He never even knew why. He never even got to know what that sound meant, in her voice, or why it happened sometimes. That it was as full of pain, and regret, as it could ever contain anything else. She never let him know what that might sound like, her pain. Too sure she'd be devoured if she did, for showing weakness. Nick Savarese stood at a door, in enemy territory. In the dark. On the other side of that door was something. Maybe a lady, maybe something else. Maybe something that would feed him until he wasn't hungry anymore. It wasn't the first time.
Alicia: "Where were you?"
Kalinda, smiling: "Out."
Alicia: "You seem... Relieved."
Kalinda: "Very much so."
Alicia: "He's gone. And you're safe."
Kalinda: "You're safe."
Real love isn't about sex, or parents, or children. It's not about men or women or gay or straight or marriage or how well you know the person, even. It's not about the things you want from them. The test, if you're ever wondering how much you love someone, is whether you could, for example, die for them without ever getting credit for it. Ask yourself: How far you would go, what you would risk, without them ever finding out.
Alicia: "And he's not coming back?"
Kalinda: "He's not coming back."
For just a moment, she collapses into the Kalinda Sharma version of grief: She looks over to the side, and calmly exhales.
JACOB CLIFTON is a freelance writer and critic based in Austin, Texas. He currently recaps Gossip Girl, The Good Wife and Homeland for TWoP. Jacob can be found online at jacobclifton.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook. IRL work appears in BenBella's SmartPop series of anthologies, his novel The Urges, and a novelette, "The Commonplace Book," appeared this fall on Tor.com.