AN Okay I had actually thought I would never finish this one but I did. I loved the first two chapters so much myself and hope I did it justice with chapter 3. The last lines post chapter I can't take credit for. Those are taken from Bones and belongs to HH and SN, but as I sat and wrote this chapter those words kept hunting me, as I found them kind of fitting here as well.
I also don't own the Good Wife or the song I Need You Now.
I Need You Now
Chapter 3. Both
Yes I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all.
It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
And I said I wouldn't call but I'm a little drunk and I need you now.
Well I don't know how I can do without.
I just need you now
I just need you now.
Oh baby I need you now.
"Alicia?" His voice sounded nervous -stressed actually. Why had she even done this? She wanted, yeah meant, to hang up, accusing it as a mistake, the second she realized he answered. But oh how she had longed to hear his voice, far more than she would ever be willing to admit out loud. Something she would only ever had admit here in the darkness of her bedroom, never again in the light of the day. But just the sound of his voice speaking her name, send a storm of unexpected and shocking emotions through her. "Alicia?" He asked once more, his voice now sounding even more tense. She wasn't sure what to do, this really had been a reflex to press down call when she fiddled with her phone looking at his number thinking of calling him. And now he was answering. What if Cecily was with him? Damn... they would have fun over his emotional lonely ex-wife as soon as he hung up.
"Alicia?" He asked once again. He was growing more and more worried for each second she didn't answer. He could hear her breathing on the other end of the line, but she called in the middle of the night and now she wasn't saying anything. What had happened was it the kids? Her? What was wrong. "Alicia is everything alright? Are the kids okay? Are you okay?" He begged her, suddenly wishing more than ever there wasn't a three hours drive to Chicago, because what if it was something serious. It had to be Grace, she had to be, why Alicia was calling him so late. He felt a tightening in his chest, just of the thought that something had happened to his little girl.
Why hadn't she even thought of that, of course he would worry, when she called past one in the morning, and didn't speak. Really she had not thought this through enough -well or at all. Actually she hadn't thought further than calling, because she missed hearing how he was doing and talking to him casually. "They are okay. Nothing's wrong." She finally whispered softly. Trying to figure out what to say next, or if she should go with the plan of it being a mistake and hang up.
Peter felt more than a little confused, and sat down on the desk chair with a soft thud. There were nothing wrong, the kids were okay. And Alicia had called him in the middle of the night. He was tempted to pinch himself to be sure he wasn't dreaming or so drunk, that he had started to hallucinate and he really was on the phone speaking with himself and not Alicia. Well technically he almost was, since it wasn't like she was saying much. However even the few words she had spoken had filed him with relief, to know that his family, because they were still his family no matter if him and Alicia were almost divorced or not. Her words had also given him, what he had longed for only a few minutes before, the sound of her voice. "Okay..."He answered in a soft whisper himself, not sure what else to say. They had been good at communicating before he moved and before the divorce proceedings started. Well maybe not good but at least they had gotten to a point, where they knew what to say to each other once more. They could joke and talk again -as long as it was not about them or their relationship. However that had seemed to be lost with his move, and the decision to hirer lawyers, and start to write down what would soon be signed with ink, the end their 20 years of marriage. He could still hear her breathing softly. It reminded him a little of when he was in jail, and they had phone conversation and no idea what to say to each other, and were at the same time not really comfortable with the silence.
"I shouldn't have called." She finally whispered softly, with a little sigh. She really shouldn't have called him, it was too spontaneous and not like her at all. And she it wasn't as she had managed to come up with some brilliant excuse for this late-night call. But even hearing his even breathing, now having calmed down again, made her feel different. She really had missed it. It actually felt a little like in the past, if she closed her eyes and laid back down, and kept listening to it, she could maybe make herself believe, she wasn't alone in the dark bedroom, but that Peter was right next to her. Maybe she could ask him to stay on the phone until she managed to fall asleep? But as soon as she had thought that up, she pushed it away again. Of course she couldn't do that. She wouldn't even want to tell him, she had thought that for a short second, it would be like admitting out loud, that she missed him and she had lately been remembering the good times, they used to share more and more often.
Shit she just admitted, she shouldn't have called that would most likely mean, she would say goodbye and hang up in a minute, and he wished she would stay on a little longer. After all it felt good to hear her soft voice once again, way too good to be to be over so soon, even if they were hardly speaking her could hear her breathing, and that actually helped more, than he could have imagine on the loneliness and sadness he had been feeling before she called. He wished deeply, he could keep her on the phone even if just for 5 more minutes. Maybe that would make he even calmer and help him enjoy the memory, he had of her sweeping into his office, a little longer and mean he wouldn't have trouble sleeping when he went to bed. He wasn't sure if this was the right thing to do or not but he offered up a little of himself ,hoping it would make her feel a little less regret for calling no matter why she did it. "I actually thought of calling you, just a minute before you called."
She sucked in a breath, had he really just said that? Had he really thought of calling her too. It was almost scary. Had he thought of her as well? Of course he hadn't he had his perfect and amazing Cecily. She hated the name already, without much reason, she had only met her two times. But she still felt uncomfortable with it. She was the one who had been wronged by Peter, she should be the one to move on first. And in a way she had, after all she had been with Will for those 7 months not long after kicking Peter out. But it wasn't the same, she had the right do to that hadn't she? To feel wanted, and cared for once again. But she had ended it with Will that time. And yet here she was not completely divorced but close, and she couldn't even think dating again, not even Will. Though he asked her to dinner a little while after he heard she was getting a divorce. She had declined with a sad smile and an even sadder look in Will's eyes, as he realized that though she might be close to be legally free, she wasn't as close to emotional free, at least not half as much, as she had thought she would be when that day came. And it didn't help at all that Will asked her to that dinner, the week after she had first heard of Cecily. No, that only made it worse. She had felt way sadder, than she should over hearing that Peter really was moving on from her with his new life, in a new city, with a new girlfriend. Would he soon have a new family as well? After all Cecily were rather young, like 34 or something, and she had no kids.
The first time she had realized that had been due, to Owen and a dumb comment he made, but she had seriously felt like she was about to throw up. But he had been right, Peter could easily be re-married and have a child or two more, with Cecily or someone like that. She had never once thought of how that would make her feel. She had realized, they would both be dating other people again, but never once had she thought of Peter -getting a completely other family. Still she felt a tiny bit of hope, that she wasn't the only one feeling melancholic by hearing his words. So she whispered softly the first thing that had come to her mind:"You did?"
Her voice was so soft, he could have easily missed what she said if he hadn't been listening carefully. There was an unexpected hint of hope in her words. Something he hadn't thought he would hear. He was surprised, was there even a remote chance she had actually called because she as well had felt a little of what he had minutes ago. No, that couldn't be. Alicia didn't have any feelings for him left, he knew that. Though he had still not forgotten the shock, almost sad look on her face when he did ask for a divorce. One he had been thinking, she would want and she hadn't said no to it. He couldn't deny to himself, that he felt sad letting completely go. That might also have made it so much easier to feel interested in Cecily, when he first met her, and it felt a little like she might be able to heal the wound finally letting Alicia go, gave him. Still now when he got closer to the finalization of the divorce, and he realized more and more what he had with Cecily seemed like a bright sparkler, exciting and fun, but also burning out. Her interest in his his position, should be something, he liked now, after all was that the best foundation for a lasting relationship with a politician, however it didn't feel like that to him. He longed for Alicia, and though he knew it would have different now, with the persons they had both become. It didn't change, that deep down it was what he wanted, not the younger woman, who was actually interested in giving him a new family, and once more give him the picture perfect background for his political career. "Yes I did, Ali."
She heard him admitting, he really had been thinking about that, in a voice so soft and tender it made her feel warm all over, and nervous at the same time. But it was not what meant the most, it was the use of that nick name. He hadn't used it for years, and she had actually thought he would never again, think of calling her that, Ali. He had teased with not having a nickname when they first met, and after much debate and thrown away ones she hated or he hated (like Leesh or angel, she had hit him over the back of his neck for those), they had agreed on Ali. But hearing it now, was almost too much for her. She felt sad, happy, excited, scared, hurt and cared for all at once. She swallowed the lump that was starting to form in her throat. "So I didn't wake you up?"
Peter was relieved, when her heard her speak again, the use of her nick name had been a slip up from his side, he hadn't meant to use it. But in that moment when he needed to make sure she understood he really had been thinking about her, and that it was alright she had called him. So that name had slipped out, like an instinct even after so many years of not using it. "No you didn't, I was still up working." He told her, trying to calm her further.
"Oh..." She let out, a little surprised. Here she was thinking, he had maybe been in bed with her. And she had woken them both up, and they would probably laugh at her, as soon as they hung up. And he had really been working, even though it was past one. She hadn't expected that, she really hadn't, which was strange, because it wasn't usually in the past, for him to work that late. She had just forgotten about it, since it was many years ago since they lived together, and he was pulling those late hours. She wondered briefly, if he was at home in some home office, or still somewhere else. If he was in his home office, would it be anything like the one he had in the past. She hadn't been to the governor mansion yet, which was more than a little ironic, Peter had either driven to Chicago to pick up Grace, or Eli had brought her with him, when he had to go see Peter anyway and the last time Grace had driven herself, something neither Peter nor she had liked much but Grace had begged since it would be her first time driving along a bit longer.
"Why aren't you asleep?" Peter asked her carefully. Not completely sure, it was the right thing to ask her, but he hoped it would be okay. That she would feel okay with talking about it, and he really did wonder, why she was up so late, if something was troubling her, making her unable to fall asleep. Or if she had a case that kept her awake. He also asked, because he couldn't very well ask her what he was really wondering; why she was up so late and had called him.
"I can't sleep." She admitted slowly and when quickly added "I have a big case tomorrow morning, against Brody." She heard Peter let out a light laughter because of her reply, and was a little bit happy she had added the Brody part. "Any advices?" She asked, not that he would be able to give her some, she didn't already know, after all she had so far been up against Brody too many times, for there to be something Peter could really advice her with, but still she hoped it might help the uneasiness there was already hanging over this conversation.
"Well last I heard it, rumors have it that he has a liaison with Theresa Stanton, the new ASA, but I am not sure if it is true." He heard her let out a shocked gasp. He smiled a little he had wanted to surprise her, with that comment, and had hoped it had yet to reach Lockheart and Gardner, and it seemed to be the case. He knew that the wheels would already be turning in her head. "How serious?" came her answer. He almost laughed of course, she had quickly figured out if Brody was in love he might be easier to on board with a lighter sentence. "As far as I know it's said to be solid... so to speak." He told her. "So do you want to talk about the case?" He offered, not sure if she was interested, but he would be willing to listen if she waned. It would almost be like old days except he would play her sounding board not the other way around.
Alicia thought about it for a minute. It was definitely not what she had planned on, but why not he was no longer the stat's attorney, and she couldn't sleep, and she could use a sounding board. Will and Diane were both deep buried in a huge class action. And she had been alone with the case, not uncommon these days, but it had turned out to be a more tricky one than she had expected. So before she realized it, she was telling Peter as much as she could without breaking any privileges, and he was giving her advices. Advices she imprinted in her memory, a little annoyed she didn't have a block with her to write it down on. She wasn't sure how much time had passed with this. As he finished yet another advice she let out a long sigh. "Thank you Peter. It almost felt normal."
"Yes, it did, I've... I've missed that." and there he had said it. He hoped to God she wouldn't slam down the phone, hating what he had just said. After all it revealed far more of his feelings, than it should and he wasn't sure how she would take that. He had wondered for a long time now, if he should have fought for her more, made her realize how much he did love her instead of setting her free as he had thought she wanted. There was an old saying about how if you love something you set it free if it comes back to you it is meant to be. Well he hadn't expected Alicia to come back to him, at least not in the end. He had hoped, prayed actually, she would when he didn't fight her on the separation. But as time went by, he realized she wasn't going to come back to him, and it was most likely not meant to be in the end. But yet here he was admitting, that he had missed talking to her like this, discussing things with her, and generally missed the normalcy they used to have. She sighed on the other end he could hear that, at least she hadn't hung up on him.
"I've missed... do you need help on something as well?" She wanted to hit herself over the forehead, she had almost said she missed it too. And though it might be true it wouldn't be fair to him, not when he at least seemed to be adjusting and moving on. So she came up with the excuse question: if he needed help as well. It was ironic really, but it was easier to concentrate on, if he needed help with something political, a speech or something, than it was to think and talk about them. However the screaming silence, that followed told her he had heard her almost slip up.
"I think you should try and get some sleep Ali." He finally answered, hating that he had to say it, he wish he could keep her on the phone longer but the big wall clock in his office had just hit two and he knew she needed to get up in a few hours, because she would need to get to court. Still he hated it, especially having caught her slip up and he was very tempted to ask what she had really wanted to say. Instead he went with:"Why don't you lay down and try to fall asleep and we will do what we used to do?" hoping she would understand what he meant.
"You will tell me about what I need to focus on and remember?" She asked, it used to be a tradition of theirs, what they did before her finales or midterms and similar tests. Peter told her all about the subject in question he knew, as she was about to fall asleep, sometimes even until she feel asleep. And she hoped it might help her now as well. She thought it might, after all the real reason it had helped her while still in law school, was not so much what he was talking about, but more that in the darkness with her eyes close it felt like he was right next to her and not on the phone, and right now she had a weird feeling that this alone would make her able to surrender to sleep.
"I will. Just close your eyes and lay back down." He told her, more than a little surprise she would actually be agreeing to this at all, but he was happy. "Are your eyes closed?" he asked tenderly. The answer he got was a soft mumble of agreement, she was clearly already tired, and it would not be long before she was asleep. He felt a stab of pain in his heart. He suddenly wished more than he had in a long time, that he was was there right next to her, able to stroke her hair until she fell asleep. God he missed her, more than he had imagined he would. He had known he missed her a lot already. But right now in this moment, he knew he would never truly be over her, and that he missed her so much, that it almost hurt. He could hear her soft breathing, and wondered how long it would take before she was far away in the land of dreams.
"Do you have any plans for the weekend?"she whispered softly, she was at the edge of sleep already. However the moment she had spoken those words, she was awake once more, shocked she had said it out loud. It had just been a quick thought, passing through, where she wondered if he was seeing Cecily, if they actually spend their weekends together, relaxing, doing stuff together, like Peter and her once used to do. At least that was not what she had asked out loud or the even scarier thought off: Taking Grace down to Springfield to see Peter, and maybe just maybe Peter and her could talk about what was going on.
Of course that thought was ludicrous, and she shouldn't even be thinking it. They were getting divorced, and Peter had moved on, and she needed to do the same, still she had thought it. She had after all never imagined, she could miss him as much as she truly did. She realized that missing him, at least made her feel something, other than emptiness, which she could now admit, after hearing his voice, was what she had been feeling lately, that and loneliness. She had forgotten more and more, than though Peter and her hurt each other, they had shared so many good things as well. And though it hurt it still made her feel more alive at the same time. After all true be told, he only had the power to hurt her, because she still cared about him, and she had tried to avoid admitting that for so long and look where she was now, miserable and alone, while he was with Cecily.
Why hadn't she admitted it to herself or rather to him? That the reason she hadn't divorced him after everything that happened, was that: Deep down she still loved him, that she still hoped, she would some day heal enough to forgive him completely, and they could move on from the hurt and pain together. But she had been so caught up in everything, that she never took the time to realize that she had healed from the pain. That she had forgiven him a long time ago. She only started to realize that, the moment he asked for a divorce, asked for them to finalize things. And ever since that day she had realized it more and more, but still far to scared to admit it even to herself until now here surrounded by darkness and his voice.
"Not really...at least nothing special. Do you have some exciting plans?" He asked her more than a little surprised, she had actually asked him about his weekend. He let out a deep breath it was actually kind of depressing, not so long ago the weekend, would mean seeing the kids, and technically Alicia as well, in the picking up and dropping off moments. But now it meant that he would just be left alone in the big mansion, with not even the housekeeper as company, as he had insisted she took the weekends off. Well he was probably going to make some kind of planes with Cecily, though it right now didn't sound even half as tempting, as it had only a few hours ago, back when he still knew it wouldn't be working out in the long run, but was still in the dark about how much he actually missed Alicia, and had therefor been able to take it for what it was: a sparkle that would burn out, but could be enjoyed for a while. Peter had a brief thought of telling Alicia if she didn't have any special plans: if she would mind driving Grace down, non of them were fond of Grace taking the drive alone like last time, and he longed to see Alicia. However he already knew the answer would be a no, she wasn't interested in that.
"Not really...I just..." She let out a deep sigh. She had been close to telling him that she wondered if he would mind if she came down, but she couldn't say the words. It was just not an option or was it? He hadn't said he was going to see Cecily, though maybe he was, and that was why he had drawn out the line about nothing special. Why was it so hard? Why couldn't she just tell him, she missed him and hoped he missed her to. Tell him she wanted to come down and see him. Why couldn't she tell him, she actually didn't want a divorce? That she wanted to be married. That she wanted him to be her husband. Why was that so hard that it almost made her break, just thinking those words?
"You just... what Ali?" His voice was caring, as he was worried about her. He had heard how she let out a sigh, as she cut herself off. He had also heard how her breathing was different now, almost like she was on the edge of tears. And he didn't like that at all. What was going on with her? Was she really alright? Was it work that was troubling her? or something else. He wish he was up there, and he could go see her right now, to figure out what was going on with her. Why she was calling him in the middle of the night? Why did she now sounded like she was close to tears? He didn't like it one bit, he didn't like knowing his Alicia, because no matter what happened in some way she would always be his Ali. The 22 year old law student that changed his world for the better and brought him the most happiness he had ever felt. "Ali what is wrong?" He asked carefully, and he started to look around for his jacket. He was close to getting up and driving to Chicago to see her, and probably would have, if he hadn't been drinking, but he had. "Alicia why don't you come down here in the weekend, we could talk." And there he said it. She would hang up now, and ask her lawyer to hurry up the divorce. But he needed to see her, wanted to see her, and if he was the one inviting her, he wouldn't be forcing her hand as much, as if he drew the next 3 hours to get to see her. He heard her breath catch, and silence that seemed to be screaming after. If it wasn't from sound of her breath he would have been sure she had hung up already, but he kept hearing her breathing softly. Until she shocked him once more.
"Aren't you going to see Cecily?" She cursed herself. Her voice had been far harder and angry than she intended, and she was pretty sure she had just reviled what was bugging her to him. She was close to apologizing and saying she was just tired and not thinking straight when he answered.
"I don't have any plans Ali. Please come down Grace and you, and we can talk... I think we need to talk." He hoped that was the right answer, if he was more religious, he would have prayed to God, that it was the right answer. Her biting remark had told him that, though she so far hadn't hinted one bit that she wasn't perfectly comfortable with Cecily and him. She actually had some strong feelings about the subject. Feelings that reminded him an awful lot of jealousy. Was Alicia jealous? That thought was more than a little shocking. He knew, they needed to talk for many reasons. He had thought she wanted a divorce and them to move on. But suddenly he wasn't so sure anymore, and he would never have wanted one if it was up to him alone. He only wanted one because he thought it would mean she would someday get to be happy again even if it was with someone else, even if it meant letting her be with someone else, even if that someone was the fucker Will Gardner. Over the last years he had realized that, more than anything he wanted Alicia to be happy.
"I... I don't know... I... okay..." She had never felt more relieved and nervous and scared at the same time. She really had just agreed to go down there, and see him, and talk to him, like a few minutes ago she had wondered about doing. She was going to see him, and they could talk and when what? Would he sweep her of her feet and tell her he would never let go again? Would he say it was too late? Was it too late? She wished badly it wasn't. That maybe now she knew what she felt for him, how bad it truly felt being completely without him, that they might be able to make it work again.
"Good so you will come tomorrow? After court?" He asked carefully, secretly begging she meant it. That she actually was agreeing to come down. Her sort whisper of confirmation almost had him wishing to shout it happiness. "I'll see you tomorrow night?" and once more he got a soft yes. One that brought a smile to his face. "Then you should get some sleep Ali." He finally said realizing it was more than half past two and she would need to get up in a few hours. "I will stay on the phone doing our thing until you are asleep." He told her hoping she would agree once more.
"Thank you. See you tomorrow Peter." She closed her eyes and listened to his words of sweet dreams Ali, before he started to tell her the regulations she would be in need of in a few hours. As she had hoped earlier: It didn't matter what he was talking about. Just like it hadn't when she was 23 studying for her midterm. Peter's calm voice was what she needed. She imagined, seeing him the next day and what it would mean. The last thought, before she let sleep take her, was that she should probably while in Springfield look at the top law firms there, and figure out if they were hiring. Because if Peter and her decided they could work it out for real, she guessed that would be her next step.
Peter heard her breathing changing and knew she was asleep. "Sweet dreams Ali." He whispered one more time, before hanging up the phone. He sat staring at the electronic device long after. Everything seemed to have changed in the last couple of hours. And he was honestly not sure what it meant, and what would come next. He did know one thing. Tomorrow he would need to see Cecily, and tell her that it wasn't working out. Because no matter what happened with Alicia, over the weekend, what they talked about and agreed on. What he had with Cecily wouldn't ever be enough in the long run. He knew that now more than ever, and it wasn't fair to her or himself dragging it out, knowing it would never be more than a short time thing for him. And knowing he was still very much committed to Alicia in the emotional sense.
You love someone, you open yourself up to suffering, that's the sad truth. Maybe they'll break your heart, maybe you'll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. That's the burden.
Like wings, they have weight, we feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens which allow us to fly...
AN: Okay the Leesh and angel thing please don't be offended it is an intern joke between a friend and me, after everyone seemed to start using those as nicknames for Alicia. So really it is just a joke.
Also I know the end is not a complet happy end.
AP fans: Those wanting them together like I, can imagine they talked and figured things out over the weekend and dropped the divorce. Alicia found a top firm in Springfield and moved down there, to be with Peter.
Non AP fans: Those not wanting that, can imagine they talked things completly through, and decided, they really had hurt each other too much and couldn't go back but at least they now, had talked things through enough, so they could finally let go completly even though it hurt. So Alicia went home after the weekend and they finalized the divorce and let go fully, ready now to move on.