This is probably the worst Valentine’s day of Gigi’s life, she thinks to herself as she shivers in the hallway of her aunt’s house, listening to Lydia whine from the next room over.
“When you said we were going to Aspen for the weekend, I definitely was anticipating a lot more skiing and a lot less power outages,” Lydia says drily from where she’s huddled on the couch. “Not cool, Darcy.”
“Hey,” Gigi says, fumbling around in the linen closet for another pile of blankets, “Blame the weather, not me. And don’t call me that, I’m not my brother.”
“Seriously,” Lydia whines, “It’s Valentines Day. There should at least be hot cocoa.”
Gigi sighs, and feels overwhelmingly guilty. “Yeah, sorry,” she says, “But you have to admit, this is still better than sitting around at home and watching everybody we know be sickeningly cute and couple-y.”
“It’s forty degrees inside the house!” Lydia protests. Then she rolls her eyes, and smirks a little bit. “But yeah, this is still way better. I definitely don’t need to see my sister sucking face with your brother all day.”
Gigi grimaces, because come on. “Ew. Bad mental images. Can we not, please?”
“Sorry,” Lydia says, but something about the half-suppressed giggle in her voice suggests to Gigi that she’s not sorry at all. “Hey, get over here with the blankets, I’m freezing.”
Gigi, having emptied and comes back to the couch, dropping a large pile of very fluffy blankets on Lydia’s head, who flails a little before grabbing the largest and fluffiest blanket and wrapping it around herself.
“So I just got off the phone with the heater guy,” Gigi tells her, snagging a blanket of her own.
“It’s snowing like crazy out there. He doesn’t think he can make it out until tomorrow morning at the very earliest.”
Lydia just looks at her. Gigi looks back.
“Okay, that’s it,” she says eventually, “If there’s no hot chocolate and no skiing and your aunt’s house is literally a walk-in freezer from which there is no escape, we are at least going to cuddle on the couch. Conserve body heat and all that.”
“Get your ass over here and snuggle, Georgiana Darcy.”
Gigi, seeing no possible escape, sighs and sits down next to Lydia, who instantly wraps her arms around Gigi’s waist and tucks her head down onto her shoulder, wrapping the blankets around both of them before settling down and making a contented purring noise, like a cat, or possibly some sort of demented Tribble.
Gigi, for her part, just pushes her own hands into the kangaroo pocket of Lydia’s hoodie and leans back against the arm of the couch. She’s still shivering a little, but she’s pretty sure it’s not because of the cold. Or, well, not solely because of the cold.
Because, okay, when she’d suggested Aspen to Lydia for Valentine’s weekend, she hadn’t exactly had the purest of motives. Mostly, of course, she had just wanted to get away from the overwhelming despair that comes of being the only single person on Valentine’s when everybody you know is dating or engaged or whatever. But Gigi has to admit to herself that the idea of three days with Lydia Bennet all to herself, skiing and laughing and watching bad rom-coms on the couch together, had sounded pretty good.
Because Gigi’s maybe (definitely) been nursing a crush on Lydia for … well, a while, but who can really blame her? Lydia’s gorgeous and funny and they save each other from pointed questions about relationships and marriage from well-meaning older relatives at the engagement parties they have to attend together. And sometimes Lydia brings Gigi coffee in the mornings, and sometimes Gigi brings Lydia pad thai for lunch.
Yeah, sure, maybe a year ago Gigi would have never anticipated being friends with Lydia, let alone wanting to push Lydia up against the nearest wall and kiss her furiously, but this is the way things are.
And this is why Gigi feels really, really guilty about the way her heart keeps skipping a beat from the way Lydia is curled in impossibly close to her, but this is also why Gigi sure as hell isn’t going to stop her from doing so.
“He can’t get here until tomorrow morning?” Lydia asks, breaking the comfortable silence.
“And there’s so much snow we can’t even leave the house?”
“Not if we don’t want to risk skidding off the road and freezing to death in a ditch somewhere.”
“And what time is it now?”
“I don’t know,” Gigi admits. “Late, I think.”
“Come on,” Lydia says, “I’m tired and there’s nothing to do but sleep. I’m going to bed.”
That’s probably a good idea, Gigi thinks, and she disentangles herself from Lydia, gathering the whole mass of blankets before following the smaller girl upstairs to the bedrooms.
“Good night,” she tells Lydia, who just frowns at her.
“Where are you going?” she asks, folding her arms. It would be more convincingly angry if she wasn’t shaking uncontrollably due to cold.
“To my room,” Gigi explains, confused.
“Like hell you are,” Lydia says, and grabs Gigi’s arm, tugging her through the doorway into the guest bedroom Lydia had selected for herself. “I told you, we have to conserve body heat. Get in here.”
Gigi feels the bottom drop out of her stomach at the prospect of sharing a bed with Lydia, but she’s not exactly going to refuse, so she just swallows and follows Lydia to the full bed in the middle of the room.
At least it’s not a twin, Gigi thinks to herself with a mixture of relief and disappointment, and stares fixedly at the wall while Lydia switches out her impossibly tight jeans for three pairs of flannel pajama pants and then crawls beneat the covers.
“Come on,” Lydia says impatiently, “Put the blankets on the bed, and then get in here.”
Gigi stares at her wildly for a second. “Let me go brush my teeth,” she blurts, and drops the blankets in one huge tangled knot on the duvet before rushing from the room.
She changes into her own pajamas, quickly, shivering when the icy air hits her bare skin for a few seconds, and then she really does go brush her teeth, spending far too long standing in the bathroom, running the toothbrush back and forth over her already-clean teeth until her gums start to bleed, staring wide-eyed at her own panicked reflection in the bathroom mirror.
“Don’t be weird,” she instructs herself, “or creepy. Or anything like that. Be normal. Be platonic friends. Come on, Gigi. You can do it.”
Once she realizes she’s talking to her own reflection, though, Gigi realizes things are getting weird and pathetic even for her.
“For the love of God, Darcy,” she mutters to herself, “Man up. Go act like a real actual human. You’ll be fine.”
And, not exactly believing it, but not not believing it either, she crawls into bed with Lydia.
“Took you long enough,” Lydia whines, and wraps herself around Gigi, tangling their legs together under the mountain of blankets. Lydia’s hand on her hip feels like an electric shock, and the places on Lydia’s back where Gigi’s own hands are resting feel burningly hot to the touch, despite the fact that Gigi knows she’s incredibly cold.
Lying there, underneath the blankets, with the scent of Lydia’s shampoo and the slight mustiness from the quilt surrounding them, Gigi feels like it’s a sort of private, dark, place. She feels like she needs to say something, needs to tell Lydia the truth about how she feels, but when she finally opens her mouth to say something, she feels the way Lydia’s breath has slowed down and evened out, and she closes her mouth again, and then closes her eyes, and then she joins Lydia in sleep.
When Gigi wakes up again, to the brightness of the early morning sun shafting through the curtains, it is to Lydia draped all over her. Her face is pressed into Gigi’s neck and her arms are wrapped around Gigi’s waist and Gigi has no idea what to do.
“Um,” Gigi whispers hoarsely, “Lydia, I—“
Lydia doesn’t move, except to make a contented noise and snuggle closer to her. Gigi swallows. This is like everything she’s ever wanted, except Lydia is asleep and it’s not real and she really shouldn’t be having these kinds of thoughts about her best friend, anyway—
“Lydia,” Gigi says again, louder, more urgent. Lydia’s eyes flicker open, and she smiles sleepily at Gigi.
“Hi,” she says softly.
“Hi,” Gigi says, voice high and strangled, “Lydia, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to—“
“Body heat, remember?” Lydia giggles, and then she leans down and presses a kiss to Gigi’s mouth, and –
Lydia frowns, and sits up. “Oh, sorry, was that not – I thought that you – but –“
“No!” Gigi protests. “That’s definitely – I mean, I’m definitely, like, into that. The whole kissing thing, I mean. I just didn’t think that you, were, like also into the possibility of, y’know. The whole kissing thing.“
“No,” Lydia cuts her off, “I’m definitely, like, into that as a possibility. Like, a lot.”
Gigi smiles a little, confused, but hopeful. “So was the kiss because of body heat too?”
“No,” Lydia says firmly, “That was because I wanted to.”
“Good,” Gigi says softly, “Because I’m going to kiss you back this time.”
Lydia giggles, and wraps her hand around the back of Gigi’s neck, and nobody’s sure who starts the kiss this time, but it definitely happens.
So this is definitely not the worst Valentine’s day of Gigi’s life, after all.