"Hey, Betty, let me walk you to the trolley. Or, better yet, how 'bout I walk you to dinner and a movie on the way to the trolley?" Scott queried confidently as he breezed into Betty's office, suit jacket casually slung over his right shoulder. He leaned towards Betty by placing the palm of his left hand on the highly polished surface of her desk. "I know a great little place right around the corner from the Rialto Theater where they serve the best filet of sole you've ever tasted - so tender and flaky, it would practically melt in your mouth. After that, we can check out the feature at the theatre. It's 'The Lady Eve' with Barbara Stanwyck. Probably has a lot of that romantic gunk," as he waved a dismissive hand, "but it might be pretty good. What do you say?"
"Scott, I..." Betty lowered her gaze from Scott's all-too charming grin as her voice died away, leaving unsaid her oft-repeated rejection of his advances. Echoing far too loudly in her recent memory were Maple's words, "There's you, alone again on a Friday night." A small spark of defiance ignited within her. Just what exactly was she waiting for? Victor was constantly involved with or distracted by his work with the government. And even when that wasn't getting in the way, he was still fully devoted to radio. While both were admirable pursuits which Betty could scarcely fault him for, they hardly left time to develop much in the way of personal relationships.
And then there was Scott. Her feelings where Scott was concerned were such a puzzle, but he'd been so...so good lately, helping her whenever she needed it and keeping the cons to a minimum. Plus, he was always fun when they went out together. Why shouldn't she have a fun Friday night? Besides, it might help her sort through her muddled emotions regarding Scott Sherwood.
Scott, thinking she was only hesitating while she could come up with a valid excuse, decided a little extra coaxing was in order. "C'mon, Betty," he began persuasively, "it's a beautiful fall evening. We could even take a walk along the river..."
"All right, Scott, I'll go," Betty announced with an emphatic nod of her head. "It actually sounds like fun and I do need to get out a little more often."
It almost seemed too ridiculously easy!
"Well, Betty Roberts, I'm surprised at you! Is this the same nose-to-the-grindstone, all-work and no-play girl from Elkhart, Indiana who's turned me down for a date more times than I'd care to count?" he asked mock-seriously as he folded his arms across his chest.
"It's still me," Betty said as she rose from her chair behind the desk. "I'm just beginning to realize how important it is to balance work and play. Does this mean your offer is off the table?" she asked, with a twinkle in her eye.
"No way! It's still on the table, and so is our filet of sole. We'd better hurry before it gets cold. Milady, your carriage awaits," Scott announced as he gallantly offered Betty his arm. Giggling, she accepted it. Her Friday evening definitely looked a lot more interesting than it had a couple of hours earlier.
Scott Sherwood and Betty Roberts strolled slowly down the nearly deserted sidewalk, her hand nestled securely in the crook of his arm. They softly bantered back and forth as the late autumn dusk fell around them, turning the sky into the most incredible shades of purple and rose. The few remaining leaves on the sparsely scattered trees along the street rustled in a gentle breeze and Scott could think of nothing in the world as beautiful as Betty's upturned face as she laughed at one of his stories.
"You can't be serious. You didn't really do that to the rajah's pet tiger!" Betty gasped when she'd finally caught her breath.
"Well, the rajah shouldn't have cheated at Chinese Checkers. Now that you know the punishment, maybe you won't either."
"Scott Sherwood! I never cheated at Chinese Checkers in my life! You're just going to have to admit that I'm a better player than you are. My father was the best coach a girl could ever hope for."
"Someday I'm going to have to get your dad to tell me all of his secret strategies."
"Not a chance, Scott," Betty said firmly, "You have to be a member of the family to be privy to our board game secrets."
"You never know, Betty Roberts, you never know," Scott remarked softly as he opened the door of Carlton's Restaurant for her, a more serious light coming into his eyes. Betty lifted her eyes to his just in time to catch it, blushing a little as she quickly averted her gaze. He had changed so swiftly from light-hearted banter to a hint of something much more serious that she found herself mentally scrambling to come up with a reply, becoming more flustered by the second. The hint was admittedly a bit obtuse, but she hadn't quite succeeded in quelling the little thrill of excitement that had coursed through her when he spoke. Surely, Scott wasn't hinting at...at...Betty couldn't bring herself to finish the thought. Fortunately, he didn't seem to be waiting for a reply to his comment. Perhaps she'd simply read more into it than he had intended. But that still didn't explain that odd tremor she'd felt just a few seconds earlier.
Dinner was almost over and Betty had to admit that Scott was right. The filet of sole had been done to perfection and the cheesecake they were eating now was positively sinful. She was impressed, and not a little surprised, at his choice of a restaurant. Everything was so romantic and intimate here, from the softly muted lighting complete with flickering candlelight to the string quartet playing unobtrusively in the corner. The tables and booths in the restaurant had been laid out carefully, along with the strategic placement of potted plants, to give all the diners the illusion of being secluded in their own cozy world. The entire atmosphere was conducive to shared confidences and Betty was finding it very easy to tell Scott all about her childhood and home in Indiana.
"That was Charlie's first time trying the rope swing at the pond. Mother had always said he was too young to go there before and he was always heartbroken when he couldn't come with us. He was so excited that he let go of the rope much too early and landed badly in the shallow water, breaking his arm in two places," Betty chuckled at the memory. Scott looked at her questioningly and she hurried to explain. "Oh, that wasn't the funny part. I was remembering my friend Margie. She took one look at his arm and promptly went into hysterics, crying over and over again that his arm would have to be cut off and then she fainted dead away. I was actually glad when she did because Charlie was a tough little guy and he was handling the whole thing pretty well until she started screaming. She always did have a flair for the dramatic; I guess that's why she's an actress now. Anyway, our dog Max, who she was terrified of, kept licking her face until she woke up, which of course brought on even more screaming fits. I immobilized Charlie's arm in a sling and we all marched off to the doctor. What a sight we must have been! A hysterically screaming girl with tears streaming down her face, running through the middle of town with an excited dog nipping at her heels and my brother and me, soaking wet, looking like the walking wounded," Betty shook her head, laughing again.
Scott couldn't help but laugh with her this time before saying, "That's our Betty! Always level-headed in the face of disaster."
With a deep sigh, Betty became more sober. "I haven't seen Charlie since I came to WENN. He's in college now, and the one time I got back to Elkhart at Christmas he was working to help pay his tuition. At least I got to see my older brother, Ben, that time. I really miss my brothers sometimes. We were always so close."
Scott, quickly moved to compassion by the sadness in her voice which so clearly echoed in her eyes, reached across the table to grasp her slender hand in his broader one. "I'm sure they miss you, too, Betty. I know I'd miss you if I didn't see you every day." With the beginnings of a smile crinkling the corners of his eyes, he added, "Fortunately for you, I always show up for work, so you don't have to miss me."
For a moment, Betty was so distracted by the feeling of her hand clasped in his, warm and comforting and yet, there was that odd little thrill again, that she almost didn't realize he was trying to coax a smile from her. Quickly recovering, she answered him. "Oh, Scott, if you didn't show up for work, I wouldn't miss you!"
"Betty, that seems a little harsh," Scott said, looking a bit hurt and withdrawing his hand.
"I wouldn't miss you with the poison darts, the silver bullets, or the carving knives," Betty enumerated her weapons of choice on her fingers, laughing all the while as an answering smile broke out on Scott's face. "Not to mention what Hilary would do to you if she had to go on the air to do a love scene with Jeff."
Scott groaned. "Oh, please don't mention that. Every time they get in the same studio, I have to duck to avoid being pricked by the daggers shooting out of Hildy's eyes," Scott glanced at his watch. "Oh, but would you look at the time...if we don't hurry, we'll miss the feature."
"Oh, my gosh! I didn't realize how late it was! I probably would've gone on talking all night if you hadn't reminded me about the movie. Sorry," she smiled apologetically.
"Nothing to be sorry about, Betty Roberts," Scott told her with a smile as they rose out of their chairs. "I could go on listening all night, except that I know you really did want to see this movie."
"You're right, I do. And it was really sweet of you to listen, Scott. Sometimes, I guess I still get a little homesick."
"That's understandable. If I had ever had a home like yours, I'd feel the same way. Listening to stories about your family almost makes me feel like I have a home, too."
Once again, Betty found herself surprised. The note of wistfulness in his voice was too clear to be mistaken. She'd never really considered that a big, rambunctious family with aunts, uncles and cousins always dropping in unexpectedly would appeal to Scott in any way. She'd always pictured him being most at home on the road, traveling from place to place, never staying anywhere for too long, avoiding permanent attachments. It seemed a remarkably lonely lifestyle to her and just maybe, he was beginning to feel the same way.
"But, Scott, you do have a home."
Scott looked at her questioningly as they exited the restaurant.
"Right here in Pittsburgh at WENN and everyone there is your family."
Scott stopped on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and turned to look at her. They were bathed in a pool of light thrown by a nearby street lamp, making it easy for him to read her expression.
"Everyone, Betty? Even you?" Her searched her eyes, hoping for a sign of the forgiveness he sought for so long.
Betty hesitated for only an instant before answering, "Yes, Scott, even me." She smiled as she suddenly realized it was true. She'd tried for so many months to hold on to the resentment that had formed when he had confessed to her about the forgery and the lies he had told about his friendship with Victor, but it had become increasingly hard to remain angry at him. Slowly, over the last several weeks, the wall that had instantaneously formed between them on that day had been cracking, until suddenly, at this moment Betty found that it had fallen away.
Hope flared in Scott's eyes and he leaned in closer. "Does this mean I'm forgiven?" he queried, his voice low and husky.
There was that little shiver again. What could it mean?
"I suppose it does. I mean, over the last couple of months, you've really worked hard to prove that you're 'radio'. You've kept your cons to a minimum and you confessed everything to Victor. You've really turned over a new leaf, Scott."
Scott stepped almost imperceptibly closer to her until they were separated by mere inches. He brought his hands up to gently grasp her upper arms as he said, "I'd like to turn over a new leaf with you, Betty."
"Scott, I..." Betty suddenly lost all recollection of what she was going to say. That lock of hair falling across his forehead was so distracting and his eyes were such a deep, rich brown. And his voice, it was so... Betty found herself drifting toward him, her eyes beginning to close and there was that pleasant tingling again....
The door to the restaurant behind them suddenly opened with a bang and several patrons issued from it, a little the worse for the consumption of numerous adult beverages. Startled, Scott and Betty sprang apart, the intimacy of the moment shattered. Betty gave her head a slight shake as if to clear it and Scott heaved a sigh which left him looking rather deflated.
After what could only be described as a rather awkward pause, Scott cleared his throat. "Well, I guess we should get going."
Betty could only nod and manage a muffled, "Mmmhmm," her ability to speak coherently seemingly impaired at the moment. They continued on their way, Scott silently lamenting the cruelty of the fates that had cursed him with such lousy timing and Betty wondering if a single glass of white wine at dinner had been enough to completely unhinge her mental faculties. She wouldn't have almost kissed Scott under any other circumstances. Would she?
Betty closed the door to her apartment at the Barbican Hotel for women and leaned against it with a gusty but contented sigh. What a night! It was late and she was exhausted, but she couldn't help but recall with a smile the evening she had just spent with Scott. He was completely charming the entire evening and hadn't even complained about the "romantic gunk" in the movie.
For an evening that should have been just a typical, stay-at-home Friday night, it had certainly been full of surprises. The restaurant, Scott's wistfulness about a home and family...all of these new facets of Scott's personality that she'd only just discovered existed. What else was there that she hadn't seen? No matter how surprised she was at Scott, she was even more surprised at herself. Or maybe it was her reactions to him that were a shock to her. She certainly hadn't planned to have dinner and see a movie with him. She had her refusal all ready and then that irresistible impulse had taken over and she'd accepted instead. That turned out to be the least of her uncharacteristic activities of the evening, however.
She'd almost kissed Scott, for Heaven's sake! Maybe it was all the fault of that glass of wine, but there was something magical about that moment. Finally giving him her forgiveness and complete friendship had been such a relief, like finally being able to take a big, healthy gulp of air after being underwater for too long. She hadn't realized what a strain it had become, always holding back in the face of Scott's not-inconsiderable charm. The relief was enormous and she couldn't help but feel that her relationship with Scott had turned a corner this evening, but it was impossible to tell where it was leading.
Betty found herself blushing at the memory of that near-kiss and her next memory did nothing to dispel it. All right, so he'd put his arm around her shoulders during the movie. It wasn't her fault he'd done that and asking him to remove it would have been awkward in the extreme. "But did you have to lean your head on his shoulder?" her conscience chided. "Well, the seat was lumpy and I was much more comfortable that way," Betty argued lamely in her own defense.
At least she hadn't disgraced herself when Scott had left her at the door of the Barbican. Here, Betty couldn't repress a smile. He'd seemed almost shy as he leaned in to give her a discreet kiss on the cheek. Betty touched the spot where his lips had brushed her skin; it was almost as if they had left an impression on her cheek and she could still smell the faint, slightly spicy scent of his after-shave.
Suddenly, the memory of Scott kissing her just after his confession intruded on her thoughts. That moment had been so totally confusing and the kiss had only added to the conflict because she had actually enjoyed it! What if those people hadn't come out of the restaurant tonight at the exact moment they did? What would it have been like to have Scott kiss her again?
Betty shook herself out of her reverie. She must really be in need of some sleep because her thoughts were completely running away with her. She was glad she and Scott were friends, but the thought of any relationship beyond that left her fraught with confusion. What about her feelings for Victor? Somehow, they weren't the same as those she had when Scott was around, but she wasn't able to clearly define either, so that wasn't especially helpful.
Betty sighed again, this time in resignation. It was times like these that she wished for the existence of a switch that with one flick could turn off her thoughts and allow her to fall asleep peacefully. Someday, someone would invent such a switch, for now she'd just have to count sheep.
Several blocks away, Scott was making his leisurely way home, hands in his pockets, whistling a nameless tune. The evening had been perfect, well...almost perfect. If only those lousy drunks hadn't come bursting out of the restaurant at that precise moment...but there was nothing to be done about that now. And then, at her door, he could have tried to kiss her again, but he had sensed a certain reticence in her and like Maple'd said, he didn't want to press his case too hard.
Besides, Scott had the feeling there'd be other chances. Betty had actually forgiven him and that could open a lot of doors. She'd already begun to see that he really was radio now, that he cared enough to do just about anything for the good of the station. It couldn't be too long before she realized that he really had meant what he'd said when he'd been staring down the barrel of that pistol in the green room a few months earlier.
He'd been surprised himself. The words had come so easily, almost without conscious thought, but the vital truth behind them couldn't be denied. It had been extremely hard the next day to pretend that her explanation of the event was an accurate one, but it would have been harder still to contradict her, to tell her he'd meant exactly what he'd said. Funny how, in the face of disaster, everything became startlingly clear. All of the petty annoyances and irritations of everyday life, the ups and downs, they all disappeared and left him with one simple fact: he loved Betty Roberts and there was no way he could leave WENN until she was absolutely sure she didn't love him.
After tonight, he definitely had some hope that wouldn't be the case. That moment, under the street lamp in front of the restaurant he was almost sure he'd seen something in her eyes that indicated she felt something akin to his own emotions. What she really needed was time to sort out her feelings. That was all right. Scott had all the time in the world.
Go to It Only Happens When I'm With You, Part II!
Go Back to the It Only Happens When I'm With You Introduction Page!
Go Back to the Fanfiction Library!