Author's Note: And so this story comes to an end. I can't believe it, but it happened. I have all of you wonderful reviewers to thank for that, because if it wasn't for you guys, I probably would have stopped after chapter 10. And thank you so, so much for all the reviews of my last chapter! I couldn't believe how strong of a response I got after having been MIA for so long. You guys are the greatest readers anyone could ever ask for. You gave my ego a much needed boost, and the inspiration to finish this puppy. I can't thank you enough! And now for the cheesy ending, because I'm a huge cheese ball.
He wasn't sure how long he had been sitting there, staring at the empty chair in front of his desk. He felt numb. Betty was leaving. Tucson. Henry. Love. She had hesitated when he asked her if she loved him. That's something she should have known without a doubt, right? So why did she hesitate?
Daniel tore his eyes away from the chair and ran his hand through his hair as he let out a deep sigh. Betty didn't belong in Tucson, it just wasn't right. She belonged by Daniel's side, cheering him on, showing him the right path, being proud of him, and crying on his shoulder when things got too hard for her to handle on her own. He needed her, and he was pretty sure she needed him too. She didn't belong in Tucson.
Daniel shook his head, then he stood up and put on his jacket. There was nothing he could do. If she wanted to marry Henry and run off to Tucson, then that was her choice to make. But… could he let her do that? Just let her go? Maybe it was time to listen to his own advice. Follow your heart. His heart was begging him to find Betty and tell her everything that he'd been bottling up for the past three months. And it was trying to make him believe that that would make a difference, that maybe she'd stay if she knew how Daniel felt. What did he have to lose?
Daniel walked out of his dark office and stopped in front of Betty's desk. He picked up her mangled stuffed bunny and laughed. It was a total mess but she loved it anyway. He couldn't let this woman walk out of his life forever. No matter how much he tried to tell himself that she'd be better off with Henry, he just couldn't believe it anymore. He had to tell her.
The town car pulled up in front of the Suarez home and Daniel took a deep breath. This was it, no turning back now. He stepped out of the car and wrapped his coat around him tighter. He walked up the steps to the porch, and he slowly reached his fist up to knock on the door. His heart was going wild in his chest as he heard footsteps getting closer from behind the door. When it opened, his breath caught in his throat.
"Daniel? What are you doing here so late?" asked Betty, hugging her arms to her chest to shield herself from the cold.
Daniel was silent. He was trying to get his voice to work, but it didn't want to cooperate with him. He looked away from Betty and took another deep breath.
"Daniel?" asked Betty again, this time unable to hide her concern.
Daniel looked back at her and blurted, "Don't go. Don't say yes."
"Don't go to Tucson," Daniel said, his eyes pleading with her.
"Oh, Daniel, I—"
"No, Betty, listen. Don't go to Tucson, don't say yes to Henry."
"I'm in love with you, Betty." Daniel held his breath, waiting for her to respond. She just stood there wide-eyed, her mouth slightly open. He couldn't take the silence, so he went on. "You give me… the greatest reason to live, Betty, and I can't just let that kind of gift leave me forever."
"No, just… let me finish before I chicken out. I love you Betty… and I know that on paper it looks like we don't belong together, but my heart says otherwise."
He saw a hint of a smile on Betty's lips. He felt his chances getting stronger.
"I love you Betty, that's the only thing in my life that I've ever been completely sure of." He grinned as he continued, "And to borrow a phrase from one of those cheesy chick flicks you gave me, 'You make me want to be a better man.'"
Betty choked out a laugh and said, "As Good as it Gets isn't cheesy, it has Jack Nicholson."
Daniel shrugged and said, "Well, Jack Nicholson did up the cool factor, but it was still cheesy."
Betty smiled as she shook her head at him and rolled her eyes. "Are you finished now? Can I say what I was trying to say?"
Daniel stepped closer to her and said, "Mmm… no. There's still one more thing." He grabbed Betty's waist and pulled her in for a soft, lingering kiss. He wanted this one to last, because it could be the last time that he would ever get to taste her lips again. He soaked up her strawberry lip balm and pulled her closer as he felt her melt into his arms. When she kissed back, he could have sworn that she was in love with him. He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers. "Now I'm done," he whispered. He dropped his hands from Betty's waist and stepped back, waiting for her reaction, waiting for that inevitable rejection.
Betty cleared her throat and nervously brushed a stand of hair behind her ear. She looked at Daniel and said, "I already told him no."
"What?" Daniel suddenly forgot how to breathe. He couldn't believe it, wouldn't let himself believe it.
Betty laughed lightly and said, "Daniel, I've been trying to tell you. I'm not going to marry Henry. You told me to follow my heart, and it just wasn't with him."
Daniel felt himself smile as he asked, "It wasn't?"
"No… it wasn't." Betty took a long pause, and then said, "It was with you Daniel, it is with you. Always has been. It just took me awhile to realize it."
Daniel laughed. He couldn't stop the giddy feeling that decided to run through him. Betty Suarez was in love with Daniel Meade, and that was all the knowledge that he needed to survive in this world.
Daniel grinned as he stepped closer to Betty and said, "What do you say we go crash another wedding?"
Betty flashed him that glorious smile that he loved so much, and he knew right then and there that she was the woman that he would spend the rest of his life with.