This will be a modern retelling of S&S and I have changed the names of the characters but given them the same initials. So Elizabeth Dunhurst is Elinor Dashwood, Evan Fuller is Edward Ferrars, Mara Dunhurst is Marianne Dashwood and Colin Branson is Christopher Brandon. Now that that's out of the way, onto the story!
Elizabeth Dunhurst (never Liz or Lizzy, thank your very much) sat at the kitchen table, her head in her hands. She'd been going over the family finances until she could hardly see anything and it looked rather dire. She was supposed to be finishing her last year of grad school and her younger sister Mara was going to be a senior at Western Washington University. Emphasis on the "was" part if Elizabeth couldn't find a way to get some more money.
They had two options, as Elizabeth saw it: either they had to move to a smaller house, or else she would have to forgo grad school and get a job. If their father hadn't died before he'd had a chance to change his will, things would have been different. But it did no go to cry about it. Once her mother got home from trying to take the youngest Dunhurst daughter clothes shopping (which was a constant battle), Elizabeth would have to talk to her mother. And as much as she loved her parent, Elizabeth couldn't help but become exhausted from the mere thought of trying to tackle her mother long enough to have a real conversation.
The front door of their house banged open and Marcy came storming in, their mother hard on her heels. "The skirt looked so cute on you, Marcy!"
" I HATE skirts!" the teenager yelled as she stormed up the stairs and slammed her door.
"I take it the shopping didn't go well..." Elizabeth commented dryly as she got up from the table.
Her mother looked flustered. "Perhaps it could have gone better..."
Elizabeth shook her head. Marcy was an utter tomboy and her mother and Mara tried to get her to be more girly, but Marcy fought them with a spirit Elizabeth could only admire. As the eldest, she was the one who had held the family together through the trying time after their father passes. Their half brother Jake and his wife had gotten all of their father's money from the will and wouldn't even help with with any sorts of expenses. They'd had to yank Marcy out of the private school she'd been going to and she was now at Sehome High School.
Thinking about this reminded her of what she had to tell her mother and she sighed. "Mom...we need to talk about money."
Something in her tone told her mother she was serious and the older woman sat down at the table. "We're going to have to move, aren't we..." she sighed.
"It's either that, or I give up finishing my degree and get a job, using the money I saved to send Mara for her last year instead." Elizabeth said, also taking a seat at the table.
Predictably, her mother shook her head immediately. "No, Elizabeth. We'll move so that both of you can finish. Maybe we can find something in between the college and the high school so that we could get rid of one of the cars. It would bring the insurance down and maybe buy some of Mara's books."
Elizabeth hadn't thought of selling one of their three cars, but it made sense, especially with her and Mara both going to Western. "That's a good idea, Mom. Mara and I can carpool and it'll be three years before Marcy can even drive, so that leaves a car for you and a car for us. Maybe I can swing by the dealership on Saturday and see what I can get for the Subaru."
Her mother nodded. "We can also start looking at possible houses. The mortgages are paid up through next month so we have a few weeks."
"All we have to do now is tell Mara when she gets home." Elizabeth sighed. Her sister had been dating a young man named Josh Wilson for awhile and it seemed like it might be getting serious. While she certainly liked Josh and he was funny and charming...Elizabeth just didn't trust him somehow. But her mother and sister wouldn't hear any talk against him, so she'd learned to keep quiet on the subject of Josh.
"She should be home soon. I think she and Josh were going for a hike." her mother said fondly.
Josh and Mara had met when Mara had taken Marcy for a hike by Whatcom Falls and twisted her ankle. Josh had come upon them and insisted on driving them home himself. He'd come to check on her the next day and after that, they'd been joined at the hip. "Hopefully no twisted ankles this time." Elizabeth joked and she was glad to see a small smile on her mother's face.
They heard a car door close and guessed that Mara must be back from the hike. "They weren't gone long." Mrs. Dunhurst commented, looking at the clock in consternation.
Mara came flying into the room, tears already dripping down her face. Elizabeth got to her feet immediately. This wasn't one of Mara's dramatic crying spells. Her face was pale and crumpled like someone had taken a hammer to her insides.
"Mara? What happened?" she asked urgently, placing a hand on her sister's shoulder.
"J-Josh and I...we're over!" she sobbed, pulling away and running upstairs.
Elizabeth and her mother exchanged shocked looks. Mara and Josh were over? What had happened? Was there a fight? A misunderstanding? It would do no good to try and talk to Mara right now, when she was upset. She'd give it a few hours and then try. In the meantime, she had to figure out what in the hell she was going to cook for dinner with a fuming Marcy and heartbroken Mara. This just wasn't her freaking day.