Just a shortie that I wrote when I couldn't sleep.
So I was thinking about the whole Lydia situation, as are most LBD fans out there.
In order to be true to the book Lydia's transgression needs to impact the whole family, so I really think money is going to be the angle they work from.
However, I am not sure how the Wickham thing will play out, since his actions need to be something that Darcy feels enough guilt for in not exposing him earlier, as well as linking to his relationship to Gigi …
Hmm, dilemma dilemma!
So in this brief ficlet I am focusing just on the money. The scenario is that Lydia has racked up a mountain of debt in Las Vegas on her parents credit cards – this fic shows the impact on the family, particularly Lizzie.
Lizzie was staring at her computer screen as she fought back tears. Her mobile phone, now thankfully silent after the barrage of calls and texts she had received and sent over the past few hours, was sitting quietly in her lap. With a deep sigh, she moved her fingers lightly over the trackpad, opening the window for her online banking.
The doorbell rang, startling her from her melancholy. Glancing at the clock, she realised it was dead on six – Darcy, ever punctual, was picking her up for dinner.
Picking her way around the various suitcases in the hall, she made her way to the door and opened it. He was dressed as neatly and crisply as ever, his hands shoved deep in his suit pockets.
"Are you ready for dinner?" he asked, almost smiling at her. She had become rather adept at reading his previously inscrutable facial expressions.
Lizzie simply stared at him, it was so strange that things like dinner reservations (their first almost, but not quite, date) should still exist when her world had just come crashing down.
Darcy was staring around her and into the hallway. "Lizzie, why are there suitcases …" he trailed off, and then noticed her red rimmed eyes. "Good lord, what's the matter?"
She opened her mouth, but found she couldn't speak.
"Lizzie?" he said, stepping closer to her, concern clear on his face. "What's happened?
"Lydia," she croaked. Feeling suddenly overwhelmed, she dropped her head into her hands. "Lydia, the stupid stupid girl …"
Lizzie felt an arm around her, guiding her into the house and sitting her down on the sofa. "Is she alright?" Darcy asked softly, insistently.
"No," she said, and then raised her face from her hands and sighed. Darcy was kneeling in front of her, staring at her intently. "Well, physically yes, but she ..."
Unable to finish, she choked on a sob, hanging her head once more as tears threatened to spill out.
A hand gently touched her shoulder, a tentative gesture of reassurance before pulling away. "Lizzie, do you want me to get you anything? A cup of tea, perhaps?"
She actually laughed at him – a mildly hysterical laugh, the kind that comes from simply having too many emotions boiling over at once. "I think I am beyond tea at the moment, but thanks." She raised her gaze to his. "Lydia has been in Las Vegas. She - she stole our parents credit card and …"
"How much?" he asked wearily when she trailed off once more.
"Nearly a hundred thousand dollars," she said softly – considering her family's financial situation, that kind of debt was devastating.
Darcy sucked in a shocked breath. "In just a few weeks?"
Lizzie nodded. "Turns out she was inviting friends to stay in her suite and take advantage of the hotel amenities." Stupid, stupid girl.
There was silence between them for a long moment.
"What will you do?" he said eventually.
"What we must." Lizzie ran one hand through her hair, noticing her fingers were shaking slightly. "My parents have got a meeting with the bank tomorrow and Jane is making arrangements to move back home. Her old job pays slightly less, but she won't be paying rent living in the city."
"And you?" he asked softly, with the air of one afraid to know the answer.
Lizzie reached for her still open laptop and turned it towards him so that he could see the screen containing her online bank statement. She had nearly thirty thousand dollars saved in an account, all of it coming in from Youtube.
"It's the royalties from my videos, I've been saving it all," she explained as he leant forward to read the page. "I was going to pay my parents back for some of the college money they gave me, then maybe look into doing a Phd." She closed the laptop. "But now …"
"Lizzie, I could help you …" Darcy said, looking intently down at the coffee table instead of her.
She shook her head vehemently. "No Will, don't you dare even suggest it -"
"The money is nothing to me, but for your family -"
"Please, just don't," she interrupted him, raising her hand. "I know you're trying to be nice but … I just don't think I can bear it."
There was another long silence. Lizzie slowly packed her computer away into a bag, taking her time coiling the cable.
"You called me Will," Darcy observed, breaking the silence.
Lizzie looked up at him, not having realised her slip. "Guess I've been hanging around with Gigi too much," she said, forcing a smile. "You … you will tell her good bye from me, won't you?"
"Of course," he promised.
A car honked from outside.
"That will be my cab, my flight home is in two hours," she said, standing up and swinging the laptop bag over her shoulder.
"I'll help you with your bags."
Between the two of them they quickly had the cab loaded. Lizzie locked the house and posted the key back through the letterbox. They stood awkwardly on the curb in front of the cab, Darcy with his hands in his pockets once more.
"Thank you," Lizzie said, shyly tucking her hair behind her ear. "For everything, I mean. I've really loved it here."
Darcy nodded, acknowledging her. "I only wish you could stay."
"Yeah … yeah, I wish that too," she said, looking up at him.
Their eyes met and he stepped forward, taking a deep breath. "… Lizzie, I know this is an awful time to do this but I have to say something. Last Halloween you said -"
"Hey lady, the meter's running," the cab driver called from the window, making a 'hurry up' gesture.
Darcy turned, fished around in his jacket pocket for his wallet and thrust two $50 notes through the window – just under double the cost of getting to the airport.
"It's the least I could do," he said, seeing that she was about to protest. He gazed down at her, his face unreadable once more. " … Goodbye, Lizzie Bennet."
"Goodbye," she said, and then seemed to startle him by grapping him by the front of his shirt and raising herself up on tiptoe to kiss him briefly on the cheek. "I'll miss you," she said, so softly he almost didn't catch it.
She let him go and climbed into the cab before he could reply. She could feel him watching her as she put on her seatbelt and gave the driver instructions. Only once the cab had begun to pull away did she allow herself to look back at him, his skin a murky grey through the grubby window.
He was still stood on the curb, his fingers raised to his cheek where she had kissed him in apparently bemused reflex. She lifted her hand and pressed her fingers against the glass, watching him until they pulled out into the traffic and he was lost from her sight.
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