"What is given can be ... quickly ... taken away."
A rare misstep. It's not what she says; it's not even how she says it. It's that while she's been busy dealing with Hayden and David Lee, trying desperately to save everybody's ass, she hasn't been paying attention to who Alicia has become. Who she's been becoming.
A year ago, maybe, maybe less, that would have been the perfect thing to say: The correct balance of love, harsh wisdom, honesty and "buck up" sisterhood that would have worked on her. It would have been kind, but not nice. Right in the middle, right in the Goldilocks Zone where she's always had to keep her little protégée.
But now, with Alicia so very much on fire -- so unwilling to take the mentee role, after having been treated like a child for so long, so sick of her best days making her look stupid, so tired of the paralysis of hope -- none of that is really true: The time for that mentorship that never really happened, it occurs to her, has long since passed. Diane would have sounded brilliant, a year ago, or even less. Now, she just sounds like a bitch.
When Alicia shakes Will's hand, and David Lee's, when their platitudes go in one ear and out the other while she thanks them for the opportunity, Diane doesn't hear it. When Alicia shakes her own hand, and thanks her for the opportunity, she doesn't hear it. She smiles, to herself, as Goldilocks shakes the hand of the male partners, and thanks them for the opportunity. She watches, a little softer, as Cinderella shakes the hands of some female partners, and thanks them for the opportunity.
It's only when the words clash together, after she's heard them ten times and then twenty, with that beautiful smile pasted on over Alicia's rage, that Diane begins to see for herself what she's done.
It's only then, that her heart breaks.
JACOB CLIFTON is a freelance writer and critic based in Austin, Texas. He currently recaps The Good Wife, Deception, and Pretty Little Liars 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, and a novelette, "The Commonplace Book," appeared this fall on Tor.com.