Emma Woodhouse can’t help it. When Darcy kisses Lizzie she audibly gasps. Like a loud, deep I-can’t-believe-it gasp.
The new marketing manager raises an eyebrow at her over his workstation. Emma adjusts the noise canceling headphones and tries to compose herself. Alex is always lecturing her about her professionalism.
“You may have been able to charm your way through life so far Emma, but this is the business world. There are standards someone in your position needs to maintain.”
Well, it is Alex who insisted their new offices be open concept. If that means her professionalism slips a little in front of their employees then it’s his problem not her’s.
(To be honest, most of her problems become his to fix. She’s too busy fixing everyone else’s. Fix things, right them, that’s what she does. It’s her gift and her mission in life.)
Which drags her back to the freeze frame couple on her computer screen.
Months ago Fitz had forwarded her Lizzie Bennet’s video diary. Can you keep a secret? He wrote with the link and Emma did. By gods she did, which is saying something because Emma does not keep secrets lightly. She cackled when she first watched the Bennet sisters do impressions of William Darcy. She didn’t know if she could call Darcy a childhood friend. He’d always been more of Alex’s peer.
(Neither Alex or Darcy were big on friends when they were younger and much preferred the term peer; Emma had long ago cured Alex of such seriousness. They were friends because she said so and he begrudingly accepted it because he’d never quite succeeded in getting rid of her and once Isabella married John they were bound together forever by the constant stream of babies their siblings seemed determined to populate the world with. So friends, co-conspirators, perpetual babysitters, and now business partners they will forever be.)
But to William Darcy – who Emma really only saw when they families vacationed at Whistler together – to him Emma was just Isabella’s little sister or Alex’s shadow. But Fitz was everybody’s friend and he happily brought Emma into the know because he needed some advice.
“So I feel bad for the dude cause he’s got no game,” Fitz had called her after Episode 60 went down.
“And you made it worse by that story about Darcy helping Bing.”
“Seriously, worst wing man ever. Right here,” he sighed. “But you’re the match maker. Got any ideas how I can do some damage control?”
Emma spun in her chair and chewed her lip. They were well beyond damage control. Lizzie Bennet outright loathed William Darcy. They needed to take small steps here. Small, miniscule steps that would move hearts from hate to mild curosity. They needed Darcy to surprise Lizzie at something other than a declaration of love.
But Darcy was the opposite of surprising. He was predictable, robotic even. He made Alex look laid back. Except when it came to business. When it came to business, Alex always said William Darcy was his model for a great CEO. Bold. Decisive. Generous. Protective. Visionary. After all, it had been Darcy who suggested Emma pour her effusive charm into the world of social media.
“You’re clever enough to be a hit online,” he told her at the Lee’s Christmas party two years ago. At the time, Emma had huffed. Clever enough? It had been Alex who reminded Emma that coming from Darcy that was almost lavish praise.
So after he turned out to be right and when Emma approached Alex about partnering with her to launch Emma Approved, it had been William Darcy Alex went to first. Alex had picked the man’s brain and come back confidant they could do good things with Emma’s rough hewed pitch (she’s never been a detail person – that’s why she has Alex).
Lizzie Bennet needed to see that Darcy. She needed to glimpse the passionate, creative man underneath the mildly offensive compliments.
“Fitz,” Emma squealed into the phone, “Didn’t Lizzie say something about needing another place to shadow for her independent study…?”
That had been months ago. That had been Emma’s stroke of genius – executed by Fitz and Gigi with aplomb – that resulted in the very satisfying, sigh inducing video she had just watched. With it she could happily add another happy couple to her list, a literal list she kept for Alex to prove to him that her match making skills were unparalleled.
Emma glances at her calendar and realizes she has 5 more minutes before she has to meet her next client, a Mr. Elton. Totally enough time to rewatch the video. Happily, she clicks reload.
And when Lizzie kisses Darcy, Emma can’t help but sigh again. If only she wasn’t stuck being the match maker. If only, for once, the love story could be her own…
YES. (And stealing tags because they’re perfect)