LBD may have wrapped up today, but we'll always have fanfic.
I wrote the Darcy siblings. I expect I will be doing that a lot in the upcoming weeks.
I don't own the Darcys or LBD. If I did, Gigi and Fitz would get their own comedy spin-off.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Guys, I majored in theatre in college, and now, I'm a part-time librarian and I teach kids how to act and stuff. I don't know the first thing about being a CEO or how investors work or how media companies operate or what one does all day in an office. Cut me a little slack with that aspect of this story, 'kay? 'Kay.
Business as Usual
William Darcy was not looking forward to his return to San Francisco for a variety of reasons. One, there were a number of meetings that had been put off during his week-long absence. Two, he was sure his desk was covered with a mountain of paperwork not important enough for teleconferencing but too important to be delegated. Three, his return meant he was separated from Lizzie, and would be for the foreseeable future.
But reason number four brought the biggest dread. Reason number four was Gigi.
He had successfully avoided Gigi's tweets, texts, phone calls, and emails for the past week, but he knew his sister, and he knew she'd be waiting to pounce the first moment she possibly could. It was fortunate then, he mused, that he surely had a large enough backlog of work to put her off at least half the day. He was doing his best to look for silver linings.
He checked his watch as the car pulled up at Pemberley Digital. He'd been apart from Lizzie for only a handful of hours, and he already missed her terribly. He was doing everything in his power to keep from texting her, but it wasn't easy. He wanted to check in, touch base, tell her he loved her.
He was a bit pathetic.
He was spared from his musings by the opening of the car door. With a sigh, he climbed out. "Thank you, Bryce," he said to the driver. "Have my luggage taken to the mansion, but you can tell Mrs. Henderson that I'll unpack for myself when I return home tonight."
"You know as well as I that that won't do any good, sir, but I will pass along the message," his driver said with a smile. William returned the smile, gathered his briefcase, and headed for the building.
The place was alive with hustle and bustle as usual, and he received several greetings as he moved through the corridors. He smiled pleasantly and nodded acknowledgments, but inwardly, he was braced for the flurry of energy that was his sister to come rocketing out of an office at any moment. However, something like fate was on his side, and he made it to his office without catching sight of his sister.
His phone alerted him to an incoming message as he opened the door to his office. He pulled the phone from his briefcase with a frown of concentration, which softened when he saw the message was from Lizzie.
Is it too early to tell you I miss you?
He couldn't stop the smile that lit up his face anymore than he could stop the pang her words awoke in him. If so, we're both in trouble, he typed back, hitting 'send' just as his PA Anne Reynolds entered his office.
"How was your flight?" she asked him, and Darcy appreciated that the question was genuine rather than perfunctory. Mrs. Reynolds had been his father's PA before becoming his, and had been there to see William grow up. She knew the running of Pemberley as well as he did, and he'd have made her a partner if he hadn't known she'd refuse it.
"As well as could be expected for an early morning flight," he replied, distracted from taking stock of his desk and his inbox by another text from Lizzie.
Good luck with Gigi today. I know she'll be on the prowl. Also, I miss you.
He forced down his smile and drew his attention to the work at hand. "First things first," he said, slipping back into his business tone more easily than he thought he'd be able to, "I need you to compile a list of some of our investors for me, the ones who would be open to supporting more than one company. I know I've heard a few of them talk about branching out. Let's come up with a list of five or so who wouldn't mind sinking their teeth into an up and coming business that promises to be quite successful. Kilkanna for certain. Possibly Rudolph."
"Maripose?" she asked, scribbling away in her notebook as he spoke.
"Possibly," he said with a nod.
"A rush on this?" she asked then, looking up.
"Not a terrible one, no," William said. "By the end of the week, but it's not urgent. So what do we have on today's agenda, Mrs. Reynolds?"
"I've done my best to keep your morning clear so you have time to catch up on phone messages and email correspondence," Mrs. Reynolds said with her usual brisk efficiency, handing him the phone messages she hadn't forwarded to him. "You have a budget meeting at two and a design meeting at three, so realistically, you have a design meeting at three-thirty. Mr. Bertram in legal needs you to stop buy his office to sign the remaining paperwork from the Novelty Exposures purchase, and Ms. Elliot is asking for the first fifteen minutes you have free."
"She wants to finalize the agenda for the end of the month board meeting, I suppose?"
"That's my guess."
"We can push that til tomorrow. What else?"
"Mr. Dashwood from the LA branch wants to set up a lunch meeting to discuss new personnel policies he wants to put in place."
William sighed and resisted the urge to groan. "Fine. I've put him off too long on that. But not for lunch. Schedule the meeting for one. I'll eat early, and we'll meet here. Make sure he knows that I have forty-five minutes and forty-five minutes only to discuss things. Mr. Dashwood needs to learn the virtues of brevity."
Mrs. Reynolds hid a smile. "And Mr. Williams has called seven times in the past two days alone."
"Yes, I'm sure he has," William muttered, know that, like Gigi, he'd have to face Fitz eventually, but he was going to put it off as long as possible. "I'll call him tonight from home. Stave him off if he calls again?"
"Certainly, Mr. Darcy."
"Very good. Anything else?"
"Yes, you also have a 9:15. It's the only meeting I couldn't postpone."
William frowned and check his watch. It was nearly 9:15 now. "See if you can push it for me. Tell them I just got off a plane and I'm not ready to do business quite yet."
"I have a feeling you're as ready for this meeting as you're going to get, Mr. Darcy," Mrs. Reynolds told him frankly, and William felt some confusion.
"What do you mean?" he asked. "Who is the meeting with?"
"That would be me," Gigi said as she walked through the door, a winning smile on her face. William's heart sunk with a sense of dread.
"Gigi," he said by way of greeting.
"Seeing as how you wouldn't answer phone calls, texts, tweets, or email, scheduling an appointment seemed to be the only way to ensure a conversation," she said, sitting across the desk from him, a clipboard in her hands and an expectant look on her face. Mrs. Reynolds watched the two siblings with unveiled amusement. William bit back a sigh.
"Thank you, Mrs. Reynolds, that will be all," he said, and the older woman closed the door with a smile. William took a deep breath and turned to face his sister. "Very well, Gigi," he said, resigned. "What would you like to speak about, as if I didn't already know?"
Gigi arched an eyebrow and held his gaze for a long moment, then began to speak. William braced himself for the worst.
"The City Council of Sanditon has finalized their project team," she said, and the words were so far from being what he expected that he blinked in confusion as she continued speaking. "Arthur Parker has been chosen as their point person, and he and I have been in communication back and forth, figuring out the structure and logistics for how the project is going to work. I've been drawing up notes and plans, and the more I think about it, William, the more I hate the idea of going in with a big film crew. I mean, I get it, we're recording the process, but we're trying to promote Domino as a communication app that anyone can use, but we're bombarding them with a film crew? I'd like to talk about reducing it to one or two guys, very low key. Make the project about the people, not the app."
She looked at him expectantly, as if waiting for him to say something, but William was so befuddled he just sat there staring at her. "I'm sorry," he said belatedly, his thoughts half-formed and incoherent. "What—" Gigi sighed.
"Honestly, William," she said, the very picture of exasperation but for a telltale gleam in her eye. "Remember that project you hired me to do? The one I'm moving for? The one that starts in, like, three weeks? We have details to finalize."
"Yes," William said with a nod, his brain finally catching up. "My apologies. Um, jet lag." It was a ridiculous excuse, and he knew it, and Gigi did, too.
"You haven't been in another time zone for six days," his sister said flatly. "Oh, wait. Sorry. It's been more like a week, hasn't it?" The correction was innocent enough, but her gaze was pointed.
William cleared his throat, shifting uncomfortably. He hadn't seen today's video yet, but of course, Gigi would have been waiting to watch it the minute it was posted. She'd probably arranged this meeting for 9:15 purely so she'd have fresh material with which to torture him. So rather than rise to the bait, he responded with his thoughts about Sanditon.
"You bring up a valid point about the film crew, but remember, this is essentially two projects in one: Welcome to Sanditon, and the Making of Welcome to Sanditon. We want to be able to use this project as a template for the future."
Gigi smirked at first, but the longer he spoke, the more she forgot that her purpose was to poke fun at him. They discussed the details of the Sanditon project for the next forty-five minutes, until Mrs. Reynolds knocked on the door and looked pointedly at the clock.
"You've made a solid start," he told Gigi, knowing he needed to wrap the meeting up if he wanted to accomplish anything else. "Keep meeting with your project team, work out some of these outstanding questions. You don't need to keep me in the loop every step of the way. We'll schedule a check in meeting start of next week so I can see where you are. I'll leave you to manage that with Mrs. Reynolds. Anything else?"
He asked that with some chagrin, knowing he was giving her the perfect opening, but she met his eye for a long moment, then said simply, "Nope. That's all," and flashed him a knowing smile.
"I'll see you at home," he said.
"Will you be working late?" she asked as she stood and gathered her things.
"That depends on how far your impromptu meeting has set me back," he answered dryly. She grinned, and leaned across the desk to kiss him on the cheek.
"Welcome back," she said, and headed out of the office.
He had just turned his attention to other things when she stuck her head back in. "Oh, William?" she said. "There is one more thing, actually."
"You're a dork." The corner of his mouth twitched because he knew exactly what she was referring to, and this was more along the lines of what he had expected when she had breezed into his office earlier. "I'm really happy for you, though."
He smiled, a genuine, touched smile. "Thank you, Gigi," he said softly.
"Say hi to Lizzie for me when you get a chance," she said then, in a singsong voice that he knew was teasing him.
"Mrs. Reynolds?" William called, raising his voice slightly. "Please remove Miss Darcy from the office."
Gigi stuck out her tongue at him, but went willingly.
Though a moment later, his phone lit up with an incoming message.
Don't expect Fitz to let you off the hook so easily.
Chuckling, William set his phone aside. "Wouldn't dream of it," he said softly.