Author's Note: I started writing this a while back because I wanted to believe that Betty was in love with Daniel, too, and knew that dinner was a date, of sorts. It's kind of taken on a life of its own. I'll keep adding to it until I'm satisfied.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ugly Betty or the show's characters. If I owned ABC, Ugly Betty would be back for Season 5.
Along for the Ride
The dinner conversation was light and casual. They talked all about her new position, about the London contacts he could reach out to for any job possibilities, about how their families were doing. She seemed happy, though admitted to being homesick and overwhelmed with her new responsibilities. He offered support and a little advice when asked.
It felt like old times, which soothed him. For a moment Daniel was tempted to forget the churning in his stomach when he had seen her earlier today and again when he picked her up at her apartment. He figured he could forget Hilda's words from the wedding; his mom's from the day Betty told him she was leaving. Correction, the day he found out she was leaving from a mass email.
It would be a hell of a lot easier; that was for sure. They did the friendship thing really well. And while it was odd for him to pick up and move across an ocean to maintain a friendship, Daniel could convince her, and himself, that that was what he was doing. But did he want to?
As he handed the dessert menu back to the waiter she blurted out, "So why didn't you?"
He was confused. "Why didn't I, what? Order the figgy pudding? It sounds kinda gross, don't you think?"
The attempt at humor seemed to be lost on Betty, as she had suddenly become very serious. "Why didn't you say goodbye?"
Oh, that little thing. Hadn't they talked about that already? She had forgiven him. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have stuck around and talked to him earlier today. She sure as hell wouldn't be here now.
Daniel looked up at her, trying to decide which version to tell her: the friend moving across the ocean theory, or the truth.
"I'm not leaving," she said in response to his hesitation, with a little smile tugging at the edge of her mouth. He recalled another moment she had said that to him, long ago. Another time when she had backed him into a corner and was staring him down. So many moments, Betty. Mode was so bleak with you gone.
"Remember that night we hung out and ended up on the Brooklyn Bridge?" he asked.
Now it was Betty's turn to be confused. Do I remember the night I realized we'd always be in each other's lives, Daniel? Duh.
"Yes. What does that have to do with this?"
"Remember I told you about how, when I thought Alex had died, I would pretend that he had gone on an endless trip." Daniel exhaled, fiddled with his dessert fork. "Well, it was kinda the same thing. When you told me you were leaving, I thought if I didn't actually say goodbye, it would be like you weren't gone."
There, the truth.
Betty was genuinely shocked. "Really?"
"Only it didn't work," he admitted. "You leaving was pretty much all I thought about since I read that email. And that first day at Mode with you gone sucked as bad as being at Player without you. I guess I'm here because I figured out denial doesn't get me anywhere."
That was not the answer Betty was expecting. Though, she had asked for it, didn't she? She could have let it slip by, just kept up the casual conversation. But the question had been eating away at her since that day in his office, when he cut her off and walked out. She told herself she didn't understand. But she did. And now she had forced his hand, and he didn't back down.