“Does anyone ever surprise you?” Alicia had asked her once.
“Not even me?”
It was the truth. Essentially. But if surprise wasn’t a feeling Alicia Florrick arose in Kalinda, there were a few other ones she did stir up.
Sometimes, Alicia would say or do something so unfittingly naïve or unsophisticated that Kalinda couldn’t help snickering. She laughed with her, though, rarely at her.
“Anger is not a good advisor,” Kalinda pointed out.
Anger, she assumed, was what had caused the two inches thick file to spill all over the floor of Alicia’s office: no awkward move could ever cause such... spreading. Straight in her boots, she watched the other woman on her hands and knees gather the papers and pictures to arrange them back in the brown folder. Alicia’s usually perfect hair was slightly tousled and her white shirt had wriggled out of her skirt waistline. Good thing it was late and nobody else was around.
“Cary?” Kalinda added.
If it was because of Cary, she hoped that, at least, he didn’t witness her burst of temper.
Alicia didn’t look up when she answered, “Childs.”
“Uh. I’m surprised he can still get to you.”
“Yes. This is what annoys me the most. The fact that when he plays his cards right...” She lifted the half empty file and waved it. “... this kind of thing happens.”
Kalinda nodded; she could relate to that, although she was not into violence – not towards inanimate objects anyway. She walked in and headed for the small couch in the corner of the room, cautious not to step on the reports and memos strewn over the carpet. When she sat and crossed her legs, Alicia threw her a glance.
“You’re not going to help me with this, are you?”
“No. You must clean up your own mess.” She did push a sheet of paper in Alicia’s direction with the heel of her boot, though. “But I’ll keep you company while you do it.”
Alicia eyed the clutter of documents around her.
“Get comfortable. It might take a while.”
Kalinda snickered; Alicia snickered back. It was quiet and low-key, an understanding Kalinda never thought she would share with a woman she’d known for only a few of months.
There was camaraderie, and sprinkles of complicity.
Sometimes, Alicia would say or do something so ballsy that Kalinda had to bow to her.
Alicia kicked ass, and this statement came from Kalinda who, with all due modesty, kicked some serious ass too. The woman had a way with people and with words and with the law. She could make the State’s Attorney antsy, and witnesses as comfortable as necessary – or, depending on where they stood, as uncomfortable as hell. The former was not a small feat, and always fun to watch, by the way.
She had faced the press, the gossips, and the manipulations with a grace and poise not a lot of people would have exhibited in her situation. Maybe it was fortitude, maybe it was pride; as far as Kalinda was concerned, it didn’t matter.
So when Alicia saw beyond her own feelings and interest and passed intel about a rapist to Childs; when she owned Stern, even if only so briefly; when she kept her head up in the middle of the not-so-high-class hooker mess; when she didn’t flinch as Duke Roscoe pulled out pictures on national television of her and Will Gardner at a hotel; when she managed to work with Cary Agos ten hours a day and rolled her eyes at him only a couple of times... Kalinda remembered she used to be a sheltered good wife and mom, and she bowed to her.
There was admiration – an educated admiration, not a blind one.
Sometimes, people would say or do something so despicable that Kalinda felt like stepping in for her. Not that Alicia needed it: she had proven she could stand for herself, hadn’t she? But the fact remained that Kalinda felt like doing it nonetheless or, at least, offering to. The tactlessness and recklessness of some caused a protective instinct to kick in a tad more ferociously than usual.
She would have checked on Cary's whereabouts – if only she had thought he was an actual danger.
Aside from anything she might otherwise think of him, about once a week, she wanted to tell Peter Florrick that he didn’t deserve his wife. Never had, never will.
She would have loved to talk to Amber. She was good at talking. People usually understood her pretty fast.
And now there was that healthy but obnoxious client pawing Alicia’s knee and hinting without an ounce of subtlety that she would be entitled to get back at her husband in the same way he’d hurt her. As well-mannered as ever, Alicia merely smiled at him and explained that, “I know people who are in the breaking fingers business, Mr. Shore.”
The paw slipped down.
In the elevator, which Kalinda had purposefully-coincidentally entered at the same moment than him, Shore gave her a once-over and asked with a smirk, “Are you one of those people in the breaking fingers business?”
She put her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket.
“I don’t stop at the fingers.”
There was thoughtfulness, and the temptation to protect her.
Sometimes, there just was a reason, good or bad, to either celebrate or drown a bad day in a glass of liquor. Preferably hard, plain liquor – no pretty, colorful cocktails, thank you very much. Kalinda would make up a Stern, Lockhart & Gardner tradition including tequila, scotch or gin, then. Although, after the first couple of times, Alicia had understood Kalinda was forging said traditions. Maybe because Kalinda had admitted it to her. She couldn’t be sure because she was slightly tipsy right now. Not drunk, never, but tipsy, definitely, and it hadn’t happened to her since...
She couldn’t even remember.
Alicia grinned and maternally patted her hand.
“I’ll hold your hair if you barf,” she assured her.
“A woman like you shouldn’t say ‘barf’, and on a side note, I can drink you under the table anytime I want.” Her voice was slightly more slurred than it should have been; she breathed in deeply before going on. “I’d be the one holding your hair.”
She watched Alicia tip her head back – long neck bent and throat working – to down in a single gulp her vodka. She thought that maybe, just maybe, they would roll under the table together. Fine with her.
They were bonding, and an annoying yet pleasant butterfly sensation afflicted her stomach.
And then, there were the quiet moments where Alicia didn’t say or do anything special. She just sat there, in her office, in a conference room, at a bar, her shoulder or sometimes her knee brushing Kalinda’s, her warmth and scent intoxicating. In those moments, Kalinda felt so totally and utterly screwed.
When it happened, her fingers hitched, her lips tingled, her breasts ached deliciously, the butterflies in her stomach moved faster... She wanted to touch her, but refrained. Notwithstanding the issue of Alicia’s interest, Kalinda was pretty sure that an affair didn’t fit with her moral code – it was the fortitude or pride thing all over again, and here too it made no difference whether she leaned toward the later, the former, or a mixture of both.
Nothing good could come out from fantasizing about a woman you would never get. Kalinda’d rather avoid getting caught in her imagination, but every now and then, the pictures that formed in her mind were too vivid to disappear by themselves.
She would start slowly, both not to scare and to tease her. She could picture herself lifting the dark and heavy mass of Alicia’s hair to bare the nape of her neck and graze the delicate skin. It would be the first touch spurring everything else. She would stroke and kiss her way down, pushing Alicia onto the couch, pushing her clothes out of the way, pushing her legs apart. She would revel in her muffled gasps, in the flushing of her skin and the spicy scent of her arousal. It took hardly any effort to imagine the feel of the fullness and softness of Alicia's body under her fingertips.
Alicia would protest a bit because it was the appropriate thing to do, but eventually, when Kalinda’s mouth followed the planes of her stomach and latched between her thighs, her hand would grip the back of Kalinda’s head and urge her on.
Kalinda would kiss her on the mouth only after Alicia had come, while Alicia’s fingers would be working her, pushing and moving deep inside her, reciprocating and making her bite her lips not to beg. Alicia’s free hand would soothe her back or tauntingly fondle her breasts and nipples – Kalinda had no fixed preference, no hard predilection about that, it mostly depended on the mood she was in when she pictured the whole thing.
She had a very bright and sharp image of Alicia: reclining on her sofa, her hair ruffled and her smart grey skirt riding up her hips, shapely legs opened just enough for Kalinda to fit between, looking sated and thoroughly fucked out. Their lips and their breasts were swollen, their breathing labored, their thighs still damp with their releases. They didn’t know what they would do next about the mess they had created but, for a while, it didn’t matter.
There was desire, and the knowledge that it would remained unfulfilled.
It was rather true that nobody ever surprised her. But Alicia Florrick landing on her doormat at 10pm, with a bottle of whisky and the thick brown file she’d put back in order earlier that night, wearing jeans and no make-up? Kalinda didn’t expect that. If only because she had never told her where she lived.
She blinked, only once but it was more than enough for an amused half smile to lift the corner of Alicia’s mouth.
“I need a bit of help with this,” she explained, waving the file in Kalinda’s face for the second time tonight.
Kalinda let her in.