Worth the Wait

This was formerly part of a one shot series but now I've decided to just focus on Daniel and Amber and them finding their way back to each other. Enjoy!

1 - Happiness Looks Good on You

Raspberry cookies. Raspberry cookies. That was the only thought running through Amber's mind as she helped her five-year-old daughter from the back of the Infinity and set her two little feet firmly on the ground.

"Come along, Rosie," Amber said, threading her milky white fingers with Rosie's little mocha ones. "Those raspberry cookies sell out fast and if we don't get them soon, Mommy's going to hurl."

"Mmm, cookies," Rosie said, rubbing her chubby little tummy with her free hand. "I like cookies!"

"Me too. And they are one of the few things I can eat now that don't make Mommy violently ill."

"Why are you sick, Mommy?" Rosie asked, concern darkening her chocolate-brown eyes.

Amber offered Rosie a smile as she hustled them through the door of Crimson Lights. "Not sick-sick. Just … well, you'll understand it when you're older." How did one explain morning sickness to a little child anyway? Amber hadn't figured that part out yet but she also needed to assure Rosie that while she felt like she was dying, she wasn't actually going to do so. "I'll be okay. The cookies here always settle my stomach. But they go fast so let's hope there are still some left."

The coffee shop was bustling with early morning caffeine-seekers on their way to work. Amber and Rosie got online. There were six people ahead of them and from what Amber could see, the pastry display case was emptying out quickly. She saw there were only half a dozen of her much-needed raspberry cookies left. No one take them, no one take them, she silently chanted. Baby will revolt. I will revolt.

"Mommy," Rosie said, tilting her head up to look at Amber. "Where do babies come from?"

Amber didn't know whether to laugh or choke on her own spittle at that one. "Well, uh …" She coughed. "Your Dad will have to explain that. He's so much better at making sense of that kind of stuff than I am."

"Mattie says you have a baby in your tummy," Rosie said.

"Well, Mattie's right. But how does she know that?"

"She heard her Mommy talking about it with her Daddy."

"I see," Amber said. "Your dad and I wanted to be the ones to tell you but well, surprise!"

"I will be a big sister," Rosie said, puffing out her little chest proudly.

"The best big sister," Amber said, unable to resist tickling her little girl under the arms. Rosie howled with laughter as she tried twisting free. "Mommy, stop!" She begged, giggling uncontrollably. Amber only relented when the line moved forward.

She turned back to watch the display case. Dylan McAvoy was talking to someone she couldn't see. Amber watched in horror as he slid open the door to the pastry case and with a gloved hand removed the last of the raspberry cookies, setting them into a little pink box.

Amber sighed, muttering, "shit" under the breath.

"Mommy, you said a bad word," Rosie said.

Amber sighed again and looked at her daughter. "I didn't mean for you to hear that but since you did, please don't tell your Dad. He hates when I say bad words. Oh, and never say that word yourself. You're right - it's bad."

Rosie nodded. "Okay, I promise I won't say that word." She wrapped her arms around Amber's waist and held on tight. "Are we still getting cookies?"

"For you, yes, since mine just got taken," Amber said. "I promised you a little after-breakfast snack on your day off from school."

"Yay!" Rosie enthused. "I love snacks."

"I know you do." Amber couldn't resist smiling as her daughter danced around on the balls of her tiny feet. Even though Amber was going to puke any minute, nothing could make her smile like her daughter. She had longed for a child for so many years and Rosie was the light of her life. She couldn't imagine loving anyone in the whole world more than she loved Rosie, but somehow knew that she would love the new baby just as much.

The line moved forward as the person with the box of raspberry cookies that were meant for her scooted out of the way. Amber stared at them accusingly for a moment until she realized that behind that huge handlebar mustache was a very handsome, very familiar face.

"Daniel," she whispered as his eyes fell on her.

He said in a hushed, almost reverent voice. Then louder, "Amber, is that you?"

Amber nodded. "Guilty as charged."

"Ohmigod … Wow. You look great," Daniel said. He moved over to her as she watched him, her gaze unwavering. Somehow she had never expected to see him again, let alone talk to him. It was a little humbling. They hadn't exactly parted on the best of terms. When she moved back to Genoa City with Marcus for Marcus's job, she had heard he'd been gone for years by then.

"You do too, but what's with the pornstache?" Amber couldn't resist ribbing him.

Daniel laughed and fingered his facial hair. "Oh, not you too. You don't know how much flack I get for this. But I wanted to try something different."

"It's different alright," Amber said.

"Mommy, who is that man?" Rosie asked, announcing her presence rather loudly.

Amber smiled. "Honey, this is Daniel Romalotti. He's an old … friend of mine." That seemed like the safest answer although the truth was, at one time, he'd been a hell of a lot more.

"Amber, you have a little girl," Daniel said in awe.

"Yes, yes, I do," Amber said.

"I know how much you wanted kids," Daniel said with a smile. He set the pink pastry box down on a table and closed the rest of the distance between them. He hesitated for a moment before giving Amber a quick, slightly awkward hug. His skin was warm where it brushed hers. He turned to Rosie next and held out his hand to her. "And who might you be?"

"My name is Rosie," the little girl said proudly. "Rosie Forrester. I can spell my name." She proceeded to do so, carefully sounding out each letter perfectly. Bless Daniel, he managed to look impressed.

"That was terrific," Daniel said. "It's nice to meet you too, R-O-S-I-E. I have a daughter as well."

"What's her name?"

"Lucy. She's about your age."

"Cool!" Rosie said. "Is she nice?"

"Super nice," Daniel said. "But I may be biased." He laughed and turned back to Amber. "I had no idea you were in town."

"I didn't know you were either."

"I'm just here for a while… To see my mom. She's going through some stuff."

"I am sorry to hear that," Amber said. She was sure she knew what "stuff" he was referring to. Thanks to the tabloids, everyone knew about Phyllis's "stuff". She had banged her brother-in-law and it was all anyone could talk about.

"I was just heading out to see her," Daniel said. "But … Can I buy you a cup of coffee first? Maybe a muffin or something for Rosie?"

Amber smiled. "I would like that but -"

"I would love that," Rosie said. "Except I don't like muffins. I like cookies!"

"Okay, cookies it is then," Daniel said. He looked at Amber. "What do you say… Mom?"

"Rosie can have some but the kind I like are already gone."

"Oh well you should try these then," Daniel said, grabbing for the pastry box and opening it. He waved the raspberry cookies under her nose enticingly. "You'll never want for plain chocolate chip again."

Amber smiled gratefully. "That would be great. Those actually are my favorites too."

"Don't tell me I bought the ones you came for," Daniel said with a chuckle.

"You did, but it's okay," Amber said.

"Well, here. Take one, take all of them."

"One will do," Amber said. "They settle my stomach so I try to get them every morning."

"What do you mean? You're not sick or something… are you?"

"Not the way you're thinking," Amber said. She hadn't intended on mentioning what ailed her but found herself saying, "I'm pregnant and these things are what the baby craves."

Daniel smiled at her. "I would have never guessed. You're in perfect shape." He coughed awkwardly. "I mean -"

"Thanks, but I still have a ways to go. Soon I will blow up like a balloon."

He chuckled as he held the box out to her and she selected a cookie. She realized suddenly that he was staring at her hand. The hand where a diamond gleamed brightly. "You're married?"

"Engaged," Amber said with a little smile. She took the cookie and stared at it.

"Well, who's the lucky guy? Do I know him?"

"I don't think so. His name is Marcus Forrester. He's Rosie and this baby's father."

Daniel nodded slowly. "Well… congratulations, Amber."

She nibbled the edges of the cookie lightly. "Thanks."

He offered Rosie one of the cookies and she munched on it zestfully. Amber ruffled her curly hair and smiled at her fondly.

"It seems like everything worked out for you," Daniel said. "Happiness … It looks good on you, Amber."

Amber felt a little teary-eyed at hearing Daniel say that. She was happy - happier than she would have thought she could be again. Certainly happier than she deserved to be. She had shared so many dreams with Daniel but she reminded herself that he was the past, and Marcus and their family were the future.

"I am happy," Amber said. "I have everything… I wanted."

"I'm glad," Daniel said. He stared at her for a long moment before his cell phone suddenly buzzed in his pocket. He reached for it. "Sorry, I'd better get this," he said.

Amber waved her hand. "It's fine." She went back to nibbling on her cookie as Daniel talked on the phone.

When he finished his conversation, he hung up. "That was my sister Summer. She and my mom had another fight and they're both really upset. I better go try to do some damage control."

Amber nodded. "Alright… Well, it was nice to see you."

Daniel smiled. "It was nice to see you too. Take care okay?" He slowly reached for her hand, gave it a gentle squeeze, and then headed for the exit.

"Daniel, your cookies!" Amber called to him.

"They're yours now," he said and gave her a smile before rushing out.

"Mommy, that was a nice man," Rosie commented as she reached for another cookie.

"You're right, Rosie, that is a really nice man."

So Daniel and Amber ran into each other again huh? And she's engaged to Marcus Forrester! What do you think about that? Do you think Marcus and Amber will make it down the aisle? Are Daniel and Amber really over forever? Don't count on it (wink wink)!

Thanks for reading. Please review if you have a free moment.