dedication: to Neptune and Mercury. ladies, you are presh.
notes: don't look at me
notes2: you think I'm kidding, don't you. I'm not kidding.
title: space storage girls
summary: Or: How Lydia Bennet and Gigi Darcy decide that Dating Is Going To Be A Thing We Do, For Real. — Lydia/Gigi.
The first time Lydia Bennet met Gigi Darcy, Lydia was—well, Lydia was in her pajamas, actually. And this probably should not have been relevant, in the big scheme of things, but it turned out that it really kind of was.
Wait, back up, that was a terrible starting point. See, the thing was that when Lizzie decided to move to San Francisco (which, excuse you, was both romantic and a good business move), she may or may not have invited her younger sister along.
Hint: she did.
Besides. Lydia was smart, sassy, and a severely awesome business partner, if she did say so herself. It was just a good idea! Seriously!
Plus, vlogs? Vlogs were great. Lydia totally got vlogs.
And it was…
It was cool, okay?
San Fran, Lizzie, dancing on tables while marginally inebriated? All the work, all the sunshine, and, jesus god, all the takeout?
It was cool.
Lydia roomed with her elder sister in a little two-bedroom apartment, not far from Pemberly Digital. Like, what would be a five-minute drive. Or like a half-hour walk, in this city.
Lizzie hadn't been kidding when she'd said the hills were killer, man.
But whatever, the hills weren't the point. Neither was San Fran, nor the sun, nor the dancing (although all those things were fabulous, to be sure).
The point was that Lydia roomed with Lizzie, who spent a lot of her time with William Darcy, who happened to have a sister called Gigi that Lydia didn't actually meet until three months into their stay.
Which, you know, might have bothered Lydia if she hadn't been so exhaustingly busy.
But she was exhaustingly busy; soaking up the Californian sun and the good company and the amazing food (like, wow, was this place like Panini Heaven or something?), Lydia barely had time to call her mother, let alone meet strange girls.
(There was a story there, about girls and broken hearts and the way she'd flopped down on the couch next to Lizzie before they'd left home and went "I think I'm only going to date girls from now on. Girls don't hurt so much," where her older sister had only nodded like she'd understood. It just wasn't a story Lydia was quite ready to tell, yet.)
It took three months for Lydia Bennet to meet Gigi Darcy for the first time, and that first time was in her pajamas.
Lydia would reflect, later, that this first impression probably could have gone better.
It went like this:
The doorbell rang.
"Ow, ow, shitfuck, ow—LIZZIE, THERE'S SOMEONE AT THE DOOR!" Lydia shouted. It was early, not even ten o'clock, and as far as Lydia was concerned, anyone awake at this hour ought to have been throttled.
Clearly, whoever was outside the door did not agree with her as the bell rang again, more insistently.
"I'm in the shower!" Lizzie's voice was muffled through wood and, presumably, falling water.
Lydia took a quiet moment to curse her sister to the farthest godforsaken level of hell. She tumbled out of bed, shorts twisted round her legs and shirt askew, and headed blearily for the door. She knocked into the coffee table twice, bruised her knees and her pride. The wall was also kind enough to try to punch her in the face.
"Ow! Whaaat, who moved this—?"
This was not going to be a good day, Lydia decided, eyes still gummed mostly closed as she wrenched the door open, fingers closing too-tight around the knob.
"What? What d'you want, it's early, I should still be asleep," she told whoever it was. "And if it's Darcy, Lizzie's in the shower, and ew, no, I don't want to think about that. Y'know what, no. I'm going back to bed."
"Um, are you Lydia? You must be Lydia, Lizzie's talked about you a lot…"
That was not a male voice.
That was definitely not a male voice.
Lydia rubbed her eyes, flinched sharply at the bright hallway light that hit her retinas, and blinked fast to shoo away the spots. "Ow, that's—wait, who're you?"
It was a girl. She can't have been much older than Lydia herself was; she was twenty-two, maybe twenty-three. She had dark hair, a perk little nose, and a sweetly nervous smile.
"I'm, um, I'm Gigi," she said. "I was supposed to meet Lizzie for lunch?"
Lydia squinted at her.
Damn it, she was pretty.
(Not to mention put-together. And in comparison to Lydia's own grubby shorts and grubbier nightshirt, she looked like some kind of Greek goddess.
Ugh, life was so unfair.)
"Oh," said Lydia. "She might have said something about it… but whatever, I kinda tune her out. C'mon in."
This was true, on all accounts.
"Lizzie's in the shower," Lydia said. She moved out of the way, and the girl—Gigi—stepped in after her. Lydia yawned, stretched, and then headed straight for the couch.
She needed to get her nap on, whaaaaaaaat.
Or, you know. TV.
TV was always good, too.
Lydia tipped backwards over the couch's arm, the flail of her arms near as graceful as the red streak of her hair, which is to say: not. She lay there for a minute; the worn brown corduroy was soft like velvet beneath her cheek. She didn't move at all except to breathe, the feel of her ribs expanding and contracting around her lungs a necessary inconvenience.
What next few minutes were the most awkward minutes of her life. Gigi was still standing at the door, immobile, shifting her weight from foot to foot as people were wont to do when they weren't exactly sure what they ought to be getting on with.
This lasted for all of ten minutes before Lydia was over it.
It still took her another ten minutes to do anything about it.
(This wasn't sock sliding, people. As it wasn't sock sliding, it was not of utmost priority. Duh.)
Lydia sighed theatrically. This was going nowhere.
"Oh my god, sit down. You don't know Lizzie, do you? When she showers, it's like, seriously, like a ritual. She's even worse than me! Which, like, is saying something. It might be a while, y'know?" she tossed out, cheerful.
Very tentatively, Gigi sat down. She sat with her hands folded in her lap, perfect-placed like she practiced (what was that, for real), not a hair out of place.
This was actually ridiculous.
Lydia rubbed her eyes one more time, mentally took stock of what she was wearing—decided fuck it on that front, there was no salvaging that sitch—ran her fingers through her hair. She teased it up wild, tried for a red-lipped pout.
In the reflection from the glass coffee tabletop, she thought not cute, Lyds. So not cute.
"Ugh, it's too early for this," she said. Tipped her head back. Shivered. Shivered.
"I know, it is," Gigi said, an apology hidden somewhere in her voice. Lydia craned her neck up just enough to get a good look at the woman sitting on the edge of the couch, like she couldn't sink into it because her life depended on it.
"Lame," Lydia pronounced.
"You first," Gigi said, diplomatic to the end.
Lydia grinned, lips pulled taut at the corners sheepishly. Her shoulders came up around her ears, hunched over herself a little. "I just wanted to, you know, say thanks."
She didn't say exactly what she was thanking her for, but Lydia thought that Gigi got it anyway.
"You don't need to thank me," Gigi flushed all over. "That was my brother."
"Yeah, yeah," Lydia said, flapped her hand in Gigi's direction. "But I do need to, okay? It saved me, um, a lot of—"
"I dated George, too," Gigi interrupted. She was still red, and biting at her lip. "I know how he twists things. I know. I—I guess I was the… same. The same mistakes."
It took a minute for this knowledge to sink in. Lydia waited for the ugly red-hot emotion to come, the one that always did whenever someone mentioned That Huge Asshat. But it didn't, this time, and after a moment, her lips twisted up in a wry grin.
"So it makes three of us, huh? You, me, Lizzie," Lydia scoffed. "Whatever, fuck him, he was creep."
"You loved him, though," Gigi said quietly.
Lydia hadn't talked about it in a long time. She hadn't talked about it because it still hurt, still burned freezing beneath her sternum like a ball of crackling dry ice. George Wickham had smeared her all up cherry-red, and violent cherry-red that threatened to consume her entirely.
Lizzie had maybe never understood that.
But now, this lovely girl with dark eyes and dark hair sat in front of her with her hands in her lap, and there was something kindred in her, something aching and wonderful that was just a little bit out of reach. Lydia drew herself up, white-knuckled fingers digging down hard into brown corduroy, nails bit tight into the fabric as though she could tear it apart.
"Yeah," Lydia said. "I did."
Gigi pressed her lips together as she smiled, but her gaze was sad. "So did I."
"He was easy to love," Lydia said. "Skeevy, but easy to love."
That startled a laugh out of the other girl. It was metallic, robotic, but delighted. "That's—wow, that is so right."
Gigi's laughter sent little jolts of happiness bolting all over the place, skating across Lydia's skin. She'd always been good at making people laugh, been good at making George laugh, but it wasn't like this. Making George laugh had never filled her up with tiny little glinting lights that threatened to spill over and light up the entire room.
"Glad I'm not alone," Lydia said. She patted the couch right next to her, much closer than where Gigi was sitting right then. "Come and sit, I don't bite!"
Gigi giggled again, tucked her hair behind her ear with long tapered fingers rounded off with perfect nails (Lydia felt a way of undisguised envy). She slouched back 'til her back was right up against the couch, shoulders brushing against Lydia's in a very comforting way.
They sat there for a while. Lydia channel-flicked to the sound of Gigi breathing at her side; it was a quiet cadence to compliment her own that she hadn't heard in a very long time.
It was cool, too.
"Hey, so, are you dating someone?" Gigi asked.
"Yeah, no. I don't date—"
"Not anymore," Lydia shrugged one shoulder up and down, careless. "Kinda swore off guys. Okay, not kind of. Totally. Like, a hundred percent."
Gigi nudged her, grin shifty but understanding. "I don't blame you. but, hey, do you wanna grab a coffee sometime? We could have a vent-off!"
"Are you asking me out?" Lydia asked.
"And if I am?" Gigi nudged her a second time, and there was that smile again: that same, sweetly nervous smile that had so struck Lydia when she'd opened the door.
Damn it, pretty girl.
"Isn't that, I dunno, kinda fast? Like, we met this morning."
"Fast is a stolen sex tape," Gigi said, voice as dry as the desert wind. "I think we can chance it."
"Low blow," said Lydia, lips twitching. She was somehow not offended at all. "But, okay! Let's grab a coffee. It has to be overpriced and terrible-tasting."
"Is there any other type?"
Lydia laughed out loud, and looped her arm through her new friend's—girlfriend? Date? Lady-person that she kind of wanted to kiss?—and grinned up at the ceiling.
Okay, she'd admit it. She'd been wrong.
This day was going to be great.