Title: Bate, Bate, el Chocolate
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: none
Category: Drama/Romance
Keywords: Daniel Meade/Betty Suarez
Summary: Three times Daniel got Betty hot chocolate. 834 words.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: Ficlet #1 for MDT, who asked for a Christmas romance with hot chocolate. The title is from an original Spanish nursery rhyme, written by Jose-Luis Orozco, "El Chocolate," music and lyrics (c) 1971. The phrase itself means, "beat, beat, the chocolate."


1.

Daniel stops at Betty's desk, coat in one hand, and a box wrapped in shiny red paper with a gold ribbon circling all four sides in the other. He puts it down on her desk and starts putting on his coat. Betty only looks up briefly to acknowledge him. Obviously, whatever's on her computer screen is taking all her attention. He waits.

When Betty finally drags her gaze from the computer and notices the box, her face lights up.

"Is this for me?" she asks.

Daniel nods and settles the collar around his neck before wrapping his scarf around his neck. "Go ahead, open it."

Betty wastes no time in ripping the paper off. She pulls out the mug inside, a tall coffee cup, white with painted lilacs. She peers inside to find a paper packet of hot chocolate.

Daniel says, "Merry Christmas, Betty. I hope you like it."

"I do!" She traces the painted curlicues and then says, "Thank you, Daniel."

He nods and then taps a finger on her desk. He pauses long enough that Betty wonders if he's trying to find words for something other than what he says, which is, "Well, have a good night. Don't work too late."

"I just have a few things to nail down tight," she assures him.

"All right." He heads out, pausing to look back. He sees her place the cup down next to her computer, and then turn around to catch him looking. She waves happily. He smiles, wraps the coat around him more tightly, and leaves.

2.

"Betty, what are you still doing here?"

Betty turns around, cupped hands to her face. Ungloved hands, Daniel sees. She must have been trying to warm them. The wind coming around the corner of the building is cold enough to make popsicles.

"Oh, I was just -"

"I thought you were going to catch a taxi with Marc and Amanda."

"I was. They decided to go without me." Betty blows air into her hands, shivering. The way she spits out her commentary leaves Daniel with the impression that she's just a bit ticked.

"Oh," Daniel says, feeling like he's walked into the second act of a play. "Did you lose your gloves?"

Betty looks at her hands, and then shoves them back into the pockets of her coat.

"Yes," she says. "Somewhere. I put them down for just a minute and when I got back they were gone."

"They'll turn up."

"I hope."

"You don't sound so confident."

She rolls her eyes. "Well, they probably will. It's probably a not-so-funny prank of Amanda's...or Marc's."

"They still tease you?"

"Sometimes. It's gotten better."

"Well, you'll win them over. Meanwhile, want to go get warmed up? There's a great place to get some hot chocolate just around the corner."

"Really?"

Daniel smiles. "Come on. Let's go."

He reaches around her, to place a gentle hand on her shoulder, just to guide her in the right direction.

Betty says, "You know, you haven't had hot chocolate until you've had the kind my Dad makes."

Daniel lets his hand drop from her shoulder, as they start walking.

"Oh, how's that?"

"Made from real chocolate. I can even make it."

"Sounds good. You ought to share sometime."

"I'll remember that."

3.

Betty reaches across Daniel to the cabinet in front of her. She looks over to give him a smile and he drops a kiss on her nose. She scrunches up her nose in response. Turning her attention back to the cabinet, she pulls out two coffee mugs from the cabinet. She asks, "How's it going?"

Daniel looks down at the stove, where he's stirring the contents of a small saucepan with a wooden spoon, from which the aroma of hot chocolate is wafting. "Good. Is this almost done?"

"Looks good to me."

"What now?"

"Turn the stove off and beat it with this, until it's frothy." She hands him a wooden utensil, shaped somewhat like a whisk, heavy and round at the end, with separate rings surrounding the bottom portion.

"What is this again?"

"A molinillo."

Daniel says, "I'm not even going to try to say that."

He beats the mixture inside the saucepan until it forms a thick foam on top. Betty watches, waiting. When she's satisfied that he's done a good job, she takes the saucepan from him and pours the hot chocolate into the cups she'd set out.

"Now," she says, "we just sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and it's ready."

"Hand it to me and I'll do it."

She does and he does. Betty puts her arms around his waist and looks around him, as he sprinkles the cinnamon straight from the red-lidded container.

He turns in her embrace, handing Betty her mug. She lets go and takes a tentative sip of the chocolate.

"Mm, good," she says.

He bends down to give her another kiss, a quick, tender one.

"Merry Christmas, Daniel," she says.

His eyes shine in appreciation. "Merry Christmas, Betty."

End.