Chapter 1: Flashback
Daniel watched as Betty crossed the square until he couldn't see her anymore. He stood there gazing out over the crowds of people rushing by asking himself, if what he was doing stupid and crazy. He had worked with Betty for four years and never thought that he would feel the way he did when she handed him the form to release her contract. He felt like she ripped the heart out of his chest, and the only emotion he felt was anger. He could not make sense of it at the time but a few days later while watching Betty at her goodbye party he realized what it was, he loved her.
Daniel stood there on the steps of the gallery for what seemed like mere moments, then he looked at his watch, gasped it had been an hour since he watched Betty walking across the square and said to himself, "Step Four, Complete". He turned and started to walk down the steps to the street and raised his hand for a cab. His hotel was just a few miles down the street, as he approached the hotel he glanced up at the beautiful old building. When he entered the lobby the concierge motioned for him, he met him half way across the massive, marble tiled lobby.
"Mr. Meade Sir" said the concierge, "your reservations for dinner tonight have been made and confirmed, your suit has been pressed and is in your room along with the flower bouquet you requested".
"Thank you" Daniel replied handing him a folded bill. He turned and walked towards the elevators or lifts has they were called on this side of the ocean. When he entered the room he sat at the end of the bed and thought of the past few days.
Four days ago, he watched as Betty walked down the MODE tunnel towards the elevators for the last time following the Goodbye Party. He was at the end of the hall leaning his head out and around the corner. He wanted to stop her right there, "Betty! Wait!" he yelled down the hall, she stopped and turned around to see Daniel running down the hall narrowly missing the reception desk in the middle. He grabbed her shoulders and said, "Betty, you can't leave".
"Daniel, what is it. Why can't I leave?" She replied surprised
Daniel replied, "You can't leave because I love you!" as he pulled her close by her arms and leaned in to kiss her. He blinked his eyes and saw her standing in the elevator as the doors closed. He couldn't do it. He was still hiding behind the corner at the end of the hall. For the countless time since she had given him the form to release her from her contract; he had stalled signing it out of anger, he had tried to be dramatic and burn the paper which ended badly, and he had dialed her number hundreds of times but hung up before it rang. He stood outside her office peeking through the window trying to build up the courage to go in and tell her but could never get the nerves up to move on the thought.
His head was really messed up, four days ago he sat at his desk at night thinking back on his life and how he didn't need Betty in it. He led a wild life until his father made him work at Meade Publications which interfered with his life style of partying constantly, he later was made to be editor in chief of MODE which he only accepted to be around all the models, then to stop him from having relations with all of his assistants his father hired Betty, someone Daniel would not end up in bed with. "Damn it!" he yelled frustrated for going back to thinking of Betty. All of the little things added up to him having Betty show up in his life. She was there for him right from the start, he didn't see it at first but she made him the man he is today. She grew on him so much that he depended on her, he looked forward to seeing her everyday, watching her get better and better at her job, listening to her silly stories about her family. Her family, he loved seeing her with her family, they were real not like his, they didn't have money and it didn't bother them that they couldn't have the things that he took for granted.
He had fun being around her, she was always on the verge panic it made him smile, he felt happy when she was happy, and he felt sad when she wasn't there. Sitting at his desk thinking about all of this he realized even when he wanted her out of his head, his heart wouldn't let her go… He loves her. He had to fix this, like he had said before 'he couldn't live with out her'. He stayed up all night thinking and came up with a plan.
The next morning he walked into Claire Meade's office and said, "Mother, we need to talk". She knew exactly what he was going to say, she had watched him the night before watching Betty and asked him if he was going to talk to her to which he replied that he had to let her go.
"Is this about Betty?" she tried to ask like she didn't know.
"I changed my mind," He said has he set 'the book' down on her desk "I need to talk to her, I…"
Claire cut him off, "Let me guess, you were up all night thinking that you didn't need her and yet you couldn't get her out of your head" she stood up and walked around the desk to him and continued, "this is why you should have talked to her, I know her just has you do and you know she would have stayed if you told her…"
Daniel cut her off this time, "I love her"
"I know Daniel. Now you have go to London because she flew out last night. You have to find her then tell her you love her and that, that is why you cant live with out her" Claire said lovingly
"I already got a ticket for tonight, there is one more thing we have to discuss" he pulled some papers out of the a folder that was in 'the book', "I am giving Wilhelmina MODE, but in return she will give you controlling power over the rest of Meade Publications, She will still own fifty percent but you will be in charge of everything else"
"She will, will she?" Claire replied
"She won't have a choice, MODE is what she has always wanted and she deserves it. I am a new man and I can admit that, she helped save the company just to stay with MODE. She didn't seem to have much concern over anything else. She doesn't want the rest, she wants MODE" Daniel continues, "now I have to go tell Wilhelmina then I'm off to pack for London, I love you Mom" he finished as he hugged his mother.
"Goodbye Daniel, Good Luck and have a safe flight" She said as he walked out the door.
Daniel made a stop by Wilhelmina's office with 'the book' then hurried home to pack. His flight was departing at 8:47pm which gave him about 5 hours. He grabbed as many clothes and suits in his two arms and thru them into a suitcase. Not worrying about how they would look when he unpacked he forced the case shut and zipped it closed. Then grabbed it by the handle and took off running. He got a cab to queens and paid extra to get there as fast as he could. He told the cabby to wait and ran up the steps to the Suarez' front door and knocked. Mr. Suarez opened the door surprised to see Daniel Meade Standing there, "Daniel! What's wrong?" Mr. Suarez asked.
Daniel not wanting Betty to find out he was coming replied, "nothing is wrong, just wanted to have something sent to Betty as a surprise, but I realized I don't know where she is staying in London"
Mr. Suarez told him to hold on a second and walked into the kitchen, after a moment returned with a slip of paper with a Hotel and Room Number written down, "Here you go Daniel, she will be at the hotel for a couple days until her apartment is ready, the funny thing about is that she keeps saying her place is nice but it's flat, what ever that means?"
"Thank you Mr. Suarez, I'll let you get back to your kitchen, it smells good but wouldn't want you to burn what your cooking" Daniel said as he started to back down the steps.
"Oh it is good Daniel, Do you want to come in and have some food. I mistakenly made a plate for Betty but of course she isn't here" Betty's father said and he started to get a tear in his eye,
"I'd love to but maybe next time, I've got an appointment, sorry" Daniel said back as he open the cab door and slid in.
He got to the airport and checked in then sat at the gate waiting for the boarding call, he had about and hour and a half to wait. He was driving himself crazy sitting there he kept checking his watch only to see seconds passing. It was taking forever, he decided to come up with his plan. He pulled a pen and note pad out of his coat pocket. Then he was stumped at what to write down. He thought for minute, then looked at his empty paper and wrote across the top 'How to start over'.
"HOW TO START OVER"
Step 1 Leave MODE
Step 2 Go to London
Step 3 Find Betty
Step 4 Talk to Betty
Step 5 Take Betty on a Date
Step 6 Win Betty's Heart
Step 7 Ask Betty to Marry ME
Step 8 Marry Betty
Step 9 Make a Family
"Excuse me, Sir" Daniel looked up to see the airline attendant, "You're the last one to board, if you still want to go to London"
"Oh my, wow that went by quick, Thank you" Daniel replied as he jumped up and grabbed his coat he had set down on the chair next to him.
Three Days ago Daniel awoke as the plane touched down in London, he was having a wonderful dream about Betty walking towards him in a beautiful white dress with all there family and friends watching, but that wouldn't happen for real for a while. Daniel exited the plane and made his way to the baggage claim, he got his suitcase and headed for the front doors, and then he started to panic as he realized he didn't make reservations for a hotel nor did he even know where to start looking for one.
He made his way to the doors then through the crowd, as he started towards a line of cabs parked along the curb he noticed someone calling out 'Daniel, Daniel Meade' he looked around and saw a driver holding a sign that had his name on it. He made his way towards the car and said "I'm Daniel Meade"
"Oh Finally, I didn't know what flight you were on. Here I have a note for you" the man said as he handed a folded piece of paper to him and took his suitcase, "now let's get you to the Hotel".
Daniel got in the back seat and then opened the paper it was an email from his mother sent to a Hotel to give him.
Daniel I know that you left so quickly and forgot to book
a hotel so I did it for you, I also did a little snooping and
found Betty's Hotel. She will be right across the street
Good Luck Love, Mother
Daniel arrived at the Hotel and was greeted by the manager at the door, "Mr. Meade we have been expecting you, your mother took care of the check in, and you can go right up to your room. You must be tired after your flight."
Daniel was suffering a minor case of jetlag, so he thought he would relax for a while. He entered his room and tipped the bellhop, then fell back on the bed. He closed his eyes and started to daydream about Betty, he imagined dancing with her at there wedding reception this time. His hands on her hips, hers over his shoulders as they slowly rocked back and forth they looked deeply into each others eyes. He dreamed about standing in front of all his family and friends holding Betty's hand, showing that he was proud to be seen with her as her husband.
Daniel opened his eyes, it was evening and his stomach ached from hunger. He went down to the little café in the hotel lobby and sat near a window. A moment after taking his seat a young woman offered him a menu and glass of water. Daniel looked over the menu and ordered just a sandwich and salad. While he sat there waiting for his food, he watched as people passed the window. He heard the sound of his plate being set down in front of him, he smiled and thanked the woman. After he took a few bites he remembered his mothers email, Betty's hotel was just across the street. He found the entrance and just kept his eyes on it while he ate. He was sad when he was done eating and had not yet seen Betty.
He sat there for a moment hoping to see Betty, but he didn't. He stood up and walked towards the server who was reading a book in the corner of the café, he hadn't noticed he was the only one in the café, "Can you charge my bill to my room please?" he asked.
She jumped up, "I'm so sorry, of course I can charge your room" she replied.
"Thank you" he said has he handed her a tip, "must be a good book" she smiled and nodded her head as he turned to walk out. He went back up to his room and sat at the end of the bed, raised his right leg to remove his shoe and sock then the left. He thought to himself that he needed a plan, as he undid his belt and took off his pants. He needed to be up before Betty so he could spot her early, he picked up the phone on the nightstand and called the front desk to request a 5am wakeup call. He unbuttoned his shirt and removed it and tossed it on to one of the two chairs that sat next to a little table by a window. He let his head fall back on to the bed pillows, put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes.
Two Days ago the phone began ringing at 5am, he reached over and picked up the handset and heard "Mr. Meade this is your wake up call" came from the other end. He sat the handset back down and sat up on the edge of the bed. He slowly stood up and stumbled to the shower. He turned the water on and stepped inside. His eyes popped wide open when the freezing cold water hit his face. He jumped back and waited for the water to heat up. Once the water was warm he rinsed his hair out quickly washed his body, then shut the water off and reached out to grab a towel from the shelf next to the shower.
With the towel wrapped around his waist he proceeded to lather up his face for a shave. He tried to rush through his morning routine but discovered you can't rush a shave or you bleed. Finished in the bathroom he moved to the dresser where the bellhop had set his suitcase. He pulled out a pair of jeans and a not so wrinkled white dress shirt. He slipped his feet in to a pair of socks and then realized he only had the shoes he had worn so he put them on picked up his phone and wallet and slipped them into his pocket. He picked up his watch and put it on his wrist, then out the door and down the hall to the lifts he walked. When he reached the lobby he walked in to the Café, ordered a coffee and took a seat near the windows again.
His plan was to watch for Betty then catch up to her down the street and tell her he loved and needed her. As he sat there waiting for her to exit the hotel he ordered a second coffee, the server hurried to the counter and made him another. As he took his first sip of the fresh cup there she was, she stepped through the door, stopped and took a quick look around. She was still amazed by the sites and sounds of London. He could tell that she couldn't believe she was really there. He also wanted to believe that she could not possibly be happy with out him.
Daniel waited for her to turn and start walking down the street before he stood and walked out of his hotel. He followed her from across the street and just watched as she turned the corner and then started down the steps of the 'Underground' London's Subway system. He ran across the street then down the steps he watched her get on the train but couldn't make it on the train himself. So he returned to the hotel and said he would try again in the morning. He entered the hotel and headed to the front desk, there he asked where a store was that he could get some shoes and some other items. The clerk asked him to hold on a moment and stepped through a door way behind the desk, when she returned a man dressed in a business suit followed.
"Mr. Meade I hear you need some items, I am Andrew the concierge, and what can I help you with?" the man asked.
"Well I just need to know where some shops are to pick up some shoes and perhaps some money, I didn't think bring any" Daniel replied
"Not a problem", Andrew assured him, "Let me get you a car and I'll advance you some money and add it to your room charges"
"Thank you" Daniel replied.
Andrew returned to the door way from which he had appeared and in a few minutes returned and handed him an envelope with a small stack of money inside and said, "Here you are Mr. Meade and a car will be out front in a moment, the driver already knows where to take you, and anywhere else you may want to visit"
"Thank you, again Andrew" Daniel said with a smile, this was a very nice hotel Daniel thought as he headed for the door. Just has he exited the building a black sedan pulled up next to him. The doorman hurried over to open the door for him then closed it after Daniel slid in to his seat.
Daniel made his trip to a couple shops and returned to the hotel with his purchases, the driver had his items taken to his room so Daniel decided to visit the café once more. He sat in the window seat as normal and pulled out his phone and dialed his mother's phone. It rang a few times then suddenly from the other end he heard, "Daniel! Tell me what's the news, did you find her, tell her how you feel?" came the voice of Claire Meade.
"Hello mother, yes I saw her this morning, but she boarded the subway train before I could catch her. I am…" Daniel was interrupted by his mother.
"Daniel! You have to try harder before you lose your chance again…" Daniel stopped her there.
"I am going to see her tomorrow I will…" Daniel stopped talking with a gasp and grabbed a menu from the table and held it up in front of his face, "Call you later mom" he whispered. Then pressed the end call button on his phone and slip it into his pocket. He lowered the menu enough to peak over the top, there she was looking so beautiful standing at the counter. She was ordering a Latte to go, He just gazed at her until she paid for her drink and then exited. He kept watching as she ran across the street to her hotel. He could not believe as he watched her, how he could not have realized he loved her before. He just sat there looking at the doors to her hotel smiling.
"Are you ready to order sir?" a server asked
Daniel turned his head said, "oh yes, yes I am." He ordered another sandwich and salad and had it sent to his room. In his room he was sitting at the little table. He was not himself he thought he has never felt like this about anyone not even his deceased wife Molly. He kept thinking back to all the times that Betty had saved the day and made him look so good at MODE. He undressed and lay down on the bed and decided on his plan of action for the next day.
Yesterday morning the phone rang at 5am as he had requested the night before, he jumped up and showered and dressed in record time. Down the Lift and waiting down the street to where he could see the hotel and reach the underground to make it on the train this time. At the exact same time as yesterday Betty exited her hotel, took a look around and started towards the corner. Daniel hurried down the steps and purchased his ticket then stood to the side until he saw Betty coming down the steps. He maneuvered behind a group of people so she wouldn't see him. They both entered the train at different doors and he made sure he remained close to the door so if she got off he could follow.
The train made two stops then as it was slowing for the third he saw her move closer to the door, so he did too. She stepped off and started towards the stairs he followed but kept a distance only one other person got off at that stop so he couldn't hide behind anyone. Keeping his distance he followed her to the Dunne Publications offices. He burned her path in to his memory and then walked it several times to find a place to accidentally bump in to her. He noticed a little java shop near the office building which was just across the square in front of 'The National Gallery' he knew she couldn't give up her coffee so he waited to see if she would come out for lunch. He was thinking while he waited, he needed to follow her to find a spot to make a run in perfect. But he didn't have any idea what he should say.
He practiced saying different lines to himself then chuckling thinking to himself; nope to corny, nope to stupid, no that was just pathetic, nope that was dumb. He didn't understand why he was having so much trouble with a pick-up line. He took a deep breath and decided to call his sister Alexis.
"Hello" Alexis said when she picked up the phone
"Hello Alexis" Daniel replied
"Daniel, it is so good to hear from you. So I hear you're in London!" She said sounding very intrigued.
"You've talked to mom, yes I am and I need your help" he said having embarrassment in his voice, "I don't know what to say to her when I see her. I can't just say, Hi Betty oh by the way I love you"
"Daniel, I know what your thinking and some stupid line isn't going to work, you're not trying to have a one night stand or are you?" Alexis said joking "you have to just talk. Have a conversation and apologize for making her leaving so hard for her"
"It just doesn't seem that easy" he replied
"Mom said you offered her a promotion and raise and she still left, that isn't what she wanted Daniel. She wanted you! She would have stayed if you told her you loved her instead offering her more money" Alexis said.
"Yeah I know that now" Daniel said sarcastically.
"Then if you know that now, you know what to say to her!" Alexis continued, "Sorry Daniel I've got to run now but good luck brother".
Daniel said goodbye and ended the call, but he still didn't know what he would say. Just then Betty was walking across the square towards the Java shop, he checked his watch and noted the time. He watched as she passed by the gallery and entered the shop, she soon exited with a coffee just as he knew she would. She took her time walking back, he slowly started towards her. He noticed she was reaching in her bag then she pulled her ringing phone out and answered. He stopped when she yelled, "Papi! I miss you Papi"
Daniel decided he couldn't stop her while she was talking to Mr. Suarez, from the sound of it she had not talked to him in a while. But he did decide on what he was going to do tomorrow though. He waited for her finish crossing the square then headed back to the underground. When he arrived back at the hotel he asked for the concierge. A moment later Andrew was standing in front of him, "What can I do for your Mr. Meade?" he asked.
"I have a few things actually…" Daniel gave Andrew a list of things he needed for the next day. Then he headed up to his room, he needed to talk to his mother again.
"Mother, I need your help!" is all Mrs. Meade heard when she put the phone to her ear.
"What is it Daniel? Are you alright?" She responded frantically
"I'm fine but I need you to help me so Betty doesn't have any distractions tomorrow." Daniel said while he sat down at the end of the bed.
"Well I don't know I can help from here" she replied
"I just need a favor, I need you to call Betty just after she goes to lunch tomorrow" Daniel Continues, "I was going to talk to her today but she got a call from her father just as I was going to stop her. She was so excited to hear from him I couldn't interrupt her call".
"Alright just let me know when and I will check in on her" Claire replied then they hung up.
Daniel ordered room service and another wakeup call. Soon he was undressed and in bed early again. All the stress of trying to figure this out was getting to him and needed his sleep for tomorrow, he would not fail this time.
This morning Daniel was awake, showered and dressed before his wakeup call came. He was so excited about today that he couldn't sleep. He was drinking coffee while he was finishing up breakfast when Betty stepped out side right on time as usual. Daniel didn't need to hurry as he knew when and where she would be. He sat for a while before heading out, he walked down the street to the corner and walked down the steps to the underground. He boarded the train and then noticed his cheeks hurt, he had been smiling since he woke up in anticipation of his meeting Betty today! He rode the train and counted the stops, third stop time to go he thought to himself as he made his way to the door. When he got to the gallery he had about two and half hours before he would see Betty, the love of his life.
He waited for what seem like an eternity then finally he saw her, as she entered the shop he called his mother and said "Now, call now" He saw her leaving the shop but she wasn't on the phone. He started to panic, he saw it she was on the phone. He moved to be directly in her path. Just as she was about to pass him he put his arm out and said "Betty"
Startled she stepped back and said "oh, sorry… Daniel?"