Title: Looking After Betty.
Ratings: (US) T /(UK) 12/ (AUS) PG
Copyright: August 12th – September 8, 2012
Couple: Betty and Daniel... Kind of, but not really.
Show Disclaimer: The character of "Ugly Betty" are derived from "Yo so Betty, la fea," which was created by Fernando Gaitan. The following companies produce the show: Silent H Prod/Ventanarosa Productions/Touchstone Television in association with Reveille Productions and it is presented by ABC television. The Executive - Co-Executive producers are: Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Marco Pennette, Ben Silverman, James Hayman and Jose Tamez.
Author's Disclaimer: Let's face it, I don't own UB or any of the characters, back story, etc. I'm not making a cent from it - if I did, I'd buy a new computer and some other things. The story; along with any original characters are mine though... I think. Darn those pesky copyright laws.
Author's Note: Some of you may have read a story I wrote a few years ago called, "The Marriage of Daniel Meade." I would consider this a sequel of sorts, it is told mostly if not entirely from Daniels' point of view. Although Betty is mentioned frequently in this story, she has no direct dialogue, if that makes sense.
Special Thanks: To a colleague of mine, Veronica, who looked over the story for me just to see if it worked.
Daniel sat at his desk – his rather neat desk and frowned. He was used to having some sort of clutter it made him feel as if he were actually doing – something. His eyes did a quick sweep before stopping on a hinged picture frame.
He smiled briefly before frowning.
There were two photographs, one of his wife; hence the smile. The other was of a group photo of his friends and family at the wedding.
Although it should have been one of the happiest days in his life, it was not. Something or rather someone was missing and it was glaring at him in the face, each time he looked at the photograph the feeling washed over him again.
Betty was not in the photograph.
In fact, he had gone over all the photographs taken during the wedding and she was not in any of them. He had no reminder of her presence, no photographic evidence to look upon.
He could not believe it. Surely the wedding photographer would have gotten one picture of her.
Not even the wedding video.
It was as if she had purposely excluded herself.
He was still asking himself that very question six months later.
No, he did not have a single photograph of her at the wedding.
What he did have, was the lasting memory of her running off, tears streaming down her face.
He wanted to follow her.
He wanted to know who had made her cry.
The anger he felt at that moment was immense. He wanted to tear apart whoever had done this to Betty.
Who did this person think they were? How could they do this to Betty?
How dare they!
He would get to the bottom of this, he would.
But right now, all he wanted to comfort her. He wanted to make it better, like she always did, or at least tried to do for him.
He was about to go after her when his mother stopped him.
Daniel could not understand why she would not – did not understand how important it was to him to catch Betty.
By the time he had managed to break free, Rachel showed up.
He could not leave her and go after Betty – which his heart had demanded he do. He kept looking out the door which she had disappeared through. Daniel told himself he would check up on her later on.
He could do that.
Betty was far too important to him to just let go.
He had told himself he would at least make sure she got home okay. He had every intention of doing just that.
He wanted to be as good a friend to her as she had become to him.
But – he forgot.
Not that he wanted to, it just... happened.
There were issues that had come up during the reception which had to be dealt with. Things Betty had taken care of – but with her sudden departure his mother had to step in and handle things in her place.
Then there was the media to take care of. Not only was his wedding going to appear in a special edition of Mode, paparazzi were out in force. Betty had suggested that there be a special location for various media outlets. This way they could control – for the most part – the coverage.
It was chaotic to say the least.
Including the mad dash to the limo which was waiting to take drive them to the private jet – which Betty had charted.
Daniel had to admit, he had enjoyed himself. Work never entered his mind. He was too preoccupied to think of anything or anyone else except for Rachel.
He ran his hand through his hair.
He had to cut himself some slack, not much, but some.
It was a two weeks – first to Switzerland – then to the Virgin Islands. He had the mountains and snow one week, the sun and sandy beaches the next.
It was perfect, just as Betty thought it would be.
She was the one who explained how exciting it would be – how memorable. "Who goes to two locations on their honeymoon? I would love to, if it wasn't expensive, and if I were getting married and we could afford it," she had said. "You should splurge a little."
"How very unlike you Betty," he had replied. He smiled when she slapped his arm and rolled her eyes.
That was his Betty.
In the end he agreed, as if he wouldn't.
And, Betty was right, again.
It was perfect, until he got home and everything fell apart.
It began when his mother had met him at the airport.
"You look well Daniel," she told him as she touched his face.
"I feel great Mom – we both do, don't we sweetheart?" he said addressing Rachel.
"Mom," he began after watching the interaction between his wife and mother. "Not that I don't love seeing you, but what are you doing here?"
"I... have some news and I didn't want to interrupt your honeymoon," she said as they walked to the waiting limo.
"What do you mean you didn't want to interrupt our honeymoon?" he repeated
Claire sighed. "I knew if I told you, you'd cancel your trip and come home..."
He stopped suddenly. "Mom, you're starting to scare me."
"Daniel, I'll wait in the car," Rachel said. "I think you need some privacy."
"What?" Daniel turned to face her, "No..."
"It's okay, I'll be in the car," she said briefly, nodding to Claire.
"Daniel," his mother said, touching him on the shoulder.
"Yeah?" He looked deeply into his mother's eyes, as if trying to discern what she was going to tell him.
"It's about Betty."
As soon as she had said those words, he felt as if the air had been sucked from his body. "Wh… what about her?" he demanded.
In a blink of an eye, everything rushed back to him, the wedding, the way she looked when he tried to speak with her earlier, finding her with his mother, seeing the tears streaming down her face.
Including the promised he'd made to himself to make sure she had gotten home. To check in on her.
He was angry with himself and if he were being quite honest, disgusted.
He had forgotten about her... again.
He knew in his heart if it had been the other way around, Betty would have put her honeymoon on hold – would have dropped everything for him.
To the market?
Down the street?
Out of town?
What did that mean – she's gone?
His mother could not have meant...
Daniel had felt himself take a step back – no – see if she were gone, he would know.
He would have felt it.
In some intrinsic way he would have known.
"What do you mean, she's gone?" he whispered. He did not want to hear the answer, but knew he had to know.
"She didn't want to tell you, but she turned in her notice..."
"What!" His mind was going a mile a minute as a huge surge of relief infused his body. She was not gone but… "When?"
"Two weeks before the wedding," Claire said.
"That's not possible," he exclaimed shaking his head. "She couln't have. I would remember that. She never said a thing."
"She gave it to me," she replied reaching into her bag and taking out a folded piece of paper. "She asked me not to tell you, she didn't want to interfere with the wedding."
Daniel recalled taking the letter from his mother's hand and walking away.
He opened it slowly and read.
It was short and to the point.
She was tendering her resignation effective immediately. She thanked everyone for the chance of a lifetime, but she felt needed to explore other opportunities, other possibilities.
"Where is she mom?" He asked after finishing the letter. "This isn't Betty," he told her, holding the crumpled letter in his hand.
She would not do this to him.
To their friendship.
It was one of the more important relationships he had in his life.
She could not leave, not without giving him the chance to change her mind.
To let her know he was not ready – he needed more time… he needed her in his life.
She had to know that.
"Mom, where is she?" he repeated.
"You need to let her go..."
She had told him something like that at the wedding – looking back he simply thought she wanted him to let Betty deal with her emotions, now... he was not sure.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He asked angrily.
"Daniel, sweetheart – you know as well as I do, Betty wouldn't do this without a very good reason."
"I'll call Ignacio, he'll tell me…" he said to himself.
"You will do no such thing," she said sharply.
He looked at his mother perplexed.
"You have a wife," she pointed out, "Who's waiting for you Daniel. You have started a new chapter in your life. Betty," she paused and took a deep breath. "She will survive without you Daniel."
'But, will I?' he thought.
"Daniel... we should get going," Rachel said from the car.
"This isn't finished," he told him mother. "Are you coming?" he had asked as he turned to walk to the waiting limo.
"No, I'll take a cab..."
"Daniel, go on. Rachel is waiting."
Daniel huffed but there was nothing he could do.
He saw his mother take her phone from her purse – she would not tell him – he knew her well enough to know. After all, she had kept the fact he had a half-brother from him all these years. 'What's another secret?'
Daniel had made up his mind he would find out on his own – he smirked – he would ask Marc and Amanda.
If anyone knew, it would be them.
And come to think of it, she did not say he could not contact Hilda either.
'Things are looking bright,' he thought as he got into the limo.
Rachel had taken his hand and given it a gentle squeeze. He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. 'This will be a piece of cake.'
He would get to the bottom of this.
'Moron,' he thought.
"Miss Chimichanga has flown the coop dear boy," Marc had said.
"This is your fault Daniel," Amanda had said.
They would not tell him anything else – Daniel could have sworn Amanda looked like – no – she would not cry.
No, she was the one who might have made her cry. But even Daniel had to see that Amanda and Betty's relationship had changed over the years.
Still, he was surprised to see the brightness in Amanda's eye, even if it was briefly.
They left him and no matter how much he asked, they were both tight lipped.
So, Marc and Amanda would not say why Betty had left, his mother would not and he could not ask Ignacio that left one person...
"Come on Hilda – you have to tell me where she is, please?"
"That's where you're wrong Daniel. I don't," she huffed. "Look, Betty is safe," she told him her voice taking on a gentler tone. "She's fine. If and when she's ready to talk to you she will," she stated.
"I don't understand. Why won't anyone tell me what's going on," he said in a frustrated tone.
Hilda shook her head. "You're right you don't understand. Don't try, it will be better for you in the long run," she glanced at her watch. "I've got to go – thanks for the coffee."
"So, you're not going to tell me?"
Daniel saw her bite her lip as if she were contemplating her answer.
"I can't," she said slowly. "I promised. And," she held a finger up, "Don't go looking for her, and give Betty some time. Good-bye Daniel," she stood up from the table and turned to leave when she stopped. "Oh before I forget... congratulations."
Daniel watched as Hilda left the café. He thought about trying to contact Justin, surely he would tell him. But he decided not to bother the teenager. He knew Justin would protect Betty like everyone else seemed to be.
He thought about what Hilda had told him: "Give Betty some time."
For what he wondered?
What or rather why did Betty need time... away from him?
What had he done? What could he have done?
He racked his brain thinking back before she left.
He had been frantically completing projects, trying to clear his calendar so he could take his honeymoon and not worry about anything.
Betty had been by his side through out everything. Putting in long hours, making sure everything was just right.
There was a time or two when he caught her staring at him... as if she were going to tell him something, but he brushed it off at the time.
He knew she would tell him if it were important.
Besides, whenever she noticed that he had caught her, she would smile and shake her head before getting back to work.
What was he missing?
Had she been trying to gather the nerve to tell him she was leaving?
It did not reach her eyes.
He thought back to the wedding reception, he noticed it back then as well.
He should have known he should have seen it.
Was he that blind?
After he struck out trying to find Betty through family and friends, he decided to hire a private detective, which did reek of desperation, but he had to know where she was. If she was okay, did she need anything, could he get her back?
He had gone to her apartment the same day he had gotten back from his honeymoon only to find she had moved out with no forwarding address.
The private detective found her alright.
She had moved a mile away and already had a job.
She was still in the magazine business, working at Runway, with Miranda Priestly no less.
That surprised him more than anything else, especially after having dealt with Wilhelmina all those years.
Miranda Priestly had a well-known reputation in the business of firing more assistance than McDonalds served hamburgers. Of course he could not dismiss the fact that Miranda dedication to Runway had made it one of Modes' top competitors surpassing Mode in sales.
Something he was acutely aware of.
Despite this information, Daniel was not worried that Betty might give Miranda Priestly damaging information about Mode, giving Runway a disadvantage over them.
She would not do that… then again, he did not think she would leave him… or rather Mode.
He was still in the dark to her reasons. He had tried to contact her, her phone was disconnected and her e-mail account was closed, either that or she simply was not responding to his messages.
Betty had effectively shut him out, and it hurt.
It hurt more than he ever thought.
Daniel knew she would leave one day, when the time was right...
When he was able to put aside his own selfish need to have her close by, when he was ready.
He still wasn't.
Daniel read the report on his desk.
He was still getting them periodically from the private detective he had hired. He was not surprised to see that his mother had kept in contact with Betty, if the photographs he had seen were any indication.
Betty was fine.
But her smile – never reached her eyes.
He briefly wondered what his mother had said to Betty, why she felt the need to reach out and take Betty's hand in hers. He stared at the photographs as if willing them to divulge the answers.
He slid the photographs into the file, pulled out the drawer and placed the file on top of the others in his desk before locking the drawer and pocketing the key.
"Look after her Mother," he muttered.