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Mr Will Darcy and Mr Johnny Wickham contemplate Lalita Bakshi

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Lakhi was pretty, yeah, and she was throwing herself at him like any horny teenage girl when confronted with a hot, forbidden guy. Who was a foreigner as well; just some extra exotic icing on the unattainable fantasy cake. He’d never thought of himself as cake before, but he couldn’t think of a better metaphor with the way Lakhi hung all over him, staring at him like she was two seconds away from licking her lips and devouring him whole.

Which was all very well, but he could not have been less interested in her slight girlish figure and hyperactive personality. She was like a puppy on speed, but with an annoying voice and a habit of chattering non-stop and whining when she didn’t have his attention. He also didn’t appreciate her ‘playful’ slaps and punches, which might have been cute when she was about five years old, but from an eighteen year-old it just made him want to backhand her. That’d probably quiet her down a bit; show her that just because he was a foreigner and an oddity here, he wasn’t some little girl’s toy.

Of course he knew that was out of the question. Mr Bakshi came across as a pretty chill father, and a hospitable and generous man, but one wrong move towards any of his daughters, and Johnny knew he’d be out on his arse in five minutes. Unfortunately, he knew that also applied to all the filthy, filthy things he wanted to do Lalita, what he’d been so carefully and delicately edging towards since he’d seen her on the beach that night in Goa, playing her guitar in the firelight, looking fucking delectable with her caramel skin and stunning hazel eyes.

Fuck, but she was the most gorgeous woman he’d ever seen in real life. That is, he’d certainly begun to travel with the hope of shagging his way around Asia, but he’d mostly thought of that in terms of his fellow travellers. You met some right fit girls on the road – German air hostesses on leave, Swedish backpackers, Dutch thrillseekers who always carried the best weed, New Zealand nurses who were hot to trot, Brazilian exchange students with arses to die for – everything a red-blooded male could want. He’d never seriously thought of shagging the natives. Asian girls weren’t his type anyway, or so he’d thought.

But then he’d seen her on that beach, and heard her sing, and talked to her, and he was done for. Her hair, her eyes, lips, fucking everything. She dressed quite modestly, covered up compared to the half-naked birds running around in bikinis and not much else, but he could see enough to set his blood pumping south. Perfect full tits to overflow his hands, long legs, and curves under her flowing skirt that kept distracting him while they walked along the shoreline and talked. Even her voice was this gorgeous melodic hum with a hint of broken accent that boosted his confidence in the face of her self-assured poise and cool gaze.

And the crazy thing was, she liked him! He hadn’t rated his chances much honestly; he knew he was hot, he could charm most women into warming to him, given the opportunity. But she was pure class, conservative, traditional. Looking into her remarkable eyes, seeing her lips curve with amusement, he felt like a jittery lad with acne and a squeaky voice. He’d fully expected her to give him the brush-off.

Incredibly, it seemed he had Will Darcy of all people to thank for Lalita’s unexpected warmth. As soon as she brought up Will in the conversation, Johnny had seen his opening. It was the same instinct that had helped him dodge the shoplifting charges when he was fourteen, and the same skill at taking advantage of a situation that had gotten his first girlfriend to go down on him with her mum in the next room.

It was an instinct that had never let him down before, and it didn’t now. Putting on his most injured expression, he’d started to give his heavily-edited version of events, and was astounded to see nothing but sincere sympathy and righteous anger on Lalita’s beautiful face. From a few things she said, it was obvious she had something against Will Darcy herself, Johnny wasn’t sure what. Frankly, he didn’t care, not if it got him in good with her, which was one step closer to getting him in bed with her.

Unfortunately, every time he made the slightest move toward pushing the issue, she seemed to shy away. Unlike Lakhi who probably would have spread her legs for him given the first opportunity, Lalita was a master of playing hard-to-get. And she was playing; he was sure of it. She’d dance with him, and do dishes with him, and talk in the moonlight with him, but that was as far as it went every time. It had been dumb to expect she’d let him get too close at that party, in front of her family and half the neighbourhood; he could admit that. And drying dishes together in the kitchen could have gone somewhere, perhaps. He’d caught hold of the end of the tea towel and pulled her to him. She’d gazed up at him with wide eyes. He could smell the perfume of her hair, practically feel her tits brushing against his chest. So close.

And then fucking Lakhi had burst in, of course. Burst in and ruined the atmosphere, chattering away like she was on a sugar high or something. Lalita had backed off quick, but when he’d managed to get a look at her, he could swear she was still breathing quickly. She’d felt something too, he was sure of it.

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His wife was the most ridiculously beautiful woman on the planet, he was sure of it. Every morning he woke up next to her, got an eyeful of her make-up free face and unbrushed hair, and thanked every higher power that he got to have this now.

Indian culture was pretty much the opposite of American culture. With an American girl, they’d have squeezed in fancy dates around his long working hours, lived together in an upscale apartment for a couple of years, and then fit in a wedding at the hotel one weekend.

With Lalita they’d known each other off and on for a dizzying few months; during which time she’d both demolished and confirmed all his preconceptions about India, Eastern culture and women in general, wounded his pride and shaken his confidence more than he cared to admit, challenged his intellect, and completely taken over his heart and soul. And then they’d gotten married. On an elephant, no less, surrounded by what seemed like half the population of Amritsar, followed by all the curry he ever wanted to see again in his life, much less eat.

They hadn’t even slept together before. Or made out, even. Lalita had been completely occupied with her sisters and relatives, preparing for the spectacle of a double wedding; he barely saw her. Instead, Balraj and Kira let him trail around after them, walking him through the groom’s duties and explaining all the ceremonial rites and symbols.

It was fascinating and all, and yes, this was his fiancee’s culture (she’s my fiancée, he thought dazedly to himself at least ten times a day), but it was hard to concentrate when he thought of experiencing a wedding night for real. Like, the kind of wedding night the Puritans had 400 years ago when you weren’t allowed to see your bride’s ankles before the wedding or whatever, let alone kiss or figure out what positions you liked.

When he thought about it, it seemed like he should feel more confident. After all, he was the one who had experience right? Lalita was the shy blushing virgin here, not him. As soon as he thought that, he nearly choked on his coffee at the idea of Lalita as a shy blushing anything. Blushing virgin, yeah right. She’d probably stare at him with that ball-shrivelling gaze of hers and say, “Is that all?” or “I expected more from such a powerful American imperialist,” or something equally devastating and politically-loaded. She probably expected fireworks and out-of-body experiences, like in romance novels (if she read them, and shit, he realised, he didn’t even know what she liked to read).

He sent her a quick text (she was out shopping with her sisters for something else they absolutely positively could not get married without).

What is your favourite book?

Her reply came 15 minutes later, and when he read it, he missed his chair and fell straight onto the worn carpet of his hotel room.

Great Expectations ;) xox