A/N: I unexpectedly had a lot of trouble with this, but I'm at the point now that I'm so sick of looking at it that I'm just going to post it as is. I hope next season we have a lot more of Betsy because I love this ship, but I feel like I can't adequately write her because she gets so little airtime. But nonetheless, I had to get this out of my brain, so here you go.
Also, I do not own The Mindy Project or any of the characters. Please do not sue me Mindy Kaling or Fox.
It slips out in front of Morgan, Mindy, and Danny one day in the office while Jeremy is wheedling Betsy for a favor. "Please please help me with this, Betsy-bear."
It's a toss-up whose face turns the reddest, his or hers. Betsy storms off in humiliation while Morgan laughs and Mindy and Danny frown at him in concern and pull him into Danny's office.
"Jeremy, is there something going on with you and Betsy?" Mindy asks, crossing her arms and staring him down.
"Because if there is," Danny picks up seamlessly, "it's for the best that you disclose it now."
Jeremy scoffs at the hypocrisy. "Oh, this is rich, coming from the pair of you. Is there anything you'd like to disclose?"
He notices the very determined way his two partners do not look at each other and smirks. "But for the record, no, there is nothing going on between Betsy and myself, just friendship. That's her family's nickname for her and it was a slip of the tongue. Now, if you'll excuse me…" And he leaves them alone, each still avoiding the other's gaze.
He finds Betsy in a supply closet that he and Mindy had once… well, it's not important now. What is important is that Betsy is fighting tears and he feels like slime. "Betsy," he coaxes, easing down onto the floor next to her.
"Go away, Dr. Reed," she pleads, swiping at her eyes.
He sighs at her insistence on formality. "Betsy, I'm so, so sorry. I know how that nickname makes you feel and it was never my intention to be patronizing."
She's quiet for a minute and then glances at him from the corner of her eye. "Is that how you see me, too? Like a little kid? Because I've resigned myself to putting up with it on holidays, but I can't handle you seeing me like that."
"No, Betsy, as your boss I respect and admire you. I just… I just like the familiarity of knowing that side of you, too." A grin tugs at his mouth. "It's a cute name. It reminds me of you."
Betsy turns to look at him fully then and he can see the wondering speculation in her eyes and mentally curses himself. The last thing he needs is another co-worker with a crush. But he can't find the words to warn her off or put a careful distance between them, so instead he rises to his feet and offers her a hand.
"It won't happen again," he promises.
He is drunk. The kind of drunk he hasn't been since his college days. The kind of drunk he will swear off forever when he faces the hellish hangover waiting for him tomorrow morning.
But right now it's a loose and fun kind of drunk that has him spinning Betsy in his arms on the dance floor during Mindy and Danny's wedding reception.
She's laughing and her face is flushed and her hair has come free from her modest up-do. And he's filled with this rush of affection for her and her sweet smile and pleasant personality. He can feel the wide grin splitting his own face and doesn't even care if his waistcoat is askew or his bow tie is crooked. He just wants to be sure he can remember this moment in the morning.
The band goes into a slower number and she shoots him a shy, embarrassed smile. He pulls her in close as they start swaying in time and playfully croons in her ear, "Some day when I'm awfully low, when the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight."
She giggles a little - she's had her own fair share of champagne, too – and leans into him. "Oh, Dr. Reed, you're so funny."
"I think," he says with a wicked grin, "you can call me Jeremy when we're dancing."
Her eyes widen, but he sees something ignite in them as she breathes, "Jeremy," and it feels like she's poured champagne directly into his veins.
He pulls her in even closer, tracing the shell of her ear with his nose. "Betsy-bear."
It's then he feels the tap on his shoulder and, with no small amount of regret, he hands her over to Morgan, who has asked to cut in.
He hates this, he thinks for the millionth time as he watches Betsy pack up her desk. Shortly after the, for lack of a better word, illuminating dance at the wedding, he'd been feeling something akin to desire towards Betsy. Betsy, who had then gotten back together with a college boyfriend. Betsy, who was moving with said boyfriend (Doug, Jeremy thought with a sneer) back home.
Betsy, who was leaving him.
Jeremy shakes his head and approaches her desk area with the gift he'd bought her. Of course, at the time, it had been meant as a courtship gift. Then it had gathered dust while it sat on his end table so it could mock him every time he walked through his apartment.
But at least he had a reason to give it to her now and one that was much easier on his pride than her rejection.
"All set?" he asks, forcing levity into his voice as he surveys her bare work space.
Betsy worries her bottom lip through her teeth, which he takes great pains not to notice. (He fails miserably.) "I think so. Dr. Reed…" she begins, making him grit his teeth. She hasn't called him Jeremy since that time during the dance.
He looks at her questioningly, prompting her to continue. "Can we talk in your office for a minute?"
Jeremy is taken aback by her request, but ushers her inside and closes the door. "What's wrong, Betsy?"
"I- I have some things I need to say before I go and I would appreciate it if you didn't interrupt me while I do it." He nods and she takes a deep breath. "I want to apologize if I ever made you uncomfortable around the office or anywhere else with my, well, my little crush on you. I really did my best to keep it under control, especially with your past with Dr. Lahiri, because even though she's married to Dr. Castellano now, I would never want to make her angry or violate a friend code. Not that she's my friend! But I would like her to be. But I realized after the wedding that maybe I was too forward and that my crush was maybe a little bigger than I realized and it was probably for the best that Doug was around and that I should leave before I do something really bad. Anyway, I hope you can forgive me because it would really mean a lot to have closure before I leave."
Jeremy stands in stunned silence once she's done, then wordlessly hands her the package in his hand, damning his pride to hell.
"Dr. Reed," Betsy demurs, but he spurs her to open it. When she pulls back the paper and opens the box, she smiles at the little golden bear pendant on a delicate chain then looks up at him in horror. "Oh, but it's too much!" she says, shoving the box back his way.
"A few days after the wedding," he says instead of taking it back, "I saw this and it made me think of you… Betsy-bear." He smiles. "But then, since that night, so many things do. Betsy, if you really want to be with Doug and move back home, I'll understand and step aside. But I want you to know that your maybe-bigger-than-a-little crush is not one-sided. And I would love to take you to dinner one night and see what develops."
It doesn't take them long at all to unpack her boxes.
The first time it happens, Jeremy is mortified.
The second time it happens, he is furious, because it happens well within Betsy's hearing.
Now, just shy of a month of he and Betsy making it "Facebook official", it is happening for a third time. He is being approached by another woman while out with his girlfriend.
Each time it starts the same: Betsy excuses herself from the table and he is eventually beset upon by the type of woman he previously enjoyed in great quantities, rail-thin and beautiful and sophisticated. Each time, he is on the receiving end of a pitying look. Nearly every one of them has asked, "Blind date?" her voice rich with undertones of oh-you-poor-dear.
Each time, he gently says no and asks them to leave. This time, the predatory female doesn't take the hint and she scoffs. "Please don't tell me that you are actually in a relationship with that girl! Do you realize what a waste that is, a man who looks like you with someone as mousy as that? What could you possibly see in her?"
Jeremy rises from the table and escorts the woman away. "Well, for starters, she has enough class not to insert herself into someone else's date. Now please leave us alone." The woman walks away and Jeremy turns with satisfaction – until he sees that, yet again, Betsy has been witness to this scene.
"Betsy," he says quietly. She looks like she's been slapped: all color is drained from her face except the blush of humiliation riding high on her cheeks. "Would you like to leave?"
She nods and he signals for the check.
The cab ride back to her place is silent and Jeremy is agonizing over what words to use to make this right. He can't lose her over something like this.
He sends the cab away when they arrive; he isn't going anywhere until she talks to him, even if it's just to call him a creep and tell him she never wants to see him again. His heart drops to his feet at the thought.
Her roommate is out for the night so the place is dark when they arrive. He switches on a lamp as she settles down on her bed. "Darling, please say something," he says as he sits down next to her.
"Why are you even with me?" she asks, her voice meek. "You could have any girl you want, all of them much prettier and more interesting than me."
Jeremy takes his hand in hers, intertwining their fingers, and presses a kiss to her knuckles. Instead of answering directly, he asks, "Do you remember the time you were my unwilling accomplice when I broke into Mindy's apartment? And you told me you didn't like me?" She nods. "Well, when I got back to the office without the watch and you looked at me in approval – it was the first time in a long time I felt that happy, that I cared what someone thought of me. You inspire me to be the best version of myself." He places a kiss to the inside of her wrist. "And the night of Danny and Mindy's wedding, when we were dancing, I've never seen anything or anyone more beautiful than you."
"Jeremy," she says with a small smile.
He grins. "Yes, you said the same thing then. And I wanted you. Desperately. You asked why I'm with you, but how could I be with anyone else? No one makes me feel like you do." He takes a deep breath and slowly releases it. "I love you, Betsy-bear."
She places her hands on jaw and brings him in for a kiss. "Oh, Jeremy, I love you, too."
"I will be honest, Jeremy, Betsy," Mindy says, looking very stern, hands folded on her desk. "There have been complaints about your conduct in the office."
"Was it Danny?" Jeremy asks.
Mindy clears her throat. "That is… not important. What is important is the fact that there have been complaints."
"From your husband."
"Jeremy!" Mindy huffs, then runs one hand down her hair. "Okay, yes, it was Danny. Look, can you just calm down with all the PDA stuff? It makes certain people uncomfortable."
Betsy leans forward. "I'm really sorry, Dr. Lahiri, but I'm not sure what you're talking about."
Jeremy takes her hand and nods. "Right, it's not like Betsy and I have been caught being intimate in the office," he says with a significant look at Mindy.
"That was one time, Jeremy, and Danny and I gave you all muffin baskets to apologize. And that's not the point. If you guys could just chill out with all the kissing and cutesy nicknames and the hand-holding," she says with a glance down, "it would be appreciated."
Betsy frees her hand from his and gets to her feet. "Of course; we'll try our very best to keep it under control from now on."
Mindy thanks them and Jeremy follows Betsy back to her desk. After she sits, he leans into her. "Call me perverse, but Mindy telling us not to makes me want to kiss you right here in front of everyone."
"That would be very inappropriate, Dr. Reed," she answers in a warning tone, glaring at him.
"Betsy-bear," he coaxes with a hand on her shoulder, but she shakes him off. Jeremy frowns, put out that she wasn't willing to play along and that she was calling him Dr. Reed for the first time in over a year – well, except for that one night when he'd talked her into experimenting with… He shakes that thought off. "Very well, Ms. Putch," he says in a miffed tone. "I shall be in my office if anyone inquires."
No sooner does he sit down than he receives an IM. It's from Betsy. "im sorry :( dont be mad"
He quickly types a reply. "I'm not mad, love. I just don't know how I'll bear not touching you for so long."
The annoying ping sounds again. It's a string of more frowny faces followed by "i love you" and it sparks something within Jeremy.
He's up and in Danny's office before he really has time to examine his thought process. "Danny, a word."
Danny throws his pen down and leans back in his chair. "Go for it."
Jeremy sits down and crosses his legs. "When you realized that you were in love with Mindy, did you have any… second thoughts?"
Danny blows out a breath, then leans to see if Mindy is standing around the corner. "Look," he begins quietly, "when Min and I first started out, I think both of us had a lot of concerns. We are two very different people in many ways, but in others we're alike – like stubbornness." He grins. "But when I realized that she was it for me and it was love, nah, I never had a second thought. I knew I wanted her, so I did everything I could to make her mine."
"And you'd never let anyone stand in your way, right?"
Danny chuckles a little. "God forbid anyone try to get in our way. I think I'd pity the poor bastard after Mindy got through with him."
"Thank you, Danny. That's just what I wanted to hear." Jeremy's up and out of the office before Danny can question it. With a few strides, he's around Betsy's desk, pulling her up and into his arms, dipping her back for a passionate kiss right in the middle of their coworkers and patients milling around.
Betsy seems a little hesitant at first, but eventually gives in and kisses him back with enthusiasm. It isn't until he hears people clapping and hooting that he pulls back.
"My name is Dr. Jeremy Reed," he announces to the office at large. "And I am in love with Betsy Putch and I will not allow the Castellano regime to dictate to me when and where I can express that love. And if you don't like it, Danny, then I am afraid you will have left me no choice. I will have to leave the practice." He pauses for a beat of silence. "And take all my patients with me."
Danny sighs in disgust. "Jesus Christ, fine, do whatever you want. Might as well just turn this into a den of iniquity," he mutters before slamming his office door.
As the crowd of onlookers begins to disperse, Jeremy turns back to Betsy. "I have saved you from the horrible dragon, my damsel. Feel free to reward me in any way that you see fit."
Later, she does.
Jeremy can admit, the horse is probably overkill. But his Betsy has very specific fantasies about this particular moment, which he'd coerced out of her one memorable night a few months ago. Champagne and cuddling and a little bit of tickling had been involved and she'd been mortified the next morning, but it had been worth it to make sure he fulfilled her every wish.
He's taken great pains to construct this entire scenario: the beach, the sunset, and the beautiful pure white gelding he'd procured.
She's standing in the desired spot when he rides up, having clearly followed his directions. He's glad that riding a horse seems to be one of those skills you don't ever forget, even though riding had been his least favorite mandatory activity growing up.
Her eyes grow wide as he directs the animal to a halt and dismounts. "Oh, Jeremy," she sighs, her face glowing with expectation. "Oh, Jeremy."
It is by far the cheesiest thing he's ever done. But he's finding that being in love has created endless depths to his cheesy well. And there's nothing he loves more than delighting this woman.
He walks over to her and drops to one knee before her, taking her hand in his.
"Elizabeth Putch, will you do me the very great honor of marrying me?"
Her eyes are shiny with tears as she nods at him, silently mouthing, "yes," and pulling him up so he can kiss her. Which he does. For quite a few minutes.
The horse, having grown bored with such human trivialities, has wandered off a little by the time Jeremy remembers him.
And it's not so much sunset as full dusk by the time they ride off.
But it's still perfect nonetheless.