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a carefully laid-out plan

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Alicia’s been legally separated for three months before Kalinda officially makes her move. Respect for Alicia is part of why Kalinda’s waited so long, but it’s also just plain common sense—Kalinda’s planning for something more long-term than a fling or a one-night-stand, as strange and nerve-wracking as that seems sometimes, and she doesn’t want to make her move while Alicia’s still emotionally tangled up in her former husband.


So Kalinda waits, and it’s easier than one would think. Nicer too in a way, because then she gets to do what she thinks of as “laying the groundwork”—taking Alicia out to lunch when their schedules permit it, even taking Alicia out to a bar to celebrate on one particular occasion when they’d won a case (sure, Alicia had been the one to deliver the closing statement, but Kalinda likes to think her investigative skills helped quite a bit). That evening had been—memorable, even if nothing dramatic had happened. It had been enough simply to sit with Alicia at the bar and enjoy Alicia’s easy smile, the way the dim lighting from the bar made her look even more luminous than usual.


And when Kalinda’s using words like ‘luminous’ to describe Alicia, she figures it’s time—past time, really—to just make her move already.


So she does.




They’re the only two people still working in the office. Alicia’s frowning abstractedly at the spread of pictures Kalinda’s taken of the defendant, trying to fit the puzzle pieces into some configuration that actually makes sense.


Kalinda’s staring at Alicia’s mouth and trying to figure out the best way to make her approach. Finally she just has to go for it, scooting in close with her chair, and resting a hand against Alicia’s knee.


Alicia glances up. “Yes? What—“


Kalinda doesn’t let herself think twice about it, she just leans in and kisses Alicia softly, gently. She waits, but there’s no returning pressure, no—and she pulls away, fighting back the sense of disappointment, and just waits for whatever Alicia’s going to say next.


Apparently Alicia isn’t going to say anything at all for a moment; she’s just going to blink at Kalinda with wide hazel eyes, clearly at a loss for words. “What, um,” she clears her throat. “What was that?”


“It was a kiss,” Kalinda says, deadpan, even as she’s trying to figure out the fastest way to extricate herself from what is turning into a seriously awkward position. “Is that a problem?”


“No,” Alicia says quickly, “I mean—I just wasn’t expecting to, to get kissed. That’s all.” She looks at Kalinda for a moment, seems to hesitate, and then says, “But I don’t mind.”


Kalinda raises an eyebrow. “Don’t mind as in you’re not going to hold it against me, or don’t mind as in you want me to do it again?”


She’s already steeling herself to accept the former, which is why it comes as a complete surprise when Alicia says slowly, “The second, actually.”


Kalinda doesn’t actually mean for her surprise to show up on her face, but it must be anyway, judging from the tentative and amused smile Alicia’s got on her face. “You’re sure?” Kalinda prods.


“Yeah,” Alicia says, her smile growing. “I think I am.”


Well, Kalinda doesn’t need to be told a third time. So she leans in again, and presses her mouth gently against Alicia’s—but this time, there’s this tiny inhalation of breath against Kalinda’s mouth, and then Alicia’s kissing her back, tentatively yes, but still so sweetly that it makes Kalinda want to melt in her chair. After an eternity—or maybe just a few moments—Kalinda finally pulls away, enjoying the faint flush on Alicia’s cheeks, the way that her eyes flutter open. “So, does this mean I can finally take you out on a real date?”


Alicia’s answering smile is maybe the best thing Kalinda’s seen all night. “Yeah,” she says. “I think it does.”