AN: This is my first fanfic. Just a fluffy little story I started around Valentine's Day, but then forgot about. Let me know what you think!
Lizzy Bennet sat at her desk, wondering when the Fourth Grade Valentine's party would start. She had been up until nine o'clock – nine! – finishing her Valentine's. They were hearts that she had cut from construction paper, with a heart-shaped lollypop taped to the front of each. Beneath the heart, she'd written in her best cursive "You're sweet. Happy Valentine's Day! From, Lizzy B."
But that wasn't all she'd done. She had also made one with a red heart instead of pink. The heart-shaped lollypop looked like all of the others, but she had gotten it from the joke store next door to her mom's hair salon. The last time Mrs. Bennet had gone for a trim, Lizzy had slipped over, spending one dollar of her saved allowance on a single purchase. It was going to be worth it! The lollypop on this particular card would not taste sweet like all the others.
Thinking back to when she'd first met its recipient, she remembered that he had just started coming to Meryton Elementary School. He was a nice-looking boy, as far as boys go. His dark hair was neatly combed and he talked and walked almost like he was a grown-up, instead of the fourth-grader that he was. But then, at recess, he hadn't chosen her for his kick-ball team. Lizzy heard his friend Charlie tell him that she was the best runner, but still he wouldn't pick her. Instead, Billy Darcy just looked at her like she was some lacy doll that he'd never want to play with, instead of a good kickball player. It made her so mad that she played better than she ever had and her team beat his by ten points. No, Lizzy didn't like Billy at all.
* * *
Billy rolled his eyes. When would this stupid party be over? All the girls were putting valentines in his box. Their only homework last night had been to decorate a box for Valentine's Day, for their cards to go in. He had chosen blood-red paint, to commemorate the martyrdom of St. Valentine, but no one seemed to get that. With a sigh, he looked up at the girl giggling as she dropped a card in his box. Ugh, gross Caroline Bingley. How come Charlie has such a gross twin? I almost don't wanna go over to his house anymore 'cause of her. But he knew that he would never stop being friends with Charlie; he was a good friend, never made fun of him like some of the other kids did when he got bored with how silly all of the kids were. Like the girls were being now.
He had already distributed all of his cards. He'd gotten Star Wars for the boys and let his little sister choose Princess cards for the girls. He'd scrawled his name on each of them in the "from" line and "you" on the "to" line and was finished with the dumb things in ten minutes. Glancing up from his blood-red box, he saw Lizzy Bennet standing in front of him.
He liked Lizzy. She was fun and cheerful and didn't worry about stuff like he did. He would have liked to be friends with her. But on his first day, Charlie had tried to get him to pick her for his kickball team. In a moment of panic that he'd get teased that he liked her, he'd chosen someone else instead. He didn't think she liked him. Whenever she was picking a team for a game, she never picked him. The one or two times he'd been partnered with her for a classroom assignment, she had only said what was necessary; they'd finished their assignment ten minutes before anyone else.
He watched, surprised, as she offered a little smile as she dropped something into his box. After she walked away, he slipped the lid off and pulled out the red heart. Under his desk, he saw that she had made the Valentine herself. Maybe she does like me? Reading the message on the red heart, he smiled a little. Glancing around the room and seeing that everyone else was eating some of the candy that had been in their boxes, he quickly ripped the lollypop from the construction paper heart, slipping the heart into his notebook. He knew he'd just sort the candy from the paper later and throw away all the cards without reading them and didn't want to accidentally trash her card along with them. Then he ripped the plastic wrapper from the red lollypop and stuck it in his mouth.
* * *
Lizzy watched from across the room as Billy put the lollypop into his mouth. This is better than I thought it would be! She had never expected that he'd eat it here, in front of her. She was practically bouncing up and down in her seat as she watched the shock seize his features. His eyes were wide, reminding her of ping-pong balls with dark brown dots in the middle. His mouth was puckered around the stick of the lollypop and his head started to tilt off to the side as he struggled with the over-powering sourness that she was sure had filled his mouth. With a hand over her own mouth, she bit back a giggle. His eyes met her from across the room as he jerked the lollypop from his mouth. His hand went immediately in the air and for a moment, Lizzy was afraid he'd tattle on her. But he just asked if he could go get a drink from the fountain in the hallway. On his way out, walking past her desk, she could feel the glare boring into her down-turned head. Uh-oh.
The next few weeks were scary for Lizzy. But Billy never tried to get even. Maybe the torture of worrying about it is the pay-back. As the years progressed, she got over her fear and continued playing tricks on him. He never retaliated, but the looks he'd give her after some of them were enough to make her wonder if she should stop . . . for a little while. But she always found herself planning something else, seemingly drawn to trying to get a reaction from him.
* * *
William Darcy sighed in contentment as he drew his arm around the shoulders of his wife of five years. Lizzy smiled at him. She had hated him for a long time. But eventually, when they both found themselves at the same college, not knowing anyone else, she had learned to tolerate him. He had never stopped liking her. Even though she pranked him continually, even after they became friends, he found that he couldn't just walk away from her vivacity and love for life. She inspired him to loosen up and enjoy things more. Eventually, she even let him take her on a few dates. They had married a month after graduating from college.
"Is Billy down for the night, then?" he asked, referring to their three-month-old son.
"Yeah, I think so." She rested her head on his shoulder for a moment before raising her head to look at him. "Will, you never did tell me. Why didn't you mind all those pranks I used to pull on you?"
"Oh, I minded. I am still planning my revenge," he said with a smirk. It was a joke between them that when she least expected it, he was going to get her back.
"Really, though. I mean, didn't it bother you at all?"
"Well, Lizzy, you kept me on my toes. I liked that I didn't know what to expect from you; everyone else, I always knew how they would treat me. Charlie was my best friend who would never let me down, Caroline was the annoying pest who would never leave me alone, and you . . . I never knew. Sometimes you almost were nice to me. Sometimes you ignored me. Sometimes you acted like I was pure evil."
"Yeah. Sorry about that." She grinned sheepishly at him before stretching up to place a soft kiss on his lips.
William grinned, reaching over to the drawer of the end-table beside the couch. He pulled out a red construction-paper heart, on which he'd written "You're sweet. From, Will" and taped a red heart-shaped lollypop to the back.
Lizzy grinned for a moment then a frown slowly overtook her face. "Wait a minute, Billy, I don't think I should eat this."
"Oh, Lizzy, you're too suspicious. Here, I'll take the first lick if you want."
He unwrapped the candy and let his tongue touch it, managing just barely to keep the grimace from his face.
"See? It's fine."
Lizzy smiled then, taking the lollypop from him and putting it into her mouth. Immediately, her eyes grew wide and her mouth puckered. "You – you – you!"
The candy was spit out onto the floor before William knew what had happened. Lizzy was struggling to get away from him to go get something to drink, but he held her fast. Whispering into her ear, he said, "Gotcha!"
Then, before she could protest, he leaned down and kissed her lips, banishing all evidence of a struggle as she chuckled before she wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss.