the wire, quivering on stilettos
As a rule, Kalinda disliked lawyers. It was part of her job mentality: She pried open the lies, traced the evolution of evasions, and unburied truths they would rather let lie. She undid everything they wanted to do, which usually meant she had to think more like a lawyer than the lawyers did.
It was easier when they were sincere, because sincerity didn't often lend itself to legal success. They usually started out that way, of course--when she worked in the state attorney's office, she'd made bets with one of the other investigators, speculating when the bright-eyed hopefuls would realize how much they let slide, for the sake of efficiency or expediency. Or, even worse, for the sake of a good sound bite.
Kalinda usually won her wagers, because no matter how good they were at their jobs, she was always better. She'd never owned those rose-colored glasses, never even picked them up off the shelf.
Alicia Florrick was...different. Idealistic, yes, but the rumors at the state attorney's office had broadcasted the brittleness, long before the press conferences had publicized her game face, what one Post columnist had described as her "an icy veneer so brittle it was piteous."
At the time, Kalinda had focused on Florrick, at the political maneuvering behind the proffered speech. She had, most likely, smirked as she realized the full weight of Florrick's albatross, the corruption from which even his wayward dick couldn't distract.
When she'd heard Alicia was joining the firm, she'd logged onto YouTube to re-watch the press conference, stared at the grainy figure, the line of her jaw and the blank stare, aimed somewhere around Peter's shoulder. Kalinda had agreed with the Post columnist, and wondered how severely Alicia would shatter in the end.
She thought it over, and called her friend in the SA's office. She gave Alicia two and a half months, or two if Peter lost his initial appeal.
but won't cook you by the book
The firm liked to trot Alicia out on high-profile cases. They used her porcelain-fair face to startle and distract their opponents, which Kalinda thought a canny strategy, though a bit unsubtle. It was, she thought, amusing how often the plan worked. The judges postured, the lawyers blustered, even as Alicia picked apart their arguments with a sledgehammer.
Alicia was, Kalinda thought, much better at her job than the firm expected. It was a pity they relied on her reputation more than her ideas. A combination of the two would, perhaps, be more effective.
It was a slow week, and Kalinda found Alicia hidden behind a pile of scut work. She leaned against the frame of Alicia's door, the cool metal pressing against her temple. "You must be bored out of your mind," she observed.
"Well." Alicia's smile was weary, but her posture was impeccable. "I'll admit, this isn't the most stimulating case."
Kalinda straightened, stepped forward to flick a finger over a file. "The Evansen case, right?" She flipped a folder open. "And they stuck you with the side effects." She scanned the top page, upside-down, wrinkling her nose at the list of unpleasantries.
"I'd feel more comfortable if I was more familiar with medical terminology," Alicia confessed. She gestured to a pile of professional journals. "I can't get through an article without my eyes crossing."
Kalinda grinned. "You look like somebody in need of an extremely dirty martini."
"Let me guess," Alicia replied, "it's tradition?"
Kalinda tucked her hands into her pockets. "After your first round of medical background checks."
"Of course," Alicia said. She opened a desk drawer and retrieved a faux-Fendi baguette. "I suppose one martini won't kill me."
Kalinda raised her eyebrows. "I could tell you stories," she said.
Alicia snorted, bumping her shoulder against Kalinda as she walked around her, nudging the door so she could reach the coat hung behind it. "I'd love to hear them."
"Play your cards right." Kalinda watched Alicia slide into her coat, reached forward to help straighten her lapels.
Alicia touched her fingers to Kalinda's wrists, where her gloves ended. "I was never good at poker," she replied.
is only petty larceny
Tradition, Kalinda found, encompassed many things. Hard lemonade, for example, sipped after hours while piecing together timelines based on witness testimony. Three blue Jell-O shots, mid-afternoon, when a case was won and the truly bad guys would have to scramble to appeal their sentence. A glass of too-expensive red wine, paired with slices of greasy pepperoni pizza, to fortify them while breaking down a new assignment with Cary.
An inch of ten-year-old Jameson when Peter's second appeal made headway. Vodka tonics when Alicia directed him to his mother's apartment sans further impunity. Gin and tonic when Zach went on an out-of-town field trip, and Grace had a sleepover across town.
A liquored kiss in the back of a taxicab, lingering until Kalinda stumbled backwards into the rubber plant outside the apartment. Midrange chardonnay, poured into a teacup and a coffee mug, with the murmur of too-soft rock playing on the radio, and the scratch of stiff upholstery against Kalinda's arms as she pressed her thigh between Alicia's legs, fumbled with the buttons of an unfamiliar blouse.
Mimosas the next morning, made with cheap champagne and Tropicana high-pulp orange juice, with homemade waffles dripping with maple syrup. Jasmine-scented body wash, which made Kalinda sputter in the shower, before Alicia twisted her fingers just right, always a quick study when she put her mind to it. Coffee, black and three sugars sweet, after Grace called and asked if she could stay until the afternoon, and Kalinda watched panic wash over Alicia's face as reality set in.
Two lattes, one soy vanilla and the other cinnamon dolce, on Monday morning, when Kalinda marched into Alicia's office with her head held high. Alicia twisted around her, closing the blinds, and Kalinda didn't sigh with relief as she kicked backwards until the door clicked shut.
Alicia kissed her, and her mouth tasted like lipstick and cinnamon toothpaste. Kalinda murmured nothing, pressing her fingers against the back of Alicia's neck. She pulled away before Alicia did, and watched as her eyes flickered open again.
"I don't know what to do," Alicia confessed.
Kalinda brushed their lips together again, twice. "Give it time," she answered, "and you will."