AN: Hello. This is one of several Christmas Detty stories I will be posting, but please note that they do NOT go together. They are all seperate stories. Thanks so much, and please leave me a review? They help. Would ya, could ya, hun?
They all stood around the television, awaiting the results of weeks of hard work. Mode had been working on the concepts for their Christmas edition for months and, in the last several weeks, the employees had been working around the clock to perfect everything, down to the font used on the table of contents page. The workers were gathered in the large conference room around the plasma television they had brought in for the day. Side by side, standing and sitting, the entire floor was gathered together to see what all their hard work had earned them.
Daniel bit his lower lip and looked at Betty who looked absolutely terrified. Their entire issue was based on the simplest of ideas, suggested by Betty during a very late night brainstorming session. Daniel had literally been banging his head against the desktop in a last effort to shake some wonderful idea loose. In the end, Betty had suggested going with a simple traditional Christmas, something so old and rewritten that the original might as well be something brand new.
Desperate for something to work with, his eyes had brightened with the thought before he slipped into memories. A big Christmas tree decorated with ornaments from years ago like something out of an old caroling scene. People dressed in red velvet, night watch and plaid with shiny, slightly gaudy accessories. It could actually work. Brought before Wilhelmina, it would probably be struck down in an instant, but it was what they had and it was truly a great concept. Because of that, she took it!
As normal, Mode was up against Elle, competing for top sales when the festive edition of their magazines would hit the stands, one strategically seated next to the other. Elle was a unbelievably flashy thing, a stark white background with a woman draped strategically in LED lights with 'White Christmas' in alternating red and green as their slogan. Perfectly placed, two bright red bulbs stared out from the model's chest. Mode, on the other hand, was a rich brown with a beautifully decorated tree hanging in the corner with modern furniture surrounding it, a beautiful blend of today and yesterday. 'So old, it's new…'
That was several days ago. It had gone to print, been shipped and was on sale since the morning. Now, Fashion TV, Mode, Elle, and half of America waited for the results as the channel continued to show the two covers in split screen. Then, a banner flashed across the screen, counting down the last thirty seconds until they would reveal the magazine to sell the most copies.
Betty clasped her hands together in silent prayer while Daniel had one elbow resting against the arm crossed over his chest, the tip of his thumb clamped between his teeth. Others in the room mumbled their anxiety.
Daniel's eyes swung towards Betty and watched her chew on her lower lip while she looked up at the screen, her hands still locked together as she began to bounce on her toes as they waited. Amanda did not even bother to tease about earthquakes in Malibu.
Someone in the room began to chant 'Mode, Mode, Mode' to himself and, soon, the rest of the people joined in. 'Mode! Mode! Mode!' they all began to say, over and over, the volume slowly growing until it was making the windows vibrate.
"SHUT UP!" Betty and Daniel yelled simultaneously and the room feel deathly silent once more, although a smile now graced Mrs. Meade's lips at the back of the room.
"The winner of the non-competition for best seller holiday edition," Suzuki said, taking the envelope from the hand that had slipped into the camera's view. "…is…" he teased and lifted the white paper tab before his eyes widened. "MODE!" he cried out.
Betty shrieked, her trembling hand inching towards her mouth, while Daniel shouted with joy. Hollers and alcohol broke out all around them as they stared at the screen, a bright golden badge digitally pinned onto the Mode cover while the computer ripped Elle to shreds and tossed them into the bin.
"We did it!" Daniel shouted proudly, looking down at Betty with adrenaline fueling the fire in his eyes. She looked up, her eyes still wide with surprise and delight. "You did it…" he whispered fiercely and, before either of them could say a single word, Daniel reached forward, took her face in his hands and pulled her lips to his, crushing them in a deep and ardent kiss.
Her hands flew to his upper arms and held on for dear life his he deepened the kiss, excitement surely to blame for his zeal. Daniel's hands tilted her head and angled her towards him to slip his tongue into her mouth and, suddenly, the kiss was too deep to be blamed on high strung emotions. So, she took advantage of it.
Once he was sure that she was not pulling away from him, he let his hands drift down to her waist and held her body against his, pressing every inch of her body from sternum to kneecap into him. Being so close bent her arms at an odd angle as she continued to hold on to his upper arms, so she let them slid to his shoulders, but they continued on up, wrapping together behind his neck while her fingertips found their way into the short tendrils of hair at his nape.
Slowly, a need for fresh air dinged at the back of their minds and, reluctantly, they began to ease the kiss down to a simple merging of their lips before disengaging from each other to be brought back to Earth by the instant calamity in the room. Mode employees were crying out and shouting at them, several of the women sending death glares at Betty while a few men sent glances towards Daniel as if to ask how he could endure kissing Betty Suarez. They parted.
"What the hell are you doing?" one man was brave enough to ask. He stepped forward while everyone else continued to holler their disbelief. The man stood up and raked his hand through his hair. "I mean, look at her!" he shouted and everyone looked towards Daniel, the look in his eyes silencing the entire room. The man before him suddenly froze and his hands dropped to his sides.
Betty tried to take a step away from Daniel to slip away to the ladies' room as she felt hot tears burn her cheeks. The surge of adrenaline had initiated the kiss and now, although he would defend her honor to the man before him, she simply knew he regretted his rash actions. All she wanted now was solitude to cry in, but Daniel's firm grip kept her at his side. Staring the man in the face, Daniel pulled her closer and looked away from the unfamiliar face to kiss Betty once more, his hands cradling her face and wiping the tears from her cheeks, keeping her lips beneath his until his hands felt no more tears streaming down her cheeks.
The doubts slowly crept away; surely, he would not kiss her again just to prove a point to everyone. Another person, perhaps, but not her. He knew that it would be too much for her, didn't he? His lips, however, wiped away the thoughts and any others she was entertaining as they parted her lips beneath his and let his tongue peek into her mouth. Its tip touched hers and she was positive it had left some kind of scorch mark, the live current flowing between them almost unbearably intense. What seemed like both nanoseconds and eons later, he slowly removed his lips from hers and looked into her hazy eyes, his own alight with a kind of fire she rarely saw directed at her from any male, let alone Daniel. Then, the fire hardened as he turned back to the man in front of him.
"You're fired…" Daniel said, a harsh whisper that was loud enough for anyone to hear. The man stared at Daniel in bewilderment for a moment before his shoulders sagged and he stepped away. "Anyone else have something to say?" he asked sharply and the room suddenly became fascinated with the carpet or light fixtures or anything else that was not Daniel Meade's face.
"Daniel, you can't fire him for that," Betty whispered and Daniel's head turned back towards her, warm and unbelieving.
"After what he just said," Daniel exhaled, his voice full of wonder, "you're sticking up for him… Betty, you're amazing!" he gushed and took her chin with his fingers to press a brief kiss to the tip of her nose, making her blush six shades of red. "You," he barked out, turning back towards the insulting man who lifted his head in fear.
"I'll have you know this woman that you just insulted is saving your ass!" Daniel said, loud enough for everyone to hear. "She thinks I shouldn't fire you, so I won't, but I never…ever… want to see your face on this floor again. Pick another floor and stay there. The day you show your face at Mode again is the day I fire you once and for all."
The man scuttled away like a child who had been reprimanded and was getting away while the going was good. And, in a way, he was. However, Daniel was already over it and had turned back to Betty with a smile, which she returned half-heartedly.
"I think we need to talk," he whispered into her ear and looped an arm around her shoulders, leading her towards his office. Once inside, he drew the curtains, closed the door and locked it, and turned off his cellular phone. Betty moved nervously from one foot to the other in the middle of the room, waiting for Daniel to say something. Instead, he came closer and pulled her gently towards the couch to sit next to him.
"What was that?" she asked quickly, unable to endure the silence for a moment longer. The smile that crossed his face teased silently and she wanted nothing more in that instant than for the Earth to swallow her whole. He took her hand in his and ran his free hand through his hair before taking a deep relieved breath.
"Something I've been wanting to do for a really long time, although I didn't know it until just a few minutes ago," he unloaded quickly in one breath. Betty's eyes flew open wide and Daniel could not help the bubble of laughter that rose up within him. "Winning the non-competition was the catalyst, Betty. I reached out to kiss you in a moment of euphoria and then… I just couldn't let go. I enjoyed every last second of that kiss and don't you ever think otherwise. I could tell the thought entered your mind the very second after I pulled away," he said before she could say anything to the contrary.
"You're right…" she whispered in a little voice that she barely recognized. Normally, she was confident and sure of herself, but at that moment, she had never felt so out of her league before. "Daniel, I really… how do I say this?" she said, lifting her eyes to the ceiling as if she could find the answer there. Daniel smiled.
"To the point, like always," he said softly and she swung her gaze back to his face.
"What was that?" she asked once more and Daniel smiled simply, the corners of his mouth quirking ever-so-slightly. He took her hand and lifted it to his lips silently, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand, then her palm and then repeated the action on the other hand. She held her breath as she watched him hold her hand against his cheek, pressing into it like a cat rubs against a person's leg. He nestled his face in the warmth of her hand for a minute or two before letting his eyes slip open.
"Betty Suarez, I just realized less than ten minutes ago that I've been in love with you for the longest time," he breathed out, his voice just as disbelieving as she felt. She shook her head and lowered her eyes, but he just began to chuckle. "I am… I'm in love with you. I can't believe it! My dad hired you so I wouldn't have sex with my assistants and now you've turned into the only woman I've ever wanted this badly. I love you, Betty, with all my heart… and I know that I've screwed up so many times I don't deserve you in the least."
Betty's face snapped up towards him so fast that he thought for a second that something might have snapped, but her eyes were wide with surprise and he knew that if she were in pain, he would have known by then. He reached out for her shoulders and held her in place as he inched closer to her before resting her against him. Her body brushed up against his and she felt the muscles of his chest relax beneath the pressure of her body.
"You feel wonderful," he whispered and she shivered when the arm that had wrapped around her shoulders slid a little lower and his fingers happily smoothed over her side and past her waist until it rested on her hip, massaging and kneading the flesh there. She bit back her moan, but he grinned in reply. "You're very good."
"I'm sorry?" she said, her voice a little too breathy for her liking. She looked up at him, flustered.
"At holding in sounds. I saw you bite your lip; you're trying not to make any noise."
"No, I'm not," she mumbled quietly, her voice small and pathetic as he leaned in closer, his lips breezing past hers, teasing.
"Liar…" he whispered and continued to let his lips dance near hers, but never touch them. They kissed her chin and the corner of her mouth and the groove above her mouth, but he refused to meet her lips right away. Every time he neared her, she tried to tilt her head at the last possible second, but he avoided them easily until finally she grunted in frustration and he lifted his head back. "That's what I've been waiting for," he muttered and immediately closed his lips over hers, coaxing a whimper from her mouth as well, gently kindling his passion, evident in the way the kiss deepened more and more with each little sound she let out.
Minutes later, they broke apart with a need for oxygen to find they had laid down on the couch at some point and he was leaning over her, a bump in his trousers pressed against her pelvis just inches below her navel, making her gasp.
"Told you so," he whispered, looking down into her big brown eyes as she regained her wits and looked back up, confused.
"You told me so what?" she asked, her chest heaving with each deep pull of air into her lungs.
"That I want you," he whispered, lifting himself up off of her to sit back down on the couch. The feeling of cold was instantaneous and she wanted to be back in his arms within the second. Instead, she sat up and looked at him. "I'm serious, Betty. You might think that I'm trying to be funny or pull your leg, but I know it wouldn't be funny to you and I know that it is certainly not funny to me. I want you to come home with me tonight, Betty. I want to spend the rest of the night proving to you just how much I want you and just how gorgeous and breath-taking you are. You are, Betty," he whispered and watched her blush. "Hey…"
"You believe me, don't you?" Then, his face turned stony. "You… you don't love me, do you?" he asked gently and watched her eyes widen. "You don't… I've made a fool of myself for nothing…" he grumbled, standing up and pacing in front of the couch as she sat there. He began to rant. "So stupid! You've even told me before that you don't think of me that way. How could I have done something so damn dumb?" he continued and turned once more to walk into a kiss from Betty and it went straight to blistering in a split second.
Daniel's arms wrapped around her and tugged the blouse she was wearing from her skirt. Betty's hands fought with the buttons of his shirt for a minute before he removed her hands and slowed their movements to a still.
"Oh, my God…" she gasped and collapsed on the couch once again. "We… we almost got carried away… didn't we?" she asked, an odd mixture of fear and excitement coursing through her veins as she sat there. "Anyone could have… Oh, my God!" she moaned before gasping as she recalled something. She looked up at him and suddenly felt terribly shy. "Daniel…" she whispered, biting her lower lip and standing up. As a force of habit, she crossed her arms over her chest, drawing attention to it as her arms rose and fell with the swell and fall of her breasts.
"What is it?" he breathed out, keeping his sentence as short as possible.
"Do you think you can wait until the end of the day?" she asked gently, her eyes lowering as her cheeks reddened yet again. He would have grinned at her shyness if she had answered him, but her lack of reply still left him nervous.
"Betty… can't you answer me?" he asked, his eyes silently pleading for her to put him out of his misery one way or another.
"What? I mean… of course! Yes, of course I love you! Jeez, Daniel, we almost had sex in your office because I'm so in love with you I'm afraid that I'm either minutes away from waking up or you're minutes away from regretting it all!" she said, her voice slowly growing to a sob as she spoke until tears were flowing steadily down her face. "I love you," she whispered again and a smile unlike any she had ever seen on him spread across his face until she was sure the corners of his mouth would split if his smile grew any wider.
"Good…" he said, kissing her again, "and, no," he said when he came up for air, making her brow crease for a fraction of a second. "I don't think I can wait that long. What do you have in mind?" he asked, his voice raw and dripping with desire. Betty bit her lower and smiled before scuttling over to his door, looking through the round cut-outs in it to see if the coast was clear. Seeing everyone inside, she unlocked the door and dashed towards the elevator with him in tow until they were safely behind the doors. When they stepped out several floors later, she smiled and led the way.
"There's a room. It's hidden in the Closet…" she mumbled and stepped inside with him. His eyes swung around the place for a minute before returning to Betty who stood nervously in the middle of the room. Daniel grinned and strode over to her, pulling her into his arms and walking her backwards until she flopped onto the bed.
"Thank God it's Friday," Daniel mumbled and they vaguely heard the sound of the door swinging closed.