A Dance With Girl X
A/N: Hey there! So, here's my first Danny/Riley (Diley? Danley? Ranny?) fanfic! Based post season one finale "Something Borrowed, Something Ben" so spoilers ahead. Hope you guys enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I'm not Baby Daddy's Baby Momma – I'm just a sitter ;) it belongs to Dan Berendsen and ABC Family.
"Come on Wheeler, lift with your knees," Riley Perrin motioned vivaciously with her hands as they climbed the stairs of her apartment building.
"You know," Danny Wheeler tilted his head to glance down at her as they walked down the corridor, shifting the box in his arms, "I'm not an expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure you still lift things with your hands."
Riley rolled her eyes and shuffled forward to unlock her door.
"Harr harr, very funny. Okay, just let me get the door..." she trailed off as she pushed it open and stepped into the room, "put it down over there by the—"
"Picture your niece painted in Kindergarten?" Danny interrupted with a smirk, eyeing the work of art suspiciously as he placed the box on the floor.
"That's an abstract painting, Danny."
"Confusing is what it is."
Rolling her eyes seemed to be Riley's signature move tonight as she treated him with yet another glance to the ceiling. Shaking her head with an amused grin on her face, she went to grab two beers out of the fridge.
"What is all this stuff anyway?" her companion asked as soon as her back was turned.
"Memories," she murmured as she kicked off her heels and scrambled to find the bottle opener, "apparently my mom wants to turn the garage into her own personal sanctuary and my 'crap' was getting in the way..."
"Whoa!" Danny exclaimed as he leaned down and rifled through the box, "it looks like high school exploded in here! There's your field-hockey trophy and mathlete ribbon and science—"
"Yeah, yeah, we've established I'm a nerd now please stop snooping through my—"
"Oh my god!"
Danny gaped as he slowly held up a very familiar photo.
"No, Wheeler, put it back!" Riley bounded over to him but he was too quick, racing around the couch, holding the picture above his head unnecessarily as there was no way in hell she'd be able to get it off him anyway, with his speed, skill, agility and overall giant-ness. But that doesn't mean she didn't try.
Clutching at his arm, Riley leapt up, pinching his shoulder as hard as she could until he knees buckled underneath him and he fell back onto the couch, dragging her on top of him.
"Give it back, Danny!" she half-yelled, seemingly unperturbed by their current position, she practically straddling him, her jean-glad knees either side of his waist as she frantically stretched her arm to try and snatch back the picture.
Danny however, was not as calm with the situation, his heart hammering a mile a minute in his chest, his mouth gaping, his eyes bulging wide as he stared up at her. She fixed him with a determined glare and as if in a trance, he silently handed over the picture with no objection.
"Thank you," she smirked, swinging her leg off him and sinking back into the cushions, her doe-eyes lowering to the photograph she'd not seen in years.
"Hey, hey be careful, you'll tear it," Danny murmured when he finally found his voice again, his pulse rate still slightly quicker than strictly normal as he leaned into her, ignoring the captivating scent of her perfume and noticing how tight she was gripping the paper.
"Yeah well, I should've done that a long time ago," she scowled, her thumb tracing her seventeen year old self, as robust and formidable as she remembered.
Danny's heart panged painfully as she said this. He couldn't help but feel a little hurt; it was a picture of the two of them at Graduation after all. His mom had taken it when they were out on the lawn as they waited for their respective dates to the beach party, Ben lingering in the background, looking clearly disgruntled even from a distance. He wasn't allowed to go...and he'd been looking forward to all dozens of 'hot girls' all week long.
"I haven't looked at this in years," she mumbled quietly, almost to herself, her eyes lingering on the hideous long green dress that her mother forced her to wear as it 'flattered her form.' Unless she seriously misinterpreted the meaning of 'flattered' all these years, looking back on it now, that was the last thing it did. All it managed to accomplish was making her look like a giant, bloated toad.
"Your mom took it right before you went to pick up Jenny Edison," she murmured, barely containing a shudder as she recalled one of the many undesirable exes of the elder Wheeler.
Danny's face grew whimsical as he cast his mind back to the many, many good times he had enjoyed with Jumpin' Jenny Edison.
"Oh Jenny...where did we go wrong?" he asked rhetorically as Riley scoffed loudly beside him, a disgruntled line creasing the bridge of her nose.
"Oh I don't know Wheeler...probably around the time she saw you 'flirting' with that foreign exchange student and tried to stab you with a fork!"
Danny laughed, remembering that particular moment at the beach vividly.
"Oh yeah...that was a fun night," he smiled.
"For you maybe," the blonde grumbled, fragments of that night reeling like a malicious montage in her mind.
"What do you mean?"
Riley sat up straighter, her dark eyes snapping to his light ones.
"Uh, you don't remember?" she asked, her voice dangerously soft.
"Remember what, Riles?" he was almost afraid to ask as he saw a bright gleam flash in her eye.
"That night, you and I were talking at the bonfire until I had to go to the bathroom. When I got to back to the house, Jenny cornered me, grabbed the front of my dress and tore it before telling everyone she saw that Fat Pants Perrin couldn't find a dress that fit..." she trailed off, heaving a sigh.
Once upon a time she'd been beyond angry, furious even, but she liked to think she'd grown up somewhat since her Rigantor days; she would not have another episode like she had at the hockey game a few months ago with Ben's naughty nurse.
"Riley I—I didn't know that. Is that why you left? Ben said he saw you when you came home and told him you didn't feel good."
"Yeah well, I couldn't tell him the truth could I? Running into him on the way home with panda eyes, puffy cheeks and bulging out of a torn dress is hardly the most attractive thing in the world."
"What are you talking about? You looked beautiful," Danny replied before he could stop himself.
"I was Fat Pants Danny. Beautiful isn't the word," she scoffed, ignoring the butterflies fluttering in her stomach, turning her entire body towards him, her expression soft as he stared back openly at her, care and sincerity in his eyes.
"Guess that's a matter of opinion," he murmured, clearing his throat nervously as she caught him staring.
"Oh," Riley slapped her knee with a laugh, "is that right Mr 'I like them tall, thin and brainless?'
"With big boobs and a limited grasp on the English language."
"And legs that go on forever..." she trailed off, Danny's 'type' clear in her mind.
"You really think I'm that shallow?" he asked, not able to contain the hurt in his tone.
"Well, I'm just making a case with the evidence provided," she replied, oblivious to having caused her friend offense.
"Is that right Councillor?" he mumbled after a moment, almost afraid of her response.
"Yeah, I mean, you must have dated (and I use that term loosely), a dozen girls in high school and all of them were the same. Lynda, peppy blonde, Ciara, sassy red-head, Jenny, crazy brunette, they were all tall, thin with big...assets and cared about nothing but the fact that you were tall, muscular and hot...they never cared about who you were as a person, who you are in here," she finished, patting his chest, her hand resting just over his heart.
Danny stared down at her hand, praying that she didn't feel the rapid speed of his heart-beat.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, using her palm to push him back a little, "and let's not forget Jessica Feltshank and her sister of course..."
"Ben told you about that?" he asked, his voice raising an octave, eyebrows shooting up to his hairline.
"Why do you think I stopped going up into your tree-house?" she asked, her nose wrinkling in displeasure.
"You said because it smelled like moldy cheese and sweaty gym socks," he reminded her with a roll of his eyes.
"Yeah well, that too," she shuddered, practically smelling that repugnant stench as he spoke.
"So I made some bad dating decisions in High School..."
"Not just high school, I've seen the line for the shower lately..." she shrugged, eyebrow arching in his direction.
"Well," Danny sat forward, returning her stare, "what about you and that guy, Jake?"
"We..." her mouth opened and closed as she searched for the right phrase, "decided to just be friends."
Danny's eyebrows raised at that as he tried (and marginally failed) to hide his excitement at learning that particular fact.
"Oh yeah? And how did he take it?"
"He asked to change the plea from friends to friends with benefits," she replied, her tone irritable.
"And?" the hockey-player asked, not liking the idea of Riley being in a 'friends with benefits' relationship with anyone, at all.
"I found him guilty of being an ass," she chuckled, shaking her head as her companion snorted.
"And his sentence?" he couldn't help but wonder.
"The infamous Perrin punisher..." she trailed off, waiting impatiently for the reaction she knew she'd get.
"Ow! Right in the boys huh?" he grimaced, knowing all too well what a kick to the gonads from Riley Perrin felt like – although in his case it had been accidental on her part. He was never playing soccer with her again.
"So hard he couldn't breathe," she cringed, a small smile still visible on her face.
They both laughed heartily as he hissed in sympathy for his fellow man (but not too much, he was still an ass.)
"It was a good night," he gestured back to the photo, memories of their Graduation still fresh in his mind, "you know, up until you left anyway."
She glanced back down at the picture, her eyes raking over the younger version of herself and her best friend, a soft smile breaking out onto her face.
"We had fun," she whispered, suddenly very aware of how close they were sitting, her doe-eyes flicking from the picture, up to his gentle face.
"We did," he agreed, finding himself ensnared in the alluring scent of peaches and honey and something uniquely...Riley. In all these years, she may have changed physically (although, to him she had always been the most beautiful girl he'd ever laid eyes on) but beneath it all, in scent, in personality and in heart, she was still Riley. His best friend. The love of his life.
"You know, I never did get that dance..." the words tumbled from his mouth before he could stop them.
Beside him, Riley tensed, biting her lip as she remembered the promise she made him a long time ago.
"Well, there was only so much 'N Sync a girl could dance to..." she faux-laughed, feeling nervous all of a sudden, the sensation of an old wave of guilt settling over her.
Danny couldn't help but recall a few weeks before, when she'd so happily danced with his brother at Katie and Dave's wedding. He had watched them for a moment, had seen the look of sheer...contentment that passed over his best friend's face as she swayed in Ben's arms. He had never seen her so calm, so carefree, not in all their years of friendship.
It made him wonder, was it the dancing after a hard day that made her feel that way? Or the person she was dancing with?
Leaping up off the couch, Danny decided to test this theory before he could talk himself out of it. He had been torturing himself over the last few weeks, every night, dreaming about Riley and Ben dancing on the roof, on his heart, as they announced their engagement. He knew it was just his subconscious being melodramatic, but that didn't stop him from waking up in a cold sweat, his heart hammering in his chest, so close to breaking...
Riley frowned as she watched him jump up and hold out his hand.
"I never got that dance from Graduation Riles...and you're the only member of the wedding party that I didn't get to even do The Macarena with because you were too busy trying to organize another cake—"
"I hate Gene," she grumbled, her heart in her throat as she realized what Danny was asking her.
"He's an ass, but you put him in his place," he smiled as she stood up and took his hand.
"Yeah and apparently that place was on top of a cake made out of cardboard and toothpaste," she chuckled, heat rising in her cheeks as he rested his other hand on her waist and began to slowly move back and forth. Who needed music anyway?
"Hey, I had to improvise, I'm sure nobody would have known the difference," he defended his not-so-culinary masterpiece timidly, knowing he was fighting a losing battle.
"Uh huh, until Katie and Dave would actually try to cut the cake," she smirked, her dark orbs shining with mirth as she tilted her head back to look up into his face.
It was when she was met with his cobalt gaze, so honest, so bright as they swayed back and forth in silence, that she felt her heart thud heavily in her chest, much like it had when he told her that she would make a beautiful bride, and someday she would find a guy that would truly appreciate her, would look into her heart and know what she's thinking...
But her heart damn near stopped when he kissed her in that locker room...
Where the hell had that come from?!
No, this couldn't be happening. Not really, it was just a reaction to her finally letting go of Ben, of accepting her years of bubbling feelings for him as just a crush and moving on...that was all. There was no way she was actually falling for—
"I really missed you when you left that night you know...nothing was ever fun without you around Riles..."
And then he says things like that. Damn that sweet-hearted, lovable giant.
"You know Danny," she smiled up at him, fighting the urge to rest her forehead on his shoulder, "you're gonna be an amazing husband someday..."
The radiant beam that spread across his face was nothing short of astounding. He really was beautiful inside and out...
"And you're gonna find a girl who will love you not only for your dashing good looks," she grinned as he blushed an adorable shade of red, "but for who you are in here..." she again raised her palm to rest it over his heart, this time realizing that it was pounding quite quickly in his chest.
With a bite of her lip, her orbs found his once more as they both failed to realize that they were no longer moving, instead they were standing still in each other's arms, their eyes interlocked. Silence engulfed them, a comfortable but heightened silence as they stared at one another, both minds void at what to say, what to do to break the ice of yet another one of their moments.
Danny felt the overwhelming urge to kiss her again, anything to stop the words that wanted to bubble from his lips:
I want you to be that girl...
Riley's breathing hitched as she felt his grip tighten ever-so-slightly on her hip as he seemed to be inwardly arguing with himself.
Over the last few months, when she'd come back into the Wheelers' lives, she felt a shift in her and Danny's dynamic from when they were in high school, but it was a comfortable one. A natural evolution and yet some things still remained the same. Danny still told her practically everything and she still knew when he was hiding something from her and that feeling, that knowing was what haunted her these last few months, she just couldn't put her finger on what it might be that he'd been keeping from her...
But as she stared up at him now, it seemed obvious, as clear as day, all the clues clicking into place, his behaviour now making perfect sense...
But she couldn't possibly risk it, this was Danny, her best friend in the entire world and she wasn't going to ruin that over some hunch, some (for all she knew) fantasy that could be the result of her finally getting over Ben. No, Danny meant too much to her...
"Riley I—I really want to tell you something," the man of her thoughts said suddenly, bringing the hand from her hip up to her cheek, his fingers ghosting over her skin, an inch away, not quite touching.
She knew her expression must have been a deer caught in headlights as she jumped away from him, a shrill laugh on her lips, her mind reeling.
"Well, you're gonna have to hold that thought Wheeler, it's getting kinda late and I've a test in the morning," she lied, pushing him towards her front door with all her might, "say hi to Emma and the guys for me, won't ya?"
Danny frowned, allowing the small blonde to push him out her door, trying not to let the sting of rejection to engulf him.
"Uh yeah, I guess it can wait..." he mumbled as he turned around, noticing that she could no longer meet his eye and found the floor to be much more interesting.
"So I'll uh, see you tomorrow?" he asked, hating the hint of nervousness in his tone as he already began to silently berate himself for another stupid move.
"Yeah, sure Wheeler, tomorrow," she promised, managing a small smile and a quick wave before closing the door with a snap, leaning her back against it and fighting the urge to reef it back open and throw her arms around him.
What the hell was that all about?
Danny stared at the closed door, a frown on his face. He knew it was a stupid idea to test his theory. She didn't seem as content in his arms as she was in Ben's at all...could it be that she would only ever see him as her goofy best friend?
He couldn't be sure. But, at least he got his long-awaited dance with his Girl X (or Girl Y, he had to be safe), that would have to be enough...for now.
A/N: Poor Danny :( Hopefully Riley comes to her senses and realizes that Danny is the one for her :D Although admittedly, there was something cute about her and Ben dancing...but no, the elder Wheeler has always loved her, hopefully he gets brave in season 2 and doesn't let the events in the finale dissuade him :D
A review would be lovely :D