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Happily Ever after Is Just a Rumor

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May 24th, 2010 5:01 AM Greenwich mean time


Daniel was having a good dream or at least it started out as a good dream. He was standing in the hollow halls of Mode with Betty by his side as they celebrated their 100th issue together. His father was standing off to the side, smiling at him proudly.


The fact that Bradford was there was the reason why he knew it was a dream. Not only has his father been dead for almost 3 years, but he was actually visibly proud. Bradford was never proud. This completely explains why his father shot him in the stomach seconds later, after he hands the magazine over to Wilhelmina on an actual silver platter.


I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But, I Learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen


If it wasn’t for the fact that Betty’s stupid iPhone, blaring India Arie at 5:01 AM, woke him up from a nightmare, he would have tossed the stupid thing at the nearest wall. They didn't fall asleep until a little after 1:00 AM after Amanda's late night phone call and the impromptu make out session. Really, Daniel just wanted to curl up with his girlfriend, especially after a Bradford-related nightmare.


He was worried. He was worried about taking over mode UK. He’s well aware that he wasn’t half the magazine person Wilhelmina was. What if he completely fucked everything up? Could he really run the magazine by himself with no Wilhelmina or Betty to save his ass when he inevitably screwed up?


He was worried about everything falling apart with Betty. He’s been in love with her so long that maybe the reality of being in love with her won’t meet his expectations or more likely he won’t meet her expectations. Could they really be more than just friends? Should they? He didn’t have the answers to those questions. Maybe that’s why it took them so long to get to this point, but as he watched her still sleeping peacefully, despite the music blaring from her phone, Daniel decided that the risk was worth it.


It was at this moment he decided to wake the sleeping beauty up with a kiss. If Daniel just happened to take advantage of the tank top Betty was wearing for some skin to skin contact that was just a bonus.


"Five more minutes, Hilda." She said groggily despite the fact that Daniel was stroking her chest area seconds earlier. He immediately stopped at her words only to see her giggling at him.


"You did that on purpose." Daniel threw a pillow at her.


"Of course I did." And she threw it right back at him.


"That's good. I was starting to get worried there. The only siblings that probably wake each other up like that are Skywalkers," he joked and Betty glared.


"Hilda preferred throwing cold water on me. Although, Justin was very grabby as a baby, but I really didn't have anything to grab until I was about 16." Betty explain.


"Yes but the cleavage fairy made up for it in sheer quantity. I enjoy the fact that you're my first girlfriend that is a natural D." He said as he leaned down to kiss her as one hand cupped her left breast.


"You're not going to do that right now are you?" She asked as she pulled away from his kiss slightly but did not push his hand away.


"Yes. Why do you think I got you the 12 hour mouthwash?" He asked before trying to return to kissing her, but she pushed him away again.


"Is this weird?" Betty asked.


"What do you mean?" ‘Please don’t tell me this is a mistake,’ Daniel started chanting in his head over and over again.


"We're going straight from being just friends to living together. We have not even gone on a date yet. Technically we have been together for three days and we've already gone farther than I had with most of my other boyfriends by that point."


Okay at least she did not tell him that she wanted to break up. Also, little Daniel was very happy about getting further with Betty by this point, then Matt or Henry. Especially Henry because Daniel still hated the guy even if he had the girl right now.


"It's not weird, it's just different. If you want to go on a "date", we can do something next weekend. Is it really necessary?"


“Not really, but, but dating is what normal people do. They get to know each other and then they move in together.”


“Then we’re completely covered in the dating department.” Daniel remarked. “Actually, we’ve been dating for the last four years, if you really think about it. How many deeply meaningful conversations have we had over Chinese Food when we were working late? How many times did I come over to your apartment with pizza and I ended up spending the night because we fell asleep talking?”


“Enough that no one in my family said anything about you having a toothbrush at my apartment.” Betty replied.


“The thing is, Betty, we know each other in a deeper way than probably anybody else that we dated before. It's not as if I need to go on a date so I can find out your favorite color is indigo or that you have a tendency to binge eat French fries when you're nervous. I know all these little things already. Just like you know I absolutely hate the color orange but wouldn't agree to change the color scheme just because it would make Wilhelmina happy."


"You know you can change the color scheme now. You are the one in charge. I know that absolutely terrifies you. I’m pretty sure you were having a nightmare about it. That woke me up before the alarm." Her words did not surprise Daniel at all.


"That's why this is not awkward. You know I'm absolutely afraid of being at Mode UK without you, mom or even Wilhelmina to save me when I fuck up everything." And Daniel was sure he was going to fuck everything up in the most spectacular way possible.


"You're not going to completely F everything up." It sounded so adorable that even when they were alone together she would not use profanity. He was personally looking forward to breaking her of the habit. Eventually, at least in the bedroom.


“It’s okay to be scared Daniel. I'm absolutely terrified of running a magazine on my own. Everything except for the name of the magazine, I get the final say on and I'm absolutely terrified. It's okay because I know you believe in me. You'll be fine because I believe in you." She leaned over to embrace him and he took the opportunity to give her an earth shattering "I want to take your clothes off, but we don't have the time" kiss.


"See this is why it is weird." She said pulling away.


"Are you uncomfortable with this?" He sincerely doubted that. He was an expert at reading Betty’s body language and it was obvious that Betty was very aroused.


"I'm not uncomfortable. It's just getting used to having a physical relationship with you. I’m so used to not being able to kiss you when I want to. And now I can and it’s an adjustment."


"I get it. This is the first time in forever that I have done a relationship that did not go straight to sex. I do not want to mess this up. I am really not sure I can live without you. At the same time you can obviously tell that I would like to go further than just kissing." He said pointing to the obvious evidence to the truth of that statement.


"I always thought that was your normal reaction first thing in the morning. I mean every single time we have slept in the same bed you have woken up with a…" She couldn't bring herself to finish that sentence. Her cheeks were a bright cherry red. He thought it was just too adorable.


"Hard on. If you can cause one, you should be able to say the word." He said, as he pressed closer to her.


"Fine you win. Every time we sleep in the same bed, you always wake up with an erection. Are you happy now?" She said this with her beautiful pout that made him want to kiss her again.


"Very, although we're going to have to work on your dirty talk. Also, I seriously doubt I got an erection every single time." Instead of responding verbally she just looked away from him like that one time she caught him without a shirt on walking out of Amanda's apartment.


“Have to pee now.” Betty said hastily getting off the bed in an effort to get away from him.


"You mean every single time? Even the first time and the times right after Molly's death?" She just turned around and nodded her head yes.


"Great my body knew before I did. I did not know I was in love with you until the summer DJ stayed with me before we knew he was Alexis's son and not mine."


Daniel was still bitter about that. Okay he was bitter that most likely Amanda’s kids were not his either because he would definitely make a better dad than Matt. He really wanted children but life wasn’t fair. Thankfully he would get to see his nephew more now that he was less than a three-hour drive away. Other than Betty that was the best thing about moving to London.


"You knew two years ago?" She asked with a hint of shock in her voice, bringing Daniel back to the conversation at hand.


"Kind of, but I went straight into denial." And denial involved several stupid decisions and falling in love with Molly.


"That explains the State Department liaison on top of the copier." And apparently Betty was aware of that.


"I try not to think about that. We really wasted two years?"


"Maybe we were not ready two years ago. Besides I would have never met Matt and you would have never met Molly. That means Connor would have never ended up with Wilhelmina and Matt would've never found Amanda." There was Betty trying to find the silver lining and everything. That was one of the things he loved about her.


"Instead of two happy people we have six happy people." He said sarcastically because he wasn’t sure about the other two couples. He was worried about Amanda and he didn’t trust Matt at all. You don’t dump Betty, using the fact you don’t want to do a long-distance relationship as an excuse and then sleep with Amanda just hours later. That wasn’t right.


"Don't forget about your future god son or daughter."


"Maybe it was a good thing." Daniel said as he pulled her back into bed and began kissing her again. At that moment, Betty's phone started blaring music again.


"I assume you hit the snooze button?" Daniel asked as he pulled himself off of her. He tried to think unsexy thoughts like his mom kissing her now ex-boyfriend.


"When I don't get enough sleep like last night, I usually sleep through the first alarm. I'm guessing you don't need to get ready yet. I do. You probably can go back to sleep." Betty said reluctantly as she left his embrace and their bed.


“I wish. Candy is coming by in less than an hour to do a pre briefing before the 8:00 AM walk through with the two managing editors. Then I have a 9:00 AM staff meeting where I tell everybody that the crazy American is their new boss. At 11 AM I have a meeting with the first internal candidate for the position of creative director. Also at some point I have to fire the old creative director."


If he actually shows up today. From the few parts of Candy’s email that he did read, Daniel was aware that his soon to be former creative director, made his own hours. That was why he was going to be the former creative director very soon.


"At least you don't have a 7:00 AM breakfast meeting with a potential advertiser." Betty ground.


"That's tomorrow. I wouldn't be averse to having lunch with my favorite editor from London Hub magazine today." Daniel walked over to her to kiss her one more time.


"I'll check my schedule as soon as I use the bathroom." At that Betty made a dash for the bathroom connected to their room.


"Good idea. I'm going to go use the bathroom down the hall otherwise there's no way I'll be ready in time." Yes, Daniel ended up taking a very cold shower. He would have preferred to take a ‘hot shower’, but there wasn’t any time.



"Candy you're a god." Daniel grabbed the cappuccino out of her hand, the moment his brilliant assistant walked into the house.


"He's only saying that because you brought coffee. Apparently, he hasn't figured out where his new coffee maker is yet." Betty remarked as she grabbed her purse just before leaving for her breakfast meeting. Her car was already waiting outside.


"I know where my coffee maker is. It’s still being shipped over here a long with the furniture I wanted to keep. Where's your coffee maker?" Daniel asked.


"Matt's probably using that right now or rather in a few hours. Although you really should just go buy a new coffee maker. You know your old one will not work here." Daniel forgot about that.


"I will add it to the "things to order" list. It will be here tomorrow." Candy said pulling out her iPhone.


"Why is Matt using your old coffee maker?" Daniel asked, concerned about her earlier comments about Matt.


"I'm subleasing him my apartment completely furnished. He sold his loft in March during the entire breakup fiasco and Amanda will not move in with him right now. This way they are close to each other, but not on top of each other." Daniel liked that idea. He saw firsthand how badly Matt hurt Amanda by breaking up with her the way that he did and he genuinely felt that Amanda deserved better.


"How long do you think that will last?" Daniel asked her.


"Probably longer than me and you having separate bedrooms." Daniel frowned, hoping that they wouldn’t move that fast. But he didn’t say anything, instead, he leaned over and kissed Betty. They kept kissing until he heard the sound of a camera. However, Daniel did not turn around until Betty was walking down the front steps of their house.


"What are you doing?" He asked after realizing it was his assistant taking pictures of him and Betty.


"Monique asked me to get a picture. She wanted proof." Candy said replacing her camera/phone in her bag.


"You do remember you work for me now?"


"Unfortunately, yes.” Candy sighed. “We need to go over the advertising budget for the last six months before we go over your schedule for today. Did you read through any of the pre-briefing materials that I left you Friday before you came over here to surprise Betty?"


“Only enough to know that David Pratt believes in a three hour workday." He admitted reluctantly


“Apparently you believe the same thing. Did you do any work this weekend or did you just have a sex marathon?" Candy asked in annoyance.


"I'm not like that anymore." His new assistant gave him a look that he was positive she got from Monique. It said "I know you're lying to me".


"I didn't have sex this weekend. I may have spent the majority of the time making out with Betty." He told Candy defensively.


"You really don't make this job easy.” His assistant sighed in annoyance. “OK, we have an hour for me to brief you on everything going on. You're so treating me to lunch this week at the best restaurant in town for making sure you don't look like a complete ass in 2 hours." Candy then threw a bagel at him before dragging him to the kitchen for her briefing.



By the time they got into the town car, his head hurt. Candy went over so much data that he felt like he did in college when he crammed for an exam after not showing up to class for the entire semester. Thankfully he was actually sober, this time. The situation in London was even worse than they thought it was. Not only were they being killed by the magazine owned by his girlfriend's new boss, they have been hemorrhaging advertisers since the EIC scandal broke a few months ago.


As they were riding in the car to the office, he flipped through the last four issues of Mode UK. If it wasn't for the cover and the occasional London landmark he would swear this was the American version of the magazine. The layout was 95% identical to American Mode. There were some local advertisers but the majority were American companies. There was no real local culture reflected in the pages. Not that he really knew what would be appropriate, he just realize that the magazine seemed too American.


Daniel’s Déjà vu experience continued as he walked into the Mode offices. The layout was so similar that if you closed all the blinds you would think you were still in New York. At least he won’t get lost.


“Am I the only one who feels like they’re trapped in the twilight zone?" He asked Candy as they walked through the halls.


"I'm thinking more of a TV show with a budget that was so low they couldn't redress the location to make it look different. This is just too creepy. It looks exactly like Mode New York, before the last round of renovations."


"I think that's exactly what your former leader was going for. Faye was apparently into everything being exactly the same internationally." This was said by a dark hair woman who was obviously of Indian ancestry.


"You must be Sumreen the managing editor for features?" Daniel extended his hand uneasily. Did they even do handshakes in England? Maybe he should have read through the e-mail Monique sent him on cultural sensitivity.


"You must be the owner of the company. I knew things were bad, but I didn't think they were bad enough for you to come out here. You're not here to close down the magazine are you?" The young woman sounded worried.


"No, I'm here to save the magazine."


"Good, I just bought a new house and I hate job-hunting." Maybe things were not that different after all.



"So how did your breakfast meeting go?" Daniel asked Betty when he called her during the 10 minute break before his 9:00 AM with the entire staff. He was feeling slightly less stressed after meeting with Sumreen and Diana, the managing editors for the creative side of the house. Both women were brilliant and quite capable of doing the jobs they actually had. Unfortunately, they were not ready to take over a magazine completely; especially when the incompetent creative director over ruled every single one of their ideas to make the magazine more viable. Diana and Sumreen were both trying to make the magazine more local. David wanted things to stay as they were during the Faye Somers regime.


"It went well. I only used the wrong fork twice.” Betty joked. “I'm starting to wish you took me on more of those boring meetings to get advertisers. Trying to sell the magazine to prospective advertisers is harder than I thought it would be."


“I know you can do it though.” Daniel said, trying to be encouraging. “You're the one who taught me how to sell a magazine instead of just selling myself. You will be brilliant at this in no time."


“I think you’re underselling yourself right now. You’re better than you think you are. At least with Mode people knew what to expect. I'm selling everybody on something that they haven't even seen yet. We barely have mock-ups of the first cover together." Betty said worriedly.


"You'll be fine. Are we still on for lunch?"


"Barring some catastrophe. I have to go, my new assistant just walked in. Love you."


"You know this is the first time I've heard you say that to me over the phone." Daniel smiled, before he realized that she was already off the line.


"Daniel are you done in their having phone sex with your girlfriend?"


“No, I’m arranging for lunch of my girlfriend. If you can make sure that time is freed, that would be good."


“So you’re just scheduling lunchtime sex a.k.a. book club meetings? You get to make those appointments yourself.” Candy quipped.


“No wonder Monique gave you to me.” Daniel mumbled under breath.


“I made her schedule those appointments herself as well, especially after that one time I caught her boyfriend under her desk." Candy explained as she placed the book in Daniel’s hands.


“I don’t blame you. What’s this?”


“Your daily book. It’s something Monique did, but I think it will be useful for you. It has everything you need for the day, including all the briefing materials I sent you this weekend you didn’t read. I have the top three resumes for the candidates already in there. You will meet with Diana at 11. You are scheduled to take care of the David issue at 10."


“Has David shown up yet?" Daniel asked regarding the elusive David Pratt.


"He is probably still passed out drunk in his flat. The man shows up to work pissed 90% of the time." Sumreen told him as she walked into his office.


"What's wrong with him showing up to work angry all the time? That was Wilhelmina's normal disposition and it made her more efficient." At that moment Sumreen and her colleague started laughing at him. Candy deliberately had to cover her mouth to keep from laughing.


“That means drunk here. I assume you were too busy sticking your tongue down Betty's throat to look at the local vernacular cheat sheet. I also put it in to your weekend briefing materials. Honestly, why do I prepare this stuff if you don't read it?" Now Candy was giving him a look that said, ‘I would eviscerate you if I didn’t need this job’. Even Betty has given him that look once or twice.


"I promise I'll read it tonight." He will, otherwise Candy may kill him. Actually, her glare may do that alone.


"You better. I hate to see you make a complete fool of yourself when you freak out because somebody refers to a cigarette by that same word that those idiots call your girlfriend's nephew." The three were still laughing way too loud for his comfort.


"It's going to be a very long day." Daniel mumbled under breath as he made his way to the conference room.



Thankfully, Daniel made it through the meeting without making a complete ass of himself. That in itself was a miracle. Someone did say something about the fact that he didn't sound like someone from New York. The one thing everybody was afraid of was losing his or her job. Between Connor robbing the company blind last year and the trouble with the recent scandal, most of his staff were already looking for other jobs. His main goal was to keep everybody calm and to stop using company resources to send out said resumes.


In the afternoon, he would be having one on one meetings with all the department heads and accounting. Even without that, he already had a pretty good idea what was wrong with the magazine. He just wasn't sure how to fix it. The first thing he was doing was changing the color scheme. Orange was just not a very fashionable color


It was 10:30 AM and David still wasn't here yet. Daniel is pretty sure he never showed up this late except that time he was trying to live down to everyone's expectations. Since David wasn't there, he called Diana in for the interview early.


Although he loved his office in New York, he did not want to have a replica of it in London. The first thing he was doing after getting the magazine stabilized was having his office renovated. Also he was adding a couch for ‘book club’ meetings.


"I am actually surprised you are even considering me for this position." Diana told him as she sat down for her interview.


"I prefer to hire in house if possible, although there'll be some other candidates from other magazines that I will be interviewing later." The truth of the matter is a lot of people did not want to apply for a job at a magazine that seemed halfway to the cemetery and Mode UK seriously qualified.


"You and Sumreen did a very good job of keeping this magazine from completely falling apart. There’s a lot of promise there.” Daniel praised “Why do you want to be creative director of Mode UK?"


“Well, I’ve been doing the work for the last six months I might as well get the pay increase.” Diana joked before giving her real answer.


From the 45 minute interview Daniel could tell that Diana definitely had Wilhelmina's instincts, even if she was a somewhat nicer person. Unfortunately, those instincts were not as developed due to less time in the industry. But Diana definitely knew the magazine. More importantly she was willing to shake things up to survive. She had all sorts of ideas on how to make the magazine more marketable.


Right as the interview was ending the elusive David Pratt finally showed up. As predicted by his two managing editors he was obviously inebriated and smelled like a liquor store. He was currently trying to make a pass at Candy. This just pissed Daniel off in a very American way.


"Candy, Diana wants to talk to you about a few things for my schedule for the next couple weeks." Candy ran into his office as quickly as possible understanding exactly what Daniel was doing.


"Who the bloody hell are you? This is my magazine and I'm the one in charge." Daniel learned during his time in New York that if you had to tell people you were in charge, then you had no idea what you were really doing.


“I’m Daniel Meade, better known to you as the owner of this company. In light of recent events, I have decided that I need to spend some time here at the London offices. Maybe you can step into my temporary office so we can discuss what’s going on here." Daniel suggested trying to get him to leave the very public area. He didn't want to fire the man in front of everyone.


That didn’t happen. Instead, Daniel spent 15 minutes being yelled at by a man who obviously was not happy about the home office sticking their nose in his business.


After looking at his watch one more time, he gave up and fired David in front of the crowd that was gathering. By that point his new favorite person besides Betty called up security. They arrived just in time to keep David from throwing a glass paperweight at his head. Daniel was convinced that he did the worst thing ever as they dragged David out of the office. He seriously doubted anybody will respect him after this. He walked back into his office where Diana and Candy were hiding the entire time.


"Can you push the graphics meeting back to two and push everything else back an hour?" Daniel asked warily as he grabbed his jacket from his closet.


"Considering everything today is "get to know you" meetings, I think I can do that." Considering Candy did not seem annoyed with him, she probably heard everything that happened with Mr. Pratt earlier in the day.


"Tuesday there'll be more job interviews and some advertiser meetings. Wednesday will be your very first photo shoot." Diana told him.


"Did you already hire the models?" Daniel asked.


"David did last week. That's the only thing he was really good at. They all fit the anorexic Mode girl image." Diana seemed very upset about that.


"That's good. Fire them all.” Diana opened her mouth wide in shock. “From now on healthy models only. Also, you can add a few beautiful women who actually look like our readers." Daniel said as he walked out the door.


"Where are you going?" Candy asked him.


"For a walk," he said without even looking at her.


Within 20 minutes, Daniel realized wandering around London by himself was a mistake. He got so lost trying to find Betty's building that he had to call the car service. Inside waiting for him was Betty, the first thing he did was kiss her.


"Maybe you should close the door first?" Betty said breaking the kiss.


"That would probably be a good idea." He said as he closed the door and went back to kissing her. He wondered if Betty had a relationship like this before that was so physical. After a few more minutes, he placed his head on her lap and sighed deeply.


"I'm assuming it was a really bad morning?" Betty asked with concern in her voice.


"Really bad. The magazine is a mess. The offices look exactly like they do in New York because Faye had this crazy idea that all Mode magazines around the world should be identical right down to the placement of semi colons." Amanda’s mom was apparently that crazy.


"It can't be that bad."


Just to prove his point he had the car stopped at a newsstand so they could pick up the latest issue of Mode UK. They were also able to pick up a copy of French Mode as well.


"Okay you're right. It is that bad. This looks like what the magazine looked like before you and Wilhelmina took over." Betty said as she looked over the magazine at the cute little Thai restaurant they found.


“This is probably one of the main reasons why the sales numbers are falling so drastically." Daniel told her.


“But there are probably other reasons. What else is going on?" Just because she asked the question he started smiling again.


"I'm not sure if it's going to be a good thing or bad thing to have a girlfriend that can read me so well. I had to fire someone today. It went badly."


"How badly?" she asked him.


"He tried to throw a glass paperweight at me but was stopped by security." Betty winced at his explanation.


"At least security stopped him." She said this in a way that made him laugh a little. "Everything couldn't be that bad. There had to be something positive about this morning."


"Candy is unbelievably good at her job and I am shocked that Monique was willing to let her come with me to London.” Daniel started to explain happily. “The two managing editors who have been keeping the magazine afloat for the last three months are both brilliant. There are a lot of good people on the staff. In addition, I implemented the magazine's new diversity approach to models."


"What does that mean?" Betty asked confused. That’s when he remembered that she was already gone before he and Monique had that discussion.


"The models in Mode now have to look like the beautiful people you come across in everyday life and not stick figures. Too bad you work for the competing publisher, otherwise I would put you on the cover wearing nothing but black lace. You would have looked so hot in the Million-Dollar Bra." He punctuated his words by kissing her shoulder. Apparently Betty wasn't used to him talking to her like this and she started choking on her water.


"It's too soon for that sort of comment?" Daniel asked as he tried to help her.


"Just a little, at least when we are in public.” Daniel did not consider the back of the town car public, but Betty probably had different rules. “I've never had a boyfriend who has seen me like you before."


"You do remember that your last real boyfriend painted nudes of you?" Very hot nude paintings.


"I didn't pose for any of them." He wondered when it would be the right time to tell Betty that he actually owned every single one of Matt's nude paintings of her.


"It doesn't matter. You are still a very beautiful woman." There was that Betty blush again that he loved so much. He quickly reached over and kissed her gently.


"Enough about the chaos at mode UK, tell me about your morning? It had to be less stressful." He watched her face truly become alive as she told him about everything that happened that morning. She seems so confident and in control as she talked about hiring more members of her staff and working on putting together the first issue that will come out in July.


Apparently starting a magazine from scratch was just as stressful as trying to save one from completely going under. Maybe he had the advantage because this wasn't the first time he kept a magazine from collapsing.


She looked so stunning as she talked about her magazine. She talked to him about being so happy to be getting her own assistant and getting to write the stories she wants to write. He couldn't help but reach over and kiss her again.


The entire walk back was spent holding hands and exchanging kisses before he had to let her go. He had no choice otherwise he was going to be late for his 2:00 PM meeting.


The afternoon meetings went significantly better than the morning except for a few angry phone calls from the now former Creative Director. He must admit that he had to look up a few of the more colorful insults in Candy's guide to British curse words. They even spelled ass differently here.


At 3:00 PM everyone at mode UK learned that Monique Osborn was the new co-owner of Meade publishing. He was pretty sure he heard a chorus of cheering. Although that may be some leftover celebrating from this morning. Daniel is now well aware David Pratt was not a very well-liked person. Even though most people hate Wilhelmina, they respected her professionally. David didn’t even manage the respect part.


It was now almost 6:30 PM and his severe lack of sleep last night was catching up to him. Was it really only a few years ago that he could go clubbing all night and survive a full day of work? Then again, maybe it was the dry way the accountants were delivering the bleak news that was sending him into a coma.


He missed that accountant that looked like that Star Trek guy. At least he knew to tell jokes during these meetings to keep Daniel from passing out. Did it really take 45 minutes to tell him that they were completely screwed unless he managed to get ad sales up by 75% in the next 30 days? Graphs would have really helped. As he exited the meeting, Candy was there handing him another cup of coffee.


"Why are you giving me more coffee? I thought I would be leaving at this point." He just wanted a warm bed and a hot Betty in said bed. Was that really too much to ask for?


"While you were dealing with the accountants, the photographer for the Wednesday shoot called and wanted to meet with the new EIC. He was a little angry when he found out he would be working with models that actually look like people. He's in your office. He also tried to hit on me three times." That explains why Candy seemed very annoyed.


"I will talk to him. Just in case…"


"I already lined up two possible photographers. I've emailed their digital books to you."


"Seriously why did Monique let you come to London?" Daniel asked again. Candy was brilliant.


"I think she is still upset about that one time I left her at an advertising event at a club to hook up with some guy. You never know with my old boss." Candy shrugged.


As he walked into his office he was prepared to go over all the reasons why they were doing the new diversity approach that he and Monique agreed to when he saw the last person he expected in his office.


"Becks what are you doing here?" He asked slightly surprised. He hasn’t seen the guy and nearly 3 years. At some point over the last three years he stopped communicating with his former friend. It was not anything drastic. They just went from emailing each other every week to doing so, once every four or five months or so. He actually hasn’t heard from Becks since November Fashion Week last year when he emailed Daniel to tell him he wasn’t coming. Daniel was actually upset about that because he needed another friend after the Molly fiasco.


"Complaining to the idealistic dick who decided to change all the models in my shoot at the last minute. In general, I've been hanging around Europe taking a job here and there. What are you doing here?" ‘Some people never change.’ Daniel thought to himself.


"We decided that we needed a presence out in Europe and I volunteered. More specifically, I am the idealistic dick who changed all the models in your shoot at the last minute. I am the new EIC." Daniel said with a smirk.


"Let me guess, Wilhelmina finally took over." And then he frowned.


“Wilhelmina is no longer with Mode.” Daniel responded swiftly. “I'm here to fix the problems here at Mode UK. One of the problems is by not showing models that actually look human, we're alienating part of our readership." The man was looking at him as if he completely lost his mind.


“Who are you and what happened to that guy who used to challenge me at fashion week to see who could hook up with the hottest model there?"


"He grew up." He heard his beautiful girlfriend say from the hallway. Betty was carrying pizza and a bag filled with magazines. "I don't think I've seen you since Bradford's funeral."


"If it isn't my replacement. I see the plastic surgery fairy paid you a visit.” Becks replied snidely. “Apparently, you're still Daniel’s assistant."


"Not really." Betty said as she walked over and gave Daniel an earth shattering kiss right after she placed everything on his desk. He was pretty sure Becks was not breathing at the moment.


"Actually I am the assistant and Betty is his soul mate," Candy said bringing in drinks and his two managing editors with her.


"Daniel's life partner here is the new EIC of London Hub magazine. She's the reason why he's here in London. She's also the brilliant one who suggested a research party to look over the competition. She just snagged back issues for the last two years."


"I have to look through them anyway to get an idea of what other magazines in my company are doing. At least this way I get to spend time with my favorite person, if that is okay?" Betty smiled at him


"Diana, Becks has some concerns with the new direction of the photo shoot Wednesday. Do you mind going over the new story boards you are working on with him; unless you have something else you'd rather do?"


"I'll do anything that means I'm still employed. I was so looking forward to meeting the reason why you were the only straight man in this entire office not looking at my chest area today." Diana shrugged.


"Are you sure you want to spend your evening doing this?" Daniel asked turning to his girlfriend.


"I told you I had to do this anyway. I am just enjoying doing it with my favorite person." Betty kissed him again.


"They are absolutely adorable," S said just as Diana pulled a completely shocked Becks into the hallway. It was for the best since he really did not want the two to start fighting. So maybe the two not getting along may have something to do with the deterioration of his relationship with his old college friend.


"That is because they're finally out of denial mode," Candy replied snidely as she grabbed a slice of pizza.


He really didn't pay attention after that because Betty was currently sitting on his lap making snide comments about the magazine of her new parent company. Despite everything, he made the right decision coming to London.

To be continued

The song for Betty’s alarm in this chapter is Video by India Arie.