Chapter 1: Meet The Help
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.
Chapter 2: Settling In
Kurt smiled at yet another one of Lockhart/Gardner’s associates as he made his way to Alicia’s office, some photocopying a probable venture like it had been for the past few days. Cary had allowed him to sit in on a deposition as long as he stayed quiet at the back. It wasn’t the worst thing, Kurt had decided. Neither was Cary’s company, he had come to find out.
“Alicia? You called?”
“Ah, Kurt,” Alicia smiled warmly, “This is Kalinda Sharma, our best investigator. Kalinda, this is the assistant I was telling you about earlier, Kurt Hummel.”
“Nice to meet you, Miss Sharma.”
“Oh, Kalinda, please. Alicia and Cary certainly talk highly of you.”
Kurt blushed and Alicia assumed that she knew why.
Kurt and Cary had been subtly flirting with each other all week. Kurt would put extra cream in Cary’s coffee and Cary would find excuses to touch Kurt whenever he could, making the younger boy falter in his tracks and concentrate on his breathing. It was the kind of high tension situation that Alicia loved to spectate. It was like a courtroom where silences were just as powerful as the words spoken in between them. A silence could make or break a case in some respects.
“I’m just glad for the opportunity to be able to learn a lot from everyone here,” Kurt smiled politely.
Kalinda just smiled back, longing to dig past the veneer and discover the real Kurt underneath the couth attitude and bright smile. Something Kalinda knew about people was that there was always something they didn’t want revealed. Something about themselves that was locked up tight beneath so many walls that were impenetrable to most. But Kalinda knew how to dig past them. If the situation warranted itself, she would learn Kurt’s secrets, but she wouldn’t unnecessarily invade his privacy.
Kalinda smirked and decided to try something, curious about what Alicia had told her. “If Cary’s annoying you, just let me know and I’ll deal with him.”
Kurt, predictably, blushed. He hated himself for that. He was always so well put together until the moment arose where Cary was mentioned or if he saw him or spoke to him. Cary made him crumble and that wasn’t something he was used to doing. He knew that Kalinda was trying to catch him off guard and get a reaction from him and, if Kurt could have prevented his blush, he would have stayed stoic and not revealed a thing about himself. The was the way he always did. It was the way he needed to be to ensure that things didn’t go south from here.
“I assure you Cary has been nothing but courteous since I started here,” Kurt smiled back, pulling himself together at long last.
Alicia nodded. “I know, Kalinda, I’m surprised too. Kurt just seems to make him more tolerable as a person.”
Kurt’s hand twitched behind his back but, still, he smiled. “I merely remind him that there’s a competition going on and that he should concentrate more on his work than on goading the opposition.”
“But he loves to goad,” Kalinda pointed out.
“I’m very persuasive,” Kurt eyes flashed intriguingly before he turned to Alicia. “Was there anything else you needed me for?”
“Not at the moment, thank you, Kurt. Oh, Will wanted to see you in his office.”
Kurt smirked. “I hope I don’t have detention.”
Will Gardner, as Kurt initially thought, was a man about power and authority. And while that was pretty much a kink of his, Kurt couldn’t help but be a little peeved by how he displayed it. Over Alicia, whom he took a chance on, over Cary who he clearly disliked. Even over Diane, in some kind of masculinity buffer. Diane had none of it, though Will still tried.
It wasn’t news to Kurt that every other member of staff at Lockhart/Gardner had authority over him, and he was used to that. But Will wasn’t vague about showing it. With his little baseball flitting in between his hands and a pseudo-welcoming smirk on his face as Kurt entered the room, Will offered for him to sit down.
“I’d like to stand, if that’s okay,” Kurt replied and knew instantly that Will Gardner did not take well to being challenged. His rivalries within the courtroom were public knowledge, but he silently had a few in the office, too.
“As you wish. I called you in here, Kurt, because I haven’t quite gotten to know you yet. On paper I have and what I see is very impressive, but I wanted to speak with you informally, to get to know you as a person, not as an applicant.”
Kurt nodded, supposing that was fair. “That’s logical.”
“You’ve proven to be quite a hit with the rest of the firm.”
Kurt smiled his signature polite smile. “I do what I can. I have a knack for guessing coffee orders and organisation is very important to me.”
“Cary and Alicia speak very highly of you.”
Kurt clenched his jaw and tried to will away his blush and it worked. “I’m glad I’ve managed to construct a rapport with the people I’m working most closely with.”
“Diane also has a very ameliorative opinion of you.”
“I have a feeling you don’t share their opinions,” Kurt said.
Will tossed his baseball back and forth. “I think that perhaps you were overqualified for an assistant’s job.”
Kurt sighed. “I simply wasn’t ready to jump into being an associate. I felt like I needed more preparation.”
“Did Yale not give you that?”
Kurt swallowed heavily. He knew that Will was testing him and it would probably shape a large portion of his opinion towards Kurt.
“Yale was a thoroughly enriching experience. So was taking the BAR. I excelled at both, but personally I felt like I needed more time to fully find myself as a person before entering the field properly. Is there some kind of problem here?”
Will smirked. “No, absolutely not. I just wanted to know why one of Yale’s most promising law students decided to not to dive in headfirst into a law firm. I think that your decision is smart and too many people let their hubris overcome logic. I commend your choices, Kurt.” Will smiled like he had just given Kurt permission to make those choices.
Kurt quirked his lips. He knew people like this and had dealt with far worse; people who were far more scheming and manipulative and downright controlling. “I wasn’t aware that I had to seek your approval. I make choices because I want to make them and I don’t need you to validate those as ones that you would have made. If that’s everything, I believe Cary needed some case files photocopying done.”
“I didn’t dismiss you.”
“No, I dismissed myself. I’m not here to be monopolised by a named partner. I’m here to assist Alicia and Cary and unless my job description is altered, I’ll do nothing more.”
Will’s eyes darkened. “I was under the impression you possessed the disposition to take on more than your role included.”
“I was under the impression that a named litigator of a top Chicago firm would do a better job of disguising his internalised homophobia.”
“I will not have you speaking to me this way, Mr. Hummel! I am not a homophobe.”
“Oh please, I can smell it on you. I’ve grown up seeing homophobes everywhere I turn, I know better than to assume somebody is of moral intentions. Excuses only extend the hole you’re digging for yourself. Just know that I’m onto you. One word from me and this firm’s reputation goes down the drain. Be careful, Mr. Gardner. I know more about you than you may think. Secrets are best kept hidden, am I right?”
Diane chose the correct moment to slip into the office. “Is everything okay here?”
Will plastered a smile on his face as quickly as Kurt had ever seen someone change. “Of course, Diane. I just was taking a chance to get to know Kurt a little better. He has some serious spunk.”
Kurt snorted. Diane Lockhart was many things, but she wasn’t so easily fooled.
“Kurt, may I speak with you privately for a moment?”
He followed Diane into her office opposite, his back to Will.
“If there’s anything you’d like to share, this is a safe space for you to do so.”
Kurt shrugged. “Will and I just have some personal differences, Diane. It’s nothing major, just some professional disagreement. In fact, I think it will enrich our working relationship. We may even become friends with time.”
Kurt Hummel was many things and a terrific actor was definitely one of them. He could play one hell of a part when he needed to. And Diane Lockhart was somebody he needed on his side. He knew that Will wouldn’t reveal anything about his wrongdoings to her, no matter how close they were. Diane was a spokesperson for gender, sexuality and race issues nationally and internationally and Will would be foolish to broach the subject.
“I’m glad you’re starting to fit in well here. Alicia and Cary have nothing but praise for you and your work.”
“I’m learning a great deal from them. They’re very promising lawyers. You and Will have one hell of a decision to choose between them.”
Diane fiddled with the hem of her cardigan. “Ah, yes, the competition. When the time comes, I believe your input will be useful. Assistants often see what managing partners fail to notice. You’re possibly in the best position to choose.”
“I wouldn’t want to encroach upon personal loyalties, Diane. I am slowly building friendships with both Alicia and Cary and I am wary of offering an opinion that will result in reluctant alienation.”
Diane respected that, but also believed that Kurt misunderstood. “Kurt. Cary and Alicia are very professional people. I’m sure any decision would not affect your relationships with them. I am, however, interested to know your opinions of them both.”
Kurt frowned. “I’m merely an assistant. Make no mistake, I wish to build a rapport with everyone at this firm and watch it grow, but the food chain, so to speak, ends with me.”
Diane smirked. “You know, you’re a very impressive young man. I hoped Cary and Alicia would select you.”
“High praise indeed,” Kurt said sincerely. He respected Diane Lockhart a lot and her opinion meant a great deal to him.
“You flatter me. Though you intrigue me a great deal. I’ve never seen somebody so young be so collected. I’m sure you’re aware that you were vetted by our investigator.”
Kurt nodded, even though he had only had a hunch that that would happen. “The lovely Kalinda, I believe. I’m sure she found everything you needed to know.” He hid a smirk, knowing the exact opposite would have been true. His tracks were covered very thoroughly.
“Actually, she came up almost empty. Nothing but a few notices of your more prominent accomplishments. However commendable they are, Kalinda is the very best in her field; the fact that she couldn’t find anything on you made me wary.”
Kurt pursed his lips. “How does this relate to the associates?”
Diane blinked heavily. Kurt was good at deflection, it seemed. She would play along. “I would do well to listen to your opinion. I believe myself a very good judge of character, Kurt, and I know that I was right about you. You have a lot of potential and your views are logical. You leave a lot of questions in one’s mind after meeting you.”
“I think the same hold true for me. I have a lot of trust issues, Diane, and it takes a lot for me to view somebody in a positive light. So when I finally come to appreciate somebody, it’s usually binding. I’m very hesitant with people.”
Diane nodded. “I feel like this is going to circle right back to Alicia and Cary.”
Kurt quirked his lips. “You don’t miss a beat.
“Alicia Florrick is a wonderful woman. I admire her, which is rare for me. I think that she is a well-possessed woman with a brilliant mind. I respect her choices and believe she is going to go far in her career. Will was right to take a chance on her.”
Diane winced. She had originally been against giving Alicia another shot, something that Kurt knew and was probably calling her out on in the most respectful way. He was definitely some kind of ninja.
“Not to say you were wrong to go against her. Her lack of recent legal experience would have made me wary, although second chances are often crucial. First impressions aren’t always all that they are cracked up to be.”
Diane licked her lower lip. “And Cary?”
“Cary Agos is a very spirited individual. He seems to know exactly what he wants and won’t hesitate to go after it. Harvard Law chewed him up and regurgitated him into a fine man.”
Diane didn’t miss the lexical choice Kurt used.
“Even just speaking with him, I can tell exactly how much he wants the position. Not more or less than Alicia, just with a different passion. It’s no secret that Cary is a charming man and it makes him naturally adept in dealing with people.”
Diane’s eyes narrowed infinitesimally. Oh. That’s how it was. Workplace relationships weren’t usually encouraged, prohibited even, as they distracted from work and made certain decisions difficult. But Kurt was an assistant. It was different. Wasn’t it? She would have to consult with Will. She would appraise their working relationship. Surely nothing would happen. She liked Kurt and she liked Cary, she thought that they were quite similar in terms of mentality. If a relationship was to begin, it would probably be good for the both of them. Diane would even possibly by a hat. If the situation warranted it, of course.
Kurt couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he played back his conversations with both Diane and Will. Will was playing the game exactly as Kurt had expected him to, right into his palms. Diane wasn’t being manipulated, as such, but she would be a valuable ally when the time came for her to be. If the time came, Kurt internally corrected himself. His internal spiel was interrupted by a curious voice piercing his content silence.
“What’s got you so happy?” Cary grinned as Kurt walked into his office, clutching papers in his hands. Handing them off, Kurt sighed.
“If I told you that, I’d have to kill you.”
Cary smirked. “Nah, you’d definitely miss me too much if you did.”
Kurt leaned against the doorframe. “You might be right.”
“Might be? Why, I’m offended.”
Kurt gasped. “Well, I wouldn’t want that now, would I?”
“As long as I’m happy, I won’t bring the thunder down upon you. I could easily double your workload.”
Kurt conceded that with a nod. “You could. But that doesn’t give me much time for socialising outside of the firm now, does it?”
Cary snickered. “So let’s make a deal. As long as your workload remains as is, you should meet me for drinks after hours sometime soon.”
“That was so poorly phrased, Mr. Agos. Although after hours does sound rather intriguing.”
“What can I say? I get nervous around you.”
Kurt slowly ran his tongue over his lower lip before completing the circle. “And why would that be? I’m just your assistant, Cary.”
“That god damn tongue,” Cary whispered inaudibly. “You’re hardly just my assistant seeing as you agreed to have drinks we me. I’d like to think that makes us friends.”
“Friends, huh? I think I can do that. You let me know when you want to meet and I’ll be there.”
“After hours?” Cary asked, his voice dropping in pitch, and Kurt thought it was the sexiest thing he’d ever heard in his life.
“Of course, Mr. Agos. Certainly.”
Cary frowned before noticing that Will was lurking outside his office. Seriously, how could Kurt have known that? He was definitely a ninja of sorts. A sexy as fuck ninja, for sure. “That’ll be all, Kurt, thanks.”
Kurt turned on his heel and glowered at Will before pretending to busy himself in Alicia’s office. Will gave Cary a long, hard, piercing look before retreating to the conference room with David Lee. Cary appraised the scene with a bemused expression, sure that something was happening and Kurt knew all about it.
Then again, there were perks of dating your assistant. They could all be sorts of useful, especially when they were crafty and could see right through people immediately.
Whatever happened, Cary Agos was in for a rough ride.
Chapter 3: Assistance Required
Kalinda draped her legs over the end of the couch in Alicia’s office. She appraised the man in front of her with a cautious smile. “So how exactly are you manipulating both of the named partners at the same time without either of them knowing?”
Kurt smirked, slamming the stapler down on his paper. The god damn printer had been out of staplers, something which he had not been notified of and had remedied immediately. If there were ever awards for assistants, Kurt would be in the running, he rather thought. So he settled for the old-fashioned way for now. “Oh, dear Kalinda. Who says I’m manipulating anyone? That’s a very dangerous accusation…”
She nodded. “Diane beams every time you’re around and Will walks on eggshells around you. It’s apparent that you’re flattering the former and blackmailing the latter.”
“What would you say if I was?”
Kalinda blinked. “More power to you. I like them both well enough, but there’s a certain air of infallibility in their actions, like no repercussions could ever reach them.”
“You’re attentive,” Kurt said. “But, in this case, just short of the point. Diane is marvellous but she’s acting as one of my pawns right now.”
Kalinda paused. “Wait a minute. Diane Lockhart is only a minor player in your game? Just what are you planning, Kurt?”
“It’s merely pre-emptive. When the time comes where I start my own law firm, Diane is extremely important. And she’s also useful when it comes to the internal game I’m playing.”
“In the firm?”
Kalinda smirked. “Because what the field of law needs is more drama. But why are you trusting me with this?”
“You’re someone to be trusted, Kalinda. I’m going to need you there when it all unfolds. You’re in their pocket and that’s what I’ll need.”
“Is this why you applied for the position?”
Kurt shook his head. “Don’t misunderstand me; this is a great firm and I’m happy to be working here. But I only discovered certain kinks in the system when I started. I did my background research, obviously, but when I looked a little deeper, I didn’t really like what I found.”
Kalinda sighed. “I guess I’ll trust your judgement and wait until something happens.”
“Thank you, Kalinda. It’s nice to have an ally as dependable as you.”
Throughout the week, Kurt noticed several people watching him very closely.
Will was the obvious one. Kurt had shut him down in his own office so it was only natural that he would keep tabs on the assistant to see what he was up to. Kurt’s poker face was pristinely intact, though, and he gave nothing away. Will would occasionally pile some more things onto his workload, but Kurt responded with a simple “I’m paid to assist Alicia and Cary, Will, not you. You have your own assistant, do you not? Go and trouble her with your menial tasks” and went about his business as usual. Will was left speechless, his mouth flapping open and closed. Kurt was tempted to poke it shut for him, but refrained. Only just.
Diane, surprisingly, wasn’t watching him as close as Will was. He suspected that she knew that she was being played, but she wouldn’t know in what capacity she was being manipulated. She hadn’t broached the subject any more, but Kurt felt that she was silently pondering it. Diane was aglow with smiles and encouragement whenever she passed him in the halls.
Alicia had her well-trained eagle-eye on him, as well. When he was in her office, she would gaze at him, as though also wondering what he was up to. That was the way that Kurt liked it. He wanted people to know that he had an agenda in play, but leave them in the dark as to what the agenda was. Alicia would never ask about it, but she would posit silent questions with her expressions, to which Kurt would shoot them down and leave the office. She would know when everybody else knew.
Kalinda mostly left him to it. A few quick enquiries here and there totalled their interactions. They didn’t really need to speak to each other regarding work matters, apart from maybe passing messages along to Alicia and Cary when needed.
Cary watched Kurt like a hawk and nobody even noticed. Alicia did, of course, because she already knew that there was infatuation on Cary’s part. Cary gave him sly little winks whenever Kurt passed and nobody was looking, but that was what Kurt loved the most. He loved knowing that they were in an environment where they couldn’t be all over each other like they both wanted, but everything had to be secretive. It would be so worth it when they finally came together and were in a position to unleash the bundle of feelings that they had been repressing basically since Kurt began working at Lockhart/Gardner.
One dark Thursday night, it all came to a head.
Alicia had gone home to spend time with her children (whom she had insisted Kurt had to meet at some point in the near future) and the named partners had also left the building. It had been a stressful day with several difficult depositions and a subpoena for both Diane and David Lee, causing almost everybody to vacate the office space in favour of a good night’s sleep.
Everyone apart from Cary. Of course, the junior associate was working furiously on a case he was to present in court the following morning. He wasn’t quite prepared for it, hence the longer hours than necessary.
“Seriously, how much rent do you pay to live here?” Kurt slid into the doorway, reminding himself too much of Curley’s Wife for comfort. He slackened his posture a little, satisfying his own anxious brain.
Cary smirked. “Unless I’m mistaken, you’re also here.”
“Not half as much as you. I was just cleaning Alicia’s office. She presents herself so neatly but leaves candy wrappers everywhere.”
“Kalinda,” Cary explained and Kurt understood. Kalinda was a very loose person and Kurt got the feeling that she was quite carefree in all of her endeavours outside of work. In the office (and the field), she was attentive and sophisticated, everything a good investigator should be. Kurt admired that about her.
“So how’s the case going for tomorrow?”
Cary rubbed his chin. “Not particularly well. I’ve been searching for precedents for over an hour but everything’s just so specific.”
Kurt raised an eyebrow. “Need some help?”
Cary smiled at all of the times he had imagined Kurt saying those words to him. None of them included precedents. “Sure.”
Kurt was quite familiar with the case and skimmed over Cary’s notes. Plucking a pencil from the top drawer of Cary’s cabinet, Kurt etched some quick notes onto the paper, handing it back to Cary, a satisfied smirk on his face. “Eidetic memory.”
Cary read the notes and a bright smile stretched across his face. “Where did that come from?”
“A judge, I believe,” Kurt chuckled.
“Oh, you’ve just saved me another three hours in this office. I could kiss you.”
Kurt decided to stop beating around the bush and be bold. He draped himself across Cary’s lap, hands latching onto his neck. “Well, now would be as good a time as any,” he whispered seductively.
Cary slid his hands up Kurt’s thigh and pressed their lips together, a tight embrace. Kurt dragged Cary’s tie through his grasp, tugging on it sharply as he reached the end of it. Cary groaned in Kurt’s mouth and deepened the kiss, his tongue slipping into Kurt’s mouth.
Kurt raised a brow as he felt a poking sensation in his leg. He broke the kiss, wanting to restrain himself and not fuck Cary in his office.
“Is something wrong?” Cary asked breathlessly.
“Oh no,” Kurt shook his head, “everything’s perfect, I just know that if I don’t stop myself now, I never will.”
Cary nodded. “Probably wise.” He realised that he was hardening and blushed. “Uh, shit, sorry about that.”
“From what I felt, you have nothing to apologise for,” Kurt smirked, kissing Cary’s rosy cheek quickly. “When you’re not so busy, we should go for dinner somewhere.”
“Kurt Hummel, are you asking me out?” Cary grinned.
Kurt swatted at his head. “Cary Agos, you’d better not mock me for being forward. If I waited for you to make a move on me, our first kiss would’ve involved adjacent rocking chairs and unfortunate false teeth.”
Cary laughed, shrugging. “Fair point. I was waiting until you were done with your battle tactics against our bosses.”
Kurt rolled his eyes. “You know about those?”
“You’re admitting you’re plotting something?”
“If you rat me out, I’ll withhold any further physical activity. You’ll never find out just how talented my tongue is.”
Cary bit his lip. That tongue had caused him many violent climaxes ever since that first interview with Kurt. “I wouldn’t, anyway. I’m far too intrigued to see how it all plays out, to be honest.”
“Well, if you must know, Will is totally losing his rag. He’s on edge all the time and I have him right where I want him. One wrong step and I take him out.”
“You’re hot when you’re scary.”
“So I’ve been told,” Kurt shrugged.
Cary kissed him again, taking Kurt by surprise. “Sorry. I needed to do that just one more time before we get out of here.”
“Oh, stop apologising. Feel free to feel me up in the elevator, though,” Kurt winked as he exited the office first, hips swaying deliciously in a way that made Cary fight to hold back the drool that threatened to trickle from his mouth.
Kurt Hummel was a piece of work, alright, and Cary was going to enjoy every single moment with him.
Chapter 4: Condemn
After a blissful time with Cary over the week prior, Kurt had to face facts. His manipulations were not so subtle and they had the chance to blow up in his face at any possible moment. Any manipulation tactic had the chance of doing that and it had done so for Kurt in the past. It wasn’t a failsafe game he was playing, but Kurt wouldn’t be playing the game at all unless he was sure that he would win.
And he would win. No matter who or what stood in his way. Because he was Kurt Hummel. And, as his father had said time and time again, that was what Hummels did. They rose above the common fray and won.
His time with Cary had been so enjoyable and Kurt was really starting to consider his infatuation as progressing more steadily than past ones had. Cary Agos really was something special and it had pretty much taken Kurt by surprise. He had applied to Lockhart/Gardner to further his career, to build foundations with people like Diane Lockhart who would give him more stable foundations when he became an associate somewhere and eventually started up his own firm. Thus far, Will Gardner was becoming a thorn in the side of his plans.
Especially when he was being called into the office.
“Kurt, please take a seat.”
“Mr. Gardner. What is it that I can do for you this morning?”
Will bristled. “Diane’s in court for the morning with Alicia and Cary. She wants to get a handle on how they are performing, as well as the case they’ve been working on. I’m sure you’re quite familiar with it by now, judging by the time you’ve been spending with them.”
Kurt did something very rare for a Kurt Hummel encounter.
“And what would make you think that?” He was stormy and wasn’t going to censor his admittedly irrational anger. Without knowing it, he had played right into Will’s hands.
“You are their assistant. Photocopying is bound to give you just a little bit of an insight into their work, isn’t it? Unless you’re not picking up the slack. This is a busy field, Kurt, and a busy firm. We have many high profile clients depending on everybody and we need to do nothing but our finest work.”
Kurt wanted to sigh and groan. He had missed Will’s own manipulation of him. Just a second too late, he had realised what Will was doing, reinforcing his own infallibility. He knew that he wasn’t always able to be on top of things, what with his job and the reality of his plan unfolding around him. He just wanted to be aware of when somebody was manipulating him.
“I’m picking up the slack, Will. I am. I’m doing more than a competent job. I’m going above and beyond what’s expected of me. Do you think I would have been hired if I couldn’t handle the job requirements?” Kurt wanted to smile. That was better, he was back where he needed to be. Will’s answer would prove most enlightening in the grand scheme of things.
Will threw his baseball back and forth, as if debating with himself silently. “I know that Diane would not have recommended you so highly if she didn’t believe that you could do your job. I know that Alicia is a rational person and would not have selected you if she didn’t believe the same.”
Kurt spotted the ellipsis in his declarative. “And Cary?”
Will smirked. “You tell me, Kurt. Is Cary a rational person?”
Kurt kept his composure this time and waved the question away. “What I believe is irrelevant to you. You’ve made up my answer in your head already, haven’t you?”
“And what would make you think that?”
Kurt braced himself, looking outside the office to see Kalinda lurking eminently. “Because I know what you know about me. You’ve read the file, I’m sure. You make your decisions about me based on that alone, which is rash of you I must say. I’m a different person and the manila folder doesn’t accurately portray me in the light I should be seen in. But that’s none of my business anymore. Make up your mind as you will, I can’t change that. If you’ll excuse me, Will, I believe I have a slack to be picking up.”
Kurt turned abruptly and forced himself to keep walking out of the office, walking directly past Kalinda who didn’t acknowledge him. She didn’t have reason to and Kurt understood that. If Will saw them conspiring, he would jump to conclusions. Correct conclusions, but conclusions nonetheless. And Kurt could not have that. Not one little bit.
As Kurt walked into Alicia’s office with yet another stack of photocopying that afternoon, she smirked at him.
“How do I know you’ve had a meeting with Will today just by the steely expression that’s all over your face?”
Kurt snorted loudly. “I am not steely. I’m in a state of pondering. I take it court went well?”
Alicia nodded. “We got more than we bargained for, plus the punitive.”
“Excellent,” Kurt said.
“It really was. Cary did most of the work, if I’m honest. He found a precedent while working late that really helped…”
Kurt felt a blush threatened to wash its way up his neck and reside on his cheeks, but he firmly fought it off. “Well, that’s awfully lucky of him.”
Alicia raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow at him. “You totally made out with him.”
Kurt was flabbergasted as she stared pointedly. “And what has led you to that conclusion?”
“Fuck, you talk like a lawyer. I mentioned you even briefly today and he licked his lips and blushed. I put two and two together. We’re trained to notice the minor details. I’ve been rooting for you both since you started here, anyway. I’m just glad you finally did something about it. I take it you initiated it.”
Kurt smirked. “Did you really expect Cary to?”
“Ooh, you’re savage.”
Kurt shrugged. “Oh, Alicia. There’s so much more to come. Be ready.”
“I look forward to it. But be careful, Kurt. Make sure you’re too careful, because what you’re trying to do is potentially risky; this could all blow up in your face and then you’ll be back to no support for whenever you want to start your firm.”
Kurt breathed shortly through his nose. “Oh, I’m not relying on Diane and Will for my firm. Nobody knows this, but I need Will on my side. I researched and I realised that the only way I could do that is to scare him into being on my side. I won’t use threats, but I’ll come pretty damn close to that. Diane is…just fun, I guess. But she could actually help with my firm.”
“You need Will on your side? Is this some kind of erotic desire? Cary would be so displeased.”
“Oh, no absolutely not. I’m…look, there’s information out there which Will possesses that I’m desperate to keep hidden. I’m pretty sure Kalinda knows, too, but she pretended not to find anything when Diane asked her. She’s manipulating me. She has this information for when she needs it.
“Don’t get me wrong, Kalinda is not a malicious person, or so I believe, but she will do whatever she can to protect herself, including exposing my secret.”
Alicia blinked in surprise. “I’m not going to pry, but is it bad? What Will and Kalinda know.”
“Pretty much,” Kurt replied shortly, “it’s a large part of my past that I really wanted to keep hidden. I tried my best to bury it, but it hasn’t worked. That’s how I found my source of support for when I start my firm. I won’t dwell too much on that, but I plan on starting up at the end of the year, just after the associates position has been filled by either you or Cary.”
Alicia understood. “And you’re going to ask the loser to join you rather than face a surprising period of unemployment.”
Kurt smirked. “You don’t miss a beat, Alicia. That is exactly what I’m going to do. Because I like both you and Cary a great deal, regardless of what is happening with the latter. I think that either one of you will be a great addition to my firm as another named partner.”
“You want my name,” Alicia narrowed her eyes. It was a theory.
“No, you misunderstand me, Alicia. If you were to lose this competition at Lockhart/Gardner, your talent and compassion would be the key assets I would capitalise on. Your influence would merely be an added facet. I don’t want you thinking that you’re only good for your husband’s name, because you are not. You are so much more than people make you out to be. I’m sure you’ve heard the talk.”
“More so than I would like.”
“Focus on your reality, Alicia. You know what is happening in your life better than any political gossip blog. Don’t exchange your truth for a more popular lie.”
Alicia chuckled. “How do you go from sounding like Aristotle one moment to seducing a colleague the next?”
Kurt shrugged. “Aristotle got laid, didn’t he? Pythias must’ve been into that.”
“I swear you’re the only person in the world who knows her name, you’re such a dork.”
Kurt’s pager bleeped and he smiled politely before turning to leave. “Is there anything you need before I go?”
Alicia’s eyes widened. “I can’t believe I forgot, I’m having a small dinner at my house tomorrow night and I wanted to invite you if you’re not busy.”
Kurt smiled. “I’d love to. You’d only be disturbing a Desperate Housewives marathon anyway.”
“Well, I think the drama of my family more than makes up for that. Plus, Cary’s coming. Maybe you two can play footsie under the table or something. Just don’t gross out my children.”
Kurt laughed. “I’ll see you later, Alicia.”
“You paged?” Kurt smirked, leaning against Cary Agos’ desk.
“I did, actually. You’re not busy, right?”
Kurt shrugged. “Not unless you have something you need me to do.”
“Well, since we won the case, I want to celebrate tonight. With you. We could go for some drinks somewhere, leave the office together.”
Kurt sighed. “I think Will might be onto us.”
Cary dismissed that. “So, we be careful. Unless he’s been spying on us after hours, he can’t possibly know anything for sure. We don’t really do anything suggestive around other people, so it must just be a vibe he has. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Kurt straightened his tie and stood up. “I suppose. Let’s do drinks tonight then. Let me know when you’re done?”
“I will. See you later, beautiful.”
Kurt glared playfully, hiding the charmed feeling way down inside of him. “Later,” he finally nodded.
Kurt had been tasked by David to collect a package from the front door of the building for him, even though he was not the assistant of David Lee and pitied the poor soul who was. He loathed the man, everything about him just didn’t fly with Kurt at all.
He stepped into the elevator, thinking that he was alone in there.
At the last minute, Kalinda slipped in between the doors.
She looked at him pointedly. “We need to talk.”
Chapter 5: The Ghosts Of His Past
Kurt knocked on the door a few times, in his signature rhythm, the one he was still trying to figure out. He had started doing it one day and still could not detect which song or musical pattern it stemmed from. He supposed that it didn’t matter, not when this dinner had the potential to be disastrous. He knew from the moment that he had been invited, and that Peter Florrick had been granted bail with house arrest conditions, that it was not going to go smoothly.
He thought back to his conversation with Kalinda.
“We need to talk.”
Kurt nodded, straightening his tie. “I was wondering when you were going to come to me with what you know.”
“You knew that I knew?”
“Yes. You’re a top rate investigator, Kalinda. What happened isn’t buried that deeply, as you know, as long as one can read between the lines. Though I appreciate you masking it from Diane and Will, even if it is leverage.”
Kalinda smiled. “How do you know I’m using it as leverage? I might just be a decent human being.”
“We hadn’t met at the time, so you had no reason to protect me. Look, I’m pretty sure that Will is clueless about it, but I made sure to mention something so he would be suspicious.”
“Why would you want that, though? He could find out and turn you in.”
Kurt fidgeted. “This is the riskier part of the plan. I’m going to bury it so it looks like he’s falsely accusing me. That’s the first phase of my plan, discrediting him. There are four people who know what happened. You, me, my best friend from high school, and…Peter Florrick.”
Kalinda’s eyes widened. “How does Peter know?”
“He got a tip off, or so I hear. The point is, he knows. So I’m going to make sure I mislead him at this dinner tomorrow. Somehow.”
Kalinda smirked. “Then you plan on bribing me to keep quiet so that nobody ever finds out.”
Kurt shook his head. “Not in so many words. You’re not the only one who has leverage. A secret for a secret, right?”
“What do you know?”
“Nothing too explosive, though I’m sure there are more skeletons tucked away at the back of your closet, Leela.”
Kalinda pursed her lips as the elevator doors opened. “Don’t you have a package to get?”
“Are you coming in, or do you just want to admire the hallway?” Alicia smiled as the door opened. Kurt snapped himself out of his stupor and beamed back.
“It’s a nice hallway, but I’m really eager to crack open this wine and eat something.”
Alicia took the wine with a thank you. “Dinner should be ready soon enough. Come, I’ll introduce you to my kids and Peter.”
Kurt swallowed nervously. His reunion with Peter was the very thing that would measure how everything else played out. “Sounds lovely.”
“Zach, Grace,” Alicia called, “come and meet Kurt.”
“Nice to meet you,” Zach shook his head firmly and Grace gaped.
“Mom, you did not say that Kurt Hummel was coming to dinner! I would’ve dressed up.”
Kurt frowned. “You look great, Grace. Do we know each other?”
Grace beamed. “You were a Cheerio, weren’t you?”
Kurt sighed, quite relieved that it had nothing to do with her father. “You follow cheerleading.”
Alicia smirked. “You were a cheerleader? Interesting.”
“For a while in my sophomore year of high school. I enjoyed it.”
Grace chuckled. “You practically won Nationals by yourself! I don’t know anyone else who can sing fourteen and a half minutes of Celine Dion songs in French while doing a full out dance routine.”
Zach raised his eyebrows. “Whoa, you did that?”
Kurt nodded, embarrassed. “Though not by choice. I lost my voice for a week after that performance.”
“Impressive,” Alicia supplied.
“I’m pretty sure I have it on DVD,” Grace mused.
Kurt looked at the girl and narrowed his eyes. “I sincerely hope you do not. I also hope that it will not be this evening’s entertainment.”
“Will you sing for us? We have a piano you can play!”
Kurt narrowed his eyes. “What makes you think I play piano?”
Grace shuffled nervously. “The YouTube channel dedicated to your Glee Club.”
“I never played in Glee! This is an outrage, I need to see it.”
Grace nodded towards her room and Kurt followed, stomping his feet exaggeratedly. Zach’s lips quirked into a smile and Alicia shook her head fondly. She had no idea that her daughter would fangirl over her assistant.
Speaking of fangirling over the assistant, Cary should be here any moment, she thought. A knock at the door proved her correct.
“Zach, could you get that?” Alicia asked as she went into the kitchen to pour herself some more wine. Red, of course. What else?
Zach opened the door to Cary and smiled. He had already briefly met Cary, but not enough to chat about it.
“Hey, Zach, what’s up buddy?”
“Hey,” Zach echoed, “Mom’s in the kitchen and Kurt is with Grace.” Zach definitely did not miss the blush that stained Cary’s cheeks at the mere mention of Kurt. He noted that with a knowing smirk and went to set the table.
Alicia greeted Cary with a warm smile. For competitors, they sure were polite and graceful. She said as much.
Cary chuckled. “That’s because we know it’s not going to come down to much in the end. It’ll be probably be Kurt who decides the thing. Diane practically wants him to be a named partner.”
Alicia tilted her head. “Oh. So should I bow out gracefully now then and save myself the humiliation later?”
Cary shrugged. “Nah. You don’t realise how much he likes you. Regardless of…other circumstances, he’s professional. He’ll make the right decision, no matter what it is.”
Alicia nodded curtly and realised that she had greatly misjudged her colleague. She regarded Cary in a whole different light. “I’m sure you’re right.”
Kurt chose that moment to emerge from Grace’s room, giggling. “I did not know that little devil recorded that. She is so dead! Oh, Cary. Hey.”
“Kurt,” Cary regarded calmly, trying to ignore how good Kurt looked dressed up for a dinner party and concentrated on his wine.
“So, where’s Peter?” Kurt asked as the man in question exited his bedroom.
Peter stared blankly at him. “Kurt? Kurt Hummel?”
Alicia frowned. “You two know each other?”
Kurt swallowed heavily and tried to keep his composure. Luckily, Peter bailed him out.
“No, of course not. I just recognise him from Grace’s videos.”
Alicia didn’t look entirely convinced and Kurt just knew that the truth would come out sooner rather than later. Cary seemed to believe it, though Kurt knew that he had an exceptional poker face. Lawyers often did. Even Grace looked stoically confused. Zach didn’t seem to notice anything.
“Well, dinner’s ready. I invited Kalinda but something came up and she couldn’t make it. So it’ll just be the six of us. Take a seat and I’ll bring it out.”
Dinner was a nice occasion, if not a little tense as looks were exchanged all around the table. Kurt and Cary had to stop themselves from smirking at each other. Alicia narrowed her eyes subtly at Peter as to ask the silent question about what he knew about Kurt. Alicia also looked at Kurt, who smiled shortly before avoiding her gaze and focusing on the food. Kurt also caught Peter’s eyes, but the latter was stoic as always, his gaze as political as it had always been on camera. Kurt decided to strike up conversation with Zach and Grace about their schooling and aspirations for the future. Cary knew that he was avoiding something, but wasn’t going to ask what. Their relationship had barely begun and didn’t want to jeopardise anything before the end. Zach and Grace exchanged a lot which question what on earth was going on with the supposed responsible adults at the table and why were they acting strangely?
After dessert had been served, Kurt politely retreated to the bathroom to check his messages, including one from Kalinda which caught his attention.
Kurt, we may have a problem. Call me as soon as you can. –Kalinda
Kurt’s eyes widened and he dialled her number. “Kalinda?”
“Kurt. Glad you called. It’s about your friend.”
“What’s she done?”
Kalinda sighed. “Were you expecting something to happen?”
“No, I just know her too well. Santana has never been the most subtle of people. Is she okay?”
“She’s being tailed. Look, the line isn’t secure, so I’ll tell you more when I can. Are you home?”
“No, I’m at the Florrick’s for dinner. I can get home if you need me there.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
Kurt stared into the mirror, his breath coming heavily. “Fuck.”
Chapter 6: Closer To The Truth
Kurt sighed as he shrugged off his tie and dinner jacket, throwing them on the bed. Before he could strip any more, a shadow crossed his vision.
“Good, you’re home. This is quite important.”
Kurt gasped. “Kalinda. Jesus. I would ask how you got in, but I think it’s better for my own piece of mind if I don’t know.”
Kalinda nodded. “Look, there’s somebody following Santana.”
“You mean besides you?” Kurt raised a brow. Kalinda was surprised that he wasn’t more worked up about it. She figured that was all part of his façade, seeming more put together than he actually was. From the moment she had spoken, Kurt’s walls had re-erected themselves, impenetrable just the way he wanted them.
“I’m doing it to protect her, Kurt. To protect you. Now that I know what you know, I’m protecting me too.”
“That’s fair. What do you know about it?”
“Not much,” Kalinda shrugged, “but I can find out more. Whenever I got close to finding something out, the car would drive away. The window would open and there’d be a camera, taking pictures of whenever Santana moved. I considered approaching her and starting a conversation, but I didn’t want to be in the pictures in case this all came back to you.”
Kurt nodded. “Good call. I’ll have a talk with Santana, see if she’s wise to any of this. I’ll have to halt my plans with Will. If this escalates, it’ll all fall apart and I can’t have that. This is serious.”
Kalinda nodded. “Let her know that I’ll be looking out for her. From what I know, she’s tough, but it can’t hurt for her to know she’s being protected.”
“Thank you, Kalinda.”
The woman smirked. “I’m protecting myself, too, remember? It’s just leverage for me.”
Kurt rolled his eyes as he heard his own words echoing around his mind. “I spoke wrongly, I apologise. I’ll keep your secret, Kalinda, I promise.”
“I appreciate that. I’ll keep yours too. Guess we’re in this together now, Kurt.”
Kalinda left just as promptly as she had appeared, not bothering to linger for small talk. Kurt appreciated that. There wasn’t much worse than forced conversation, especially with a friend. He was happy and appreciative to call Kalinda such, someone who was loyal and smart. He now understand why she had gelled with Alicia and Cary as well as she had. It was imperative that there be trust between lawyers and investigators, both in personality and ability, so their working relationships benefitted from such personal connections.
Kurt sat on the edge of his bed, tapping his hands against his knees in a peculiar rhythm that not even he understood. It was purely subconscious, but it somehow soothed him, let his mind wander and all of his problems regarding his past drifted to the back of his mind to be dealt with tomorrow. It was kind of like meditation in the way it helped him clear his mind before he went to sleep. He would dream of nothing of great importance and would probably sleep soundly, keeping the nightmares away.
Not long after Kurt and Cary had separately excused themselves from the dinner and the children had prepared for bed, Alicia’s well-prepared façade began to unravel. She let her face relax for the first time that night and her mind relaxed with it. Gone were the questions of Kurt and Peter’s apparent acquaintanceship, the questions of the worried look on Kurt’s face as he emerged from the bathroom after dessert. Diane had offered her the following day off, but she had refused, seeing through the gesturing and noting it as a test. Her work ethic needed to be impeccable if she stood a chance of staying on at Lockhart/Gardner after the trial period ended. Not that the alternative of joining Kurt’s firm seemed so unappealing. Kurt had admittedly been raised in an affluent family and had added his own money to the fund for his firm. He had more than enough for office spaces, staff and the other necessary aspects of the new business. It would took a while to garner business and create a reputation, but a guy in his mid-twenties starting up a law firm was almost unheard of and would set him apart from the others. Whether that was good or bad, Alicia didn’t know yet, but she was sure Kurt’s inherent intelligence and ambition would help him succeed.
Peter’s voice interrupted her train of thought. “Dinner was lovely, Alicia. I thought…maybe I could sleep in the bed tonight.”
Alicia raised an eyebrow, effectively shutting her husband down. “Oh, really? One simple compliment and you’re ready to accept my forgiveness? Not how it works, Peter.”
He reeled, as if physically struck. “I don’t know how many more times I have to apologise for everything. I did time in prison, I’ve made amends—.”
“Amends? Apologising to me and the kids is what you call amends? For the record, you don’t have to apologise anymore, Peter. I’m done hearing all of your excuses and apologies. You’ve apologised, now give me some time to process everything. I stood by you publicly for the sake of our careers, but now it’s time to let me think about what I want personally. I can’t do that objectively if you’re always around. I need space, Peter.”
“I can do that,” Peter conceded.
“And while we’re talking about what I need, how about the truth as to how you and Kurt know each other? Because you’ve never paid interest to the cheerleading and singing videos Grace shows you.”
Peter sighed. “You’re right. I lied about that, but I didn’t want to create tension during dinner. When you mentioned his name the day you hired him, it didn’t really ring a bell. But I knew when I saw him tonight how I knew him. A while back I got a tip off, some guy I don’t know who, of something that happened that was being covered up. It’s not my place to share the details, but it was pretty bad.”
Alicia let her anger towards her husband fade as she realised the truth was being told for once. It matched the little fragments of information Kurt had told her. “Kurt said that whatever he did played a pretty big part in him becoming who he is today.”
“I can imagine it did. I hope you respect my decision not to say anything. If I was about me, you’d know. You and Kurt seem pretty close; I’m sure he’ll tell you when he’s ready or if he needs to confide in anyone.”
Alicia nodded. “I understand. Goodnight, Peter.”
As Peter retreated into the living room, Alicia realised that she needed some time to think. A few things didn’t quite add up the more she pondered them and she needed things to be organised in her mind before she addressed her concerns to Kurt in the morning. Whatever Kurt had done played on her mind, doubtful flashes plaguing her dreams, turning them into garish nightmares that wouldn’t leave her alone until the sun rose and her radio alarm blared at her at another ungodly hour.
Cary paused as he turned the corner leading towards his and Alicia’s offices. Kurt was in Alicia’s, talking to Kalinda heatedly, frowns and sighs being exchanged before Kalinda finally left, thankfully heading the opposite direction to him. Kurt composed himself quickly, his walls shooting back up, and Cary inhaled deeply before entering the office, sure that neither one had seen him. Though he didn’t think that Kurt would say anything if he had.
“Hey, you,” Kurt greeted as they locked eyes, sounding both completely professional and elliptically mysterious as he usually did at the office.
Cary wondered if he had time for a quick kiss on the mouth, but decided not to risk it. It was destroy the very thing that Kurt was planning if anyone saw and he didn’t think that it would help his chances of acquiring the associate position at the end of the trial run. “Hey. Sorry we didn’t get a chance to speak more last night. I wasn’t sure how we were going to play it so I kinda kept my distance.”
Kurt shook his head vehemently. “No, it was my fault. You know that Diane wants my input about the permanent position. I didn’t want to make Alicia paranoid that I would be biased because of my feelings for you.”
“Feelings?” Cary echoed. “You mean you don’t just want a piece of all this?” He hand gestured to his body, which Kurt ogled appropriately. He most certainly did want a piece of that, but in due course.
“Is that what you thought?”
Cary shrugged. “It definitely wouldn’t be the first time someone’s interest had been prominently superficial.”
As much as Kurt joked about Cary’s aesthetically pleasing, well, everything, he hadn’t thought about people using him for just that. From what he know, Cary developed feelings for people pretty quickly and it wasn’t unlike people to show signs of requital and then flee when they got their physical satisfaction. He suddenly hated every single one of them. Also himself for not making things clearer.
“Well you don’t have to worry about me. You’re not an easy one to shake, Agos. I want you for more than your body. Trust me.”
“I do,” Cary replied instantly, “maybe more than I should.
“What do you mean?”
“If I get the spot here when you start up your firm, we’ll be enemies. How do I know you won’t give firm secrets to the rest of your firm partners?”
Kurt waved a hand. “Please, I’m going to be running it, we’ll have you liquidated by the end of our first year.”
Cary smirked. “I’d love to see you try that.”
“Don’t worry, you’ve always got a place at Hummel and Associates.”
Cary was about to reply when Alicia walked in, probably ready to claim her office back.
“Isn’t this why we got separate offices, Cary? So I didn’t have to watch your shameless flirting attempts?”
“On that note, I have work to do,” Cary announced, sending a quick wink Kurt’s way before scattering. Kurt shook his head fondly and didn’t even pretend that he wasn’t watching Cary’s ass in his tight pants as the man left the room. At this point, Alicia watching him wasn’t on his radar. He was her assistant, she had every right to while at the office.
“What have you got for me today?” Kurt asked her as she promptly settled down at her desk like she was born to be behind it.
Alicia adjusted her composure and smiled. “Actually, Kurt, I need a few minutes of your time if that’s okay.”
Kurt nodded, sitting opposite her instead of leaning against the wall like Kalinda often did. “What’s on your mind?”
“I need to ask you something and I need an honest answer. This isn’t raised from suspicion, just out of habit nowadays. Okay?”
“Sure,” Kurt answered easily, perhaps too easily. If Alicia was onto him, it wouldn’t really have made a difference but he would maybe have to rethink his subtlety practices.
Alicia breathed in deeply. “Kurt, did you sleep with my husband?”
Chapter 7: Answers
Kurt stared at her without blinking. The question swirled around his mind for only a few seconds before he answered. “Did I…? No, Alicia, I did not sleep with Peter. I didn’t think you had to worry about the men.”
Alicia breathed a sigh of relief and she was back to herself, charming with a wide grin on her face. “Yeah, well, before this scandal I didn’t think I had to worry about other women, either, but there we have it.”
“Fair point and I can see why you might be suspicious. I’m guessing by now Peter’s told you how we actually know each other.”
Alicia shook her head. “He told me that he received a tip off about that thing you did. He wouldn’t go into any more detail about it, don’t worry. Your secret is still safe, Kurt.”
Kurt bowed his head. “I respect that. Thank you for not prying. I actually had a really nice time last night.”
Alicia smiled. “You were a hit. Grace obviously adored you, and to quote Zach, “men aren’t supposed to be that pretty.”
“And Peter is still extremely wary around me.”
“His opinion hasn’t been the most important concern in my life of late. I have my own opinion of you and you know how highly I value you, both as an assistant and as a person. I’m actually excited for you to set up your firm, whether I’m joining you or not.”
Kurt tilted his head. “I’m not sure whether it would be insulting or flattering to hope that you don’t get this job.”
The woman laughed. “Are you sure wouldn’t prefer to have Cary around? I’m sure you two would have a lot more fun together.”
“You think Cary’s going to want to come and get his nails done with me on a lunch break?” Kurt giggled.
Alicia smirked. “The man is certainly very well primped. He might surprise you. Besides, I don’t think there’s a lot he isn’t willing to do for you.”
Kurt dismissed this with a wave of his hand. “It’s not there yet. We’re just enjoying having fun, making the most of our lunch breaks, you know the drill.”
Alicia smiled. She did know the drill. She had never had that kind of fun with Peter, though. Not even in their youthful days. God, that made her sound so old, even her in own head. No, whenever she thought of being scandalous in her youth, she thought of Will Gardner and their pseudo-relationship that they had entertained while at Georgetown that had never really gone anywhere, but had instead left the door labelled “Someday, maybe” wide open. Then she had married Peter and that door had swung shut.
“So,” Kurt said, breaking the silence, “what do you have for me to do today?”
Alicia smiled. She was glad it wasn’t awkward between them. “I’m in court with Diane in about an hour, so I guess you’re all Cary’s today. Gee, what a shame, I’m so sorry.”
Kurt nodded in faux sadness. “There’s only so much testosterone a guy can handle. Good luck in court. I’ll have my headset on if you need anything researched.”
“Thanks, Kurt. I don’t seem to remember life before you here.”
“What can I say? I’m a gem,” Kurt called to her retreating back.
“You most certainly are. And I hear you’re all mine today," the sultry voice of Cary Agos faded in as Kurt turned to face him.
“In a strictly professional sense, of course. That doesn’t mean you get to feel me up in the copy room, much to my dismay.”
“What a shame. I invited Will to watch.”
“Don’t even joke about that. Things are still rocky there. I still can’t believe I let myself be manipulated by him. I was so blindsided by thinking that he was onto us that I let my guard down and forgot that I was playing him.”
“But you’re Kurt Hummel. It was a rare slip, I’m sure.”
“Trust me, it won’t happen again.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt that.”
Kurt and Cary did indeed spend the day together. They kept it coy, not wanting to act on anything while employees swarmed around the floor. It was a quiet day at Lockhart/Gardner and Cary mostly answered the phone and responded to emails. Kurt sat in the corner of the room, filing his nails, asking questions about Cary’s personal life. Cary responded in kind and the two learned more about each other than they previously had.
Will had walked around the floor, poking his head around the door to glare at Kurt with a “Don’t you have something else to be doing, Kurt? I’m sure Cary’s pretty busy.”
Kurt had merely rolled his eyes and asked Cary whether or not he should leave. Cary stated that Kurt was ahead on his duties and was fine taking a break and he was providing consultation when Cary needed it. Will had huffed and left the office in a flurry, throwing that damn baseball up and down in the air like he was trying to be cooler than he actually was.
Kurt and Cary had shared an amused look after his departure.
“God, he’s such a drag. I don’t know what Alicia saw in him.”
Cary had shrugged. “I think he gives her a thrill. Peter’s very by the numbers and her marriage was always perfect to look at but cracked on the inside. Will gives her options and a ‘what if?’ answer. You have a what if?”
Kurt had nodded slowly. “One of my best friends from Lima, his name is Sam. At one point, we both had feelings for each other, but the timing wasn’t there. He brought around the issue of us becoming something more, but it was more out of convenience than actually desire. He’d have been good for me, though, back then.”
Cary had felt a stripe of jealousy lick its way up his neck. “That’s nice. Where is Sam now?”
Kurt had smiled in response. “Not to be worried about by any other suitors, that’s for sure. Sam moved out to California after high school and teaches guitar out there. We Skype sometimes, but we’re definitely not as close as we used to be. You’re fine, Cary. Honestly.”
“Oh, I know. Like you could stay away from me even if you tried.”
Little did they know that that would have to be an option.
As Alicia returned to the office, she received an email that was addressed to the entire firm. Opening it, she frowned and then smirked knowingly.
To all Lockhart/Gardner employees,
Diane and I have started to notice something that rather concerns us. Of late, there have been some questionable circumstances between employees that connotes fraternisation of lower and higher staff members. This is not targeted at a specific audience, but rather a warning to everyone. Romantic or sexual relationships between employees of any nature are not permitted at this firm due to the strictly professional relationships we need to keep at all times in front of clients and around the workplace. Please ensure that any inappropriate bonds are ceased and not to be resumed.
Have a great day,
Cary adjusted his iPad in his grip as he stormed over to Kurt. “Hey, did you just see this email from Will?”
“I did. Try and convince me that this wasn’t about us, I dare you,” Kurt rolled his eyes lazily.
“How would he even have found out about that?”
“I don’t know, but it sounds pretty direct to me. Maybe he’s putting together pieces that he doesn’t even know exist. Guesswork is most likely. God, Will is always so passive aggressive in his communications. “Have a great day”, kiss my ass, heathen.”
Cary leaned in towards Kurt, smirking that smirk that drove Kurt crazy. “I rather hoped you would leave the kissing of private body parts to me, although I know authority is a big turn on for you.”
Kurt chuckled and his eyes darted towards the partner’s offices. “I deeply regret sharing that with you, by the way. Think we should fuck in Will’s office?”
Cary shrugged. “The couch does look pretty comfortable and nothing would make me happier than knowing that every single time he sits on it that we’ve fucked on it.”
Cary quickly finished his sentence as Diane strolled past, smiling sweetly at them.
“Kurt? Somebody’s in Alicia’s office waiting for you.”
“Oh, Diane, I didn’t realise you were back. I’ll be right in. Did they leave a name?”
“You’ll know him when you see him. You’ll have fun with this one. I’m sure you won’t let him order you about.”
As she left, Cary snorted. “I guess she doesn’t know about your authority kink.”
Kurt slapped his arm. “Hush, you. I’d better go and wipe the floor with whatever unlucky soul decided to cross me today.”
As Kurt peered through the glass wall, he groaned. Not him.
“Eli Gold. What can I do for you today?”
Eli turned around, false pleasantries all but bubbling on his tongue. “Kurt Hummel! It’s strange just meeting you now after the nice things I’ve heard from Alicia and Kalinda.”
Kurt paused. “Okay, cut the crap, Mr. Gold. You’re obviously here requesting me for a very specific reason and I’d really love to know what that was.”
Eli smirked, impressed and nodded. “Fine by me. Okay, recently, intelligence has been circling about an impending scandal here at Lockhart/Gardner, something that the firm doesn’t want getting out.”
Kurt swallowed heavily. “Really? And what is my role in all of this?”
Eli closed the door behind him, crossing him to do so. “Lockhart/Gardner is a tangled web of people. If you connect the right dots, you can get from the managing partners to the janitor. You’re the epicenter of those dots. You’re Alicia and Cary’s assistant, Diane thinks very highly of you and Will has some sort of grudge that he’s harbouring and you’re the target. I don’t know why, but you’ve become very important to this firm over a short period of time. It only makes sense to task you with keeping an eye on things.”
Kurt frowned. “Why not go to Diane about it? Or Will? Or even Alicia?”
Eli shook his head. “Will and Diane can’t know about it. They’ll turn the firm upside down trying to find out what’s going on. Alicia doesn’t need the added burden on top of a cheating husband and rebuilding her career. You’re an assistant; you have ample time on your hands to snoop and to get the inside information on the firm. Sneak around corners, befriend some gossipy secretaries, do whatever you have to to find this information.”
“And why would I take orders from a lobbyist?”
Eli stared him down. “Because I have the capability to destroy your legal career before you even start it.”
Kurt actually laughed. “That’s very funny, Mr. Gold, that you think you’re even close to being a worthy adversary. You may have the contacts, but I have just about everything else. I believe you’ve heard of my father, Congressman Burt Hummel?”
Eli silently cursed himself. That’s where he knew that name from. It was just a rookie mistake and nothing more. He was still good at his job.
“Yes. He’s rather protective of me but prefers I handle things myself. That’s where the real danger is. I have many skillsets and my most important quality is that I’m not afraid of anyone and that I’m not easily intimidated. So you’d better have a good reason for demanding that I do this and dial down the threats or you’ll see just how resourceful I can be.”
Eli straightened his tie, knowing that swallowing his pride and asking nicely would be more beneficial in this instance. “I’ll just start over. Kurt, it would be wonderful if you could keep an eye on Lockhart/Gardner and let me know about any possible scandals. I don’t want the firm to implode on itself because someone can’t keep it in their pants or whatever. Would you be willing?”
Kurt smiled. “That’s better. And I’ll do it, just because I care about this firm. Though, in the future, I would alter the way you approach clients and people you want favours from. Being ambushed in my boss’ office doesn’t really put you on the right footing with me. Just a tip.”
Eli grumbled as Kurt dismissed him. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Kurt grinned as he watched Eli leave. Game, set and match.
Although he was worried about the scandal. It was more than likely that it was his secret about to come out and he wasn’t going to let it. He would observe the firm for Eli, but mostly for himself. Self-preservation was important in this stage of his life and career.
He looked across the floor at Cary, who watching him intently. He put on a fake smile and pretended just for a second that everything was normal. Even if it was potentially going to crumble into pieces around him in the next few weeks.
Kurt could pretend if he needed to that he was okay. Even if Cary didn’t believe him, he would go on pretending. Because that’s what he did best.