A/N: Alright! I know I suck at updating, but I've been debating whether or not to post this for two months and damnit, I am going to do my best to finish this one in a timely manner.
I refuse to write when I am blocked, it always sucks. I am riding the wave.
This will be different. D/B with a twist? Sort of? Or maybe I have finally gone over the deep end. Idk. I hope you read it before you make your judge-y face and click the exit button.
"No, I think I'm going to stick around here for a while, see what I can find", Daniel said as a light blush and cheeky grin transformed his face, "Maybe, ugh, take you out to dinner tonight...if you're free."
My mouth tipped up, as it always does as I watch this part of the final scene of my favorite show, Ugly Betty. I can feel my inner Betty squeal with delight, and an awareness comes over me, just like it comes over Betty in that moment.
"I would love that", she says on the screen and I feel my heart break a little as I watch Daniel and Betty hug on screen for the last time. I laugh out loud as she turns to deliver my favorite line from the series.
"Hey! If you're looking for something to do, I am looking for a new assistant!"
As Macy Gay's Sexual Revolution begins to play in full I feel a familiar contentment come over me.
I look up from my hunched position over my laptop at the papers spread out around me. I was studying for my final exams, my FINAL final exams before receiving my double Bachelors in Nursing and Biology, the familiar feeling of being totally overwhelmed came over me and I took relief in the only thing that could help my mind relax and transform me into a completely different world.
I sigh heavily as I stare at my Nursing Leadership textbook-2000 pages of "how to be an effective nursing leader" and I wonder again what I am getting myself into. Is this what I want in my life? Do I want to be a nurse? I was a straight A student, excelling in both my book work and my clinical work. My instructors often told me that I was born to be a nurse, and for my part I did not find the work intolerable; but was that what I wanted? Work that was merely intolerable?
Or did I want more? I sighed as I thought of the character 'Betty'. I know she is not real, I am not a crazy person, but somehow I find myself envious of her courage and wisdom. She went after her dreams and worked hard and stayed true to herself and, as with all perfect television characters, got her dream. I admired that about her, that she could go after her dreams with such openness- with no regret as to the right or wrong of it.
I, Bethanne Augustine, did not grow up dreaming of becoming a nurse. In fact, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story 25 years ago, the only kindergartner that had perfected printing words.
I wrote out my story on the wrong side of the page, it was a simple but somehow elaborate adventure about my toy poodle, Sprout, and I going to the corner store and coming home. That story, that short story with the horrible drawing of my puffy, white sweet little Sprout initiated a set of events in my life that would forever change it. First, my kindergarten teacher insisted that I be put in for "testing" for gifted and talented children and then after being identified as "exceptional" I was placed in a different school in the heart of Washington D.C. There I was told over and over again that I was an exceptional writer, an exceptional student. Again, and again it was impressed on me that I was among the best intellectually, that I could be anything, do anything.
And yet I was still the girl that came from the poor neighborhood. The girl whose mother had the audacity to MAKE her uniform skirts, the girl by all standards may have been able to out smart anyone but could never afford more than the clearance rack at JC Penny. I was a black girl in an all white world, and none of my classmates ever let me forget it. I started identifying my life in public school as the "before" and my life at St Collete's School for Exceptional Children as the "after".
And I have to tell you that by all accounts my "after" sucked ass.
I know what you are thinking, here we go with a story about a group of mean girls that picked on the economically unappealing, smart girl out of some sense of inane jealousy, blah blah.
These children were not like that, they did not take one look at me and immediately turn their backs to me while snickering and whispering about my clearly in need of replacing payless sneakers. Oh no, these children were much, much more diabolical than that.
This was, after all, the school for EXCEPTIONAL assholes.
No, they slowly chipped away at me, by ignoring me, not even for one iota of a second acknowledging my presence. There was no verbal or physical abuse, there was just the unwillingness to even acknowledge me at all. I did not matter to them because I was different, I was not even worthy of a horrible nickname.
Most children, in this situation, would retreat into themselves, become "the weird kid that never talks", I could never do that. As my mother would say, "You will never be the person that everyone wants you to be"
So, I participated in everything. I was the girl with the highest grades, the one that always went first, the one that the teachers adored. I was the one with the cool sayings (that ironically enough I would hear repeated by my fellow asshat students later, but never did they acknowledge them when I actually said them), the one with all the answers, the one that organized the cheerleading squad (but not the captain), and the one that the rich, gorgeous new boy paid rapt attention to from day one.
He was typical but unexpected, so beautiful, so smart, and so funny. Every boy in the upper school wanted to be him, every girl wanted to be with him, but he set his sights on me and never turned away. The first time I ever laid eyes on Jason I was sitting under a bare cherry blossom tree finishing Fight Club for the seventh time. It was 1999, and my senior year at the upper school. I was totally oblivious to everything around me, my headset blasting Nirvana and my mind totally aloof to the going ons around me. I had long since given up trying to be noticed by my fellow classmates and was simply in a count down for graduation.
His shadow fell across my book page, and I looked up, expecting my Biochemistry instructor to be standing over me. Imagine my surprise when I look up into the face of a god.
Okay, I am exaggerating, but he was pantie-drop hot to my 16 year old eyes. His hair was the most interesting shade of gold, yellow, and white blond mix. The sun behind him illuminated him, giving the appearance of an angel. His eyes were the brightest green I have ever seen; even brighter than the tall grasses of Ireland I had a chance to glimpse during my study abroad semester the year before. He was tall, easily topping 6 feet; muscular but not thin.
I was drooling a little at that moment. For all of his other-world beauty my favorite part about Jason was that he actually loved, openly, deeply, irrevocably loved.
And he loved me.
Finally, in this crazy world I was thrust in to at the tender age of five, I had a friend, a rock. I had love.
Of course I was stubborn and refused to accept that we could actually be together. It was clear to everyone, but me that we would eventually get together. "That boy follows you around like a puppy, let him love you." My mother would say to me over and over again.
It was not until the death of my mother during our Sophomore year at the University of Maryland that I finally let him. Our story, which is better stated at another time, was a rom-com worthy delight.
The birth of our twins Laine and Justin the Christmas before we were to graduate was not only a turning point, but as Jason would say "The best fucking moment of his life."
It's too bad that life was cut short. Less than two months later Jason was shot down in a robbery gone wrong.
I was on the phone with him. His last words to me, words that would forever repeat in my head, "I love you, only you, Beth, Beth, forever", would be the catalyst that sent me into a downward spiral of alcohol abuse that it would take nearly 8 years to recover from.
It was the show Ugly Betty, a beacon of light in the storm that had become my life that allowed me to find a place, a spot to be happy, to relax and let go of all of my troubles.
When the show ended I was a little lost, but then I found Fanfiction. Would my delight never end? I could write AND allow myself to escape into the imaginary world of Ugly Betty? I could stay up all night and read the works of other authors? I had an escape, an escape that would not end on the whim of a network executive.
I was newly obsessed.
And here I am, 25 years after the infamous poodle story; 8 years after the death of the love of my life, here I was at the cusp of another change, a week away from graduating, a month away from the Nursing licensing exam.
Here I was.
I stared at the frozen image of Daniel Meade standing on the steps of of Trafalgar Square, looking handsome, worldly and in love. I think of Jason, of how it would be with us now had he lived.
Over the years of writing fanfiction I have used Daniel as a way to channel Jason. In fact, the character's are very similar to me, so it is only natural that I would think of the only man I have ever loved, while I had my one sided love affair with Daniel Meade.
The Daniel's I have written have always been utterly smitten with Betty at first sight. There was never the "slowly falling" that the series made it's name on, oh no it was always fast, hard and immediate with my Daniels.
I log on to the fanfiction site to check for updates to stories I have been following. I notice that my favorite author, L.S. Appleton, has marked her latest story as complete. I felt a little sad, I truly love all of her work, but this particular story setting Betty and Daniel on a lost island was my favorite.
I find myself grossly over happy at the ending of the story.
And they all lived happily ever after...
I type out a quick review and then close my laptop with a determined snap.
Time to get back to the real world; exams, and rambunctious nine year olds. A world that did not include a certain blue eyed, handsome, devil-may-care millionaire.
I smile as I stride determinely across the stage to accept my degree. A sense of pride and purpose settles over me as I shake hands with the President of the University of Maryland, and my smile spreads as I hear my boys, my pride and joys, Laine and Justin making asses of themselves cheering for their me.
I suppose I should have known better; lord knows I have never been what people would describe as coordinated. Quite unfortunate seeing that the world views African Americans, even one that is only one half, as being super coordinated.
But I digress.
I should have known better, than to turn while I had a foot suspended over the first step leading off the stage; I should have been paying more attention.
I definitely shouldn't have waved at my sons and attempt to "raise the roof".
What the hell was I thinking?
You ever have a moment that you feel yourself losing control of your balance? You think, I can catch myself and then you think OH SHIT I AM ACTUALLY FALLING?!
That was me. Honor graduate, valedictorian, manga cum lade graduate, single mother of two - grown ass woman- falling, down five steps. No, not just falling but face-planting down five steps.
All because I wanted to raise the damn roof?
I think I deserved to be knock unconscious when my head hit the first step. My uncoordinated, contradictory black ass had no business trying to raise anything.
Let alone a damned roof!
This kind of stuff is always happening to me.
I am so not surprised.
I am surprised when I groggily open my eyes and blink at the blurry, though distinctly male figure looming above me.
"Are you alright?" his deep, and musical voice says to me.
I wonder if I died, and if I have gone to heaven.
I know. So damned cliche.
I blink, and blink again. Geez, did I ruin my eyesight with that move a douche-bag proportions?
My eye doctor is going to be so pissed that I ruined his lasik work.
Focus Beth, I say to myself as I try to make out the face of the man above me. He presses something into my hand, something that I recognize as a pair of glasses.
Hmm, interesting, I have not needed glasses since I was 19 years old. I slide the frames on and blink again.
Everything comes into focus.
The first thing my brain registers is the creepily curved plastic looking bright orange walls.
This was clearly not the Kennedy Center where my graduation was being held.
I frown as I take in the people surrounding me.
All the beautiful, sharply dressed people surrounding me. These people that I have never, ever laid eyes on before in my life.
Where in hell was I?
Have I been kidnapped? Or since I am not actually a kid, have I been mother-napped?
I snicker at my internal joke. God, is it any wonder that I made an ass of myself at my graduation? My brain must be broken.
A thumb strokes the back of my hand, and I turn my head to focus on the most beautiful pair of eyes I have ever seen in my life.
Even more beautiful than Jason's eyes.
Blue, blue eyes dark with concern as they stare down at me.
"Betty", the angel says again, "are you alright?"
What in the actual fuck?