something about his movements Alicia found calculating. She had stood to shake his hand and did not sit back down, feeling the current position made her less vulnerable.
‘ Congratulations on the win. The interview you gave… It did the trick, I think.’
She smiled humorless in recognition of his words.
‘Yes, as you can see, there is a celebration going on. Highly inappropriate for you to seek me out, right now, I think.’
As she coldly spoke the words, she initiated a path to the door behind him, but he pushed the stroller so that it would block her.
‘ You know, I’ve been trying to make an appointment to talk to you for quite a while now. To tie up some loose ends. But that’s not why I’ve come here tonight.’
Intrigued, Alicia halted. His voice had not sounded angry or upset. It did not even sound invading. He sounded… Sincere. Still guarded she signaled him to go on.
‘ I know what it’s like to have a spouse who is… In the spotlight… Shall we say. I saw your interview. In my investigative work for the former State’s Attorney I have come across some facts that might explain some of the rumors that have been circulating.’
She knew she had turned pale when she saw the look on his face, and he rushed forward to offer her a chair.
‘ No, I’m so sorry Mrs Florrick, that came out wrong. What I am trying to say is I am familiar the source of this new gossip, but it’s untrue.’
Looking into her eyes reassuringly, he rocked the stroller distractedly. There was something harmless about a man bringing his child to a conversation like this. But on the other hand, it probably was a strategy. Which would make him calculating. Alicia couldn’t make sense out of her emotions.
‘ And you know this because…?’
He smiled, half an eye on the sleeping baby.
‘ Like I said, I came across it in my work.’
He pulled two sheets of paper out of his bag and placed them before her. Alicia’s trained eye immediately recognized the layout of an ASA’s interview. The name of the person interviewed had been blanked out however.
‘ This is the source of the rumor, Mrs. Florrick. In an interview it was mentioned your husband had slept with a co-worker when he was State’s Attorney last time. My former boss found this interesting, for personal reasons, as you can imagine.’
Suddenly she realized why he was doing this, he wanted her to put in a good word with Peter for him. Deciding to play the game along, she nodded, knowingly, as an answer to his earlier remark.
‘ I investigated this information profusely, Mrs Florrick, and I can assure you that the person that he supposedly slept with, does not exist. The person giving the interview most likely wanted to give Mr. Childs what he wanted to hear.’
Wiley, who had also sat down when he had offered her the chair, gathered the papers and got up when she stopped him.
‘ I take it that’s a copy?’
He seemed reluctant to give her the papers, what made her suspicious. Had he lied to her? Had he been hired by Peter already and now was sent to reassure her. But then he handed them to her, and moved closer to show her the part he had been talking about, his eyes filled with false reassurance.
‘ You see? The mention of this name, over there. She doesn’t exist. Not only did she never work in the State’s Attorneys office, she simply doesn’t exist. There is no such person, Mrs Florrick, as Leela Tahiri.’