Author's Note: Final chapter! Thanks again to Osage for being an amazing beta and to all of you for reading, liking and commenting!
Will was sitting in his office. It was one of those crazy Monday mornings when papers needing to be signed kept piling unrelentingly as his secretary kept on walking in and out of his door every few minutes. Plus, he already got an early morning visit from Cary and his lawyer friend, whose name he didn't care to remember. Wendy Scott-Carr didn't even bother to come there and talk to him, she just left the dirty job to her henchmen. But maybe it was better that way. Having her walking around the firm would probably raise a lot of questions among the partners and staff. The less they knew about it, the better it was for both him and the firm.
Hearing a knock on his door, he didn't look up, just motioned with his right hand to leave whatever it was on the desk.
"Bad day?" The familiar voice made him glance up. Alicia was leaning against the wall, with a sweet smile that made him forget his mess of a desk.
"Hey," he said with a smile. "Not anymore. Come in." They still hadn't seen each other since after the dinner. Will's sister had invited him over on Sunday and Alicia took a personal day to spend time with some old friend from Highland Park.
"So, it wasn't that bad, was it?" she asked. He looked at her for a while, not understanding what she was talking about. He gave her a questioning look, to which Alicia replied clarifying "I meant… the dinner".
"Oh," with all the thoughts he had totally forgotten about it. Damn. He could see the concerned look Alicia gave him and tried to mislead her with a smile, unsuccessfully.
"I'm sorry, there are so many things going on today and I just…" he couldn't finish the sentence.
"Is everything ok?" Alicia asked him. He caught her worried look. "Sure," he answered, "Just some things I need to sort out."
"Things I might help you with?" Alicia asked tentatively.
Will noticed that she didn't seem totally convinced and tried to reassure her. "No, I don't think so. But it's nothing, really." In that moment Will's phone rang. Things didn't seem to slow down, he thought while picking up the receiver. "We'll talk later, ok?" he asked Alicia.
"Ok," she replied with a slightly disappointed smile, before leaving his office.
Will seemed so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't even notice her stopping few steps outside his office and looking back to him with concern. He said he was ok, but was he really? Alicia had overheard a conversation between Diane and David Lee the previous week, she heard Wendy Scott-Carr's name and that was enough for her to worry. She knew the woman back from Peter's campaign and whatever she was up to, it wasn't good.
She was starting to head to her office when her cell phone rang. It was her secretary. "Alicia, I'm sorry to bother you but there is a person at the reception saying he needs to talk to you. It's Cary Agos."
Alicia stopped halfway, caught off-guard by the unexpected visit and headed back downstairs for the reception.
"Hey Alicia," he said.
"Hey Cary," she replied, wondering the reason of his visit. "This is a surprise, is there something I can do for you?" she asked.
Cary was looking at her with a serious gaze. "Actually yes. I'm here to give you this," he said, handling her an envelope.
She took it from his hands, wondering what it was about, until she recognized the familiar mark: it was from the State's Attorney's office. She gave Cary a questioning look, as she was trying to understand the meaning.
"What… what does it mean?" she kept on shifting her gaze from the envelope to Cary, back to the envelope again.
Cary seemed concerned as he started to talk. "You have been called to testify in the case of Illinois' State versus Will Gardner."
She couldn't say anything. For a moment she just stood there, mouth open, pondering his words. Did she hear correctly? Testify? Case? Things were slightly starting to become clearer, as she was putting together all the pieces.
Alicia didn't say anything, just gave Cary a look full of anger before running the stairs up to Will's office. But when she got there, he was gone. She looked around, to see if he was somewhere in sight. His coat wasn't there anymore. He must have left.
As she started to dial his number on her cell phone, she realized the envelope was still in her hands, still closed. She started to open it, both concerned and nervous, her hands slightly trembling as she read. Her eyes caught some words: "judicial bribery", "indictment", "Grand Jury". She started to search for a date: February 3rd, 2012. It was in three days. She was called to testify in three days.
She started to panic. She needed to call him, and they needed to talk right now. Her head spun as defense strategies mixed with the feelings of hurt when she realized how long he's kept her in the dark. She dialed the familiar number but his cell phone was off.
She saw Diane in her office and went straight there. "Where is Will?" Diane looked up at her but didn't reply. "Diane, please, I need to talk to him. I've just been given this…" She gave Diane the letter, hoping she would understand and help her.
She watched as Diane put her glasses on, read few lines and gave her the letter back, still silent. Alicia was staring at her, worried. Will was in trouble, way more than he wanted her to believe. Diane looked up at Alicia, who was waiting for some reply. "He's in court. He had a deposition at 10 a.m."
She didn't think twice. She rushed out of her office, then suddenly stopped and turned back. "Thank you," she said to Diane, who replied with a slight smile. She headed down to the parking, got into her car and drove to court.
Will was pacing back and forth down the wide hallway in front of the courtroom, like a lamb waiting to be executed and served on an Easter day. He couldn't help but think that the worst was about to happen, he was about to lose everything he'd been working for his entire life, his firm, his career, his job, his whole life would be put on hold for this. He suddenly felt so vulnerable and alone.
"Will!" he heard a familiar voice and turned around to see Alicia running towards him. He smiled before it hit him. If she was here, then that meant she knew, the game was up.
She stopped a couple of steps from him. Will noticed the letter in her hands and realized what had happened. He suddenly felt guilty. He had spent weeks trying to avoid it, trying to avoid getting Alicia involved, pretending he could go through all of it alone. And there she was. He had dragged her into his mess. He couldn't even look in her eyes.
"I'm sorry…" he started, looking down at his own feet.
"Will, no…" Alicia stopped him. He could see the concern in her eyes, as she kept talking in a soft voice. "When did this start?" she asked.
He didn't have the courage to tell her that he'd been hiding it from her for so long, but at this point, he couldn't lie anymore. He knew that she needed to know the truth. "Two months" he replied in a whisper, half expecting an angry reaction from her but instead, she was looking at him, as if pondering his words. It wasn't that difficult for him to see that she was doing the math.
"Two months?" she looked away. Will could see that she was hurt, as she looked back at him and their eyes finally met again.
"I should have told you." He should have told her when she asked him what was going on the very first time. He should have told her when she asked him again few days later if there was something wrong. He should have told her at least one of the several times when she asked him what was worrying him. But he didn't. For two long months he tried to convince himself that he could leave her out of this, that he could handle everything alone. And now here she was, asked to testify in his process.
"Will, it's ok… I mean, we broke up, you didn't owe me any explanation." Yes, they had broken up. She had broken up with him right when things were starting to get serious with the investigation. Well, not that at the time he had meant to tell her anyway.
"No. I should have, because we were together. I just… I didn't want to make your life more complicated than it already was. I didn't want you to feel somehow responsible or forced to use your… connections." He knew very well that, had he told her, she'd probably gone to Peter and ask him to stop. He didn't want it, he didn't want her to feel used. He didn't want her to feel just a means to take him out of something he alone got himself into.
Members of the jury were starting to arrive and take place inside the courtroom. It wasn't the right place to talk about it. They both looked away as one of the members gave them a look while passing beside them. Alicia turned around as if searching for something.
"Follow me," she said, not giving him an option as she grabbed his arm and lead them away.
Will followed her into a room with an "Authorized staff only" sign. He closed the door behind them, trying his best not to let her gentle hold on his arm slip away. It was all that kept him grounded now. Alicia stood there for a moment, looking down and playing with a button on his cuff, before starting to talk.
"Will, whatever happens… I'm with you. I'm with you in this. And I'll do whatever it takes to help you, even if it means… having to use my connections." Her voice was low, barely a whisper. He knew it was not going to be easy, he knew the huge sacrifice that was for her to put her pride aside and talk Peter into stopping this. But he knew too, that whatever he could say, it wouldn't stop her from doing it anyway.
"I don't want you to do it, Alicia…" he paused, searching for the right words as he closed his hand around her small nervous one. "It will probably only make it worse. Peter knows about us, there's no way he will stop, not even if you ask him to." He knew that it was no use, he didn't want her to end up being caught in a sort of compromise with Peter, he didn't want her to owe him anything. He tried to convey that with a light caress of his thumb over her palm, hoping against hope that she would listen just this once.
"I have to at least try and talk to him," she replied, looking slightly resigned as she stared at their now entwined hands.
There was no talking her out of this. But she was trying to help and that had to count for something. "Thank you." It was all he could say.
"For what?" Alicia asked him with a questioning look. "I didn't do anything."
He smiled at her, a sweet smile, his gaze fixed on her eyes. "You're here," he simply said.
Alicia brought their hands to his chest before leaning forward and placing a gentle kiss on his lips.
"I am here," she said, slightly nodding as she snaked her hands up and around his shoulders. "I'm not going anywhere."
Will gave her an adoring smile before leaning in to kiss her again, murmuring another thank you against her mouth. She was there for him, he didn't need anything else. Whatever was going to happen, he had her by his side.