Pairing: Daniel Meade/Betty Suarez
Fic Title: Coming Home
Rating/Warning(s): pg? Pg-13?
Genre: post-series, yuletide
Why This Must Be Read: Betty comes home from London. Now she just has to get her life back in order, but with all the changes she's gone through during her time in London. The character voices jump off the page, and the author gets into Betty's head really well. I especially love how Betty realized that the life she's been chasing all these years isn't what she invisioned. That's the kind of honesty to oneself that you'd definitely expect from her. Wonderfully written.
"So, as you can see, the type of reforms and expansions I've implemented had a positive effect on the bottom line for Dunne Limited, and I'd like to do the same for Meade."
Claire was beaming at her, which helped offset Wilhelmina's glare (which, to be fair, might be from the Botox) and the cold look from Alexis. Betty hadn't dared to look at Daniel.
The last time they'd talked, he'd come to see her in London, and she had kept him from saying what she thought he was going to say. It was too different, too scary, too overwhelming. She could still remember his face when she'd avoided letting him put his hand over hers and ignored the deep, serious way he'd said her name. Every word she'd said was still clear in her mind. "I couldn't handle anything else changing right now. It's like I'm finally free, finally getting to be who I always wanted to be. I don't want to lose that, for anything or anyone."
He'd known what she meant, because he was Daniel and he got her, so he made a point of telling her how happy he was for her, how proud that she'd achieved that for herself. It would've been a great moment if not for the fact that she got Daniel just as much, and she'd seen the hurt in his eyes before he could hide it.
It wasn't long after that when he went back to New York. They were still friends, but there was something else there now, something uncomfortable. She made a point of being extra cheerful in her emails, and ducking his calls when she couldn't keep up the facade of being perfectly happy, even when she was so sick of her life that she wanted to scream.
What was frustrating was that it didn't make sense to be unhappy, because she was finally living out one of her fantasies about how life should be. She really was an attractive, intelligent, confident businesswoman, at least in the eyes of everyone who knew her. She went to dinner parties where people talked about the real issues of the day, she dated a range of interesting, exciting men, and she had a fast-paced career with a lot of flexibility and independence. She even got compliments sometimes for her sense of style, which always made her laugh to think of what Marc and Amanda would say.
It took her a long time to admit to herself that the only thing wrong with her perfect dream of a sophisticated life was that she hated it, and even longer to make a plan for changing it, because how could she give up everything for which she'd worked so hard? And, worse, how could she admit, to any of the people she loved, that she'd been chasing something she didn't actually want?