Fandom: The Good Wife, RPF
Word Count: ~1000
Summary: Practice makes perfect, but chemistry can’t be faked. Written for upriserseven ’s Jules/Archie prompt at The Good Wife Summer Comment Fixathon, and too long to fit there.
A/N: TWO SHAMELESS WISH FULFILLMENTS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. Also... my first TGW RPF! \o/ (Don't judge me.)
Julianna says it’s probably fan service, but Archie insists that no, this absolutely makes sense for Kalinda’s character at this point in her development. Either way, a screen kiss is not just a kiss – there’s a tone you have to set, positioning and angles to work out – so it requires rehearsal, practice. That’s what they are doing now.
It’s what they are trying to do. Except it’s not going very well.
They are still in costume from earlier, but their hair is their own and Archie’s silky top is pulled from the waist of her skirt. They’re both fine with the lead-up. Archie’s all barely-restrained sadness and desperation, and Julianna can do tipsy, wary curiosity in her sleep. But the moment before their lips are supposed to meet, their eyes do; the corners of their mouths twitch, Archie’s eyebrow goes up, and a snigger escapes one of them. Then it’s no use, they are giggling helplessly, hopelessly, and they both fall back against the cushions of the sofa or drop their foreheads together, their laughter mingling in the small space between them.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Archie gasps after the fourth time, always polite and too willing to take the blame. She usually holds her Kalinda accent between takes and during breaks, easier than switching back and forth, but she’s nearly always silly in British. “This happens sometimes.”
Julianna’s eyes are welling with the force of her laughter. “Christ, Archie. You’re the one with all the experience!” she playfully accuses, and her hands are still resting lightly on the smooth skin of the other woman’s arms. Archie gasps in offense because both of them have had their share of love scenes and even if they’re only counting the ones with women, Archie has two on her at the most.
Each time it’s getting harder to recover the tone of the scene, and they do have other things to do tonight (Julianna’s promised to be home for a late dinner, and Archie and Matt have tickets to see The Normal Heart, specifically), and it’s really getting quite ridiculous that two seasoned actresses can’t pull off a simple kiss -- while running lines, no less, without even the pressure of rolling cameras to tweak their nerves.
“Okay,” Archie says, pulling in a deep and shuddering breath, composing herself. “I’m ready. This is it. Are you good?”
Julianna isn’t faring much better, actually, but her exasperation is mostly for show; there are worse things than truly liking your cast-mates, having fun with them and joking. In moments like these it’s difficult to distinguish between working and playing. “Yeah. Don’t screw it up this time,” she teases, and accepts the swat to her shoulder she gets in return.
The scene has very little dialogue; it’s mostly in the eyes, in the movement. A slow blink, a tilt of the head, a tentative touch. “Alicia… I want you to know…” And Julianna’s feeling it this time, really – when Archie’s playing that vulnerable thing, it makes you want to kiss the tremble from her lips. They draw closer, pulled by emotion, by curiosity, by wanting, and then…
She sees the telltale crinkle in the corners of Archie’s eyes, not Kalinda at all. She knows exactly what’s about to happen, and if Archie starts again there’s no way Julianna is going to be able to keep it together, and this is just getting stupid.
“Oh no,” Archie starts to say, but before the first peal of laughter bursts from her lips, Julianna rolls her eyes. This is obviously something they just have to get out of their systems.
“For fuck’s sake,” Julianna sighs, her palms clapping to either side of Archie’s head and yanking.
For a second or two, it doesn’t work. After an initial squeak, Archie merely giggles into Julianna’s mouth. Cupping a firm hand to the back of her neck to prevent easy escape, Julianna presses demandingly forward. They’re going to push through this if it kills them.
Archie tastes like bergamot, bright and tart; her laughter eventually dies under Julianna’s tongue, and here’s what all the fuss is about. Certain the crisis of hilarity has passed, Julianna releases her grip, instead brushing gentle knuckles across her friend’s cheek. Now relaxed, Archie is earnest and very, very invested. And after that… well, it’s a natural progression.
It isn’t in the script, for Kalinda to skim fingertips up the inside of Alicia’s thigh. It also isn’t expressly written for Alicia to run a hand up and under Kalinda’s top, grazing satin-dark skin and palming a silk-covered breast. There is no instruction for them to sprawl on top of one another on the couch, Kalinda sighing softly while Alicia makes throatier noises against her lips, tongues stroking from languid to feverish. But Archie and Julianna, they are professionals, have earned some artistic license, and what the fuck is wrong with a little improvising? It’s their job to be comfortable with this, to be prepared, and sometimes you have to put in the time and work to get things perfect.
A few days later, under cameras and hot lights and the watchful eyes of far too many people in the studio, they kiss with a practiced lack of expertise – all wide eyes and quivering lips and a brief moment of reckless abandon for their otherwise contained characters. When Tony yells ‘cut,’ there are a full three seconds of unnatural silence before the first catcall from the key grip, followed by a rousing round of applause from the present parties. Everyone compliments them on nailing an important, complicated scene in one take.
They smile graciously, consummate professionals. Pretty blushes dust their cheeks as they glance at one another out of the corners of their eyes, silently and mutually appreciating their passion for their craft and close working relationship.