Title: Above Board
Word Count: about 1,600
Pairing: mainly B/H
Author's Note: Takes place about two weeks after 1x10 (Fake Plastic Snow). It’s post-Christmas, Betty’s back at Mode – as we all know she will be – and she’s made up her mind about something important.
This is my first piece of Ugly Betty fanfic and it isn’t really about much; mostly I just wanted to do something short and fun, with lots of dialogue. So, enjoy!
“I work very hard, you know."
"And I'm a pretty great guy."
“Some people even find me charming.”
“Don’t believe everything you hear,” was the serene response.
“Betty,” Daniel whined, “why won’t you bring me lunch
“I have decided that that particular task is no longer in my job description. Besides, I have plans for lunch today.”
Daniel looked skeptical.
“What, I can’t have plans?”
“Who are they with?”
“Henry. From accounting.”
He squinted one eye. “The one you and Christina were talking about yesterday?”
“Oh. Because you broke up with...Winston, right?”
“Walter. But yes.” She sighed. “I’m kind of nervous about it.”
Daniel smirked. “Need any pointers?”
“I’m all set, thanks.”
She turned to leave his office. “Hey!” he cried after her, not liking the way she’d said it.
Turning back, she finally relented. “What do you want? A sandwich? I’ll bring something back from Tony’s.”
Daniel patted his stomach. “Just a salad. I’m trying to drop a few.”
“Whatever.” Betty rolled her eyes, and walked out.
He grinned with satisfaction. “‘Not in the job description’ my b—”
“I can hear you!” she yelled over her shoulder.
Henry stood up as she entered Tony’s, a little café near the Mode offices. He had already found seating at a small table in the corner.
“Hey,” she said shyly. “Sorry I’m late.”
“No problem.” He beamed at her. “I’m so glad you called me this morning. It’s been a while since — you know.”
“Yeah,” she agreed.
“Well," Betty said quickly, “I thought we needed to talk.”
He looked hopeful. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” She gestured at the menu. “But maybe we should order first?”
A waitress appeared at that moment, and they gave their orders. Afterward, Henry was the first to speak.
“So...I’m glad I have an opportunity to explain. You know, about what happened two weeks ago.”
“Henry, you don’t owe me an explanation.”
“No. Listen.” He paused. “I was looking at you, and you were looking back...you know.” He smiled a bit, dropping his eyes. “But then out of nowhere this very tall woman in a red dress was grabbing my face. I pushed her away after a second, but when I looked back....”
“I was already gone,” Betty finished grimly.
Henry shuddered. “It was like being attacked by a preying mantis. You know," he added, "how the females feed on their mates?”
Betty grinned. “Yeah.”
“Anyway, I called you later that night but I never heard back. I thought I’d screwed up big time. Because, you know, I really thought that maybe you and I--”
“Wait," she interrupted. "You called me?”
“You didn’t answer, another woman did. She took a message.”
“Hilda,” Betty hissed. “She’s dead
. My sister,” she explained.
The moment stretched out as they once again fell silent, just smiling at each other. Betty felt that gentle sensation in her stomach again, one of falling. And of butterflies. His eyes were like magnets, drawing hers in and not letting go. Her heart began to race again.
“I broke up with Walter,” she blurted.
Henry’s eyes widened. “You...really?”
“Yeah.” Betty paused as her food was set down in front of her, and thanked the waitress. “About a week afterward. I guess I finally realized there isn’t a spark there anymore. If there ever was.”
Henry just waited, looking unsure.
“After what happened at the party," she continued, "I knew I had to end it. I was just fooling myself. He doesn’t make me feel like...well, like you do.”
A smile spread over Henry's face.
“So mostly I came here to tell you that, and to say, um....”
Betty broke off, gathered her courage, and leaned across the table. They were close enough that it was not hard to place a quick kiss on his lips.
When she opened her eyes again, she saw that Henry’s breath, like hers, had caught.
“Wow,” he said, looking just as dazed as he had in her dream.
“Yeah.” She laughed softly.
“So does this mean that...that I can take you out sometime?”
“Yeah,” she said with a smile. “Does this weekend work for you?”
Betty looked quizzical.
“Too long from now.” He grinned. “How’s tonight?”
“I have a date! I have a date!”
Betty whirled into Daniel’s office. He looked up from his desk in alarm.
“Here’s your salad!” she cried, dropping it on his desk unceremoniously.
Recovering, he managed to smile. “That’s great. When?”
“Oh. Um. Tonight? What about those ankle-boot editorials--”
“Those aren’t even going to print in this issue.”
“Of course." He reached for his lunch. "Well, have a great time.”
“Thanks.” She smiled as if her face would break, and skipped back out to her desk.
He watched her go.
Christina gasped. “Ooh! Good luck, Betty!”
“Thanks.” Betty smiled at the excitement in her friend’s voice that carried through over the phone.
“You made the right choice,” Christina went on. “Henry’s a darling. We talked for a bit the night of the holiday party, you know. He got your home phone number from me.” There was a shuffling noise – probably switching ears as she sewed. “So what's the plan?”
“Dinner, I think. Maybe a movie.” Betty bit her lip. “You think I should try to go home and change first?”
“Just come downstairs in a bit, I’ll find something for you.”
“Awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Christina laughed. “No problem. Bye then!”
Betty put down the phone just as Amanda and Marc were sauntering up to her. She promptly ducked behind her computer screen. “Not now, guys. I’ve got big plans tonight and I don’t feel like having my confidence crushed.”
“Relax,” Amanda drawled as she and Marc each perched on the edge of Betty’s desk. “We’re in a good mood. What plans?”
Betty hesitated, finally admitting: “Dinner.”
Their eyebrows shot up. “With whom?” Marc inquired gleefully.
“Henry,” Amanda guessed. Betty nodded. “And you’re wearing that
“I just mean - well, the restaurant could be someplace nice.”
Marc nodded violently. “And while that plaid chenille sweater is very
"...we love you too much to let you go out in public wearing it."
Betty tapped some papers against the surface of her desk, neatening them. “I’m going down to the Closet in a bit. Christina’s going to loan me some stuff.”
“Let us come with you. Let us help.” Marc clasped his hands and gave her a winning look. “Let us live vicariously. I haven’t had a date in I don’t know how
Betty looked between them, silently appraising.
“You won’t try to sabotage me?” she asked finally.
They shook their heads, wearing identical angelic expressions.
“Fine.” Betty stood up. “We might as well go now.”
Amanda and Marc fell into step behind her. “I’ve been waiting for this day for MONTHS,” she hissed to him.
“Tell me about it,” he hissed back.
“Um?” was all Daniel could manage at first.
Betty tugged at her hair self-consciously. “They dragged me into the stylist room, too. You think it’s too much?”
As Daniel’s eyes grazed her neckline, the lecherous part of him whispered, not enough
. She wore a playful, v-cut red dress with a black bolero; her shoes were pretty black heels that showed off surprisingly elegant calves; her hair fell in soft waves over her shoulders; and her eyes, behind her usual glasses, looked so big
“So,” Amanda said, walking up behind Betty with an expression of deepest gratification, “what do you think of our work?”
Daniel cleared his throat. “You look great, Betty. Are the first drafts in?”
“Yes. I made sure everything was done and organized in your briefcase.”
“Thanks. Well, have fun.”
She grinned. “I will.”
They all turned to see Henry, having come to fetch her, standing frozen with a look of awe upon his face. They had
seen each other once since lunch - he'd turned up in the Closet while she, Amanda and Marc had been there, in search of a snappier tie - but he hadn't yet seen the outfit they'd picked.
“Hey,” Betty said shyly.
He trailed off, walking nearer. She gave him a sweet smile.You’re welcome
, Amanda mouthed to Betty as she scampered off. Daniel, too, decided to make a quick exit.
“I’m leaving for the night,” he said, shrugging on his overcoat. “Have fun, kids.”
Betty nodded, smoothing down her dress. Henry grinned, blushing a bit.
Daniel left as they were linking hands for the first time. But he had one more stop before leaving Mode for the night.
Christina was organizing racks of clothing in the back when she heard a knock on the Closet door. “Come on in, be with you in a minute,” she hollered.
She took her time meandering back out, thinking that since it was late, the visit probably wasn’t anything important. Which was why the sight of the Mode Editor-in-Chief standing amidst her mannequins took her very much by surprise.
“Mr. Meade,” she stammered. “Sorry for the wait. Can I help you?”
Daniel was silent for a moment. She watched him fidget, curious.
“This Henry guy,” he finally expelled in a rush. “He’s above board?”
“You know. Trustworthy. Likes her for the right reasons.”
“Oh. Yes. He’s a dear, he really is. And he adores
“Good. Okay. Well.” Daniel straightened his tie absently. "Keep up the good work down here.”
Bemused, she watched him hurry out.
See the inspiration for Betty’s dress here
Let me know what you thought!