Synopsis/Spoilers: The evolution of Mode's newest potential super couple, Henry and Betty from Henry's POV. The first chapter concentrates on Episode 5 ("The Lyin', the Witch, and the Wardrobe"), and the initial meeting introduced in episode 11 ("Swag") never happened.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ugly Betty, although I wish I did (in particular my own Henry). Thus, I have no formal connection to ABC, Silent H Productions, or anybody/anything else in connection with the show. I am but a humble, devoted viewer. Please don't sue, please credit me if you use excerpts (or my character Jacobs) of my story, and please give me your constructive criticism.
Author's Note: Yes, all the facts I use are true. At least, according to the Internet they are. The least I can do it try to be an authentic Henry. Thanks for all the feedback in advance!
Chapter One: One-tenth of a Second
Fact: The retina processes about ten one-million-point images per second.
Love at first sight takes one-tenth of a second—that's how long it takes the brain to process an image. Seemingly useless fact, but it's just something Henry knew.
Here's what else he knew: It took him exactly one-tenth of second after setting his gaze on Betty Suarez to realize he was smitten.
Henry hadn't realized he was going to fall head over heels that day. If he had, he would have done a double Windsor knot, or pressed his pants, just any little extra bit of effort to look nice.
Nor could he have had any indication that his life would change that fateful Tuesday. His morning was textbook typical—He woke to his alarm (6:00 am sharp), showered, shaved, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, and dressed himself in his immaculately clean blazer, dress shirt, and slacks. With his briefcase in his hand and a whole-wheat bagel in his mouth, he rushed out his studio loft, early, with no worries about being late to the office.
Henry was a senior associate for Meade Publication's internal audit department. Impressive, but as he always humbly said, he was one out of 50 who held the position. Still, at twenty-nine, he was financially stable and sufficiently content with his place in the world.
Nevertheless, Henry often wondered how he ended up working for such a posh company, like he did this Tuesday on the commute to work. Swanky and sophisticated he was not. "Collected and confident with a deep respect for simplicity and gentility" was his motto.
In fact, it was his essay describing his creed and how it would bring back honor to the corrupt world of accounting that earned him a scholarship to NYU'S prestigious Stern School of Business. Six years, and an M.S. & M.B.A. later, Henry was a recruiter's dream—all the Big Four wanted him. But Henry had fallen in love with the city since he moved to New York—he loved the cabbies, the flash-happy tourists, the American Ballet, the Met, the couples gliding across the ice hand-in-hand at Rockefeller Center …he loved it all too much to give it up for a 14-hour working day in a stiff, dimly lit cubicle. So, much to the horror of his family and friends back home, he declined all offers and began looking for other employment options.
Two years ago, Henry heard through the grapevine that Meade was looking for new hires. Every New Yorker knew about Meade Publications. There was talk that CEO Bradford Meade was set to be the next Rupert Murdoch. A position there meant job security for life—any company would hire someone who had worked for Meade. But for Henry, what appealed to him most was the chance to rub elbows with the political analysts writing about the crisis in Darfur, the critics whose cultured palates could tell him why caviar was supposed to taste good, and the well-travelled journalist who could tell him which hot spot to visit with his vacation time. And so he had filed an application, charmed them with his knowledge of Sarbanes Oxley, and had walked out with an offer all in one day.
Those were the reasons he joined the Meade Publications, and he loved his job, but one of his main reasons for staying was—
"Happy Halloween, bwahahaha!"
Startled, Henry let out a quiet yelp, being brought out of his reverie. Facing him with a devilishly boyish grin was his best friend, and fellow coworker, Jacobs…well, nobody knew Jacobs first name. That was something between only him, his "momma," and God.
He had met Jacobs his first day on the job. Henry had gotten there at precisely 8:00 am, an hour earlier than he was required to clock in. He figured there would be paper work, and that he would inevitably get lost.
He punched the "up" button to the elevator and nervously clutched the handle to his briefcase. Unbeknownst to him, a lithe but well defined man of similar age, dressed in a stunning camel hair blazer from Armani's Purple line, had crept up from behind, nonchalantly sipping on his coffee. When the doors open, the man crept past him.
"Floor," he said, dully, as the doors closed.
That seemed to perk his curiosity. For the first time since the two had stood next to one another, the man looked at Henry, squinting his eyes and analyzing him…critically. After a few moments, his faced relaxed, and Henry was rewarded with a small smirk.
"So, you're the new guy?"
"Huh," Henry fumbled, his mouth suddenly dry.
"The new guy in Accounting. 3rd floor? I'm Jacobs by the way."
"Um, yeah, nice to meet you, I'm—"
"My new wingman. We're going to make an awesome team."
The elevator dinged to let its passengers know they had arrived at their chosen destination. Again, with a graceful swoop, Jacobs stepped out of the elevator and motioned Henry to follow. With one hand on his shoulder, Jacobs ushered his new mate out.
"So, my friend, how do you take your coffee?"
"Crap! Jacobs, you scared me."
Again, Jacobs just smirked and thrust a cup in Henry's direction.
"That was kind of the point. Spirit of Halloween and all that nonsense. Here's your frappuccino, metrosexually served, per usual."
Henry gratefully accepted the cup, relishing the first drops as they trickled down his throat.
"I never took you to be the festive type, Jacobs."
"Are you kidding me? Hot, slutty nurses; hot, slutty policewomen; hot slutty Halloween. It's the one time of year Lycra is not fashion suicide. I'm all about "tricking" and "treating," if you know what I mean."
Henry couldn't help but smile at his friend's less than subtle sexual innuendo. If Henry was the poster child for accountants everywhere, Jacobs was its rebel. Jacobs was more worried about how he looked in his designer suits than whether or not Meade was in trouble with the IRS. Incredibly gifted, he worked taxation because "any girl will put out for a man who does their taxes. It's the ultimate aphrodisiac." Particularly the women at Meade, and more specifically, the women of Mode Magazine, to whom Jacobs was an expert on.
The elevator chimed, and the two were thrown in amongst the mob of Meade employees. It was their daily bonding ritual—Starbucks and manly talk. While the two waited for the pushing to subside as everybody managed to squeeze in Jacobs took a sip of his coffee, sputtering and gagging. Everybody's heads turned.
"Are you still taking your coffee black? Why don't you just wave your white flag of surrender and add sugar & cream," Henry inquired, pretending to take another sip from his own cup to hide his laughter.
"Please, everybody knows women like strong men," Jacobs scoffed. "And nothing says 'strong' like potent death. It grows hair on your chest. You might consider trying it sometime," he sneered as they passed by an eavesdropper, off onto the third floor.
"I'll try to remember that, Jacobs."
"Do," he replied, distractingly as he thumbed through some files. "It's tidbits like that which will come in handy." Not finding what he was looking for, he flopped them on the secretary's desk. Taking one final swig of his coffee, Jacobs threw his cup into the trash over his shoulder, leaving Henry standing there alone.
"Just think, my friend, today could be the day your life changes forever."
The screen was winking at him. In florescent green.
Henry inwardly groaned, as he took off his glasses and shut his eyes. He had been staring at the computer too long. One more T-table and he was going to scream.
"Whatcha doing, slackie?"
Without evening opening his eyes to reply, Henry sighed, "I'm not, I was just tak-"
"Yeah, bored already. Want to have some fun?"
Reluctantly, Henry opened his eyes. He was welcomed by Jacobs face from the nose up peering over his cubicle. Upon recognition, Jacobs wiggled his eyebrows in jest. Again, Henry couldn't help but laugh at his off-the-wall friend.
"Okay, I cave. What do you have in mind?"
With Henry's verbal invitation, Jacobs whipped around, plopping himself in the spare chair next to Henry.
"Oh, it's good. A bunch of us guys convinced Robert to see how much honey he could eat before he gets sick for $50.00."
"Why would he agree to do something like that?"
"Henry," Jacobs sighed, exasperatingly hitting the Salma Hayek bobble head (a gift from him to Henry so that he could recognize the epitome of beautiful), "Because he's bored, like the rest of us. Don't question a thing like this, just embrace it. Halloween is a time for tom-foolery, no?"
Henry stood up and peered around him. There were people chatting, George was sleeping, but nobody seemed all that focused at the task at hand. Feeling himself relax, he turned to face Jacobs and smiled.
"You're right. I'm in."
"Great. You have to put $5 into the pool. And we all voted for you to get the honey, since you're the grown up around here," Jacobs said hurriedly, rushing out of the cubicle.
"Wait, where am I supposed to get honey in the City?"
Disappointed at his failed attempt to escape further conversation, his friend turned around slowly and shrugged his shoulders. Tapping his foot on the carpet, he posed purposefully, looking pensive while showing off his toned ass.
"I know! Go up to the Mode floor and steal theirs."
"You can do that?"
"Are you kidding me? One, they are kinky bitches, and two, Mode employees don't eat—they just order food that coordinates with their outfits. I bet they have plenty, just ask for Amanda." And with that, he sauntered off, leaving Henry flustered and on a mission.
Henry's first tentative step onto the Mode floor came down with a loud thud. Wincing at the sound, he froze in mid-walk.
Way to make an entry, you klutz.
In two years at working for Meade Publications, Henry had somehow managed to avoid the white marble floors of Mode. This was mostly because Jacobs called first dibs on any of the files that came from the publication, but Henry knew deep down inside it was because he realized they had nothing to offer him. Whenever Jacobs would return from a visit, he would chatter enthusiastically about how Mode had the prettiest women in the entire building. But that was all he said about them. Nothing about the girls being funny, or witty, or intelligent. Just pretty. And that wasn't enough for Henry.
Which meant he had nothing to be nervous about. Get a hold of yourself, Henry.
SQUEAK! This time the noise was undeniably abrasive. A bevy of perfectly made up faces pouted their collagen-filled lips and glared at him. Blushing, Henry bowed his head as he cautiously padded the floor up to the circular reception desk.
"Hi, I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for Amanda."
"Um, if you bothered to look up, you'd see Amanda's not at her desk right now."
Startled by the abrupt and clipped voice, Henry forced himself to raise his head. Indeed, no one was at the desk—he had been talking to air.
"But," the woman dressed in a skin tight, Chanel sweater dress, retracted, smiling brightly after finally catching a glimpse of his adorable features, "is there something I can do for you?"
Yikes. "Um, no, thank you. I'm really just looking for Amanda. I was told she was the go-to girl."
Narrowing her eyes, upset at the apparent rejection, the model whipped her head to her right, her amber curls rippling in waves.
"Well, in that case, she's with Betty."
Nodding thanks, Henry spun on his heel in the direction the model had motioned towards.
And that's when he saw her. Madame Butterfly.
There she was in all her purple and gold, glitter-winged glory.
Now, Henry knew he was very smart. He could quote Shakespeare, he knew the names of all the Supreme Court justices, he knew all the countries that made up Africa…and yet, at that moment, Henry's brain shut down. His breath grew a little shallow; his palms grew sweaty; his heart beat faster; and his pupils dilated in pure admiration for the fiery brunette who had the courage to dress up so jubilantly in a place that clearly frowned upon anything that wasn't made by an Italian.
Dear god, it's just a magnificent sight. I should say something before they catch me gawking. But, what?
He stood there, glued to the floor in frustration, desperately racking his brain for the right thing to say. But before he could help himself, he had uttered,"Nymphalis milberti?"
Madame Butterfly and her coworker, some blonde version of the model he had just talked to, whipped their heads around.
Great, just great, Henry. They are going to think you're drunk.
He opened his mouth to try again: "Ha! Nymphalis milberti!"
The two just stared back him, mouths agape.
Idiot. Play it cool, he thought, placing his hands on his hips and smiling.
"Milbert's Tortoiseshell," he inquired, as if to explain that no, he wasn't crazy or drunk, just incredibly verbally-challenged.
But, to his surprise, Madame Butterfly didn't retract in disgust. Instead, as she rose up to his level, she flashed him a wide grin.
Oh, her braces match her costume. That's adorable.
"Oh, I don't know. The pattern just said 'butterfly'."
Henry laughed. "It's just something I know. One of several things, actually. Circumference of the earth? Know it!"
Oh my god. Did I just do windmill arms? Here I am trying to show her I'm not an idiot, and I do windmill arms.
Somewhere in his brain, Henry registered the blonde muttering something, but he was too fixated on the butterfly beauty in front of him. It was probably some comment about how he was making a complete fool of himself.
"Well, I should probably get back down to accounting. We paid a guy fifty bucks to see how much honey he can drink before he makes himself sick."
Henry knew he was oversharing, and he felt himself grinning like an idiot. But he couldn't help it. She was just radiant, a plethora of vibrancy and smiles. It was because of this that he couldn't be held accountable for what came out of his mouth next.
"You should come down...later…if you can."
His forwardness shocked him. And it apparently shocked his invitee, as she stumbled through a weak half-acceptance.
Now you blew it. Just smile and run like Hell.
So, smiling what he felt was surely going to be his last smile at her, Henry began to retreat with his tail between his legs.
Did she just say what I think she said? Henry slowly turned around in curiosity.
"The circumference of the earth….it's just something I know."
Adjusting his glasses while he took a moment to absorb the intense happiness he was feeling, Henry flashed one last boyish grin in her direction before heading off.
Madame Butterfly had sent his heart aflutter.
"Dude, where have you been all morning? Robert's already gone through two bottles. His face got stuck to the desk when he took a five-minute break to rest!"
Henry looked up apologetically, and more than a little bit guilty, at his friend. He hadn't meant to ignore the guys, but he kept on finding himself drawn to the Mode floor. He had caught glimpses of Madame Butterfly the first few times he happened to find his way down there, but the last couple of hours had proved worthless. Defeated, he had returned to his desk to daydream.
"I'm sorry, Jacobs. I think it's been all the coffee. I've had to take a lot of trips to the restroom."
He could see that Jacobs didn't buy it. Any true friend wouldn't—Henry monitored his caffeine intake very closely—he never went above the 4.3 cup average a day. That meant one in the morning, one at lunch, one for break, and one if he had to pull a late night.
"Really? Is that so? Because rumor has it you've been stalking the halls of Mode Magazine."
"Holy shit, you mean it's true?"
Before Henry could protest, Jacobs plopped down on his desk, crossed he arms, and furrowed his brow as if to say he meant business. It was no use—the truth had to come out.
"Well….let's just say you were right about Mode girls being the prettiest and leave it at that."
But of course Jacobs wouldn't.
"Fuck, my wingman is ready to fly solo! So who is it? Is it Jessica from makeup; she always wears the shortest skirts. No, I bet it was Monica from hair…"
"No! I'm not sure who it is, actually. Just that she makes an adorable butterfly. I think her name is…Betty something."
Jacobs froze, his gum falling out of his wide open mouth.
"Betty, as in Betty Suarez," he whispered, horrified.
"You know her?"
"Holy fuck, Henry," Jacobs exclaimed, dropping down from the desk and crouching beside his friend, "Everybody knows about Betty Suarez. She showed up in a freaking Mexican poncho on her first day at Mode. MODE, Henry, MODE. New York's premiere fashion publication. She's a fucking legend."
Henry felt his shoulders droop in disappointment. Not because he felt any differently about Betty, but it was apparent that all of Mead Publications failed to understand her brilliance. She did not sound stupid but cute. Admittedly, maybe a little bit awkward, but that was what made her so endearing to him. She was like him—a little fish in a big pond, a bit out of the water.
The two men sat in silent for a few resounding moments. Suddenly, Jacobs eyes grew wide, and he whistled under his breath.
"Wow, so you really like the bumblebee girl," he stated, more to himself than to Henry, as if trying to convince himself of what he had heard.
"Butterfly, actually. Nymphalis milberti, specifically," Henry corrected, chuckling to himself.
Jacobs blinked. "Yeah, whatever," he sighed, shaking his head, "So what are you going to do about her?"
"Oh," Henry started, fading out quickly. He had no idea. Chasing girls wasn't really something he did that often. He opened his mouth to try again, and then closed it in defeat.
"Jesus, Henry, has being my wingman all these years taught you nothing?"
"You mean besides how to get slapped on the first date?"
Jacobs glared at him. "I'm going to ignore that, since you obviously have caught some virus that impairs your judgment. Ask the girl out for lunch."
Henry stared at his friend in disbelief. "Really, it's that easy?"
"Sure. It's just food, Henry. And by the looks of your girl, she likes plenty of it."
He had been hoping that it would take him a while to find her; that way he'd have enough time plan what he would say and calm his nerves. However, when he did find Betty, it looked like she was more worse for wear than he was.
"May I help?"
Betty whipped her head around and she desperately clung to her ripped wing with one hand, and the stapler in the other. He had surprised her, and he feared not happily so.
"Huh? Oh, no, I'm good. Thanks."
Henry hesitated for a moment before resolutely deciding he wasn't going to blow it with her a second time that day.
"Um, if you were good you could leave here and join Cirque du Soleil," he joked, grabbing the stapler from her.
She stopped protesting. Henry would have liked to think it was because secretly she liked the idea of him being so close to her, but in reality, her phone rang. Looking back at him, he flashed her his best smile.
"That should do it," he uttered, placing the stapler down and gathering his files, "Now, I want you to try to avoid crowded subway cars. Oh, and blue jays. Natural predators," he babbled, smiling nervously.
"Right, okay, thanks," she giggled softly, retuning the smile.
She smiled at me! Now's the time, Henry. Just ask her!
"So anyway," he began timidly, "uh, do you think maybe you'd like to go get some lunch later?"
"Oh, yeah, okay. It's cool," he muttered, not daring to look her in the eye. His heart heavy, he turned to make a quick exit.
"No…yes! I meant yes!"
"If that's still okay…"
She said yes! "Yeah, I think I still may have an opening. 12:30?"
Grinning from ear to ear, unable to believe his luck, Henry waved goodbye and headed straight back to the third floor. The people in the elevator stared at him as he grinned like a fool, laughing to himself as he replayed the awkwardly perfect conversation back in his head.
Practically skipping out of the elevator, he took a detour to pass by Jacobs's desk. Sure enough he was there, surrounded by eight other men and Robert with a honey bear bottle stuffed in his mouth. While the rest of the men chanted at Robert to keep on chugging, Jacob paused and cocked an eyebrow.
"How's the bladder?"
Henry couldn't help but grin.
"You know what? I should probably stop drinking coffee now. I don't want to be full before lunch."
"Betty, do you know what you want?"
Henry had spent the last hour before lunch deciding where to take Betty. He wanted to create an experience, something to share with her that could be their own. After much deliberation, he chose the new sushi bar right across the office. Close enough so that they could spend more time together before rushing back to work, trendy enough to not seem like he was a complete geek, and exotic and pricey enough to let her know this was special for him.
"Um, I think I need another minute."
"Have you been here before? Because the caterpillar roll is awesome, no offense."
He was giddy when she laughed at his joke—he had thought of it on the way here and was hoping to sneak it in.
"Um, number four looks like…an autopsy photo. I'm sorry, sorry. Totally inappropriate."
He felt like an idiot. He should have checked with her first before taking her. Sushi was one of those love-it or hate-it type of things.
"Is this the first time you've had sushi?"
"No, God, no…yes."
Now he understood. "Then let's go somewhere else," he comforted her, starting to get up.
"No no no no no. Please, it's good for me to try new things. You know, spread my wings," she blurted out, reaching out her arms to mimic her words. It was charming, almost as sweet as sending the bottles off the waitress's carrier two seconds later. He knew how she must feel—he'd done it one too many times himself.
"Oh god, I'm so sorry. You know, all evidence to the contrary, this is not my first time out in public."
This girl is adorably humble. "It is mine. For parolees, these ankle bracelets are the best thing EVER," he joked, trying to make Betty forget her embarrassment.
He was rewarded with a sad, half-hearted laugh. "It's so stupid," she began, throwing her hands up in frustration, "you know, I come into Manhattan every single day for work, and it's times like these where I feel like the E-train dropped me off on Mars or something. Where I come from, people like their fish cooked and they dress up for Halloween."
Henry slowly threw a secretive smile in Betty's direction. For the first time that day, he knew exactly how to fix things. Whispering to get her attention, he ripped open his shirt to reveal his $uperman shirt. He had found it at a flea market just a few days ago when he had been trying to find a cheap costume and knew it was just perfect.
"Secret identity," he explained, whipping off his glasses.
From then on, lunch was a breeze. Betty let Henry ordered their meal—she "trusted him" not to make her sick. They spent the time waiting talking about the stuffy suits back at Meade Publications and how much they had always loved Halloween. Whenever the two fell into silence, it was rarely awkward, but a silent conversation of smiles and nervous giggles.
When the waitress set down their meal in front of him, Henry felt a stab of disappointment that the conversation would have to wind down. God, I really like her.
"So, I've noticed that you've been on our floor quite a bit today."
She had noticed him! Better yet, she was flirting with him!
"Have I? Hmm. I don't think it has anything to do with you. No, I just like to make the rounds, let the employees know that accounting has its eye on them."
"Right," Betty replied, shooting him a knowing smile.
"Here," Henry offered, picking up a piece of sushi for her, "this is your piece. Now close your eyes and don't peek. This is how Tom Hanks survived in Cast Away…"
"I DON'T THINK SO!"
Betty and Henry whipped around to see Walter standing in front of them, his face stuck with panic.
Walter? Who the heck is Walter?"
"What, what are you doing here?"
"Who is this guy?"
"This is Henry. He works on the third floor."
Henry pasted a grin on his face and waved.
"Why haven't you returned my calls," Walter continued, purposefully ignoring Henry.
"I got busy."
"You're busy! Busy! Busy! Busy with what? A date?!?"
That when Henry noticed what Walter was wearing. An explorer's costume. Complete with net.
He's her boyfriend, it dawned on him. He's the catcher to her butterfly. His and her costumes. I was completely wrong. She hadn't been flirting with me.
"Maybe I should go get the check, " he murmured, rising from his seat.
"I ask you to move in with me and you turn around and you cheat on me," Walter ranted, pushing forward on his jealous tirade.
"Walter, stop it, you're embarrassing me."
The tension was unbearable. Henry couldn't take it anymore. "I'll go pay the cashier."
"No, no. You stay, I'll go. I embarrass her."
Henry slumped back in his chair, not knowing what to do. Betty broke her gaze from the door momentarily to smile sadly at Henry. As if asking for forgiveness, she bowed her head, and rushed out the door.
Maybe Jacobs was right. Betty floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.
"There you are! I've been looking everywhere for you."
Henry didn't bother looking up at Jacobs. He felt too nauseous from lunch. Besides, he was trying to hate him. After all, it was his pep talk that gave Harry the misguided nerve to ask Betty out. Henry knew that as soon as he looked up, Jacobs would flash one of his "get out of jail free" smiles, and he'd have to start accepting he was just a pathetic lothario.
"Dude, we're late, are you coming?"
Henry groaned. He had no choice now but to acknowledge his friend. Because he had no idea what he was talking about.
"Shit, Henry, what the hell happened to you, man," Jacobs asked, sympathetically, wincing at Henry's expression.
"Was it that bad? You have puppy face written all over you."
"You know, like your dog just got shot. You look like shit."
Henry just nodded and began organizing his desk. He was starting to feel sick again.
"Look, do you mind if we don't talk about it? What are we late for?"
Jacobs paused, contemplating what move to make. But his friend looked so miserable, he decided not to push it any farther.
"The party with human resources up on 25. You look like you could use a beer."
"I wouldn't say no."
"Great, we just need to go get them. Robert was in charge, but he's not doing so well. I think he may need to have his stomach pumped."
Henry glanced at his friend and couldn't help but smile a little. Patting him on the back, the two walked slowly to the elevator.
"You know what, Jacobs? I'll get it. I could use the fresh air."
Jacobs nodded and stepped into the elevator.
"It's her loss. I mean that. You're the reason girls haven't given up on the rest of us losers."
The two exchanged brotherly smiles before the elevators closed tightly.
He stood in the elevator, leaning against the door. He just needed a few minutes alone. A few moments of complete silence, away from the crazy Halloween antics above him, and the bustling New York streets below. He just needed some time to think, to wallow, to mourn.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. It soon came to Henry's attention that the elevator was slowly climbing upwards. Someone had pushed the button. That someone happened to be Betty Suarez.
"Hi," he managed to eek out.
The moment he saw her guilt, her nervousness, and her sadness any pitying he felt for himself vanished. He was not going to make her feel any worse.
Silently, Betty entered the elevator. The two stood side by side, contemplating whether or not to make the first move. And the both decided to do so, at the same time.
"You were saying…"
"I just wanted to say thanks," Betty began.
Henry felt his heart tighten. "Thanks? For giving you the most stressful lunch ever. I mean, first I make you eat slimy, sea monsters and then I get you in major trouble with—"
"That's okay. It wasn't your fault."
"Hey, how's that guy who ate all that honey," Betty asked, trying to relieve some of the sadness in the air.
"Not great. It's why I have to make the beer run instead of him. We're having a party up on 25 with human resources if you're…free."
Stupid. She's going to go home to see her boyfriend. Why do you do this to yourself?
"Oh. Well, I'd love to go, Henry, but…"
"You have a boyfriend."
"Yeah. Yeah, I do. And I really want to give this thing with Walter and me a chance and--"
Before he could stop himself from asking, Henry spoke up. "Is that the guy? With the net?"
"Yeah, but he's not always like that. I'm not always like that. I should have never…I'm sorry."
He couldn't bear looking over at her. He could feel the rejection without looking at her. And it destroyed a part of him, because he could also sense the electricity between them. If only he had been a little sooner, he could have seen what kind of spark they could have elicited.
"No worries. Just lunch."
To his relief, the elevators opened, welcoming the two to the main level.
"Trick or treat, Nymphalis milberti."
And then he left her.
Love at first sight takes one-tenth of a second. It took Henry one-tenth of a second to fall under Betty's spell. And, to Henry, it only seemed to take one-tenth of a second for him to lose her.