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Sacrificing Happiness

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Danny Wheeler has been in love with Riley Perrin for as long as he can remember. Her weight never mattered to him, something he would never admit out loud. Just like a lot of secrets he holds inside that will never see the light of day.

He has been in love with Riley Perrin for years. However, his suspicions (later proved true) that she liked his brother prevented him from doing anything. Danny doesn’t want to come between Riley and Ben, especially now that Ben has a daughter and she’s involved in the situation. Emma is what matters, not his feelings. And Emma needs a mother now that hers isn’t around. Ben, Riley, and Emma can be a happy family together. He’ll step aside so everyone (except him) can be happy.

Danny thinks Tucker and his mother catch on at one point, but he’s not sure because nothing is ever mentioned about it, especially after Ben and Riley finally get together. He’s truly and honestly happy for them.

When Ben proposes and asks Danny to the best man, he accepts then gets drunk and sleeps with someone he meets at the bar. It doesn’t help much, but at least he tries to get over her.

Danny literally gasps when Riley walks down the aisle in her dress because she’s so beautiful he can’t take it. “You’re a lucky man,” he whispers to Ben.

“Thanks, I know.” Everyone’s smiling so he forces one. Danny hopes no one can tell, and then afterwards at the reception, gives the best damn best man speech ever.

Riley comes up to him later in the night, still looking gorgeous and it drives him crazy. “Thanks for your speech earlier. It was pretty sweet.”

“No problem. You look amazing, by the way.” He has to make sure that she knows that. It’s important to him, even though Riley will never find about his feelings for her.

She beams at him. “Everyone seems to think so. Miss Emma made sure to tell me repeatedly.” Riley adores her stepdaughter and can’t wait to adopt her. She eyes Danny, who seems sad for some reason. She’s long suspected that her now brother-in-law has feelings for her, but she’s always been too scared to bring it up. She loves Ben, and he loves her. Besides, Danny has never acted on those supposed feelings. Riley refuses to mess up the status quo, and it’s too late now anyway. Even if she wanted to be with him, it will never happen. She’ll just go on ignoring what’s right in front of her face.

Danny laughs. “Emma does tend to do that.” Despite the fact that he was against Ben raising her at first, he adores that little girl more than anything.

Gradually, life returns to normal and Danny tries to forget he ever had feelings for Riley. It’s just easier that way and burying his feelings is the right way to go. He dates random women that his mother, Ben and Riley, and Tucker set him up with.

Eighteen months after the wedding, Ben and Riley announce that they’re having a baby. And suddenly, everything comes crashing down on Danny. He can’t move on, and deep down inside, he’s hoping that that they would suddenly break up. The pregnancy makes things permanent in a way they weren’t before. The flip suddenly switches, and Danny realizes he’s been in denial. He and Riley will never be together, even if Ben and Riley divorce. They already share a child together, and now they’re bringing another one into their family. He can’t compete with that – He never could. Danny wishes he could have realized that sooner instead of falling into this pit of despair he’s been in.

Riley will always be in love and happy with Ben. He’s reluctantly accepted that now. He needs to find someone who will love him. Unrequited love sucks. He hates himself for not realizing the entire situation sooner. But as long as Riley, Ben, and Emma are happy, he’s happy. It’s like a weight is lifted off him at this realization. He likes the clarity that his epiphany brings him.

Danny just wishes that letting Riley go didn’t hurt so much.