"Am I supposed to do something while I'm here?"
"What do you mean," Jane asked, trying to wrap some noodles around her fork.
"You know, with Will."
"You want to do something will Will?"
"...What? No? No! I just was wondering if I should extend an olive branch or something. You know, so that he knows that I want to keep the peace."
"Lizzie, you've been on your best behavior since you got here, not to mention the fact that you can't stop looking at the man's ass. Besides, every time he talks to you, it's like you melt into a puddle on the floor."
"I do not! I am not that shallow, Janie," Lizzie said, insulted. She picked up her own fork and stabbed purposefully into a shrimp on Jane's plate. She was obviously trying to make a point, what with the menacing glare she was sending Jane's way.
"I'm not afraid of you, please stop glaring."
"Fine," Lizzie said, shoulders slumping. "Okay don't be mad, but I think I'm going to be moving to New York soon."
"What? Why would I be mad at that? Unless you're joking...Are you joking?"
"No," Lizzie smiled shyly. "I'm getting sick of LA, and New York has some amazingopportunities. You're here, too! It's great, I think it's going to be great. I didn't know how to tell you before I got here, but uh, I applied to Bingley, Fitzwilliam, and Hurst a little while ago. They called me a few days before I flew out and said that they would like to meet me to discuss hours and starting salary."
"You got a job? In New York?"
"I did," Lizzie finally broke out into a full smile. "Hopefully Will won't have anything against me working with him."
Jane was silent. For years it had been a point of contention between herself and Will. Lizzie had been heartbroken that summer. She'd come to New York with high hopes for herself and her career, and she'd left with a broken heart and a crushed spirit. The Elizabeth that she was now was profoundly different than the bright-eyed, naive young girl who had first come to the city, hoping to change the world one case at a time. The fact of the matter was, Lizzie and Will had both unknowingly changed each other for the better. Lizzie was successful now, on her own merit, and confident in her abilities. Will, on the other hand, was softer, more compassionate. There was no way that present-day Will Darcy, her best friend and roommate, would have any issue with working with her younger sister.
That was one thing she was one hundred percent sure of.
"Will is going to be great about this," she told Lizzie. "You'll see."
"So what do you guys want to do today?" Lizzie asked, picking up an apple from the fruit bowl on the dining table. "I'm free."
"Well I'm not," Jane answered, moving quickly around the kitchen. She picked up a packet of Pop-Tarts, a thermos of coffee that Will had already set aside for her, and the iPhone that was charging on the kitchen counter. She stuffed her phone in her jacket pocket, ripped open the packet of Pop-Tarts with her teeth, and then, spitting out the tiny peice of wrapper, said,
"I'm going to be late for surgery. Sorry, kids to save, lives to enlighten." She smiled apologetically, "You know how it is, right?"
"You're talking to a room full of lawyers," Will pointed out. "We don't really know."
"My bad. Sometimes I forget you're not all as awesome as me."
Lizzie snorted. Jane pouted. "Hey, I'm pretty awesome, okay?"
"She is pretty-" Charlie piped up. Jane whirled around, raising an eyebrow.
"You," she pointed a finger at him. "Shut up."
She started to make her way out of the room, pretending to ignore Lizzie and Will and their poorly hidden laughs, but Charlie followed her on her way out, making it just in time to block her in front of the kitchen doorway. He was facing her, so when she moved to the right, he moved to the left, and vice versa.
"Charlie," she said, exasperated. "Stop this. I have to leave."
He wrung his hands nervously, then held up a finger in front of her as he mentally prepared himself for what he was going to say. "Have dinner with me, tonight," he said earnestly.
"No," she said instantly. "Now get out of my way, I need to get to the hospital."
"Say you'll come, and I'll move."
"Say it, Janie."
"Don't call me that."
"I'll do whatever you want if you do this one thing for me, Jane, please." He stepped closer to her, eliminating almost all the space. The way he was looking down at her, a mixture of anguish and hope, regret and pleading, made her resolve crumble.
"Okay, how about I agree to think about it?"
He licked his lips, "But then you'll say no," he said meekly.
Jane exhaled loudly. "You don't know that."
"I do," he nodded. "I do know that. You'll say no."
"Alright fine," she sighed, dropping her head to look at the floor, anything to avert her gaze from Charlie. "Fine, we'll go out for dinner tonight, just you and me. Now can I please go?"
Charlie bit back a smile and stepped aside, gesturing for Jane to go out the door.
She was out the door in seconds, but not before turning back to Lizzie one last time.
"Remember what we talked about over lunch yesterday, okay?"
Lizzie nodded silently and shooed her out the door.
Once they all heard the door slam behind Jane, Charlie let his grin show. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: Winning Back The Love Of Your Life: Step One, albeit with some cryptic messages in between."
Will ignored Charlie's optimism. "She hates you."
"I know, Will. That's why I'm doing this."
"Charlie, why don't you just let her be?"
"Because I just can't."
"That- that is not a good reason," Lizzie shook her head. "There are a thousand things that could go wrong tonight."
"You don't know that," Charlie protested.
"Jane's not going to do anything tonight," Will agreed, turning to Lizzie. "I know her, she's not going to want to make a scene."
"He hurt her," Lizzie argued incredulously. "I'm sorry, Charlie, I love you, I do, but you hurt her badly. There is no way she's going on a date with you tonight and just let you charm her."
"You insult me by calling me a charmer," Charlie deadpanned. "You wound me."
"Shut up, Charlie," Will said. He checked his watch, stood up from his spot at the kitchen island, and then grabbed his briefcase from the edge of the counter. "I have to go to work, will you two be okay by yourselves? No uh," he looked at Lizzie nervously. "Fighting in the for your sister's honor."
"Caroline has no honor," Charlie answered immediately.
"I was talking about Jane, actually. Caro's honor is so far in the distance that-"
"Funny, Will," Lizzie interrupted. She had no great love of Caroline Bingley, but there was no reason to talk about a person behind their back. "But I was wondering if I could just come in to the office with you?"
Both men turned to stare at her. "Why."
"Um," Lizzie scratched her nose nervously. "Just wanted to see how much it's changed!"
"Oh. Well then by all means," Will said, turning around, most likely to escape the room before he had to start talking about That Summer. "You're free to join me. Meet me downstairs in five minutes, I'll have a cab waiting." He started to walk out of the kitchen, and Lizzie heard him reaching for a jacket from the hall closet. She let out a breath that she didn't know she'd been holding, and then put her arm out to lean on the kitchen island. Charlie, who was still in the kitchen, came and stood in front of her. Outside, Will opened the door to the apartment, stepped out, and slammed it shut with a thud. Charlie was the first to speak.
"What are you hiding?"
"Nothing," she said unconvincingly. "Why would you think I'm hiding something?"
"You're on vacation. You don't have to step into a law firm or a courtroom or anything regarding justice for the next two weeks and yet you're willingly going to Bingley, Fitzwilliam, and Hurst. Why."
She moved away, smirking. "Well aren't you perceptive, Charlie?"
"Hey, it got me through Harvard."
"Right. But it's not going to get you anywhere else," she said, standing in front of the kitchen doorway. "I'm sorry. You're looking too hard." She shrugged her shoulders playfully and then smirked again. "What if I just want to spend some time alone with Will?"
His jaw went slack as she left him alone in the kitchen.
Lizzie and Will.
Well now, there was a thought.
"Hey," Lizzie yelled through the lobby, trying to catch his attention. "Will!"
He diverted his attention from the street, where his arm was sticking up, trying to signal for a cab.
She was walking quickly, pushing her right arm into the sleeve of her trench coat. Once that was done, she fluffed her hair out from behind the collar, her freshly laundered curls falling down her shoulders. He was pretty sure he looked like an idiot, with his arm hanging limply above the street, his mouth a little open as he watched him come to her. In his mind's eye, he could almost envision her giving him a peck on the lips before they sat in a cab together.
Just another couple on the streets of Manhattan.
Except that they deviated from the all-dark dress code that most New Yorkers seemed to adopt. He had a red scarf tied loosely around his neck, she had a light blue peacoat underneath the trench coat. Rebellious.
"Cab's here," she said breathlessly upon reaching him, "What? Do I have something on my face?"
"No, no," he snapped out of his mini-daydream. "I'm just not used to people calling my name in the lobby."
"Why don't you go first," he said nervously, opening the door of the cab for her. She gave him a curious look and then slipped inside, and he followed behind, closing the door behind them.
"Madison Avenue and East 25th Street," he said offhandedly, attention still on Elizabeth.
"You look nice."
"Thanks, I didn't really do anything, but, yeah," she bit her lip. "Look, I have something to tell you."
Lizzie didn't really know what she was supposed to say, considering her personal relationship with Will was nonexistent. She didn't really owe him anything, nor did he deserve an explanation or a heads-up. Just as she was about to make an excuse and change the subject, he spoke.
"Look, Lizzie, if this is about the fact that you're uncomfortable with the arrangements, it's fine. I can take a room at a hotel for the next two weeks, honestly. Just say the word." She couldn't help but stare at him, take in the expression on his face, and wonder how much he'd changed. His eyes were warm and brown and so sincere, it almost hurt. What were these emotional reactions she was having to Will Darcy? She'd never felt like this before, especially not when he was around. Then again, he hadn't always been this nice. And she didn't know anyone who she considered even half as attractive as him, so that probably helped.
"Your problem," she replied, trying to keep her tone light. "Is that you are too self-deprecating." She flashed him a smile to set him at ease and patted his arm. Courage and decency were good traits. Have the courage to be a decent person, Lizzie, she told herself. You can do this.
"So you're not telling me to move out?"
"I am most definitely not telling you that you have to move out, don't worry. Actually," she tucked her hair behind her ear, giving him a full view of her face. "I'm planning on moving in." His heart stopped. "What?"
"Not into your apartment, of course," she said quickly. "But I- um, got a job. In the city."
"You got a job in New York? That's great! Where?"
"East 25th Street and Madison Avenue," the cabbie announced, pulling to a stop.
Lizzie looked out the window, surprised at how short the ride had been. Will laughed at the expression on her face, got out of the cab, and then went around the other side to open her door. He paid the cab fare and then joined her at the curb, where she was staring up at the tall building. She'd forgotten how tall buildings were in New York sometimes.
"So this is it," he gestured to the sign in front of the building, where a large plaque was labeled 'Bingley Fitzwilliam & Hurst.' "It's a lot more dreary inside, don't be fooled by the outside. It is New York during the Christmas Season, so I doubt you'll find a livelier place on Earth."
"You talk very formally, you know that?"
He raised his eyebrows at her.
"I didn't say it was a bad thing," she said in defense, green eyes widening. "I just said it was a thing."
"Spoken like a true lawyer."
"I'm pretty sure those are the only kind," she retaliated. She started walking away without waiting for his reply, and he stared after her, blinking, before he realized he was letting her get away.
"What was it you wanted to say to me in the cab," he asked, sticking his hand out to prevent her from walking any faster than she already was.
"Nothing important," she said, looking him in the eye.
"I don't believe you," he said bluntly.
"Okay. The job offer," she paused, rocking back on her heels. She was fidgety, and he could tell. They weren't particularly close, which was why she said it as quickly as she could. "The job offer is here." She bowed her head slightly and held her arm out toward the building.
A/N: It has been a while since I've written one of these. Or published anything. Sorry guys. Don't egg my house. College is hard and life is hard and yes.
Please review if you can. :D