Three years later
"You ladies look beautiful!" Claire Meade said with the tone of a proud mother as she eyed up the three bridesmaids in their gowns. Claire Meade had just arrived at the Suarez house and when she walked in Christina was fitting the ladies with their dresses and pinning them to make the final adjustments.
"Didn't Christina do a fabulous job on the dresses?" Betty asked.
"She certainly did." Claire replied.
"Oww!" Alexis hollered and looked down giving Christina a dirty look.
"Sorry." Christina looked up sheepishly. "But if you would stand still, ya big tree, you wouldn't wind up with a pin in your hind end."
"I hate weddings." Alexis complained. "They're just a stupid excuse to get drunk and tell sappy family stories."
"Alexis…please…" Claire begged. "This is your brother's wedding. Try to have a better attitude."
"Half brother." Alexis corrected her.
"I can't believe the big day is almost here!" Betty said excitedly.
"I can't believe it happened without a shotgun." Christina quipped.
"Christina!" Betty scolded shaking her head at her.
"Does it remind you of your own one, love?" Christina asked Betty. This was the first wedding Betty would be going to since she and Daniel had gotten married a year and a half early.
"Yeah…a little. There's lots of the same crowd around." Betty smiled
"Where is the bride anyway?" Claire asked.
"Amanda had to go to the florist to work out some last minute changes. Apparently her biological father is allergic to lilies. He'll swell up like a blow fish if he gets anywhere near them." Betty said.
"Speaking of "swelling up"…" Christina was working on Betty's dress now. "what in Sam hill is going on with you, Betty?" Betty's dress was pulling at the seams and Christina was going to have to do some serious stitching to fix the problem.
"I think I might have put on a little weight." Betty said sheepishly, obviously embarrassed.
"A little?" Christina continued. "If I didn't know better I'd swear you were hiding an entire other person in there with you." She joked. There was a brief pause and then everyone looked at Betty. Betty flushed.
Hilda screamed and then said "You aren't?"
Betty averted everyone's gaze.
"You are!" Hilda screamed again much more enthusiastically. "I'm going to be an aunt – a new little cousin for Justin and Marianna." Marianna was Hilda and Bobby's little girl. She had just turned two.
"Please don't tell Daniel you found out…he wanted to announce it together…you know." Betty was a little panicky. She hadn't expected the news to come out this way.
"We won't say a word, my dear." Claire walked over and gave Betty a warm hug. "But I couldn't be happier."
"Thanks." Betty said shyly.
"Yeah…well I could." Christina complained. "I'm certainly going to have my work cut out for me now. You couldn't have waited until after the wedding to go fishing without your rain slicker?
"Christina!" Betty laughed. But then she added more seriously. "I'm sorry. Do you think you'll have time to fix it?"
"I'll work my magic…no worries."
Later that evening Betty and Daniel were getting ready for bed. They were staying at the Suarez house. They often split their visit up between the Meade mansion in Manhattan and Ignacio's house in Queens.
Betty was standing looking out the window of her bedroom while Daniel slipped under the covers. He could tell something was on her mind by the look on her face.
"What's up, Betty?" He asked her.
"Hmm...?" She had been thinking and hadn't heard him.
"I asked if everything was ok."
"Yeah…I'm just thinking." She dropped the curtain and climbed into bed. She fluffed her pillow and then put her head on it. "I really miss New York."
"Really?" Daniel was surprised. Betty seemed to bloom in London. She loved her job and she was really good at it – the magazine was thriving. She was always so full of life and energy - with the exception of these past few months. The pregnancy had taken a lot out of her and she'd been pretty ill with morning sickness.
"Yeah. Well not the city so much but Papi and Hilda and Justin…everyone actually." She said wistfully.
"I kind of miss everyone too." Daniel said. He was really fond of Betty's family, of course there was also his mother…and over the past two years he and Tyler had actually started to connect - thanks in large part to Betty's coercion. Whenever Betty and Daniel had returned for a vacation she had insisted that Daniel contact Tyler and go out with him. It had been awkward at first but after a couple of times they discovered they actually enjoyed each other's company…as different as they were. Daniel thought it was great having a brother again – particularly without all the sibling rivalry to mess it up. Tyler was nothing like Alex - he was down to earth, easy going and completely unpretentious.
Betty rolled over onto her side and looked at Daniel. "Maybe we should move back. I mean…I really want to be close to family again…especially now." She put her hand on her stomach.
"Are you serious? What about our jobs? What about the magazine?"
"Daniel there's more to life than work and magazines." She smirked at him reminding him of his words to her. She added more seriously "I'm pretty sure you could get a good job in New York. You have experience in advertising now and you're really good at it."
"But what about the magazine?" Daniel was concerned for her. He knew how much she loved her job.
"I've been thinking about this for a while now…since…well since the baby…"
"I do love my job…but not everything about it. And what I've discovered since I've had this job is that the thing I really love to do is writing. Ironically I don't get much of a chance to do it with all the other stuff an Editor has to do. Maybe if we move back I can get some work doing some freelance writing. And when the baby comes I can do most of it from home." She had a twinkle in her eyes.
Daniel smiled at her. Then he had another idea. "Maybe you could start working on that book you always wanted to write too."
"A book doesn't pay the bills Daniel. At least not until it gets published."
Daniel gave her a strange look "You always forget I'm a Meade. I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about the bills…and I might even know a guy who knows a guy in publishing." He grabbed her and pulled her close.
"So is it decided? Will we move back to New York?" She asked him.
"I'll follow you to Timbuktu Betty Suarez-Meade."
"Awww…." She tilted her head with a smile on her face. Then she added "That's so cheesy."
Daniel smacked her with the pillow.
"The baby, watch the baby!" She laughed.
After she composed herself she got a little more serious. "Is all this wedding stuff weird for you…you know…because of Matt?"
Matt was Tyler's best man and Daniel was one of the groomsmen. They'd been spending a fair amount of time together as the wedding got closer.
"Na…why would it be weird for me? I ended up the lucky one." He grinned at her. "It's ancient history now. Matt's actually a really nice guy when he's not trying to steal my girlfriend. I guess I figured if it wasn't too weird for you that I used to sleep with Amanda…"
Betty held up her hand as if to block the image and cringed. "Are you kidding me? It's totally gross I just live in denial."
"Besides…" Daniel changed the subject back. "Matt is engaged now anyway."
"Yeah. She's nice." Betty said sincerely.
"I guess…in an "organic" kind of way." Daniel said.
Betty gave him a look. Matt had met a young Canadian doctor who was working in Africa when he'd gone back for his second tour. Her name was Gennie – with a "G". She was cute and had the same corny sense of humour as Matt. She loved everything natural, recycled and earthy. She was very conscious of the impact all of her actions had on the environment around her and the earth as a whole. She saved the trees, the whales and the orphans in Uganda. She also didn't seem to care an iota about the Hartley billions. In fact, in her opinion, the only proper use for money was to help others – she was appalled by consumerism. Betty couldn't help but think that Victoria Hartley – Matt's mother – probably hated her in equal proportion to how much Matt loved her. Daniel's only opinion of her had been that she probably didn't shave her legs. But Betty admired her and thought she was sweet.
"Can we stop talking about your ex-boyfriend now?" Daniel asked.
"Why is it bugging you?" Betty teased.
"No I just have better things to do." He said as he started nibbling on her ear.
"Daniel! Papi's across the hall."
For Daniel this was just a game. Betty was always uncomfortable when Daniel started getting romantic with Papi in the next room. And Daniel never got tired of how adorable she was when she was flustered or mortified. He started kissing her neck.
"Daniel…seriously!" She whispered.
Daniel feigned frustration. "Ok. But you owe me. Speaking of that…I booked a room at the hotel for the night of the wedding."
"You did?" Betty was pleasantly surprised.
"Yeah. I thought it would be nice. Then we can stay and catch up with people as long as we want. You've been getting tired so early in the evening lately it would be a shame for you to have to cut the visits short just because we had to travel back here to Queens or even to Mom's place. And I think after a long day like the wedding day will be, you'll be extra tired."
Betty smiled at him. He was so thoughtful sometimes it amazed her.
Amanda and Tyler's wedding was slightly unconventional. Amanda's penchant for making a grand entrance could not be satisfied by the traditional act of father walking the bride down the aisle. She needed something flasher. She opted for being lowered down from the balcony on a platform decorated with lights while dramatic music played in the background. She would then be joined by both fathers - one on either side - and walked down the aisle to the front of the church. The priest nixed the fireworks – at least the ones Amanda had wanted indoors, the outdoor ones were still on. Of course this required a lot of logistical configuration and rehearsal. Betty was just grateful that Tyler was satisfied with keeping the horses outside to pull the carriage.
There was a slight mix from the traditional wedding party: Alexis stood on Tyler's side and Marc was Amanda's "maid" of honour. Bobby walked little Marianna down the aisle to make sure she actually got to the end - she was the flower girl.
It was weird to Betty that Hilda and Amanda were so close now. It had started because Amanda had missed Betty so much when she first left for London that she had started calling and hanging out with all of Betty's family – just to get her "Betty fix". She would pop in at Ignacio's house - he always had something delicious to comfort her with. She would text Justin to find out how school was and she always showed up at his performances. But Hilda had provided the most comfort. Maybe because she reminded Amanda of Betty the most or maybe it was just because they each filled the empty space Betty had left in the other one's life when she'd moved.
The wedding went very smoothly considering all the complications that could have arisen.
Betty and Daniel were dancing to a slow song during the reception and Betty was reflecting on what a great time she was having being with everyone again. Ignacio danced by with Elena. Betty smiled. Elena had moved back to New York a few months earlier and Betty wondered how long it would be before her father remarried - it was only a matter of time, she knew. Justin was holding little Marianna and dancing with her. He loved being a big brother. Claire was dancing with Tyler while Amanda danced with Marc. Christina and Stuart were talking up a storm with the bartender. Hilda and Bobby were dancing very affectionately – they were obviously still very much in love. Matt was sitting at the table with his arm around Gennie. D.J. was trying to pick up some of Amanda's cousins daughters – more than one of them. He very obviously had Meade genes.
Betty had been quietly observing all of this when Daniel spoke.
"You're quiet. Are you tired?" He was concerned. It had been quite a long day.
"Surprisingly…no." Betty smiled at him. "I'm just thinking."
"It's neat how weddings bring people together. I've had such a great time tonight. I wish this could happen more often." She sighed.
"Maybe it will, when we move back." He said hopefully.
"Yeah." She smiled and sighed again. She snuggled in closer to him. Daniel looked so good in his tux. And he smelled really great too. "Do you think it's too early to leave?" She asked him.
"I thought you weren't tired." He looked at her, concerned again. "I thought you were having fun."
"I am…it's just…I'm hoping for a different kind of fun." She looked at him with her eyebrows raised.
"Ooooh…" Daniel understood. "Unfortunately it is a little early. Tyler's ninety year old grandmother still hasn't left yet. I think we have to wait just a little." He said reluctantly. He bent down and kissed her neck a few times and then whispered "But I'll make sure it's worth the wait."
Just then Marc and Amanda danced by. "Get a room you two." Marc said over his shoulder - commenting on their public display of affection.
"Already taken care of Marc." Daniel responded. He turned to Betty adding "Actually we have a suite."
"We do? A suite…really?" Betty was surprised.
"Yeah…with a fireplace and a huge king sized bed." Daniel smiled. "It has to be super romantic 'cause I'm pretty sure I'm picking up a bridesmaid tonight."
"You are? Which one?" Betty teased.
"The hot one." Daniel said kissing her earlobe.
An idea just occurred to Betty. "You know, I am pregnant. We could just tell everyone I'm exhausted and I need to get some sleep."
"Do you think they'd buy it?" Daniel asked hopefully. "Wait…but nobody knows yet. We haven't announced it."
Betty looked at him apologetically. "Actually…some of them do."
"You told?" He was obviously disappointed.
"Not on purpose. My dress didn't fit when Christina was pinning it the other day…everyone just sort of…guessed. I'm sorry." She really was.
Daniel understood. He smiled at her. "So who knows?"
"Alexis, Christina, your mom…"
"My mom?" He was surprised. "She didn't say a word."
"I asked her not to."
"Oh…I interrupted you…who else?"
Daniel smiled knowingly and said "So Bobby, Justin and your dad know then."
"Maybe not…I asked her not to say anything."
Daniel gave her a look.
"Ok…so probably." She laughed.
"Well…maybe this isn't such a bad thing." Daniel was trying to look on the bright side.
"How so?" Betty was curious.
"Well, for one thing, we won't steal Amanda and Tyler's thunder by making an announcement. And for another, our excuse will work now." Daniel said kissing her neck again.
"Seriously…people…please! Some of us just ate." Marc and Amanda were back in proximity.
"Is that even legal? I mean with the little one and everything." Amanda was serious and apparently she had heard they were expecting.
"What little…" Marc suddenly understood and his eyes got really wide. A funny look crossed his face. "Tell me you're not…spawning..." He looked frightened. "Mandy…" He whimpered her name like he needed her to rescue him.
"What's with him?" Betty asked Amanda.
"He's just really happy for you." She said as she danced away with him.
"Weird." Betty said to Daniel. Daniel just shook his head.
"Grandma's got a lot of stamina." Daniel commented on Tyler's grandmother again. "Maybe we could just go for a while and come back…" He suggested.
"Classy…Daniel…very classy." Betty chuckled at him. "Why don't we just disappear to the cloak room for a few minutes?"
Daniel raised his eyebrows.
"I was kidding!" She shook her head astonished. She pushed aside the thought that the cloakroom was probably not novel territory for Daniel…secretly she wondered if anyplace was.
The song ended and Betty decided she wanted to sit down – her feet were sore. They walked back to the table.
Betty's father and Elena were sitting there. Betty sat down beside her dad.
"My feet are killing me." She commented innocently, kicking off her shoes.
Her father immediately looked concerned. "You must be so tired, Myja."
Betty looked at him. "Hilda told you didn't she?"
"Told me what?" He tried to play dumb.
"Papi…you know what I'm talking about. She told you I'm expecting."
"You are? Congratulations!" He grabbed Daniel's hand and shook it hard. He was really trying to act like he was surprised but Betty could tell.
She shook her head but had a smile on her face. "Hilda is no good with secrets…"
"Unless it's her own pregnancy." Ignacio replied.
"Daniel, let's dance." Elena grabbed Daniel by the arm and pulled him out to the dance floor. She knew the two at the table could use a nice father/daughter moment right about now.
"I'm very happy for you Mija. You and Daniel are doing so well and seem to be so happy."
"We are Papi." Betty smiled.
"Your mother would be so proud of you. You're a big shot in London and happily married. And now there's a baby on the way." He was wistful…wishing his wife could have been here to see it all.
"I know." Betty started to choke up. She didn't want to be sad…this was a time for celebration. She knew what she was going to say next would make him very happy. "Can you keep a secret? Like for real…not like Hilda?"
"Of course Mija."
"Daniel and I are going to move back to New York."
Ignacio's face lit up like the chandelier hanging in his dining room.
"But what about your jobs; your home?" He asked.
"We still have to figure everything out…that's why you can't say anything yet…to anyone…please."
"Your secret is safe with me." He gave her a big hug.
Daniel and Elena ended their dance. He looked over and saw his mother making small talk with Amanda's mom. This was a good opportunity to tell her "officially" about the baby – even though she already knew. Knowing how good his mother was with secrets he knew she wouldn't say a word to him unless he brought it up first.
"Can we talk Mom?" He interrupted his mother's chit chat.
"Sure, darling." She turned to Amanda's mother "Excuse us, please."
They sat down at a quiet table.
"So…what's new, Mom?" He started.
"Nothing...what's new with you, dear?" Claire asked in return.
"Well actually…" Daniel was about to say something and then he stopped. His mother was trying unsuccessfully to stifle her smile. "What's with the smile?"
"I'm just really happy…it's a very happy day when a mother sees one of her children getting married." She bluffed.
"Oh…is that all? You kind of look like you had a secret you wanted to share."
"I don't have any more secrets, my darling." She said adamantly. "But I can't say the same for everyone in the room tonight."
"All right…I know you already know, Mom. Betty told me."
"Of course she did." Claire wasn't surprised. Betty wouldn't keep anything from Daniel. "I'm very happy for you dear." She gave him a hug.
"Thanks." He paused for a minute before adding "I can't believe it…I'm going to be a father."
"I can't believe it either. You know there was a time when I wondered if this would ever be your path…"
"What…if I would ever be a father?"
She scoffed lightheartedly, "No darling…that I worried about a little too often." She added more seriously "I wondered if you would ever settle down…if you would ever meet someone that made you happy...if you would ever have a family."
"Well, Betty really does make me happy." He smiled thinking about it.
"I can tell."
Back at Betty's table Bobby and Hilda were carefully trying to put Marianna's coat on. She'd fallen asleep on Bobby's shoulder during the previous dance and now they were getting ready to go home.
"I'm sorry you guys have to leave so soon." Betty said.
"That's life with a little one, Chipmunk…you'll know about it soon enough." Bobby said. Hilda pinched him. "Owww. What? What did I say?"
Betty laughed. "Come on Hilda…you didn't seriously think I would believe you hadn't told everyone."
"I'm sorry Betty. I was just so happy for you I couldn't keep it to myself."
"I know." Betty gave Hilda a hug. "It's ok, honest."
Daniel came back to the table. "Hey where's everybody going?" He asked.
"Marianna fell asleep. Hilda and Bobby are going home." Betty filled him in.
"Hey…Congratulations…man. I hear your life is about to change pretty drastically soon." Bobby gave Daniel a big one armed hug while holding Marianna with the other one.
"Me too…" Hilda pushed her way in to hug Daniel. "Congratulations." She pulled back and said sternly "You take care of Betty. Don't let her push herself as much as she normally does. And don't stay out too late tonight. She looks tired."
Betty just rolled her eyes at Hilda's mothering.
Daniel looked at Betty and smiled – he knew an opportunity when it was handed to him. "No… you're right Hilda…she does look tired…really, really tired. I think we're going to go soon too."
Hilda and Bobby said good night to everyone and left.
Daniel turned to Betty and said "Tyler's grandmother seems to have retired for the evening. And you heard your sister...you need your rest." He grinned at her.
"Really?" Betty was coy.
"Yeah…so…I think we could safely make an escape now."
"It is kind of traditional to wait for the bride and groom to leave first."
Daniel looked at her closely. He couldn't tell if she was kidding or not. He looked at the dance floor and saw Amanda and Tyler dancing with the energy of teenagers to a fast song.
He whimpered a little. "You're killing me Betty."
"Abstinence can't actually "kill" you…you know." She was teasing him now.
"Ok…can we go back to the part of the evening where you wanted to jump me?"
She laughed at him. Then she whispered softly into his ear "You know I always want to jump you…right? I'm just better at hiding it than you are."
That was all the encouragement he needed. "Grab your purse and say good night to everyone Betty."
Up in the suite Daniel turned on the fireplace while Betty looked around. The room was beautiful. There was a huge picture window with a beautiful view of the East River. There was a fireplace in the corner opposite a cozy sofa but still within view of the huge king size bed.
"Wow. It sure is nice being a Meade sometimes." Betty reflected out loud.
"I kind of hoped you thought it was nice being a Meade all of the time." Daniel joked.
Betty tilted her head and said "You know what I mean… this room…it's amazing."
"Not nearly as amazing as you are." He said kissing her shoulder.
"Do you think the baby will be spoiled?" Betty asked thoughtfully.
Daniel looked at her. He knew where this was coming from…and where it was going.
"Well by my mom, for sure." He laughed.
Betty smiled an anxious smile. That wasn't exactly what she meant and he knew it.
"I know what you're thinking." Daniel said. "It wasn't strictly the money that made me the entitled, aimless, playboy that I was Betty."
"Daniel…I…" Betty didn't want him to be offended.
"Let's be honest…that's what you're worried about. You don't want the little Meade in there" he pointed to her stomach "to turn out like I was." He wasn't offended, just realistic.
"Maybe not like you were…but if he turns out like you are now, I would be very proud." She put her arms around him. He took her hand and they sat on the edge of the bed.
"Listen Betty…I love my family but we were pretty messed up. You know…" He didn't have to tell her.
Betty nodded and Daniel continued. "Our little one will have it a lot better. First of all…his parents love each other very much. Second of all…we aren't even half as messed up as my parents." Betty smiled. "And third of all…you didn't come into my life and straighten me out until I was an adult…this little guy has you right from the very start."
Perhaps it was the hormones or the fact that it had been a long day, or maybe Betty was just really moved by what Daniel said – whatever the reason, she started to cry.
Daniel was horrified…he thought he'd said something wrong.
"Betty…what did I say?"
"That's so sweet." She squeaked out a whisper. Daniel grinned at her. He wiped the tears off of her cheeks with his thumb and kissed her forehead. Then he gave her a big hug. He breathed in the scent of her hair and perfume. It brought him back to the reason they'd left the reception so early in the first place. He sat back a bit to look at her face and he kissed her cheek softly…then her lips.
"I hope he…"
"…or she" Daniel interrupted. He kissed her temple and then brushed her hair back and kissed her neck.
"…or she…" Betty continued - her train of thought unhindered by Daniel's advances "has your eyes. Boy, you could cut glass with those babies."
"I hope she's as smart as you are." Daniel said kissing the side of her neck again and then her shoulder.
Betty gasped - a realization striking her "I hope he or she doesn't get my teeth." Betty cringed. She was still obviously deep in thought about this despite Daniel's attempts to distract her. "At least we can get the braces early." She consoled herself.
Daniel sighed softly and leaned back on his elbows on the bed. "So we're going to do this talking thing then?"
Betty looked at him, finally realizing the situation in front of her. He was looking pretty steamy in a tux leaning back looking at her with that grin and a twinkle in his eyes.
He continued. "'cause if we're doing this talking thing…I'm just saying…we might as well have stayed downstairs at the rec…"
Betty cut him off. "Daniel…"
"Hmmm?" he looked up at her. She yanked his arms out from under him and he flopped back onto the bed. Then she lay down beside him and whispered into his ear seductively "too much talking."