A series of small moments that lead to a big moment. (Based on 1x16, for theswearingkind. ♥)
How It Starts
Hi. I’m Henry. I’m from accounting.
Hi, I’m Henry from accounting.
Hi Betty! It’s Henry—from accounting?
No, that last one wouldn’t work. Actually, none of them seemed to work.
He sighed, pushing his glasses up his nose, his bespectacled reflection in his computer monitor doing the same.
Since Betty had appeared in his office, a storm of colorful fabric, wide gestures and a beautifully breathless, unexplained urgency, his steps had been floating with an almost imperceptible lift, smile tugging free whenever she entered his thoughts, his mind rippling with her aftershocks, like brilliant afterimages burned behind his eyes.
Droopy wings and a mild-mannered accountant, a la carte.
A match made in Heaven, if you asked him. The way she was smiling, he sincerely hoped she would.
But then came the net and he was left alone, a plate full of sushi and no butterfly to share it with.
Her voice had filled up the elevator even though she was only humming under her breath.
It didn’t matter to him if she broke glass or broke notes. He’d do anything to hear her again.
He didn’t have to know the words to the song to know she was music.
* * *
He was not at all like Walter. Not much like Daniel, either. Not like the guys from Queens, or anyone else at Mode.
Like no one she’d known before.
She really liked that, but she also knew that’s not what made him special.
Henry did that all on his own.
Mistletoe, soft fingers on her cheek. God, he smelled so good, but why was she thinking about how good he smelled when she should be thinking about—wait, why the heck was she thinking at all—
And then his lips were on hers and she could only think yes.
Expense reports were boring.
Well—they were supposed to be.
Expense reports shouldn’t make palms get sweaty, fingers jittery, and tie up tongues like pretzels.
“Damn him, anyway,” she muttered, but she smiled despite herself when she remembered.
She’d met Henry on the other end of her first expense report.
Walter was gone.
He’d been gone for awhile now, actually—off to his new job, new opportunities.
But, somehow, it hadn’t really sunk in until this second, standing here, wind cold on her face, the tickets clenched a little too tight in her hand, looking at Charlie and Henry. Together.
* * *
She went because she wanted to prove to herself that she was over him.
But she had no will for it, didn’t once have to catch herself singing along. By the end of the show, even Justin was subdued, and they walked to the subway in silence.
And then—unless she was having another one of those awful dreams—there he was. Standing right before the entrance in his peacoat, with two hot coffees in his hand and a smile on his face like nothing had happened.
“How was the show?”
She reached to grab out the coffee he was holding out for her, and they almost knocked heads when a passerby nearly jostled it out of his hands.
“Sorry about that.”
“No, it’s no problem, but we have to catch our train—”
“Are you the one who got us the tickets?” Justin said, looking up adoringly at Henry. “The show was amazing.”
“Glad to hear it,” he said, but he was still looking at her. “How about you, Betty?”
“I… it was good. What are you doing here?” She blurted out before she could stop herself. The word girlfriend was blazing in huge neon lights in her brain and wouldn’t let her think about anything else.
“I was wondering if I could take you two out for some of the best late night pizza that this city has to offer.”
And then suddenly Justin was raving about the show, Henry was smiling that smile of is, and her stomach decided it was a good time to start growling. Loudly.
She threw her hands up in defeat. “Lead the way.” Justin clapped, taking Henry by the arm.
Besides, she thought as she trudged after him with a sigh, she was over him. So what was the worst that could happen?
* * *
“She’s gone,” he said halfway into his fourth slice.
Betty choked. A quick gulp of Pepsi cleared the obstruction, but not her mind, which was turning around those two words from every possible angle and trying to figure out how they might mean anything other than Charlie left.
“Why?” She finally croaked, sparing a quick glance at Justin who was still giving the waitress hair tips at the counter.
He carefully put down the pizza and looked at her.
“She said that my heart wasn’t in it.”
“It isn’t?” A high-pitched voice that sounded a little too much like hers asked.
He shook his head, smiling a little.
“Then where is it?” There was helium in here. She knew it.
His hand was warm on top of hers.
When he leaned in to kiss her—he asked May I? which took what little breath she had left away—it was just like the dream, except better. Real, and perfect, full of sweaty palms, heart pounding, and move over pizza, because the butterflies were stampeding en masse.
Walter was gone. Charlie was gone.
But right now, letting her fingers slip into Henry’s, there was nothing that could have mattered less.