Dancefloor Dust

Chapter 6

I sit in my seat on the plane and stare out the window without even realizing it. My head is filled with all the experiences from the last 24 hours. A part of me is glad that I am away from Chicago now for a while though I know that running is no solution to anything. Not this time. But the days away will give me a chance to process everything and think about what happened and what I will do about it.

Will's confession totally surprised me and I was momentarily so overwhelmed from all that had been going on I agreed to let him in. It was weird having him around again as we hadn't actually met in months. I was so occupied with my own thoughts so I really didn't listen to much more that he told me. All I remember is that I agreed to meet him once I'd be back from California. And that he misses me and wants me back. I let my head fall on the back rest of my seat and have trouble repressing a loud laugh. This is so surreal. How did I end up in a situation like this? Two months ago I was in the middle of a divorce, started a new job and didn't waste a thought on a new relationship. And now I have an estranged husband who admitted on missing me and a boyfriend who just confessed he loves me. I shake my head at myself and try to bring some sense into the turmoil of feelings that I experience.

I know I still love Will but can I really picture myself at his side again? I think I recall him saying something that he wants to change. Can he? I have no idea. And will it be enough for me. I feel no desire to break everything up in Chicago again and go back with him to Baltimore. I like my new job, the challenges that come with it and not being the boss's wife. And I love having my brother close by even though I could strangle him sometimes for his special humor that he likes to tease me with. Like that note on that pack of condoms.

I feel my cheeks burn as I think back to the previous night. I should've not been surprised by Peter's 'I love you' after the way he had made love to me last night. Gentle and caring like he anticipated my every need. I couldn't complain about my love life with Will but I'd be lying to myself if I wouldn't admit that I never felt more special and more loved than last night. A feeling that had long been missing from my relationship with Will. But I can't blame him alone for that. We had lost us as a couple in the every day life of work and building the firm. A dream of his I had happily taken part in building. Always hoping that once it was done we would start making my dream of a family a reality. But instead he had shattered it into a million pieces. Can anyone blame me for trying to find someone I can share that dream with? Is that someone Peter? I don't know yet. Can I picture him as father? Yes, I can as I have seen pictures with his nephews and heard him talk about how much he loves to spend time with them. An image of him, me and a dark-haired baby appears in front of my inner eye but I push it away fast. I can't think like that right now. I have to put my life in order first.

I look forward to talk with my Dad about all of this. He has always been my confidante since I was a kid and had helped me with all my problems and decisions I had to face from my first broken heart to which college to choose. I hope his guidance and advice will help me see my situation clearer and might lead to a decision on how to go on from here. I know I owe Will to really meet with him and hear him out but I also dread it as I was sure about my decision before he showed up again. So I already know no matter what my Dad will have to say about this I have to wait with my final decision until I have talked to Will. I close my eyes and sigh deeply. As I open them again I decide to try to not think about it any further and retrieve the book I brought from my bag.

It's already Monday night as I finally get my Dad to myself for more than a few minutes. The house had been full with birthday guests on Sunday and we spent most of today getting everything cleaned again.

"So, how are you, pumpkin? And don't tell me that polite crap you told everyone yesterday." my Dad walks up on me from behind on the terrace and hands me a glass of red wine. I sigh and smile at the same time, liking and cursing his ability to read me like his morning paper. He takes the seat next to mine and just looks at me, waiting.

I sigh once more and really don't know where to start.

"I was fine until Saturday morning, but then Will showed up at my doorstep and now I question everything again, Dad."

"Really everything? From what you told me on the phone you like your new job, don't you?" he takes a sip from his wine and nods approvingly as I picked it.

"Yes, I love the new job. I have to prove myself there and I really like that." I also taste my wine and keep my gaze at the sky that already turns pink as the sun is about to set.

"And what about that man you met, Peter, right?" he smiles at me and I smile back, happy that he always listens when I tell him something and remembers Peter's name though he never met him.

"He's great! I love that I can be myself around him. He makes me happy and..." I stop myself, not sure if I should tell my Dad that Peter said 'I love you' yet. So I just smile at him.

"And?" he puts his glass on the table and leans nearer toward me.

"He loves me, Dad." I sigh and am mad at the ability of the men in my family to always sense when I lie or hold something back.

"Well, how could he not, pumpkin?" he chuckles softly, reaches for my hand and squeezes it lightly.

"But do you love him, too?" his expression gets serious. My gaze goes out to the sinking sun and I take some time before I answer.

"I think I'm starting to, Dad." I look at him and I feel a warmth spread through my body that proves my words are true. I really miss Peter and can't wait to see him again tomorrow.

"Where is your problem then?" he tilts his head and looks at me inquiring.

I shrug and take another sip from my glass.

"You still love Will too and ask yourself if you can just walk away now that he wants you back, right?" he smiles knowingly.

I close my eyes and nod slowly. He's right. Will's lack of interest in me after I left him made it easier for me to go on. But knowing now that he probably has reconsidered ignited a spark of hope that my dream of a family with him might still come true after all.

"Does Peter know Will came by?"

"No, I haven't told him yet." I shake my head, casting down my gaze.

"You need to tell him, Alicia." I look up surprised by his sudden serious tone and the use of my full name. He only calls me Alicia if he tells me something important.

"Yes, as soon as I see him tomorrow. He'll pick me up from the airport anyway."

"Don't wait that long. Call him now. He has a right to know. And you need to talk to Will, too. Hear him out at least."

"Do you think I left too soon, Daddy?" I finally ask the question that tortures me since Will stood in front of my door.

"Well, patience is not a virtue that you and your mother call your own. I know it wasn't easy for your mother but we could've made it if she had shown a little more endurance." his glance has left me and he watches the last glimpses of the setting sun and I know that he thinks back at the time we still were a family.

I get up from my seat and step up to him. I bend down and place a kiss on his cheek.

"Thanks, Dad. I knew talking to you would help me see things clearer." I smile at him thankfully.

"I am here whenever you need me, pumpkin." he cups my cheek in his hand and I feel like the little girl again that thought Dad could fix anything. But all too soon reality grabs me again and I know I have to fix this on my own. I smile at him once more and go back into the house.

I stand in the arrival area at O'Hare International and watch the arrival board every few seconds. Finally Alicia's flight is marked as landed and I start getting nervous. It took me some begging to get the flight information out of Owen but I succeeded. He refused at first but my negotiation skills are feared in my profession so they'll always prevail with Alicia's brother. I briefly wonder why we never got along. Is it me or would he simply detest any man his sister chose out of pure brotherly instinct to protect her? I stop thinking about Owen when the door behind the barrier slides open and the first passengers step outside. I peer through the doors to see if I can already spot Alicia but she is nowhere to be seen. The doors shut again and I let my glance wander over the people standing around me. My gaze stops at a tall, dark haired guy whose eyes are as fixed at the door as mine were a few moments before. He holds a single red rose in his hands and I smile as I imagine he waits for his wife or girlfriend too. I smile at him as his gaze turns in my direction and hope the reaction from the person he is waiting for will be more happy than the one I expect from Alicia. She never liked surprises that much and I know she will not like me showing up here. But I had to be here as I fear once she is back in the office she will find excuses not to meet me. And I can't stay in Chicago forever. Not yet anyway. I have thought a lot about that brief talk we had in her apartment and the more I ponder it the weirder I think Alicia reacted to my appearance. She seemed totally far away with her thoughts like something else occupied her mind. I wonder what it could've been as the door slides open again. At first some businessmen with briefcases emerge but soon I see the familiar features of my wife. I smile at her but she doesn't seem to notice me. I see her search the people standing around me and finally she seems to have found who she was looking for as her face lights up in a bright smile and she walks determinedly towards a group of people to my left. I try to see if Owen is among them and think that it would be typical for him to show up though he knows I will pick her up. But I can't see him as the dark-haired guy from earlier is blocking my view.

He smiles now as well and I peer around to get a look at the girl he's waiting for when I realize that Alicia walks in his direction. I feel a lump form in my throat. But I still have hope that Owen will appear behind that guy any second and he is really smiling at the old lady walking behind Alicia. But my hope is shattered as I observe Alicia coming to a halt right before him. They talk briefly and my breathing stops as I see him lean down and kiss her on the lips. This is no ordinary kiss like some close friends might share. This is a real kiss. My mouth gets dry as I see them break the kiss, their foreheads touching, gazing in each others eyes. They don't seem to notice anything around them and a strange feeling runs through my body. At first I can't really name it but suddenly it hits me - Jealousy. I have to close my eyes as it seems to be too much to watch them a second longer. I think about leaving but something holds me back. A foreshadow that tells me I can't let her leave without knowing I was here to pick her up. I have to make my presence known but I really can't let them be aware that I saw them kissing. I open my eyes again and see them turn to leave. An idea shoots through my head and I walk fast through the people running and standing around strictly paying attention they can't see me as I pass them. I manage to change directions backwards to where I came from but now I walk directly towards them, pretending I just arrived at the terminal.

"Alicia!" I call out as they are a few steps ahead of me. I see her look around, trying to find the source of the call. Finally her eyes find me and I see her face fall. I watch her loosen her arm from his back, stopping and staring at me.

"Hey!" I say as I approach them.

"Will? What are you doing here?" Alicia tries to talk in a normal voice but I can hear she is annoyed that I'm here.

"Owen told me when your plane comes in and I thought I pick you up. But he didn't tell me that you ordered a town car service." I smile at Alicia and look up the tall guy whose expression I can't read.

"He's not a chauffeur, Will." I can see in her face that she has no idea how she should introduce us.

"Sorry." I extend my hand to him. "Will Gardner. Alicia's husband." he takes my offered hand but his expression is still the same. I had hoped to trigger some surprise with the husband detail. But either he already knew who I am or he doesn't care.

"Peter Florrick. Nice to meet you, Mr. Gardner." a slight smile appears on his face as we shake hands.

"He is a friend who offered to pick me up." I can clearly see how uncomfortable this situation is for Alicia but my jealousy has taken over and the guy can be happy that I didn't punch him right away. Because that's how I feel right now but the rational part of me knows that I won't win anything with that kind of behavior. A black eye maybe but surely not Alicia's love.

"It's nice to see you already found friends here, honey." I smile at her and regret adding her nickname immediately as I see her roll her eyes.

"So, how do you know each other?" I ask casually.

"We work together." Alicia answers shortly and I hear from her tone she is not in the mood for small talk.

"So you are a lawyer, too. At the same firm?" I go on nonchalantly.

"No, I am an ASA." Peter tells me and now his poker face makes total sense to me.

"Well, as I am here unannounced and apparently not needed I will leave you two then. Call me tomorrow?" I smile at Alicia and I can see I surprised her with that.

"Bye, Mr. Florrick. Nice to meet you." I smile at him before I look back at my wife.

"Please call me tomorrow, Alicia." I repeat and wave at her before I turn to walk to the exit.

"Will! Wait!" I hear Alicia's voice not 5 seconds later. I face them again and see her talking to Peter. He nods at her words but I am too far away to hear what they are saying. I look away as I don't want to leave the impression of watching them but I can see in the corner of my eye that she kisses him on the cheek before she takes her suitcase from him and walks towards me.

"Let's go, Will. We need to talk." she snaps at me as she passes me and I can't help but smirk.

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