A/N: Welcome to Kylie's first endeavor into the magnificent world of Betty/Henry fanfiction. I'm an avid watcher (read: obsessor) of the show, but I know NOTHING about New York. So feel free to correct me. Um, this story started out as a good idea, and then ended up being pretty useless because I really got nowhere with it, but I had to finish it. It's kind of cute. I guess. Oneshot and oneshot only!
And as the elevator descended, his spirits went all the way down with it.
Henry slumped against the wall of the elevator, trying not to look too dejected, as it descended to the lobby. His head hurt, and he removed his glasses and rubbed his temples with his left hand.
The vertical descent equivalent of three floors passed quickly—too quickly for the accountant who was not looking forward to returning to his apartment. Their apartment, as it were. With the purple couch.
He walked out of the building, his feet slapping on the brick. The subway station for Seventh Avenue was visible ahead of him, a giant sign marking the entrance. He descended the stairs to the platform and his walk turned to a run as he saw his D line train pull up. Swiping his MetroCard, he dashed to the open doors and managed to squeeze himself into the crowd of tired people.
The doors hissed shut and the car lurched forward, or, he assumed it was some kind of forward, considering that in his current position, forward was defined as running into a wall. The four stops between his office and his—their apartment flew by within minutes. It really was minutes, he supposed. At the 34th Street stop, enough people had disembarked that he had managed to grab a seat, and as the train pulled up to the Broadway-Lafayette platform he was forced to relinquish that seat to some other exhausted passenger.
His apartment building—their apartment building, damnit—towered in the distance. As he crossed the street and continued down East Houston, the looming fortress grew closer. He had never thought of it as a fortress until, well, until just then. The closer the building got, the shorter he made his strides, because he knew that if he kept decreasing the length, the mathematical limit of his walk would be just in front of the door to the building. It was just… something he knew.
But eventually the chill of the Manhattan evening got to him and he lengthened his stride again, arriving at the door to the building. The doorman smiled at him and opened the door.
"Good evening, Henry," said the older man.
"Hey, Ernest," replied Henry, not looking up.
"Henry, my boy," Ernest's eyebrows furrowed in concern, "are you alright?"
With a rueful chuckle, Henry replied, "No. No, I'm not." And he hurried to the elevator.
"Fourteenth," he told the attendant.
Upon exiting the elevator, the door to their apartment appeared before him, and he sighed as he reached out his key to unlock the door. Twisting the doorknob, he opened it cautiously and let out a sigh of relief when no squeals of "my Henry bunny is home!" rang out to greet him. He dropped his briefcase on the desk and kicked off his shoes.
He went to his bedroom.
"Damn, nothing is mine anymore!" he shouted to the dresser as he furiously pulled one of Charlie's stupid Sparky sweatshirts from the drawer. Wadding it up in a ball, he threw it across the room, where it landed with a phlumpf on the windowsill. The little red devil on the sweatshirt looked up at him, as if to prod Henry with his pitchfork. Turning from the imp, Henry removed his own Wilbur sweatshirt from the drawer and tossed it on the bed, then took out a pair of flannel pajama pants. He changed into the ensemble, hanging his coat up and throwing the rest of his clothes into the hamper, but then thought better of the sweatshirt and removed it, leaving it on the bed.
Charlie still wasn't home, and for that Henry was thankful. Back in the makeshift study, really the corner of the living room, he sat down at the desk and pulled his black journal from the top drawer on the left side. It had a small five-digit combination lock on the side, onto which he twisted 60268—60,268 being the equatorial radius of Saturn in kilometers—and the latch popped open.
The small, leather-bound journal was the only thing in this whole damn apartment that was really his. Charlie would never guess the combination—there were 100,000 possible combinations and there was only one correct one. Opening the cover, he thumbed through the pages. This journal was started the day he graduated from the University of Arizona and included every major life event that had ever happened to him.
But what he was about to add tonight eclipsed every single one of them.
He picked up his favorite navy blue Pilot fountain pen and then dropped it, pulling the same pen, only in red, from a drawer in the desk. In the red ink he scrawled the date atop the page, and then moved his hand a few lines down.
Today, Betty told me we can't be friends anymore.
His chest tightened as he reread the words glowing on the yellowish paper as if written in blood—his own blood. Nothing had hurt him as much as her statement had, and he went on to express this.
She didn't say it exactly like that, of course.
Damn it, Henry, you're kidding yourself. Yes, she did. She told you that she can't see you—or Charlie—anymore She actually said, "I can't spend time with you and your girlfriend, Henry. It's just not… good for me." I have it memorized… this is so bad.
His handwriting was cursive; it stayed close to the bottom line and stretched out. His right hand moved furiously over the paper as he wrote.
She's wrong. It's not just "not good" for her. She's killing me. Now we're just "two people who work in the same building."
I can't help but wonder what my life would be like if Charlie hadn't showed up when she did… right when I had a date with Betty, or right when I was about to kiss her, or…
The door swung open. "Henry bunny!"
As Charlie galloped towards Henry, he hastily closed his journal. "Hey, Charlie," he said, standing up.
"Were you writing in your diary?" she asked him.
"It's a journal," he scowled, and she hugged him anyway.
"Aren't you freezing? Put on a shirt, silly!" And with that, she ran off to their bedroom to get him one.
"No, no, I'm not," he called after her, but she didn't hear him and brought back her Sparky sweatshirt.
"Somehow this ended up on the other side of the room!" his girlfriend told him, brandishing the sweatshirt at him.
"I'm not cold," he said in a slightly biting tone, pushing her hand away.
"Are you okay? Did something happen at work?" Charlie asked, stepping back.
Henry sighed. "Sorry. I'm fine—I'm just getting a sinus headache is all. I think I caught a cold. I might have a fever—maybe that's why I'm so warm."
"Aww, Henry bunny," Charlie cooed. "Hey, is Betty coming with us to lunch tomorrow?"
"Um," he said. "No, she… she can't make it. Something about Daniel having an appointment."
"Bummer," she responded. "I like her."
"How'd the job search go?" he asked, desperate for a change of subject.
Charlie sat on the couch—the purple one—and removed her scarf. Henry sat beside her. "I don't know what I'm even looking for," she sighed, resting her head on his bare shoulder.
"You'll find it."
"Whatever it is. Let's eat."
Henry picked up his cell and called the Chinese place on the corner. "One order of beef with broccoli, and one of vegetable fried rice. Xie xie nin."
"You really should become a vegetarian, Henry bunny. You'll feel so in tune to nature."
He shook his head. "There is no nature in New York City."
They sat there quietly until the food arrived. Charlie got the door as Henry moved to the table—actually, they ate at the coffee table now, sitting on the ground, because Charlie said something about eating on the ground being healthy. We're on the fourteenth floor!
They ate their food and watched the biography of Winston Churchill on Fox News Channel. It was getting late—eleven o'clock, nearly. Henry had gotten home at probably eight, Charlie at nine, and they ate slowly anyway. Once they finished eating, they curled up on the couch together.
Charlie stretched out on the couch and rested her head in Henry's lap. Absently, he twirled his fingers in her hair, and he heard a voice… Issjusngoofme. "What, Charlie?" he asked her, figuring it was her that he had heard. But she was asleep.
It's just not good for me…
He realized it was a voice in his mind—Betty's voice. Get out of my head, Betty.
You're out of my life, Henry. And your little girlfriend too! The voice was snappish.
"I'm already in love with you. Just get out," he whispered quietly to himself, leaning his head on the back of the couch.
The phone rang.
"Henry, it's… it's Daniel. Y'know, Meade. Um, I'm not going to stall any. Henry, Betty… she… they found her… crash."
"Betty's… dead?" Henry asked incredulously.
"Yes, she is," Daniel replied. "Um, they found her car curled around a tree. A green Prius crashed into the car she was driving."
"A green Prius?" Henry wondered aloud. "Charlie has a green Prius…"
"I figured I should call you, seeing as you guys were, like, tight," Daniel rushed, not hearing Henry. "So, um, yeah."
Silence filled the line.
Henry's head snapped forward. It was a nightmare. He looked at the clock—1:30. In a cold sweat, he noticed that Charlie was standing above him. "You yelled something in your sleep," she said, anxious. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, fine," he answered.
She had changed into a dark blue nightgown. "Come to bed, Henry," she said, sounding genuinely concerned.
Right now, that was the last thing Henry wanted to do. "Well, I'm catching a cold, and you know how I snore when I'm sick. I'll sleep out here."
Charlie gave him a funny look. "O-okay, Henry bunny. See you in the morning." And she plastered that fake smile back onto her face and pranced off to their bedroom.
Henry returned to his journal and picked up the blood pen.
So Betty's alive and well, I assume. What am I supposed to do now?