If these were my characters, you'd see this happening on Sunday night. . . so they're not my characters, just my playmates!
Will used any excuse he could to linger outside Alicia's office the rest of the day. Anytime he was able, he distracted others from going to see her, saying he'd take care of whatever it was they needed from her. She didn't speak to him, but he was doing what he could to protect her privacy from afar.
Alicia gritted her teeth and pulled herself together. She walked from her office to Eli's and interrupted whatever work he was doing. At least he was alone. She dropped the file Will had handed her onto Eli's desk.
"This is the original bill from the Fairmont on September 30. The copy Mandy Post claims she has may be a fake." Alicia's voice showed no emotion.
Eli hesitated before he asked, "So it's true?"
"Yes, Eli, it's true," she said, a hint of annoyance evident in her tone.
Eli opened the file to take a look at the paper inside. As he shut the file, he said, "Ok."
Alicia left his office, but couldn't stand the thought of going back to her office now. She decided that this was an appropriate enough time to take a lunch break and so she just left. She wandered through downtown for awhile, until she ended up at the lake front. It was windy, but today she didn't even care. She just walked.
She gave herself a pep talk. She knew she'd need some encouragement to get through the coming days, and no one else was going to do it for her. Nobody could decide to move forward but her. Who was she? She was Alicia Florrick. The Alicia Florrick that stood strong in the face of the press. She was the Alicia Florrick who had to make the tough decisions when her family needed her leadership. She was the Alicia Florrick who had been there for her children no matter what. She was the Alicia Florrick who'd made a career for herself out of nothing in 4 short years. She was strong, and she could handle anything. She didn't know what this new scandal would bring. But today, she had her job and she needed to do it. And do it well.
Feeling better, she returned to work and kept working on their case. She was preparing witnesses for tomorrow and getting everything lined up for their court session. She was still filtering through paperwork and making notes when she looked up and realized that the world outside was growing dim. She looked around to see that the office was relatively empty, with only a few people wandering around. She stood up to stretch and decided this should be it for her today. She should go home to her family. She didn't know what could happen tomorrow, but today she had her kids waiting for her at home. She picked up her belongings and left her office.
She passed by Will's office on her way to the elevator, and saw him sitting in his favorite chair with a glass in his hand. Some things never change, she thought to herself. Knowing she needed to address some things, she went in silently and had a seat on his sofa.
"It's a good day for a drink, huh?" she asked with a slight smile.
He just nodded to her. "Do you want one?" he asked, gesturing to his glass.
She shook her head in refusal. "I'm about to head home," she paused for a moment to collect her thoughts. "Will, I'm sorry about earlier," she said quietly.
"Don't be," he replied quickly, with a wave of his hand, as if he were erasing away their interactions earlier in the day. "It's been a tough day, I know."
"I'm sorry that I asked you if it was us at the hotel that day. That was out of line," she stared down at the table, unable to meet his eyes.
"It's really ok. I know you have a lot at stake here." There was an awkward pause before Will said, "If there's anything I can do to help, all you have to do is say the word. You know that, right?"
Alicia nodded as she said, "Thanks, Will." The silence between them grew, but Will was determined not to let it divide them.
"Do you want to talk?" Will asked, a bit unsure if he was saying the right thing. "I mean, sometimes talking makes people feel better, right?"
Alicia breathed in deeply as she decided whether or not to do this. She searched the walls of his office for an answer. Where would this decision lead her? She had no way to know. So she dived in. "It's just. . . sometimes I sit back and wonder if this is really my life. You know, I used to have a completely different life. And I was happy. And now, I look around and I think about people like Mandy Post and I wonder if they're ever going to let me be happy again."
Will furrowed his brow, trying to follow what she was saying. She continued on, oblivious to him. "Every time it feels like I'm getting control of my life back, something comes along and knocks it all out of my hands again. And I just want it to be simple again. I want to know what I want and then make it happen. And I want it to work out the way I plan and just be happy knowing I'm living the life that I want."
Will let out a small chuckle as he said, "Does anyone ever have that?"
Alicia smiled, "I did. For awhile, that it is. Now I just feel like I'm lost in all of this. . . confusion." She glanced over at Will. "This isn't what you signed up for, is it? A crazy lady on your couch?" she grinned and moved to stand up before Will could respond. "I need to get going. We'll talk tomorrow?"
Will nodded. Alicia was leaving. He needed to say something. Anything. I love you. I'll make you happy. Marry me. "Goodnight Alicia."
The next morning, Alicia talked to Eli about his meeting with Mandy Post. Eli told her that the copy of the receipt that Mandy had was a duplicate of Will's original. They were identical. They couldn't refute it. Eli suspected that a hotel employee had printed a duplicate. Eli had bluffed that Mandy's story was ridiculous and all but dared her to print it. His hope was that by showing an indifference to the story Mandy would be convinced that it weren't true and that they would refute it once it was in print, which would make her look pretty foolish. Mandy was to contact Eli again that night. Until then, they were waiting.
There was still about an hour before they were due in court. Alicia needed to talk with Will about the case, so she found him in his office. After discussing their witnesses for today, Alicia moved on to Eli's conversation with Mandy.
When she finished, Will sighed. "So, we wait?"
"Yes," Alicia said with a nod.
"Ok," he answered. "I think I need to give Diane a heads up that this may be coming. She's better at handling a crisis when she has some time to prepare."
Alicia cringed. She knew that if it got out, Diane would most certainly know. But Diane was on the list of people that she preferred their secret be kept from. "How do you think she'll take it?" Alicia asked.
Will shrugged his shoulders. "She had suspicions about us, so I don't think she'll be shocked. She'll be worried about the firm and how this might impact us."
Alicia nodded her understanding. "Do what you need to do, Will."
"Thank you," he replied.
They didn't see each other again until they were in court. Will and Cary questioned the witnesses and handled the case well today. Alicia sat behind and watched, and offered her notes when needed. Overall, it was a much more successful day than the day before.
When they returned to the firm that afternoon, Will was surprised to find Diane in Eli's office. He could see that they were both upset, and Will had a pretty good idea what they were discussing. He had told Diane about their issue before heading to court. He stepped into the office and asked, "What's going on?"
"Eli is going to ruin us!" Diane spattered furiously.
"Well Diane wants me to protect the firm over my client. A client I have been serving since before I joined this firm, I might add." Eli's tone rose as he spoke.
"Ok, wait, wait, wait. Let's just calm down here," Will said. "Tell me what's going on."
"What's going on?" Diane asked, exasperated. "What's going on is that this firm is going to go under because you can't keep your pants zipped!"
Eli froze. Will glanced over to Eli, and then behind him to where Alicia had opened the door to join them. She too had seen the heated conversation and knew it was probably about her. She had heard the end of Diane's statement but she tried to pretend that she hadn't.
"I'm sorry to interrupt. I knocked, but no one heard. Eli, would you like me to sit in on this?" Alicia asked. Will had to hand it to her. When she had it together, she had it together. She was composed and calm. Not proud, in light of their circumstances, but calm.
"Yes, yes, Alicia. Sit, join the party!" Eli offered with sarcasm. Alicia shut the door behind her and found a seat.
"Ok, now really, tell me what's happening here," Will asked again.
Eli glanced around the room before asking Will, "So, you know what we're talking about here, right?"
"I can only assume, Eli," getting a bit annoyed at this point, "that you're discussing the situation that Alicia and I are in."
Diane scoffed from across the room. She had refused to sit down and was pacing along the back wall of Eli's office.
Eli continued, "Yes, that's right. We aren't sure if this will get printed or not. I'm talking to the reporter again tonight. Until we know more, we can only plan for the worst."
"Eli and I were discussing possible strategies in case this does get out," Dianne offered from her side of the room. She was decidedly more calm now, but her body language still displayed some residual anger.
"Ok then, let's hear it," Will said. Taking his lead from Alicia, he was trying to sound calm and laid back.
"Ok," Eli started, "with something like this, there are few options. If we can't deny it, the only options are to claim it was a mistake and that Alicia is back with Peter now or to claim that Alicia was pressured into the situation by her superior." Eli paused a moment as a silence sunk into the room. "Diane was less excited about that last option."
Diane chimed in now, saying, "What proof do they have that Alicia was involved? If the receipt is Will's, how would anyone know who he was with?"
Eli grimaced. "This receipt she has is identical to the original that Will had. My guess is that its a duplicate receipt printed by a hotel employee. If she's talking with someone that saw Alicia there, this could get complicated really fast. And if it goes to press and we still deny that Alicia was present, it could spark something that we don't want sparked."
"And what's that?" Diane asked impatiently.
Eli glanced back and forth between Will and Alicia. "Is there a chance that the two of you could have been seen together at any other hotels?" Eli asked them.
Will took responsibility with his answer, "Yes." He didn't look at Alicia, but continued facing Eli.
Eli rolled his eyes, and turned to Diane. "If it's going around that we're denying Alicia was at this hotel with Will, employees at other hotels might be tempted to come forward. They might come forward anyway. But if we own it, we look a whole lot better than if we deny it when they have evidence against us."
Diane sighed, "I know that it would be better for your candidate if this were a case of office politics, but that could destroy us, Eli. That could destroy you! With the delicate position this firm is already in, we're all in danger if this gets out. You need to help us protect the firm."
"Diane, this is a conversation I would never have with anyone but my client. I think the next step is to bring Peter into the conversation," Eli stated.
Alicia found her voice and said, "I'll talk to him, Eli."
Eli nodded, "Good, he needs to know what's going on."
"He doesn't know yet?" Diane asked in amazement, looking at Alicia.
Alicia shook her head and said nothing.
Diane turned to Will. "This is going to blow up in our faces," she said quietly and walked out of the office.