Libby Lawrence – Bonus Epilogue
It’s the one year anniversary of the release of Libby Lawrence Is Good At Pretending, and in its honour – here’s a little bonus epilogue. It’s set a few months after the events of the book, and it’ll give you a little sneak peek as to what Libby, Ella, Will and Roarke are up to.
(Not Nightingale, though. No one needs to worry about what he’s doing.)
Prefer to read as a PDF? Here you go: Libby Lawrence Bonus Epilogue.
Libby Lawrence Is Good At Pretending – Bonus Epilogue
“Question,” Rosie said, tapping her index finger twice against the studio card table. “Do we have to cast any men?”
“We don’t technically ‘have’ to do anything,” Libby said, taking a sip from her tea. “It’s our show.”
“You know what I mean, though,” Rosie said. “If we did an all-ladies-and-theydies version of the show, would it be worth the whinging?”
“What’s the worst-case scenario?” Ella asked. She had her back to the studio windows, and the late morning sun was streaming through, turning her hair into a crown of fire. “You don’t cast any men, and they’re all like, ‘oh no, how dare you, my masculinity is so injured because I can’t play Grumpy, I will never recover’ and… what happens, exactly?”
“They whinge,” Rosie said. “Loudly. And annoyingly.”
“But it’s not going to be like it was before, is it?” Ella asked. “You’re not going to get, like – what’s that word, Libs? Where people throw you out and pretend you don’t exist?”
“No. I mean, yes, that’s kind of the gist, but the word I’m thinking of is a church thing, maybe?”
“Excommunicated,” Ella said. “They can’t exactly excommunicate you, can they?”
“They did it once,” Rosie said.
“Yes, but you have the power now,” Ella said. “You’re the director. You’re in charge. They can’t do it again.”
“In theory, yes,” Rosie said, “but in practice, if this doesn’t go well and people start whinging and complaining, Graham will never ask me to direct again. It might hurt our chances of being cast in shows in the future too. I don’t care if some Uni Rep group chat shithead blackballs me, but Libby might.”
She did care. That instinct – oh god, like me, please like me, what do I have to do to make sure you like me? – was a hard one to suppress.
But she didn’t care that much. “I’m not particularly interested in the opinions of people who’d want to But What About The Men? a Christmas panto,” Libby said. “You’re the boss, Rosie, and if you don’t want to cast any men, then as your AD, I’ve got your back.”
“Roarke, you’re a man,” Rosie said. “What do you think?”
Even on a day as warm and sunny as this one, in a space as light-filled as the studio, Roarke was still managing to project what Will usually referred to as his Heathcliff energy. “I don’t think about their opinions at all,” he said.
Libby and Ella both scoffed.
He raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“I don’t think about their opinions at all,” Libby said, mimicking his voice. “You’re so cool, Roarke. Congratulations.”
Ella was scribbling in her sketchbook. “Here,” she said, turning it around. “Preliminary design for the medal you’re going to get for being So Above It All. What do you think?”
Roarke regarded it coolly. “It’s not big enough,” he said at last. “I think it’s important people know how above it all I am from at least fifty metres away.”
Libby had been worried, initially, when Rosie had suggested that both Ella and Roarke join the production team for Snow White. “They still haven’t talked since they broke up,” she’d told her. “Not really. Not properly.”
“But they can be in the same room?”
“Well, yeah. Given Roarke lives with Will and Ella lives with me, there’s a necessary amount of overlap.”
“Then if they’re both fine with it, I want them both,” Rosie had said. “Ella’s a killer designer. Roarke’s got all the skills to be a killer musical director. And importantly: neither of them appear to be active shitheads.”
Libby couldn’t argue with that.
She was still worried about them. Worried that they’d be so closed off and standoffish around each other that one of them would run. Worried that they wouldn’t be and they’d get back together and smash each other to pieces. But with every little moment like this, every moment where it was easy and simple and not loaded with emotion and tension and angst – every moment she worried a little less.
“Let’s think about it logically,” she said to Rosie. “The central dynamic of Snow White isn’t about men anyway. It’s about Snow White and her stepmother.”
“It’s about being looked at, though,” Rosie said. “Being beautiful. That’s pretty patriarchal.”
“It’s probably less patriarchal if Snow White doesn’t find purpose in doing housework for seven dudes.”
“Does it have to be about housework, even?” Ella said. “We could absolutely do some fun set and costume things with Snow White finding her true passion for interior design and making the dwarves’ house cosy and beautiful. Sort of Queer Eye-ing them.”
The sun was beating down overhead when the four of them emerged from their production team meeting. Libby’s ponytail was sticking damply to the back of her neck. “Ride home?” Ella asked, throwing her keys from hand to hand. “Or are you going to Will’s?”
“Will’s,” Libby said. “It’s our big button-pressing day.”
She could feel, rather than see, Roarke roll his eyes. “Stop it,” she told him.
“I didn’t do anything,” he replied. “I’ll keep out of the apartment, then, if you two are going to spend the afternoon being revolting together.”
“I would say thank you for your consideration, but then you called me revolting, so…”
“I called the pair of you making heart eyes at each other revolting. Not you specifically.”
“What a gift you have for compliments. Truly, it’s stunning,” she said, although by Roarke standards, it was quite nice of him to clarify that he didn’t find her personally repellent.
Rosie looked at her phone. “If you’re free, then, Roarke, then I wouldn’t mind talking some more about the music,” she said. “I want to make sure we’re totally across it before I go and cast a bunch of people that can barely sing.”
Libby watched Ella watch them go. “Are you doing all right?” she asked.
“Yes,” Ella replied. “Irrationally jealous, obviously, but nothing that won’t pass.”
“I don’t have to go to Will’s right this second if you need me.”
“It’s okay, Libs,” Ella said. “Even I’m not so fragile that the thought of my ex going on a perfectly platonic professional coffee date with another girl is going to make me spiral. Go press buttons with your boy. Tell him hi from me.”
She stopped by the bottle shop on the way to Will’s. “Champagne?” he said, when he opened the door. “You’re spoiling me, ProofIt.”
“One, it’s not just for you, taxman, so don’t go getting big ideas in your head,” she said, going up on her toes to kiss him. “Two, it’s the second cheapest sparkling they had, so I must repeat: don’t go getting big ideas in your head.”
He grinned and kissed her again. “Do you want to drink it during or after?”
“After,” Libby said. “We should probably put it in the fridge to chill. It’s a million degrees outside.”
When the sparkling was in the fridge, they sat down at Will’s desk in front of his laptop and flipped a coin to see who would press their button first. Will won. “All right,” he said, logging into his student account. “Here we go.”
He took a deep breath. “I’m nervous,” he said. “Why am I this nervous? I’ve already talked to Professor Karatsev about this. She’s already said yes. It’s basically a given that it’s going to happen. So why am I nervous?”
“Because in classic William Earnshaw Callahan style, you care too much about it to mess it up,” Libby said, pressing her lips to his shoulder.
He made a choked sound that was almost a laugh.
“You haven’t messed it up, though,” she said. “I proofread it. Twice. It’s good to go. I promise.”
Will attached his proposal document to the PhD application form. “All right,” he said. “Here we go.”
Your application has been successfully submitted, popped up on the screen. Will exhaled slowly. “Now we wait,” he said.
“Now we wait, and we do our best to think about other things, because we’re extremely brilliant and have essentially already been accepted,” Libby said.
“It’s not official yet, though,” Will said. “I can’t afford to do it without the scholarship. What if some super genius from another university applies and they’re better than me?”
“Then we’ll figure it out,” Libby said. “And also I’ll begin an aggressive campaign of sabotage against them, up to and including fist-fighting them in the carpark.”
He laughed, and she felt some of the anxiety melt out of his bones. “Okay, ProofIt,” he said. “Your turn.”
He logged out of his student account, and she logged into hers. “Eighteen-year-old Libby is screaming at me right now,” she said, navigating to the Degree Transfer page. “If she could time travel, she would appear right now and crash tackle me.”
“Well, she’s not here, so she doesn’t appear to have invented time travel,” Will said, putting his arm around her. “So alas, it seems that only twenty-year-old Libby gets a say in what she wants to do with her life.”
She selected “Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws” from the course transferring out of dropdown, and “Bachelor of Arts” from the course transferring into list. “And twenty-year-old Libby knows what she wants,” she said, and hit submit.
The sparkling hadn’t been in the fridge long enough to be cold, but they popped it anyway. “To you,” Will said.
“To you,” she replied, clinking her glass against his.
“To both of us,” he said.
She smiled. “To us.”
They drank. “Want to hear a fun fact?” she asked.
“Sure,” he said.
“Roarke’s not going to be home for ages,” she said. “He specifically told me that if we were going to spend the afternoon being revolting, then he didn’t want to be around to witness it.”
“Is that so?” Will said, a glint appearing in his eye. “Tell me, ProofIt. Of the two of us, you’re the word person. Do you think we’ve been ‘revolting’?”
“Sadly, no,” Libby said, twining her fingers through his. “I think we have a considerable amount of work to do before we can live up to Roarke’s expectations.”
He grinned, and then he kissed her, and for the rest of the afternoon, the only thing she gave a shit about was the two of them.