She had the whole thing edited, uploaded, and ready to share, mouse hovering over the 'post' button in the corner. It was at that moment that she realized that the entirety of her relationship with Darcy had been lived out on camera, subject to opinions and prejudices and comments from any stranger who happened to click by. Despite her dedication to her audience...what about her new-found dedication to Darcy? Shouldn't that come first?
After a long moment of hesitation, Lizzie deleted Episode 98 from her browser. She'd post it eventually, she decided. Once this thing with Darcy, whatever it was, had a chance to settle.
Gigi knocked on the office door twice before peeking her head inside. "William?"
"You know knocking loses its air of politeness when you just open the door anyway." He was sitting at his desk, the quarterly projections laid out in front of him in precisely organized piles. Better him than her. She hated paperwork.
"Yes, but this is exciting news and it was worth the interruption." She paused dramatically, waiting long enough that Will is about to roll his eyes with impatience before blurting, "Lizzie just messaged me! She's moving to San Francisco!"
The corner of his lip quirked upwards. "Yes, Gigi. I know."
Hm. Gigi had been religiously watching Lizzie's videos and social media since she found out about them, and after William had shown up at her house, she had been just as desperate as the other viewers to find out what happened. But Lizzie had only tweeted a vague, "We had some difficult conversations. Cleared the air. Glad he came, we was a talk that needed to be done in person." She and Fitz had planned a night out as soon as William had flown back into the city, ready to cheer him up and do damage control, but he had been alright. Happier and more relaxed than she had seen him in a long time, though she could sense that he was feeling disappointed. Will hadn't brought it up since, and she hadn't mentioned it. He'd talk about it when he was ready.
As far as she was aware, there had been some contact between them, and William would sometimes have pieces of information about Lydia, or Jane, or the Bennets in general to share.
He smiled again. "Of course I know. We do talk, after all. I was planning to mention the possibility of the three of us and Fitz going out to dinner once she arrives to celebrate the move."
That peaked her interest. Perhaps a reuniting of Team FiGi could make those two get their acts together and stop being so...stubborn. "We'd love to see her. I bet she'll be happy to already have friends here when she moves."
"I'm sure she will," he agreed. "Now, can I get back to work?"
She had the decency to look sheepish, backing out of the room. "We're still on for lunch, right?"
"Lizzie!" Gigi stood from her chair before nearly launching herself into the arms of Lizzie Bennet. "I can't believe you're a San Franciscan now!"
Lizzie couldn't help but laugh, returning the hug and then moving on to Fitz, standing up on her toes to throw an arm over his shoulders. "Do I look like a local, yet, or is two days too soon?"
"We'll get you some green juice and 49ers jersey and no one will be able to tell the difference," Fitz vowed.
"Is that all it takes? You know, I've missed it here, but walking up all of these hills makes me realize how long its been since I've done this much legwork." Lizzie grinned, letting William pull out her chair and then settle into the seat beside her. Fitz and Gigi send one other a sly smile as they sank into their own chairs. Things were looking good. The two of them looked downright friendly. Team FiGi could work with this. "I'm supposed to say 'hello' from Jane and Bing, by the way. They keep saying they'll make it out to visit, but I don't know when they'll find the time. They're both swamped with work."
"Better to be busy than unemployed. Many of those our age, or any age, aren't so fortunate," William replied, and they all sang the rims of their wine glasses against one another, thankful for their own good luck and in solidarity of those without it.
Fitz updated her on his trip to Fiji a few months back, Gigi brightly explained her upcoming project with Domino, and Lizzie in turn filled them in on Lydia and Jane's lives. William, as always, sat quietly in the background, though listening and looking quite content rather than awkward and unsure.
"How's the new apartment?" Gigi asked excitedly, so pleased to see her brother's relaxed posture. It wasn't often the case in social situations.
"Oh, you know. The size of a shoebox and sort of smells like one," Lizzie joked. "But it's mine. I've never lived alone, and I'm just happy to be able to afford something in San Francisco, however small."
"Once you get your company up and running, things will get easier," William spoke, smiling gently at her.
"You mean I could afford... two shoeboxes?"
Fitz laughed. "Or one of those giant boxes you get when you buy boots."
"Don't get my hopes up, you guys," Lizzie joked, turning her face to Darcy, her chin tilted up and a lopsided smile on her face. His expression softened even more, and he opened his mouth to speak, though anything he might have said was interrupted by the arrival of the waiter.
William insisted on paying for dinner, reminding them all that it was a special occasion. As Lizzie and Darcy wandered ahead out of the restaurant, Fitz leaned down to murmur in her ear. "They're so into each other."
"I know!" she whisper-hissed. "We can work with this, right?"
"If they're not dating within the month, Team FiGi will need a serious rethink in strategy."
A month turned into two, and then three. As time went on, Gigi got more aggressive, more blunt. Teasing, sing-song inquiries into whether or not he was spending each evening with anyone special turned into outright asking him if he was going to ask Lizzie to dinner. He always responded the same way: a dramatic eye roll, a shake of his head, and then a really, Georgiana, are you ever going move on from that?
No, was the answer. Not when they were so damn cute together. Every time Gigi saw them together, they were speaking quietly, leaned together and laughing at some shared joke. They looked like they had been friends for years, not just a few months. Surely people with this much chemistry belonged together, right? Or else what hope did the rest of the world have?
Her meetings with Lizzie were equally disappointing. She was crazy busy with the beginnings of her company, but in the odd times they did get together, she seemed just as cheerful towards William that he was towards her.
Will and I went to Fisherman's Wharf yesterday, Will was just saying you might be relocating to Sanditon for a while, Will just said that Bing was working with Jane's company on finding sustainably-sourced fabrics...
Everything was about Will, it seemed, and she had been waiting weeks for some sort of announcement, but nothing. Not even a reluctant confession about an accidental, passionate kiss. Gigi and Fitz were damn near a childish scheme of locking the two of them in a closet somewhere, but had somehow resisted thus far.
"So...how's your love life going?" she asked at lunch, resting her chin in her hands.
Lizzie just shook her head and smiled. "You are relentless, you know that? Honestly, you're almost as bad as Fitz."
"He's way worse than I am!" she protested, feigning offence.
"C'mon. Let's stop at Bi-Rite Creamery. I'll buy you dessert."
Fitz and Gigi stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the office door, waiting for the call of 'enter' before stepping inside. William seemed surprised to see them both here together, but motioned for them to sit. "Is everything alright?"
"No," Fitz said firmly, bluntly. "We need to have a chat about Lizzie B."
William raised a brow. "What about her? Is she alright?"
"William, we're worried about you! How often do you see her? Talk to her?"
He seemed to relax. "Lizzie and I are fine, we see one another plenty. Perhaps even more than one would expect, given our work."
"That's the point."
"Exactly," Gigi agreed. "You two are attached at the hip, but have you even bothered to ask her-"
"Will? Oops, sorry!" Lizzie had knocked on the door that was left ajar from their entrance, only to come to a halt at the sight of his visitors. "I'll come back..."
"No, I think our conversation had reached it's conclusion," William assured, standing and grabbing his coat and looking at the pair of them pointedly. "There's nothing to worry about, and while I appreciate the concern, it isn't necessary. Certainly not a matter worth skipping our lunch reservation."
As Lizzie and Darcy disappeared out the door, Fitz turned to her and sighed. "I know he got burned the first time he asked her out, but avoiding the conversation completely when she's obviously into him? Times have changed, Darce!"
"I'd suggest pulling out the big guns, but I don't even know what's left that could even qualify as big guns."
"Why don't you ask Lizzie to come?" Gigi offered, gathering her coat to head out for dinner.
"She's working late. Besides, it's Aunt Catherine. Lizzie will be happy to skip this one, really," William responded, holding open the door for her.
"Yeah, but then she's flying to New York to visit Jane for a whole week! Who knows what will happen there? I mean, you don't want her falling in love with...the city...and deciding to move her company there! She should come with us, remind her how much we'll miss her before she goes!"
"Georgiana," William bristled. "I humoured you and Fitz, but this is getting out of hand. I am fine. Lizzie is fine. I'm not about to cling to her every time she threatens to step out of my view."
"I know you're fine," Gigi insisted. "I know you are. But I want you to be happy."
"I am happy!" he huffed. "I don't know why neither one of you can believe that. Surely I'm not such a morose, sullen man that you feel I cannot be left alone for a second."
Gigi sighed, feeling guilty for being so aggressive. She loved her brother, she adored Lizzie. But maybe things just weren't meant to be.
"Alright. I get it. I'll talk to Fitz. We'll stop nagging you. I promise."
He looked visibly relieved. "I will be holding you to that."
It happened without warning.
Fitz, Gigi, and Lizzie all met at William's apartment before heading out to breakfast. Weekends off could be a rare and wonderful thing, and so they all agreed to take advantage.
On her way from the bathroom to the front door, Lizzie managed to catch her foot on an area rug, stumbling but keeping herself upright with the assistance of William's steadying hand on her elbow.
"God, you are so clumsy."
"Hey!" Lizzie protested. "Big words coming from a man who got his tie caught in a paper shredder."
The glare William sent in Fitz's direction had Gigi repressing giggles.
"This is the problem with maintaining a friendship from infancy. The stories they can tell," Darcy sighed.
"Works both ways, you know. You don't just get stories about me from Charlotte for nothing," Lizzie snickered, reaching out to stroke his tie. "But be careful with this one, it's my favourite."
And there it was. Lizzie slid her hand under the tie, swirled it around her palm and clenched her fist, pulling William down and into a soft kiss. He smiled softly, she smiled softly, and then they pulled away like nothing happened. "Ready to go?"
Fitz was speechless, Gigi was sputtering, but she managed to speak first.
"What's 'what?'" Lizzie asked with a raised brow.
"How long has this been going on?" Gigi squeaked, pointing between them.
Lizzie and William exchanged glances. "What do you mean?" William responded then, looking like he was quite concerned for Gigi's state of mind. She nudges Fitz repeatedly, encouraging him to take over where she couldn't find the words.
"What do we mean? Are you guys together? Like, together together?"
"Dating?" William replied, bewildered. "Of course we are."
"For how long?" Gigi demanded.
"Since he showed up at the house on my birthday! Like, four months!" Lizzie retorted. "Wait, you didn't know?!"
"How could you not know?"
Fitz threw up his hands. "You never told us! Darce got back from your place and was obviously a bit mopey."
"I was hardly happy about having to leave her behind," William defended, looking quite put out.
"We've never seen you kiss, never even seen you hold hands!" Gigi cut in.
It was Lizzie's turn to huff. "We weren't together long, and we didn't want to be one of those couples that make everyone uncomfortable with PDA."
"All those months," Fitz inserted. "We kept asking about how things were getting on with Lizzie, if you were...making progress."
"I thought you just assumed I was entirely incompetent at human interaction and kept meddling because you thought that I would ruin things without your supervision of our relationship." Now William was awkward, tugging once at his tie in nervousness. Fitz was speechless, Gigi bewildered, William uncomfortable, and Lizzie cackling, laughing so hard she was bent at the middle, holding onto Will's arm for support.
"Oh my God! I can't believe you didn't know!"
"But...why didn't you post the video of what happened after he showed up if things didn't end badly?"
"I told myself I would eventually," Lizzie confessed, pulling herself together. "I just...I wanted a bit of time where our relationship wasn't completely and totally out on the internet. It historically hasn't gone well. I guess it was such a long time coming, and my family all know that we just...forgot to tell you. Assumed you'd already know. The fact that nobody asked us made us think that it was all...understood."
Once she knew, Gigi couldn't believe she hadn't figured it out sooner. Lizzie and William sit together, leaning instinctively into one another, heads turning towards each other. Without the awkwardness of Gigi and Fitz's silence about their relationship, they were much more relaxed, William resting an arm along the back of her chair, Lizzie smothering her laughter into his shoulder.
"Guess Team FiGi isn't so extraordinary after all," Lizzie teased, settled against Will's side.
Fitz snorts. "Disagree, Lizzie B. In fact, we are so good, we got you two together months before our own expectations. Team FiGi is not only effective, we're efficient."
William just rolled his eyes. "You cannot possibly take credit. We weren't even in the same city as you when Lizzie and I began our relationship."
"We pushed you in the right direction. Like herding cats, trying to get you two together."
"Feral cats," Fitz agreed. "We were so subtle you didn't even know it."
"You were so subtle you didn't even know it," William shot back, smirking.
Lizzie only laughed. "Well, given the way everything turned out, I think I'm fine being manipulated." They both lean in without hesitation, moving together with such ease that Gigi still couldn't believe she hadn't seen it before. They kissed, and as the Little Sister (it seemed almost to both of them, now) she fought the urge to tease them. William looked so, so happy, after all, and it was more than she could ever ask for.