A/N: Ugly Betty is not mine.
Written for The Bachelor and The Butterfly Challenge. Hopefully it's half-way decent! Please, please comment/review - feedback is always appreciated!
TAKING THE LEAP
Chapter 1 - The Kiss
Stupid Trista and her stupid perfect face and body, Betty thought darkly as she watched Trista the Model fawn all over Daniel in the middle of Trafalgar Square.
Of course, it had been a complete surprise to her and Daniel when they had run into her on the way back from their daily lunch. He had been walking her back to her office as usual when he had literally bumped into Trista. After apologizing profusely, as Daniel was wont to do, they had struck up a conversation about what they had been up to since they had last seen each other, leaving Betty watching the two of them flirting and hitting it off. She didn't know why she was feeling so annoyed - all she knew was that Daniel was supposed to be walking her back to work, and now she had to endure Trista being all touchy-feely with him. Trista was flirting desperately as she let her hand linger on his arm, leaning into him as she was telling her amazing story about how she had scored the cover for the top fashion magazine in London. And what made Betty even angrier was the fact that Daniel was eating it all up. He was laughing at everything she said, congratulating her on her cover. And as always, Betty was left out in the cold as Daniel's attention was captured by a beautiful woman who was so totally beneath him.
And just as Trista asked Daniel if they could have dinner sometime, Betty decided she couldn't take it anymore. "So sorry to interrupt, guys," she said with an air of one who could care less about the current conversation and who has to hurry back to work, "but I have so much to do back at the office, so I'll see you guys later." And as a side note, she added, "Don't bother to call later, Daniel, I'm swamped at work. Let me know if you two hit it off again - this way I can be forewarned if I ever have to spend an evening with someone who can't seem to strike up an intelligent conversation."
Knowing she shouldn't have let that last part slip, Betty turned away from them without a backward glance and tried to make herself lost in the crowd. But of course, Daniel was never one to give up easily. "Betty! Betty, hold on!" she heard him calling after her. She tried to walk even faster, but she felt his hand on her arm pulling her back to him and making her face him.
"Betty, what the hell was that about?" he asked, looking so confused as if he didn't know what to make of her attitude. His blue eyes shown with concern as he assessed her behavior, and Betty cursed herself for looking into them. They really were too blue, weren't they?
She steeled herself to respond, and looking everywhere but directly at him, she said, "I'm sorry, Daniel, I just really have to get back to work. I - "
"Betty, I've known you for four and a half years, and you've never been that rude to someone's face," he said, cutting her off and calling her out on her behavior. "That's not like you! What's going on?"
"Nothing's going on!" she denied immediately. "I've just been swamped, that's all. . ."
He looked at her skeptically. "Is it really just work that's bothering you? Honestly, Betty, I thought we were better friends than that." Pausing, he added, "I know you never liked Trista, but that's no excuse to insult her when you see her."
"I know!" she exclaimed. "I just. . . I don't know, she brought out something in me that I can't explain." And for some reason, it bothered her that Daniel was rushing to Trista's defense. Shouldn't he be on his best friend's side instead of siding with his ex-girlfriend?
Daniel sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "It's okay, Betty, you just kind of - shocked me, is all."
"Shocked myself too," she said, staring down at her shoes, embarrassed. "But seriously, Daniel, do you have to go out with her again? I'm not sure she even understood the insult in the first place," Betty said pleadingly. Daniel's mouth twitched, but he gazed at her with a stern look on his face, and she relented. "All right, I shouldn't have said it! I'll apologize."
"Good," he said, a smile slowly spreading on his face. "Who would have thought, Daniel Meade teaching Betty Suarez some manners!"
She punched him in the arm at that comment, and they both laughed at that. Why did he have to be such a good person? She felt overwhelmed as a rush of emotion swept through her. Here she was, being the most thoughtless person in the world as she slammed her best friend's ex-girlfriend, while he was here with her trying to comfort her and make her feel better when he didn't even know why she had gone off like that in the first place! Truth be told, she wasn't sure why she had gotten so angry at meeting Trista, and for the life of her, she couldn't think of any reason other than that she wanted Daniel all to herself here in London. And the way he was looking at her now, his eyes so warm, making her whole body heat up and tingle with something she had never felt so acutely in his presence before or with anyone else. She didn't want to over analyze everything right now. No, for now, she would just thank her lucky stars that Daniel was here with her in London, even if he might be going on a date with that bimbo later.
"Well," she said slightly breathlessly. "I really should probably head off to work. . . Thank you for talking some sense into me."
"Anytime," he answered softly, his bright blue eyes so full of emotion as he stared intently at her. He was standing a little closer than friends normally would, and she leaned in even more as her stomach started doing little back-flips while their staring contest continued. And before she knew what she was doing, she kissed him.
It was everything she could have possibly wanted in a kiss. Passion, need, and something else she wasn't ready to name. He was startled at first, but she felt him relax against her and give himself over to the kiss, gently coaxing her mouth open as he ran his tongue slowly along her lips. She heard herself whimper and pulled him as close as possible, wanting to feel his whole body against hers. She felt his arms tighten around her waist in response, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him enthusiastically, smiling against his lips at the fact that Daniel seemed to want to be as close as possible too. She didn't know how long the kiss lasted, but she knew she never wanted it to stop - the heat and the passion were so intense, making this kiss so different from others she had experienced before. The whole world had faded into gray, and the only thing that mattered was the two of them in this moment, completely wrapped up in each other.
As breathing became a necessity, she pulled back slowly to look at him. He was looking at her as if she was the only thing in the world, his hair mussed from her own fingers where she had gripped it passionately a few moments before. And as she flicked her tongue over her lips, still able to taste him on her, she saw his eyes flick down to her thoroughly kissed lips. The thought brought a blush to her cheeks, and her actions finally caught up with her brain.
The awkwardness was starting to creep in, and Betty cursed herself for letting her passion surpass her brain functions and not letting herself fully comprehend the consequences of her actions before she had done it. Awkwardly, she extricated herself from his embrace, attempting to smooth down her hair as she avoided looking at Daniel. Trying to regain her composure, she said quickly, "I should - um - really get going . . . so much to do. I'll see you around, Daniel!" And with that, she bolted from his sight.
The short walk to her office was torture and seemed like a slightly hazy dream as she kept replaying the kiss in her head. Unfortunately, the more she thought of it, the more she realized how much of a fool she had made of herself, in front of Daniel of all people! He had seen her make a fool of herself before, but now things were supposed to be different - she was a big shot editor in London! She had messed everything up by kissing him on impulse! Betty remembered the one other time she had done that with the New York playwright Zachary Boule and the disastrous consequences later. She shuddered, hoping her relationship with Daniel wouldn't deteriorate over this one instance. He was her best friend - he could forgive her for this, right?
But on the other hand, the kiss had been AMAZING. Daniel was a great kisser, no doubt due to his vast experience with women, which she didn't really want to think about now. And he had made her feel all tingly all over and he was so passionate - she wanted to literally rip his clothes off in the middle of Trafalgar Square. What was going on with her? Since when did she feel this way about Daniel?
As soon as she had barricaded herself in her office, she made a snap decision and pulled out her cell phone, dialing her sister's number. When she picked up, she whispered breathlessly, "Hilda, I'm in big trouble. I just kissed Daniel."
The answering shriek was like the shot heard 'round the world. "WHAT? Betty, how did that happen?"
Betty could feel a blush creeping up on her cheeks again and put a hand to her face in embarrassment. "Hilda, calm down, it's not that big a deal - "
"Not that big a deal? Betty, you just kissed your old boss!"
"She did what?" a chorus of three male voices shouted.
Betty cringed. "Oh god, are you at Papi's with Justin and Bobby? What are you guys doing up so early?"
"Betty, focus! Don't you dare change the subject. Now why did you kiss him?"
"I don't know! I don't know what made me do it! He was being so sweet, and his eyes were so blue, and - "
She could have cursed herself for letting slip that last part. She could almost hear Hilda smiling through the phone on the other side of the Atlantic. "So his eyes are really blue, huh? How long has this been going on?"
Betty groaned. "I don't know. . . . Can we please just forget about that part? What am I supposed to do next time I see him?"
"Betty, don't worry, you guys have known each other for a long time. Whatever happens, I'm sure you two will get through it. Just figure out why you kissed him in the first place, and maybe then you'll know what to do next time you see him," Hilda said consolingly.
Betty took a deep breath and sighed. "You're right. I just need to figure this out and hope he doesn't run away. I can't lose Daniel."