Beware this story is a bit of a downer! Tissues may be needed!
Lydia was never really the strong one. It was always Jane. Jane who saw the world through rose coloured glasses, managed to stay the strongest throughout all the hard stuff. Maybe it's just a trait all eldest siblings inherit. Lydia wished she'd inherited that trait.
Things were okay when Lizzie was there. She could always go and talk to her, even if she was neck deep in her thesis work, Lizzie would always put it aside for her. It was really hard for Lydia when Lizzie moved to San Francisco. She was happy for her sister, to be in love with such a great guy and to have an amazing company that was going to be infinitely successful. But at the same time, she was mourning the loss of the only person she could talk to about things. She was still working on her relationship with her Dad and her poor mother was still in the dark about what happened, so talking to them was out. She knew she could still talk to Lizzie but phone calls and video calls weren't the same as talking in real life. That's why she went downhill after Lizzie left.
It wasn't Lizzie's fault. Not at all. Lydia stopped going to her classes and started day drinking, and night drinking, and sleeping the morning's away, only to wake up with the same killer headache and roughness around her heart. She drank to take away the pain, but her personality got lost underneath the alcohol. After two months of this she stopped drinking altogether. Instead she would just stay in her room and try to sound perky when Lizzie called twice a week. But she wasn't perky. She was far from it. She would just lay in bed with Kitty and would stare at the ceiling, wondering what the point was if all she was ever going to feel was the pain of Wickham's betrayal.
Lizzie came home to visit about five months after she left and she did not like what she saw. There were dark circles around Lydia's eyes, like she hadn't slept in months, her hair was messy and limp, and she seemed pail and fragile, like a china doll. Lizzie felt like it would take just one touch and she would shatter into a million million pieces. She didn't talk much at all, shoved the food around her plate at mealtimes, making it look like she had eaten more than a few mouthfuls. Lizzie couldn't take it anymore. She went to her room and knocked gently on the door. She heard a faint 'Come in.'.
Lydia was lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling, like she did all day, everyday, Kitty curled up on her stomach. Lizzie sat on the edge of her bed and took a deep breath. Tears started to well up in her eyes at the sight of her sister. She was so pale and thin.
"Lydia." Lizzie's voice wobbled as she spoke
Lydia sat up and gently pushed Kitty off of her stomach.
"I don't know what you mean." Her voice was monotone.
"I'm worried about you Lydia. I talked to Mom and Dad. They said you've been like this for a while. That you started drinking badly. And now all you'll do is sit in your room with Kitty all day and not speak to anyone. I'm worried sick Lydia. I would not be able to live with myself if I went back to San Francisco when you are like this."
Tears slowly filled Lydia's eyes.
"The colour Lizzie. The colour is gone. Nothing is happy. I can't see all the bright colours anymore. They drained away. All I can see is the black and the white and it's killing me."
Lydia choked on her last few words and the tears starting falling down her cheeks. Lizzie brought her into her arms.
"We're gonna get you some help okay. Help you see all the beautiful colours of the world again."
"It hurts so much Lizzie."
"My head. The thoughts are swirling and swirling and they just won't stop. They tell me I'm useless. That I brought this all on myself. That this is all my fault. That the world would be better off without me. And I've started to believe them Lizzie."
"Look at me Lydia. Look at me."
Lydia looked right into her sister's eyes. They were green. Swimming with tears. But green. The first colour she'd seen in months.
"Ignore those thoughts. Ignore them because they are wrong and totally stupid. You are worth something Lydia. You are smart, and brave and beautiful and you are going to have the most amazing life. You just hit a rough patch, and we are going to help to get through this okay. There's always light at the end of the tunnel."
Lizzie looked at Lydia.
"You know, they say life is like a bow and arrow. You know if you get pulled back, you are about to be launched into something incredible."
"Thank you Lizzie. Thank you so much."
Lydia tightened her grip around Lizzie's waist. They stayed there for a while. Hugging, crying, talking. They talked about when they were little. Lizzie didn't want to talk about life in San Francisco because she thought it would just upset Lydia more.
Before Lizzie left for San Francisco again, Lydia went to get some help and was put on a course of anti-depressants. They didn't take effect immediately but after a week, Lydia did start to feel a little better. The colour started to fill back into her life again, slowly, but it was still there. Lizzie invited her to come and stay in San Francisco with her for a couple of weeks. When Lizzie drove them to Darcy's apartment block, instead of her own, Lydia smiled. Lizzie saw and launched herself at Lydia.
"If I knew that driving you here would make you smile, I should have told you that I moved in here when I last came to visit."
Lydia's mouth dropped.
"Lizzie Bennet you sly dog. Why keep it on the down low?"
"Plus, I thought, talking about being here might make you feel worse, which is definitely not what I wanted."
"Thank you. For helping me see the colours again. It's not
completely back yet, but it's getting there."
"I'm so glad to hear that."
Lydia went only uphill from there, though it was several years before she could even consider dating again, which was understandable. She went home from San Francisco promising to go out and see Mary more often and not to spend every waking hour in her bedroom and maybe even to take a crazy trip to New York to visit Jane and Bing. Six months after her excursion to San Francisco she made a big decision.
"I got into Yale."
"I am so so incredibly proud of you Lydia! What are you going to study?"
"Law. I feel like I could serve some justice in the court room. Kick some criminal ass."
Lizzie laughed on the other side of the phone.
"Yes! You go Lydia! I am so proud of you I really truly am. You have to promise to come home next May though!"
"Why? What's happening in May?"
"Wait a minute, I'll show you."
Two minutes later Lydia received a photo message. She opened it and saw a picture of Lizzie and Darcy, smiling big at the camera (well Lizzie was, Darcy was, grinning), Lizzie's left hand adorning the middle of the picture, a ring glinting on her third finger.
"OH MY GOD!"
"Ouch Lydia. That was genuinely painful. Though it was about three decibels lower than Gigi."
"That's the first time I've heard you laugh in months."
"Is it? I do it so much now. It feels strange to think I couldn't before."
"I'm so happy for you Lydia. What did I tell you about the bow and arrow!?"
"Yes you were so totally right as per."
Lydia could hear her smile through the phone.
"I don't think I've ever been happier to be right."
"Okay okay don't rub it in!"
"Okay Lyd's I'm really sorry but duty calls, investor meeting in twenty."
"Go kick that meeting's ass Lizzie."
"Don't worry. I will."
Lizzie called more often than she used to after Lydia started Yale. Deep down she felt responsible for Lydia's downward spiral, but she knew it was no use dwelling on it. Lydia was better and that was all that mattered. Lydia thrived at Yale. She got better at talking to people again, and went back to being her happy, spunky self. She didn't talk about the last year to her classmates, not because she was embarrassed, but because it wasn't who she was anymore and she didn't want them knowing her in any way other than how she was then. Lydia Bennet was finally, finally happy
I could not get this story idea out of my head so it has been written! I'm sorry if you cried a little. I cried a little I won't even try to lie about that.