I realize the last thing I need to do is juggle two Detty stories at once, but I couldn't help it, lol. I had an idea and figured I'd go with it. So here's the 1st installment - enjoy! :)
Daniel felt this weight on top of him. He hadn't slept this well in days. Did he have a date last night? He slowly opened his eyes, unsure of his surroundings, then came across the brightly colored walls and the cartons of Chinese on the floor and remembered everything. He looked down at his chest and saw her silky dark brown hair. He inhaled the faint scent of vanilla and cocoa butter. He smiled. She seemed so peaceful that he didn't want to wake her.
She'd been so good to him – letting him vent about Tyler – but never pressing if he didn't want to talk. She'd just pull out a movie or a game and give him just the distraction and company he needed. He was so relieved that they had made up after their fight over her blog award.
He hated not talking to her and didn't know what he'd have done if they hadn't gotten past everything. He was such an idiot not to have seen how much he respected and admired her. She was a force to be reckoned with, and yet at the same time, so sweet and innocent.
He felt himself becoming more and more intrigued by her recently. Maybe it was her new hairstyle and glasses. He had to admit that her fashion sense had vastly improved. Her outfits had gone from hideous to almost, for lack of a better term, sexy. Or maybe it was her independence and new-found confidence since she had been promoted. She really wasn't his little awkward, style-impaired assistant anymore.
She had grown into a successful Junior Features editor and didn't need him. Not that she ever really did, anyway. She was always helping him stay out of trouble for the most part. He guessed it took her promotion . . . her absence from being his assistant, for him to step back and truly notice the change in her . . . to discover a whole new and equally beautiful side to her.
Secretly, he had even caught himself staring at her a few times that past night . . . the way she kept tucking her hair behind her ear . . . how engrossed she got into movies she'd watched 100 times before . . . how she knew all the lines before they were spoken . . . the way she blushed and got uncomfortable watching love scenes, because he was right next to her . . .
The way she tried to hide her tears during depressing moments . . . the way she laughed . . . the way she threw popcorn at him or shoved his chest when he teased her . . . the looks she gave him every time he tried to convince her what he had put down on the Scrabble board was an actual word . . . her reaction when one of them really was . . . She was just so . . . so – he didn't know how to describe her, but she definitely had him starting to think of her in a different light.
He was brought out of his trance when he felt her stir in her sleep. She began mumbling incoherently, which amused him to no end. She settled back down again, her head right below his chin. He gently stroked her hair and rested his eyes, until he felt her waking up.
"Hey . . . Morning." Daniel softly said as he looked down at her.
"Mmmm . . . Morning, Daniel," Betty yawned, not quite comprehending anything yet. "Daniel?"
Betty suddenly realized, looking at him and then back to how she was positioned – directly on top of him, with her hands on his chest.
"Oh my god!" she freaked out, scrambling to get off of her friend. She ended up falling off the couch and bumping her forehead on the coffee table. "Ow!"
"Betty? Are you okay?" Daniel kneeled on the floor next to her. He brushed her hair back, away from her forehead. "You're bleeding - where do you keep your First Aid kit?"
He got up and then helped her back on the couch.
"It's in the kitchen cabinet - above the stove," she told him, holding her head.
Daniel came back with the kit and an ice pack.
"Here, this might sting a little . . ." he took a pad of alcohol and gingerly dabbed it on her cut.
"Aaah . . .!" she grimaced.
"Sorry . . ." he apologized and gently blew on it, trying to ease the sting.
They glimpsed at each other's eyes, both feeling a surprising spark, and immediately looked away. Daniel nervously fumbled with opening the band-aid wrapper, and carefully placed it on her wound. He then held the ice pack just outside of the bandaged area.
"Wow, that's cold!" she cried.
"Thank you," Betty told him, looking sincerely into his blue eyes.
"You're welcome," he smiled, running his other hand along her cheek.
They continued to stare at each other, getting lost in each other's eyes, until Daniel couldn't take it any longer. He knew it was wrong and strange to have this urge – she was his best friend – but he had to know what it'd be like, what it'd feel like to . . . He put down the ice pack without taking his eyes off of her and slowly leaned in, lightly brushing his lips against hers.
He felt her tense up a little, but then respond back. He went deeper, parting her lips with his. Much to his surprise, she still wasn't resisting. In fact, she was the complete opposite. She grabbed his face in her hands and covered his bottom lip with both of hers. He gradually slid his tongue in, exploring her mouth even more.
He'd kissed so many women, and yet his best friend – with braces – managed to dumbfound him. He'd never had a sensation like this with anyone before; it was incredible. He didn't know what it was about her or this moment, but he never wanted it to stop.
What was she doing? This was Daniel - her flakey, needy, sometimes dorky, occasionally aggravating, but always lovable friend and boss. But now he was Daniel . . . a very sexy man who was giving her feelings and desires she'd never felt before. The heat continued to build, the connection between them magnetic and indescribable.
She felt his hands in her hair, his lips crashing into hers one last time before they began to wander down her neck. Her head kept telling her to restrain herself, that it was wrong on so many levels. But her heart and body told her to let go and enjoy the moment for all it was worth. Her head unfortunately won.
"Wilhelmina!" she blurted out.
"What?" Daniel snapped out of his concentration of the curve between her neck and shoulder. That's the first word that comes out of her mouth after what was happening here? He gave her a weird, confused look.
"My – my presentation – I'm going to be late! I - I begged her to let me pitch something and she's going to kill me!" she sprung up and frantically pulled him off the couch, pushing him towards the door.
"Betty – I – " Daniel attempted to say something, but Betty interrupted him.
"You're going to be late, too. Sneak in the back of the building and grab something from the Closet to change into. I'll see you later," she said, slamming the door before he could even form a single sentence.
She leaned against the door and paused for a moment. What the hell did she just do? She smacked her forehead in embarrassment, but instantly regretted it.
"Ow!" she shook it off and ran into the shower before she wasted any more time.
What just happened? Daniel stood outside Betty's apartment, blankly staring at the door she had just slammed in his face. Was she really just freaked about being late for work or did he scare her off? Damn it! He should've stopped after the initial kiss; made it short and sweet. They would've talked it through and that would've been it, either way.
But no, he had to push. He had to go farther. He couldn't help it – once he started, he found himself wanting her more and more. But she never protested. She seemed very responsive. Unless – did she feel obligated? He hoped he hadn't pressured her. He didn't know. He ran his hands through his hair and paced back and forth outside her door.
The more he thought about it, the more apprehensive he grew – of losing her, of losing their friendship . . . of losing everything he had come to know, love, and rely on for almost four years. He hated how impulsive he always was - never thinking – just reacting to however he felt at that very moment. What the hell was he thinking?
Betty wasn't one of his one-night stands, bang-her-and-leave-her kind of girls. She respected herself more than that. He admired that about her. She took all of her relationships slowly and seriously. Hell, he doubted she even kissed a guy on the cheek on a first date, much less stuck her tongue down his throat. He was such a jackass! He hoped he hadn't ruined everything, but he didn't have time to stand there all day and analyze it any more.
He started to call the car service, but thought better of it. By the time it got there he really would be late to work. The last thing he needed was another criticism from Wilhelmina. She already tried to overstep her boundaries as co-editor as it was. He hailed a cab and cringed as he got into it.
Betty ran out of the elevator at MODE, past the reception desk, and luckily managed to be the last of many to file into the conference room. "I'm not sure where our co-editor is, but apparently he doesn't think this issue is as important as I do. Now before he wastes any more of my time, Betty, let's hear your idea," Wilhelmina started the meeting. Betty felt so bad that Daniel was late. Not that it mattered, but she shouldn't have shoved him out like that. She could've at least allowed him to take a quick shower and ride in with her.
Betty pulled out her laptop case and opened it. Her eyes widened. It was empty. She couldn't believe she forgot it. What was she going to do? She panicked.
"I - I . . ." her mind went blank.
She racked her brain for the topic she had so carefully researched and – nothing. Daniel discreetly slid in the door and quietly took his place beside Wilhelmina.
"Well, spit it out, Woman! I don't have all day!" Willie snapped.
She was dead. So much for getting another piece published. She looked up – and there was Daniel. Talk about bad timing. Here she was, desperate to think of a cover for her mistake and now all she could think about were his lips on hers. She hated having to improvise; being put on the spot. Her eyes wandered back to Daniel's lips.
"Come on, Betty – speak or you're done!" Wilhelmina threatened with one last warning.
"Lips!" Betty exclaimed.
"Excuse me?" Wilhelmina questioned.
"Thin or pouty? Gloss or stick? Which shades go best with this season's colors? What brands last the longest? Which are the best flavors? What do celebrities prefer? What do guys love and hate?" she suggested, desperately.
As she timidly kept eye contact with everyone in the room, she happened upon Daniel's eyes and blushed. There was still silence from Wilhelmina. Betty nervously cleared her throat and continued, running out of thoughts.
"The – the history of lipstick . . ." Betty reached.
"Alright, alright. Enough! I suppose your idea doesn't completely reek," Wilhelmina begrudgingly conceded. "Speaking of which, so nice of you to finally join us, Daniel. Coming in from your 'flavor of the night' I presume?"
"What? How did you? But - I – changed . . .?" Daniel said, confused.
"Oh, please! That bed-head of yours and the stale stench of yesterday's cologne?" she retorted. "Moving on - Marc . . . !"
She left him flabbergasted, and for the first time, embarrassed about her revealing anything about his love life – even if she was a little off-base this time. Normally he'd laugh it off and be happy to flaunt it. After all, he had a reputation – but this wasn't like that. Betty was – well she was - she . . . He wasn't sure what she was yet, but he realized he didn't want to be seen as a womanizer anymore – least of all, by her. He barely concentrated the rest of the meeting, and unknowingly had allowed Wilhelmina to run it.
Betty zoned out during the remainder of the meeting. She hoped it wasn't written all over her face, when Wilhelmina made her comments to Daniel. She had felt her cheeks turn beat red, but she was almost positive that the last person everyone was looking at was her. She felt a little relieved. But she still wasn't sure how to deal with what happened that morning. It was probably not a big deal – a momentary lapse of judgment between friends. They were both vulnerable right now. No need to read anything into it – it was what it was and that was it –
"Betty! Earth to Betty . . . That's it – I'm cutting your article! Obviously you're more focused on your damned daydreaming than this magazine!" Wilhelmina threatened.
"Huh? What? No – I'm awake! I'm paying attention - I promise!" Betty snapped out of it and tried to save herself.
She noticed everyone else was gone except Daniel.
"Apparently you and Daniel both were off in 'La La Land'. If I didn't know any better, I'd think you two were involved. But sadly, I have to give Daniel more credit than to stoop to standards that low," she informed Betty.
"How dare you - ?" Daniel immediately shot up and got in Willie's face.
"No! Daniel, it's okay. She's right – it is crazy to even think about it. You do have a reputation and I'm never going to live up to it. We all know that. It's not a big deal – I'm fine with it." Betty came over and stopped him, trying to maintain a cheerful and uncaring tone, despite how much the reality of it all stung.
"No, it's not okay! I can't let her talk to you like that," Daniel insisted.
"Just let it go, Daniel," Betty gently put her hand on his arm, pleading for him not to make things even worse, and walked out.
"How could you do that?" Daniel yelled after making sure Betty had left. Little did he know, she was listening through the door. "Betty is beautiful, and smart, and kind . . . She's the best person I know. She doesn't deserve to be treated that way! If anything, I don't deserve to be on the same level with her – not the other way around!"
"Really, Daniel? Are you feeling alright? You're pouring on the love-fest for your furry little friend much thicker than usual. You're not – ugh – I can't even say it . . .!" Willie disgustedly observed.
Daniel's face turned red.
"No! Definitely not even close! I – uh – Just don't let it happen again!" he struggled with his words, and walked out to try and find Betty, who had rushed off after hearing him adamantly deny feeling anything for her.
"Heeyyy, Latin Love Bug!" Marc eagerly grabbed Betty's arm as she sped by the reception desk.
"Not now, Marc!" Betty brushed him off, but he and Amanda had her cornered.
"So . . . a little birdie told me that you were zoning out in the meeting, fantasizing about some guy. Who is he? Is he hot? Can I have him?" Amanda zealously asked.
"Eww . . . what's that thing on your forehead? It's all black and blue?" Marc cringed as he moved her hair away to gape and poke at it.
"Ow!" Betty smacked Marc's hand away.
"It's nothing. I hit my head on the coffee table –" she tried to explain.
"While you were with your lovah . . .?" Marc interrupted her.
"No! Dan - I mean Matt – I mean Marc! Ugh – I give up! There is no guy, okay?" Betty insisted, frustrated.
She couldn't believe she'd almost let it slip.
"So your secret lovah really is Daniel? Or did Matt come back for one wild night? Or maybe both? So it's a girl? Interesting . . ." Marc and Amanda simultaneously tried to guess what was going on.
Betty let out a loud, exasperated sigh.
"Look, I hit my head on the coffee table while trying to get my shoes. There is no guy, Marc. And you know I've never been into girls that way, Amanda. Now both of you just leave me the hell alone and get your gossip fix somewhere else!" she left in a huff and went into the bathroom for some peace.
"Ooooh . . . Bitchy . . ." Marc reacted to Betty's less than cheerful mood.
"Yeah . . . looks like someone's got her Granny panties in a bunch! Was it something we said?" Amanda asked, oblivious.
Daniel spotted Marc and Amanda at the reception desk.
"Hey, have you guys seen Betty?" he asked, desperate to straighten things out.
"You mean the Big Bad Mexican Wolf? She ducked in there," Amanda pointed to the ladies' room. Daniel headed toward it.
"But I wouldn't go in there, if I were you. She looked mad enough to blow a house down and then eat whatever was left," Marc added.
Daniel put his hand on the door, then took it off and hesitated. He put his hand back on the door and paused again, then turned around and walked toward his office. A few seconds later, he changed his mind and came charging through the bathroom door.
"Daniel? You can't be in here! Have you become illiterate, as well?" Betty exclaimed, irritated that he'd invaded her privacy.
Damn it! He wasn't supposed to see her like this . . . face red and puffy, mascara smeared down her cheeks from her tears. She was a mess, and she shouldn't be. This meant nothing. Now he'd just start feeling sorry for her . . . be overly sweet to her out of obligation. She didn't need or want that. She wasn't even sure why she was feeling this way anyway. It was just Daniel. So what if he didn't really feel anything towards her? They were friends, and it was better if they just stayed that way.
"Betty, we need to talk," he calmly said. "Have you been crying?"
He walked closer to her. He couldn't stand to see her this upset; it broke his heart every time. "Just go away, Daniel," she coldly said between sniffles.
"Betty, what Wilhelmina said . . ." Daniel began.
"Was the truth," Betty finished for him and started to walk away.
And it was, so why did she let it get to her?
He spun her around, forcing her to look him in the eyes.
"No - not at all! Betty, you have to believe me when I tell you that none of what she said in there was true," he cupped her face and wiped her tears with the pads of his thumbs. "You - are an intelligent, confident, kind, funny, caring, beautiful, amazing woman. Any man would be lucky to be with you."
"I know you're just saying that, Daniel." Betty resisted his hold and tried to get away, but Daniel was faster.
"If you don't believe my words, believe in this," he grabbed her face and pulled her into a passionate kiss.
It felt so good and so right that Betty almost caved, but then she told herself she shouldn't be dumb enough to buy into his charm. He didn't really mean it – he couldn't. Not about her, anyway. She was just his lower-than-average friend.
What happened this morning probably was just a reflex, to him, that had nothing to do with her. He more than likely forgot who he was with and reacted on instinct. She pulled away and slapped his cheek.
"I don't need your damn pity!" she shouted and stormed out, leaving Daniel more hurt and confused than he'd ever been before.