What if half way through LBD Lizzie had found a copy of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s mostly forgotten about novel, and read it?
She read it and, Holy Shit! It’s her. It’s her life. The names are the same and that’s just weird. She knows her mother has never read this book. But not just the names…but them. They are in this book. Yes, they wear different clothes and for some reason Lydia’s cat is a person, but her name is Lizzie Bennet and this is her life…in a novel.
And a real novel too. She can look it up academic articles on JSTOR about it. There isn’t much. Maybe six? People find the heroine to be flippant and judgmental. The hero too elusive, and the whole love story at the end saccharine.
If this is true then reincarnation must be true, right? Or is she just the figment of some dead English lady’s imagination? Lizzie keeps rubbing her skin waiting for it to go transparent like a hologram. Jane suggests she moisturize more.
Forget her thesis. Lizzie dives into this with everything she’s got. She can’t exactly talk about the book with anyone in her life because…well, because most of them are characters in said book. No, she’s got to figure out how this is possible before she tells anyone. Even Charlotte.
(And don’t think it doesn’t keep her up at night that she ends up with William Darcy…ew ack.)
And then, in all her mother’s glorious and convoluted plans, Lizzie and Jane end up going to Netherfield. Lizzie takes the novel with her even though she knows she shouldn’t. What if someone found it?
She keeps it under her mattress because she’s that unoriginal apparently. She password protects all the files on her computer (and she has a lot - research is the one part of this insanity that feels right.)
She tells herself no one will find out. She just needs to keep playing her part. She makes her videos. She knows Caroline is scheming. She knows Bing is half-in-love with Jane. (To be fair, you don’t need a book to figure that one out.)
And god, don’t get her going on Darcy. That’s the one part of all this she can’t quite wrap her brain around. She knows his weird insults are really him trying to “court” her. She’s read the novel. He likes her…like like-likes her. It weirds her out because she finds him so robotic and infuriating, but also she feels responsible. This is her story and his feelings exist for the sake of the story. They’re not real. She actually feels a little sorry for him because of all of them he seems the most uncomfortable playing his part, a part he doesn’t even realize he’s playing.
(The meta of this keeps her up at night…truly.)
And then one day Lizzie is out by the pool pinching herself just to check to make sure she’s still real and the novel is there under her towel. She’s rereading it to look for clues. When the narrator breaks through and offers omnipresent interpretation, is that Austen? Is that like hearing the voice of God? Maybe if she retypes those parts out there will be a clue…like a code.
So she’s outside soaking up sun, trying to make sense of this in her brain, and she falls asleep. She falls asleep for just a few minutes, but when she wakes up Darcy is there. He sits on the chaise lounge next to her and he’s reading the book!
He’s reading it and smirking. Lizzie makes a noise that resembles a cat coughing up a hairball and he looks up.
"Oh good," he says, "now that you know too, we can finally talk."