This started getting follows and I got really confused. I mean, don't you all know that I just shoot off one shots and never, ever write any full series? Gosh, how dare you expect more!
But then...Um. Well, here's more to the story. Maybe I'll keep writing it, I haven't quite decided. Reviews will help speed chapters along, if they're going to happen at all.
Word count: 1324
Listen to: "Hazy," Rosi Golan
He's up late and he's drinking.
"Again?" Gigi pads into the kitchen, warily eyeing the beer in his hand. He sighs a response. "Long day?" she asks and, at his nod, wraps her arms around his waist. He leans into her and exhales deeply. "It's okay to feel things, William," she says into his chest and he chuckles.
She smells like strawberries, the fragrance of her shampoo so uniquely 'Gigi' that the silly little scent feels more like home than this whole apartment. "You should go to bed," he tells her and now she's the one laughing.
"I'm old enough to determine my own bedtime, William." And to prove it, she swipes his beer and takes a perfectly legal swig.
He wrestles it from her grip and gives her a stern look. "Goodnight, Gigi." She smiles at him and it's as if they're children again, as if the past fifteen years haven't happened and they're just two kids in the kitchen in the middle of the night.
"She misses you, too," she softly whispers and he knows that she knows that it's all he's been thinking about. What reason, as his father would've said, is there for staying up past midnight if not for a woman?
With one last thoughtful look, she kisses his cheek and leaves for bed.
He exhales into the silence and disposes of the brown bottle in favor of an empty bed.
The next day is more of the same and he doesn't know if he can stand it anymore. It's meetings all day, texting Lizzie under his desk as if he's worried of being exposed for not paying enough mind to his work. In truth, he's definitely not paying enough mind to his work and it's most definitely because of Lizzie, but this is his company, he keeps reminding himself, and he can afford one day of a wandering mind.
He eats lunch in his office, smiling as Gigi drops in "just because" (her code for 'I'm worried about you, William, and want to make sure you're eating and socializing at least a little bit'). They make idle chatter over their salads and it's hard to tell who's happier to see Fitz when he drops by with the suggestion that they all grab dinner together.
He could use dinner out, time spent talking to someone who isn't Gigi and thinking about someone who isn't Lizzie. Fitz may be the world's worst wingman, but he's also the best friend he has, so he looks forward to the evening ahead with something that might be considered glee, but could be more aptly labeled satisfaction.
Lizzie would laugh at that, he thinks and a wistful smile creeps to his face before he can expel it. Lizzie would laugh at the reserve in his emotions and the way he can't just be happy, but instead feels things in halves. She'd laugh at how much of a shut-in he's become and he'd like to tell her, like to know that he was making her laugh, but it's never come up in conversation and so she doesn't know.
Truthfully, not much has come up in conversation as of late. Maybe, he thinks, he should have Fitz decode Lizzie's texts. After all, Fitz could probably catch on better than Mr. Agoraphobic Lobster. All he knows is that she's tired, she's said that she's tired more frequently lately than ever, and she misses him. He attributes the former to her thesis work and doesn't know what to make of the latter aside from to say that responding with I miss you too as he's done time and time again is the understatement of the year.
To say that he misses Lizzie Bennet is to say that a drowning man misses a breath of air, that a starving woman misses a bite of food, or that a dehydrated person misses a drop of water. He misses Lizzie Bennet the way his heart misses blood when it stalls at the thought of her. He misses Lizzie Bennet in more than an idle way, and missing Lizzie Bennet is becoming a full time occupation.
And that's about where his thoughts are when his real full time occupation interrupts in the form of a cleared throat in a silent meeting room. With well-hidden embarrassment, he realizes that a room full of eyes are staring at him, all filled with a questioning expression. "Well, Mr. Darcy?" the woman at the whiteboard asks. He glances over the schematic she's drawn in red.
"I think it's a worthwhile idea, Cathy," he says, clearing his throat and giving her a small smile, "but we need to make it simpler. Don't try to go too big on Domino yet, it needs to be effective rather than fancy."
It appears that he's said just the right thing because she smiles in understanding and tells him that they should then cut off one of the features and focus the most on... well, what does he think they should focus the most on right now? "Communication," he answers with a firm voice, "we can dominate this market if we make sure to have the best call quality as intuitively as possible."
There's a smattering of applause and he's not surprised when Gigi shoots him a look, a look that says 'I know exactly what just happened and I'm not buying it for a moment.' He shrugs his shoulders in apology and she lightly rolls her eyes and he realizes all over again how lucky he is to have her in his life.
The meeting ends an hour later and she sidles up to him. "I know," he says before she can open her mouth and she tilts her head to the right, quizzically. "I promise to be more focused in the future." For a moment he reflects how humorous it is that here he is, CEO and business legend, and his kid sister can still make him feel like a student caught in the act of cheating on an exam.
"Oh," she giggles, "I'm more upset that you focus at all. Go call your girlfriend, Will. Better yet, buy tickets to see her next week. Oh! Mom's ring is in the safe, bring that when-"
"Gigi," he interrupts, "I'm not bringing Mom's ring. I just got her. I'm not going to ruin it by going too fast. And besides, I thought you'd want it when the time comes."
She gives him a long look that he can't quite read. "It's hers when you're ready," she says after a long moment, "and I don't think being ready sooner rather than later is a bad thing."
He sighs, "we'll see." And she smiles in reply.
Dinner is in a diner that Fitz exclaims they "just have to try!" and their incredulous looks are quickly proven wrong when the food comes. Gigi's egg cream is "just perfection" and he can't even claim that his eggs- as greasy as they may be- aren't delicious.
He sits back and listens to Gigi and Fitz chatter, talking about nothing really at a mile a minute. His chest aches a little bit when he realizes how much Lizzie would love this place, this old diner with red stools and bright blue tables that right now are occupied with all the family he has. He pulls his cellphone from his pocket to send a text that reads Found the perfect dinner spot for when you're here next.
A moment later his phone lights up with her response: I can't wait.
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