A/N: This is the first fanfiction I've finished and posted in about fifteen years. Cross-posting this from the B&B website because, well the world could always use more Detty, right?
I cannot begin to express enough thanks to Vaniah for her awesome beta-reading and cheerleading skills. If it weren't for her, you would be subject to rampant adjective/adverb abuse and some very iffy punctuation!
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing to do with Ugly Betty. Well, except for Daniel's shirt & tie, Hilda's shoes, and Betty's purse that I bought in the auction this summer. But the characters? Not mine. I just miss them and like to borrow them every once in a while. And now on with the show…
Unforgettable – A Ficlet
There were a lot of things Daniel had grown to love about London in the few short months he had lived here, but the plumbing wasn't one of them. He had just started the winter pre-shower ritual required in all old buildings with miles of pipes to heat; turn on shower, step back from icy blast, use the toilet, check shower water temp, stare at face in mirror searching for wrinkles, check shower temp, admire biceps in mirror, check shower temp. Ahh, finally it was warm enough to step in.
But just as he was about to, Daniel remembered that his new bottle of conditioner was still in the shopping bag in the kitchen, where the groceries had been dumped the night before. He grabbed his recently discarded boxers off the floor before stepping out of the bathroom. Normally he wouldn't be fussed about walking through the apartment naked, but he knew for a fact the living room curtains were open - and he also knew the self-appointed "neighborhood watch lady" across the street kept a pair of binoculars on the windowsill in order to "keep an eye out for mischief". One of these days he was going to show her exactly how much mischief he could get up to, but he didn't think his roommate would appreciate the notoriety at the moment. So somewhat decently covered, he stepped through the bedroom to the living room.
He wasn't surprised to hear upbeat music filling the room, nor was he surprised to hear a slightly off-key, but enthusiastic warbling accompanying it. He had caught Betty singing along to a favorite song on several occasions over the years. Usually as soon as she realized she'd been caught she would blush prettily and turn the music down. He had learned lately to stay out of the way whenever he chanced a moment like this, to make it last as long as he could. So, he shifted slightly back into the bedroom doorway.
No, Daniel wasn't surprised at the sight before him, but he was charmed.
She must have turned the music on while tidying up the living room, because she had a takeout menu from the coffee table rolled up in one fist, singing into it like a mic. She was dressed in her favorite weekend wear: a "Hairspray" t-shirt Justin had given her, yoga pants, and socks to ward off the chill of the wood floors. Eyes closed, she bounced around the room to one of this year's hits that had been given the Glee treatment.
He was unable to stop the smile from spreading across his face as she chirpily told off some imaginary loser with a heartfelt "forget you!" It was endearing how even in the privacy of her own flat she sang the sanitized "shh" rather than the song's original lyric, "shit". He found it pretty funny in light of the fact that he frequently heard her drop an f-bomb any time she stubbed a toe. Apparently she just couldn't curse in song.
Ok, so maybe the tone-deaf Disney princess singing wasn't particularly sexy. What was sexy was the total abandon with which she threw herself into the music. She shook both head and hips while her hands waved and gestured with every line. And for someone as prone to attacks of clumsiness as she was, Betty was a pretty damn good dancer. Occasional spastic bouncing aside, she really had a feel for rhythm. Especially in those hips. Daniel found himself growing…distracted. It was then he noticed that she had judiciously drawn the curtains closed. Take that, cranky old busybody!, he thought, as he put a hand to the waistband of his boxers.
But before he could act on the desire to strip naked and join Betty in the living room, he caught a glimpse of her face and was once again mesmerized. Tempting as it was to sneak up on her and pull her into his arms, in this moment it was more fun to sit back and watch. Her eyes were still closed as she executed a slide across the hardwood floor, but there was something in her smile that hadn't been there earlier. A knowing little quirk to the lips that made him wonder if she had seen him hiding in the shadows. She continued to sing along the last lines of the song, but the idea that she was now consciously letting him share this previously private side of her had taken root deep inside him and for what felt like the thousandth time in the past year he was made aware of how much he loved her.
The song ended with a flourish and with her back to him, Betty made a theatrical bow to her imagined audience, throwing in an Elvis-voiced "Thank you very much" for good measure. Certain now that she was still oblivious to his presence, the soaring feeling in his heart started to fade.
Until she looked over her shoulder with a smirk and asked, "So, you ready for another dance lesson?"
Ok, so maybe she could still surprise him.