|Holding on and letting go
Author: StrawberrySab PM
There's a moment in which we have to decide whether it's still worth holding on or it's time to let go. Alicia/Will with some Alicia/Peter too. Two chapters story.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Alicia F. & Will G. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,952 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 06-19-12 - Published: 06-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8195954
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: A huge thank you to Josie and Abby, my amazing team of betas for going through this story. Writing Peter in was something new for me and not easy. Thanks for the precious advices!
Sitting on the couch in her old house, Alicia looks around, slightly uncomfortable. So many memories crowd into her mind. Some sweet, making her melancholic, some others… well, she doesn't want to think about those. She pushes away the feeling of disgust that besets her, as the fleeting image of Amber Madison between these four walls crosses her mind. She belongs to the past. All her memories, good or bad, belong to the past, and although she sometimes misses her old life, the last three years taught her that she could never go back to it. It's not about Peter, about what he did or about the hell she'd been through. It's simply about her not being the same person anymore.
The sound of Peter's steps approaching snaps her from her thoughts. She looks up to see him with two glasses of white wine in his hands. A bell rings in her mind, suggesting that she might be better off to drink it all before starting to discuss whatever this conversation is going to be about. She more than gladly stretches an arm to take her much beloved liquid.
"So…" she invites Peter to make it brief and get to the point quickly.
"Today… during the recorded deposition…" Peter's voice is throaty, faltering as he searches for words, "I stated that we are separated." He looks up, probably searching for a sort of surprise in her eyes, his own eyes showing surprise at the total lack of reactions from her side. "You already know that, don't you?"
"I was told," she admits. To prevent him from asking who slipped it, she quickly adds, "Is that what you wanted to talk about?" She can read the hesitation in his eyes. Of course it is.
Peter lets out a heavy sigh before starting. "What do you want, Alicia?"
"What do you mean?" She's well aware of what he means. She just needs him to go straight to the point.
Peter's gaze is defiantly fixed on her. "I saw you today… with Will."
Not again. She sighs in exasperation. He can't possibly be making it about Will again. "Good night Peter," it's all she says as she stands up and starts to leave.
"The separation is going to become public, Alicia," he says, standing up in the attempt to stop her. "The campaign is about to start, I can't risk the news being released now, and I can't risk the media, or Kresteva, using it against me," he says, the tone of his voice rising. "And even worse," he pauses, his voice showing a slight hesitation, "I can't risk your relationship with him being thrown at the media."
"There isn't any relationship with him, and you know it," she says turning around to face him. She realizes how nervous and uncomfortable she feels at the mention of Will's name.
"But there was," Peter points out, "and I can't risk it being used against me."
With a sigh, Alicia sits back on the couch, looking down. The Grand Jury deposition is supposed to remain private, but Peter's doubts are righteous. It wouldn't be the first time that a deposition gets leaked, and knowing that Wendy Scott-Carr is behind it is all but reassuring.
"We've been postponing this for too long, Alicia." The tone of his voice is soft, but at the same time conclusive. "It's time to make a decision."
She can read the hope in his eyes, as she mentally repeats his words, pondering the consequences of this decision, as she tries to make up her mind about what she really wants. Will's name briefly crosses her mind and she tries to push it away. She wants to believe that leaving him was the right thing, that she did it for the right reasons. Still, his image won't leave her. She wonders what Peter meant by telling that he saw her with Will, but she doesn't dare asking. She wonders if the right question should be what she doesn't want rather than what she wants. She looks up at the man with whom she shared fifteen years of her life and love with. Do you still want this? Are you willing to give it another try?
Before the silence risks getting awkwardly long, all she manages to say is "I'm sorry…" and she knows that Peter understands why.
She's there by his side. Probably for the last time. Alicia watches as the journalists crowd in front of the stage, waiting for Peter to give his speech. They still don't know what it's about. Or maybe they already do?
She still remembers the last time she was there, she remembers her phone bleeping and Will's soft, hopeful voice on the other end of the line, she remembers her phone bleeping again and Eli taking it from her hands. Everything else it's a blur memory of cameras flashing and people shouting. She checks her phone. For some reason she never found the strength to delete Will's voice mail. Let's just drop it. It somewhat served her as a reminder that it was wrong, that she should stay focused on the most important things, on the fact that she was married, that she has kids.
She finds herself thinking for the first time how things are going to change now, which consequences the press conference is about to bring, what is she going to do then. Still ten minutes before hell breaks loose. It's the last time, she keeps on thinking.
Will's name is on the phone screen, and before she can think it, she's already pressed the green button.
"Hello." Will's voice on the other line sounds shrill and relaxed at the same time.
Taken aback by her own call, she stumbles over her words. "I… I… Hey…" Stupid. She has no idea why she even called.
"Alicia?" Will's tone gives away his obvious surprise. "I thought you were at Peter's press conference…"
She can hear the TV in the background and thinks he must be already home.
"I… I am." Damn, what's up with her? "It's just… soon." This is the most embarrassing phone conversation ever.
"Nervous?" Will asks, and she wonders if he caught her plain anxiety.
She's not even sure what's making her so anxious. Is it the press conference? The possible consequences? Or Will on the other end? She has no idea. All she knows is that right now she's a bundle of nerves. "Slightly… A lot, actually…" she admits.
She can hear Will slightly sighing. Is that a smile? She's not sure.
"Just smile, ignore the idiots and the provocations, and you'll do good," Will wisely suggests.
The provocations. That's what she's fearing the most. "Will?" She asks tentatively. Right now she's not sure herself of what she wants. Except that she certainly wants this to be over.
"Yes?" His voice is softer now.
"Can I…" She hesitates, biting her lower lip in anxiety. "Can I come over… when… when this is over?" The silence on the other end of the line makes her regret asking. What does she even has in mind?
"You mean… today?" He asks, sounding slightly confused.
"I… yes." Yes, I want to come over and I don't have the tiniest idea of what I'm going to say, or do. Then a thought crosses her mind. What if he's not alone? She curses at the moment she made this call. "Unless… unless you are… busy." She offers him a way out, just in case.
"No, it's fine," Will's words come out rushing, as a reassurance that he doesn't need a way out.
Alicia slightly jumps upon feeling someone tapping on her shoulder. She turns around to see Eli pointing at the clock. It's time… "I gotta go… See you later then?" She asks in confirmation.
"See you later," Will confirms softly.
The media reaction is stronger than what she expected it to be and the combination of the cameras flashing and the clatter makes her feel slightly dizzy. She catches glimpses of questions, the words separation, divorce, cheating constantly repeated. Cheating. Does people really think it took her three years to decide that she can't forgive him for the hookers? That was over long ago, but she considers that for his campaign is still better to be considered an ex cheating husband than a… well, the press came up with so many words to define him, that cheater is still the less hurting.
"Does the relationship between your wife and the lawyer Will Gardner has anything to do with the separation?" Alicia stiffens upon hearing a reporter making Will's name, a nervous look on her face as she glances an eye at Peter.
"Questions should be restricted to those present," Peter promptly reproaches the man and she feels the anxiety growing at the thought that Will might be watching the press conference.
"Then why now? Three years after the scandal?" That reporter is irritatingly insistent.
Alicia takes a deep breath, and tries to relax, leaving to Peter the enormous task of hushing him. She watches as Peter formulates the answer in his mind.
"I was once asked… if I thought that people can change who they're in love with." Peter pauses, and she wonders where is he trying to lead up to with this. "At the time I said, sure… people fall out of love all the time, and then, they fall in love with somebody else. To be totally honest, it was just supposed to be an attempt at reassuring a lovesick girl. Nevertheless, it's true."
For the first time, she notices how hurt Peter is, and how all his hopes came crashing down with a single 'I'm sorry' slipped a couple of days before. For the first time, she realizes that she's the one who fell out of love in the end… and fell in love with someone else.
"If there aren't any more questions, the conference is over," Peter states, regaining his confident tone, as he takes her hand in public probably for the last time.
In front of Will's door, Alicia tries to remember the last time she was here. It's been months ago. From what she can remember, it was one week, maybe two before they broke up. Actually, before she broke up with him. At the time, it felt the best, most logical and rational thing to do. But during the Grand Jury, over the period he was suspended, and pretty much whenever he was around lately, she started reconsidering some of the choices she took, some of the sacrifices she made. Were they really worth it all? Was the pain she inflicted on herself and on Will really necessary? More than once her mind went to that time when he proposed to meet the kids officially. She didn't put much attention to it back then. It was only lately that Will's absence in her life brought her the uncomfortable feeling that something was missing, wrong and misplaced.
Now, as she leans forward, hesitatingly knocking at his door, she wonders if it's too late, if she still can fix things, if he still cares for her enough to give her, to give them, a second chance. So many thoughts, fears, doubts cloud her mind in those few seconds before she hears the door opening in front of her.
A shy smile on her face, she feels the anxiety growing, and all she manages to say is a simple and faltering "Hey."
Will smiles back, and it's so reassuring, that she feels some of her anxiety slowly disappear, leaving place to a new feeling, a mix of excitement, confidence that it's not too late.
His eyes tell her that he still cares for her, that he would still choose her over anyone else, in spite of the pain she caused them both.
For once, she doesn't feel the need to explain, justify, search for some lame excuses. She just leans forward, tentatively, an uncertain smile on her face. She takes his face in her hands, tenderly, as she places a soft, hesitated kiss on his lips. It's a new feeling. Or maybe it's not. It's the same mixed feeling of passion, love, longing and affection. She's just not attempting to hide it or ignore it anymore.