DISCLAIMER: I do not own Ugly Betty, its characters, or any ideas, concepts, or names originating from the ABC show.
Betty sat at her desk, staring vacantly at the blank word document watching the cursor blink over and over. She had already packed up her office and tied up any loose ends she needed to before she officially resigned from Reflect. She just had this one last thing to do.
Approaching Mr. Dunne about resigning so prematurely was difficult at best, but he seemed to have understood her need to go home and care for her father. Revealing her resignation to her staff was a little tougher as they had grown quite fond of Betty. But nothing proved to be as brutal a task as saying goodbye to her readers.
Several times, her fingers tapped the keys of her computer, always followed by the decisive push of the backspace key. She buried her head her hand and began drumming her pen aimlessly on the desk. Her eyes caught a glimpse of the inscription Ian had engraved on it. She held the pen up, rubbing its letters with her thumb – Let your dreams REFLECT you.
She stared pensively at those words for several minutes then slid her laptop closer. Suddenly, all that was on her heart began to appear on the screen as she wrote out her final Letter from the Editor.
Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money. When I was eight years old, I wanted to get this new, sparkly blue two-wheeler bicycle. My parents told me that if I wanted to get that new bike, I would have to somehow earn the money to buy it myself. It took me almost seven months – cleaning the house, helping the neighbors, selling ice cold horchata, recycling cans and bottles. It finally came down to needing just $10 more to purchase the bike of my dreams.
I resorted to sifting through my belongings and seeing what I could sell at the neighborhood yard sale that would earn that last $10. I remembered how much my friend down the street loved my Dolly Diaper-Surprise. I knew that she would buy it from me and I'd finally be able to afford that bicycle. The problem was I really liked that doll a lot too. I wasn't sure I was ready to part with it. After all, my Tia Lupe gave that to me for my 5th birthday because I had been asking for it over and over.
One day, as I was walking past the sporting goods store, I saw that there was only one more sparkly blue two-wheeler left and I knew it was time to sell my doll. Of course, when I did, I was saddened a little, but when I marched into that sporting goods store with my father and $75 in cash and walked out with a brand new bike, I realized that sacrificing for something you really love, doesn't feel like sacrifice at all.
When I first began this journey with Reflect, I was genuinely terrified. I had left behind all that I had known and loved behind in New York to begin a new chapter in my life. Even if my choice to come to London and take the position as Editor-in-Chief of this magazine brought some tearful days and lonely nights, I would not trade this experience for anything.
It has always been my mission to be a strong, confident woman in this world, and touch the lives of other women, empowering them to love who they are, the way they are, but never being afraid to reach for something better. Having this magazine to be able to accomplish that has truly been a dream come true.
But now, though my journey here has been short-lived, I know that it is time to move on. For just as each night, we go to sleep and race through a labyrinth of dreams – some seamlessly intertwined, some peculiarly disconnected – so it is with the dreams we have when we are awake. While the process has come with much kicking and screaming, I'm learning to let this dream go so that I may go on to live another. I realized that moving on from your dream come true doesn't mean it is the end. It simply means that you've woken up to a new day with new promises that will bring, at its end, new dreams.
It is with great sadness that I bid you, my faithful readers, farewell. But be assured that I am still living out my dreams both professionally and personally. I just hope that my voice will continue to resonate and echo through this medium for years to come.
- Betty Suarez, Editor-in-Chief
Betty read through her letter one last time before she emailed it to Katherine, the interim Editor-in-Chief. She shut down her work laptop and gently pushed it closed. After taking one last look around her plush office, she picked up her box of personal belongings and headed toward the elevators.
"Betty!" Angela called after her. "You dropped this."
Betty took the tattered pink bunny Angela was handing back to her.
"Thank you, Angela. For everything." They hugged as the elevator doors opened. "Bye."
"Goodbye, Betty. Best of luck."
As Betty came off the escalator at John F. Kennedy airport, she was greeted by a limo driver holding a sign with her name.
"Are you here for me?" she asked him puzzled. She had arranged for Hilda to meet her at the airport and ride with her back home.
"Betty Suarez?" Betty nodded. "Yes, Daniel Meade sent me. Right this way."
The driver took hold of her baggage and led her to a limousine parked outside. Betty obliged, expecting to see Daniel waiting inside the vehicle, but alas, she was in the elongated cabin alone. She sat there confused as the passing cityscape revealed they were heading into Manhattan instead of taking her home to Queens. Betty kept trying to get the driver's attention, but either the privacy screen was sound proof or he was purposefully ignoring her. She removed her phone from her purse and texted Daniel – WHERE IS UR DRIVER TAKING ME?
A few moments later, her phone beeped and read, JUST GO W/ IT.
Her leg bounced nervously from the backseat as Betty awaited her arrival at a mysterious destination. Outside her window, the city was nearly dormant this early Sunday morning, but Betty looked out, drinking in the familiar sites. There was just something about being home that comforted her like nothing else.
The buildings stopped moving past her window as the driver lowered the privacy screen and said, "Miss Suarez, we're here."
Betty opened the door and stepped out onto the concrete jungle. "Meade? Excuse me, why did you take me to Meade Publications? It's Sunday, business is closed."
The driver simply shrugged and pointed up to the sky. Betty followed the direction of his finger and caught sight of a sky writer in mid-message.
"GO TO M…" Betty read. As she watched the plane perform acrobatics in the air, she reminisced about the time the editors at MODE were on that retreat and she desperately need to get hold of Daniel to stop the press. In retrospect, it probably would have been easier and made more sense to just call the lodge where they were convening, but the dramatic flair was kind of a nice touch. "GO TO MOD… wait, is that message for me?" Betty asked the awaiting limo driver. "Does that say 'GO TO MODE'?"
The driver simply nodded as he passed her the handle of her rolling luggage and a key card for the building.
"You don't say much, do you?" Betty directed her question to the driver, knowing she might as well have been talking to herself.
She flipped the card over to find her photo and, imprinted below it in bold, black letters: Betty Suarez, Managing Editor, M.Y.W. She swiped her key card and tentatively entered the near-empty building occupied by a single security officer.
"Good morning, Miss Suarez. Welcome back to Meade," he said to her.
Betty did not recognize him from her four years working in that building, but she politely replied, "Good morning, but I'm not… back at Meade. I mean, I am – well, I will be – I'm just not here today for work. I'm not 'back at Meade' for few more weeks." The officer looked at her curiously. "Nevermind. You know what, I'm just headed up to MODE as per Daniel Meade's request, so I'll just…"
"Yes, Miss Suarez, I was expecting you." He informally gestured toward the elevators and Betty quickly escaped the awkward encounter.
When the elevator arrived at the 21st floor, Betty stepped into the foyer of the desolate MODE office. The clicking of her heels echoed through the hallway as she took in the hauntingly familiar space.
"Daniel? Are you here? Hello?" She called out as she passed through the tubular hallway. She caressed each brightly colored stiletto shoe that was on display along the length of the hallway. It was crazy to think that she spent almost every day roaming these hallways, taking notes from Daniel or escaping Marc and Amanda's ridicule. As she approached the big orange, donut-shaped reception desk, she half expected Amanda to pop out and give her a flirtatious "Heeeyyyyyyy" followed by some insulting Mexican food name.
Betty turned toward Daniel's former office knowing that it was no longer his, but hoping she might find him there feeling as sentimental as she was. She peered through the large glass walls into the office she had spent much of her time only to find it empty. Just then, a chime sounded from her old computer. She turned around, startled, then proceeded to the desk she once occupied to see what was on the screen.
An instant message flashed on the monitor.
COME TO THE CONFERENCE ROOM.
Betty was beginning to get uneasy about this little scavenger hunt she was apparently being put through.
"Daniel, I don't know what game you're trying to play here, but if you don't come out soon, I'm just going to go home!" she shouted. "Honestly, I'm exhausted from my flight, and I'd really just like to go home and crash!"
She opened the glass door to the conference room chuckling to herself as she recalled her intimate encounter with that door on her first day at MODE. She was not surprised to find no one there but a single fortune cookie accompanied by a Post-it note that said, "Eat me." Betty cracked the cookie open as she called out, "What's going to happen? Am I going to shrink and fall down a rabbit hole?"
The thin strip of paper fell out of the cookie and onto the conference table. Betty picked it up and read the fortune printed on it. "Pull away the curtain to find yourself. These fortunes never make any sense."
The loud crunch of the cookie resonated through the vacant room as Betty noticed the dark grey curtain that was covering the idea wall. She looked around to see if Daniel or anyone else was in sight. Her fingers wrapped around a chunk of the fabric and she gave it a strong tug. The curtain fell dramatically to the floor revealing the wall of cover and layout mock ups. Betty gasped, throwing her hand over her mouth as she processed what she was looking at.
Front and center was a large poster of the proposed cover of MODE which pictured Betty herself – half of the old Betty morphed into half of the new surrounded by imprints of butterflies and the main headline reading "Transformation." Encompassing the cover mock up were other poster sized photographs of Betty and Daniel throughout the years – one of Marc's sneaky phone shots from her first day at MODE, the paparazzi shot of her and Daniel dining together when he had gotten stood up by Giselle, a photo at her Papi's house in front of the Christmas tree Daniel had affectionately helped decorate, the two of them posing after her first fashion show, a photo taken of them at her Blobby award ceremony, the two of them dancing together at Hilda's wedding, and several from their photo shoot in London. The wall also had on display her blurb on Daniel as Editor-in-Chief in the 100th Anniversary issue and his infamous Letter from the Editor from that same issue.
Betty marveled at the presentation. It was as if their whole history was a museum exhibit forever preserved for posterity. She was skeptical about the legitimacy of this layout mock up. She was sure that Wilhelmina would never agree to giving Daniel and especially Betty a spotlight in her precious magazine, but as she became certain Daniel had put this together just for her, a bright smile spread across her face.
Betty went back to stand in front of the cover, running her fingers over the glossy watermarked butterfly imprints and admiring the beautiful concept Daniel had thought up. Her eye caught sight of bright yellow paper sticking out the bottom corner of the poster. The note said, "Pull out cover". Betty took hold of the cover's edge and gently pulled it away from the wall, then unfolded the pull out.
Tears welled up in her eyes as the bold orange words jumped out at her from the page.
Betty, will you marry me? -Daniel
She turned away from the wall as her tears could no longer contain themselves and there, in the epicenter of the conference table, was Daniel on bended knee holding up a simple 5-carat, princess cut, solitaire diamond ring.
"Five years ago, this bright-eyed, bushy browed young woman walked into those exact glass doors and into my life. I didn't know it then, but she would become the most important thing in the world to me. I've told you before, and this past year has only proved it true, that I can't live without you. I won't live without you. So I'm on my knees asking you to promise me that I never will. Betty, would you do me the honor of being my wife?"
In a matter of seconds, Betty had thrown herself over the table to meet Daniel in the middle, buoyantly nodding her head as they met in a fiery kiss. It was only through the flood of tears in both their eyes that they were finally able to see with a clarity they had been pursuing for so long.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm sure this isn't traditional, but I just feel the need to share this with all of you who have been following this story. For my very first fan fiction, all of you have made it such an awesome experience! When I started, I honestly didn't think I'd finish this story since I'm not much of a writer, but all your amazing feedback really fueled me to keep going. I enjoyed doing this a lot more than I expected. For those that left reviews, don't underestimate the effect you have on the story! Even though I already had in mind where I wanted to go, sometimes reading your responses would give me another idea. For example, I never planned on making Angela a real contender for Daniel, but with everyone suspecting it and wanting a "jealous Betty", I figured I'd play with your suspicions. So I wrote in the whole storyline about the Daniel/Angela misunderstanding and it turned into one of my favorite parts of the story! Your feedback matters! :)
I don't have any upcoming story ideas right now, so now I can get back to reading some of the other awesome fics out there, but trust this isn't the last you'll see of me! I was thinking of writing a Dawson's Creek fic, but all you Ugly Betty fans have been so great, I may stick around.