Note: This skips now to practically the last scene. I always hated we never actually heard Lalita say she loved Darcy, to him or anyone. I needed real closure, like Darcy and Lizzie had right after Jane and Bingley's proposal. This is the best I can do.
Chapter Five (Last)
Darcy couldn't stop touching his lip, it was throbbing by now, though the pain seemed trivial at this point. His best friend was marrying the woman whom he loved, and she returned that love. Darcy should be ecstatic. But instead, he couldn't stop thinking of what Mrs. Bakshi said a few minutes ago, trying to get Balraj to fix Lalita up with his own family. Just a few days ago he had laughed off her attempt to marry Jaya to Brad, but now when Lalita was her focus it didn't seem funny at all, especially since it didn't occur to anyone he might be a hopeful candidate. Did he really ruin his chances back in LA?
Lalita had been staring at him since her mother's comment and it looked like she was horrified, but was it because she now realized her mother would be devoting most of her attention to getting her married or was there more to it? Darcy sat in silence, trying to pleasantly listen to the plans being made and everyone's chatter, but he felt lost. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore, he needed to leave.
Standing up, everyone stopped and looked at him. "I'm sorry to interrupt, I just think I better be…"
"Letting me clean up your face. I'll just take Will to the bathroom." Lalita then moved across the room, taking his hand and leading him away. He wanted to believe this was a good sign, but maybe she wanted to let him down gently in private.
The bathroom was down the hallway, and they were definitely out of earshot. She opened the mirror where her hosts kept the medicines. Trying to stall for time, he asked, "You know where they keep the first aid?"
"Yes, well," Lalita said, "Lakhi had cut herself when we were here before and I remembered they came in here to get a Band-Aid."
She pulled out disinfectant, wipes and ointment, and then concentrated on unwrapping everything. Darcy leaned on the wall, realizing how tired he was. He had come straight from LA to Balrag's home then to Lalita to only run around looking for Wickham. He was exhausted.
He made a decision, "Lalita, you really don't have to, I can go if you want…"
"Why would I want that?" She asked, looking quite serious, her eyes brimming with tears. Maybe she was nervous about hurting a man who helped save her sister.
"Because you made it clear how you felt about me. Back in LA. I've been a pri-err, jerk and I nearly ruined your sister's happiness as well as my friend's. Why would you want me around?"
"Will, you resolved it. They are engaged now. And after Lakhi-"
"Yeah, after Lakhi. Again, that's my fault. If I had just told you about Wickham from day one, that could have been avoided. Lalita, I'm sorry. If he had gotten away with running off with her, I'd never have forgiven myself."
Lalita was crying now. She reached out and took his hand. "Will, that's not your fault. The truth is, if you had told me, I probably wouldn't have believed it. I was a fool, my earlier impression of you had me convinced…oh, those signs of Wickham were there all along, I just chose to ignore them."
He stared at her hand holding his. Did she feel the same? "I was an ass in India, to you, to everyone. It's because of my callous behavior that led you to believe Wickham in the first place."
She lifted his chin so they were eye to eye. "We can keep doing this, blaming each other over something we can't change, the past, but I'd rather think about other things, like the future."
"You…do you want a future with me? Some of it will require living in LA, at least part of the time…"
"I'd travel to the ends of the world with you," she said smiling. "I never understood that before…understanding women who would drop everything to live with someone in a foreign land. But I can't imagine living without you. On the plane flight here, I was in turmoil because I knew life would be miserable without you."
He smiled a little bit, "That's funny. It's why I came here to explain. I was in agony after you left and I didn't get a chance to explain. Or not so much explain but rectify what I had done."
"There was this part of me that was hoping you would come." His stare led her to go on, "Naturally I wouldn't have admitted it though."
He grinned. "Naturally."
She looked at his lip then and said, "We really need to clean this up."
"Oh, yeah," he said, removing his jacket. "Go ahead; I'll be brave and strong."
She brushed one swab across his lip and he immediately yelped. "That's your idea of brave and strong?"
"Hey, I've been up since yesterday, or the day before or something. You should give me a break."
She paused at his comment, then continued but as gently as possible. "I should tell you, I didn't have feelings for Wickham. Not like that."
He flinched but not at the pain this time. He had wondered about their relationship, they seemed so close in India. He nearly went mad with jealousy. But he hadn't wanted to ask, been afraid of her answer.
She went on, "I admit he was attractive and charming, but what made him different than everyone else is he knew you, and in spite of my insistence that I wanted nothing to do with you, I couldn't get enough hearing stories about you, even if they were negative."
"Again, I'm sorry I acted like such a…"
"No, Will," she said. "What I mean is, our whole relationship was spent talking most of the time about you. It never occurred to me that was all we had until he left. I missed him some in the beginning, but it faded very quickly. Then coming to LA, you brought up Johnny's name, forcing me to admit I didn't miss him."
"Flying back to LA with you, sort of pinning you to your seat like that, I always took it as a good sign you didn't force your sisters to sit between us."
She laughed. "I wasn't sure what to do, so startled at your gesture. But the ride was fairly enjoyable." She was blushing now.
He grinned. He had watched her sleep and covered her up with his jacket. He fell asleep himself. When he was awake she was up and his jacket back in his lap. "I didn't snore did I?"
"No," she returned. "I woke up before you and watched you sleep. I kept your jacket on until I knew you were waking."
"Really?" She was done now and putting everything away.
"Honestly, Will, you have no idea what effect you were having on me?"
"Not then. Or later. I just wanted you to get to know the real me, hoping maybe then you wouldn't hate me so much."
She closed the medicine door. She walked over to him the other side of the doorway. "I don't know if I ever really hated you. You drove me crazy, as you say, but if I really hated you, you wouldn't have bothered me so much."
He laughed. "Well, wish I had that advice then."
She laughed too. "Of course, I didn't love you then either, not until I got to know you in…"
He cut her off, "Wait. What did you just say?"
She stopped and stared at him. "Hmmm?"
"Did you say you loved me?"
Shyly she nodded. Without thinking, he grabbed her and kissed her, ignoring the pain on his lips. Though startled at first, she reciprocated.
After a few breathless moments they parted. Looking around to make sure no one saw, he looked back at her, "Sorry. I know I'm not supposed to just grab you and kiss you like that but I think for now you're going to have to restrict saying those words until we are completely alone otherwise I might lose it again."
Her face was practically glowing. She leaned in close but just out of reach and whispered, "You're going to have to get used to it, Mr. Darcy. I love you and you're going to have to learn to live with it."
His heart was on fire. "With pleasure, Ms Bakshi." And he leaned forward for another kiss. When they parted, they walked hand in hand back to the living room. Things still needed to be settled and neither wanted to take away from Jaya and Balraj's moment. They could talk to her parents later.