Author: singsongsung PM
CS. "No, listen to me. I've had this conversation before. We cannot be involved if our parents are together." All Serena's rules are about to be broken. And maybe she likes it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 7 - Words: 23,865 - Reviews: 112 - Favs: 73 - Follows: 76 - Updated: 08-28-09 - Published: 12-25-08 - id: 4742216
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Sorry for the very long wait! Thank you for your feedback. Reviews are love.
Serena and Chuck spend their Saturday night in a way they never would have dreamed they would, a way they've scorned, a way they would never ever confess to anyone else they'd spent it, a way that's sad and unexciting and lame. Lily and Bart are at some gala and Erik's out with Jonathon so they've got free reign of the apartment and the city, and with the Bass helicopter and limitless funds and many high-society connections at their disposal, they've really got free reign of the world.
But here they are. Holed up in Chuck's bedroom with popcorn and hot chocolate, lying under the covers of his bed while they watch Cruel Intentions on TV. They talk quietly during the commercial breaks, mostly about the movie, but for the majority of the time they stay quiet, her head resting on his shoulder.
"Sarah Michelle Gellar's a minx," he muses aloud, and she punches his arm. She could say that she's doing it simply because he's disgusting, but they're at the point where they both know better than that.
Instead, she chooses to retaliate pettily. "Ryan Phillipe's hot."
"Please," he scoffs self-assuredly, and it makes her giggle sweetly, the first genuine laugh that's escaped her lips in a while. Chuck smiles at the sound – he tries to suppress it admirably but she notices and pokes his cheek gently.
"You're such an arrogant bastard," she criticizes him, but her words are so light that they sound more like a compliment than an insult.
He glances over, meeting her eyes. "Says the girl I'm sleeping with."
She meets his gaze bravely, a smile causing her lips to twitch up for a millisecond. Discomfort, the exact thing they've been trying to avoid, settles over them, making her squirm. Chuck plants a kiss on her temple and sneaks a hand between them and under her shirt, tickling her ribcage. She squeals and bats at his hands before attempting to retaliate, and for a moment it feels strangely pure, like they're much younger than they are and everything about their attraction to one another is genuine and simple.
Just for a moment, then the movie comes back on and she demands a truce and he gives in, and the complexity of their situation sinks in again. Serena sighs, pulling away from him and tugging her shirt down self-consciously. Being with him feels incomparably safe and also like it might break her to pieces.
Really, what they're doing, with their movie and their blankets and their silence, is hiding out. They don't want to face the world, because the world has rules, and they're breaking some of the most important ones. They've never been obedient, but this is bigger than them both and they're in denial. They both have the tendency to face their problems head on, crash and burn: Chuck internalizes and Serena flees. She knows – and he knows – that they're trying to quell those reactions and figure this out instead.
But it's kind of hard to figure out a problem that has no solution.
When Sebastian dies onscreen she sniffles and he rolls his eyes; she wrinkles her nose and elbows him. She's not sure when things got this easy with Chuck, when this relaxed sense of safety she gets around him manifested itself.
"I hate how this movie ends," she whispers, curling her body a bit closer to his in spite of herself, in search of the comfort he's been so good at providing her with lately.
His fingers trace along her shoulder, bare save for the thin strap of her tank top. "Why? It's…just."
She tilts her chin upward, her eyes level with his cheekbone, so that she's glancing up slightly to make eye contact. "You don't really think that." She knows him better than to believe those words.
"Maybe I do," he says, a taunting gleam in his eyes.
Serena pushes herself up into a sitting position, so now she's looking down at him, tossing her hair back and out of her face. "Tell me what you really think," she demands, her shoulder judging his. "You always do," she adds, a plea for honesty slipping into her voice.
"It's a movie, Serena," Chuck replies carefully, eyes drifting down to her lips before flicking back up to her eyes. "It doesn't matter how it ends. You know that."
Glancing down, she knows she can't deny that. She isn't Blair, she's never been like this, but her eyes are stinging and her mind is spinning. She blinks a couple times, running her fingers along the seam of the blanket.
Chuck sighs beside her, hand catching hers, their fingers slipping together. "How did you want it to end?" he asks, humouring her, but there is something unrecognizable in her voice.
"It's not fair to her," she says softly, gesturing to the screen, where Kathryn stood a moment ago with tears in her eyes as Annette sailed away in Sebastian's beloved car. She's seen this movie many times, but it's never gotten to her quite like this. "I think she was scared, and maybe a little…misguided, but it's so obvious that she really lov –"
"Serena." His voice is soft, almost protective, as he cuts her off before she can dig herself into a hole, commit herself to impossible words. "You do see the parallel that's going on here? The similarities between the plot of this movie and –"
This time, it's she that cuts him off before they can hit upon the frightening words neither of them wants to acknowledge. "I'm not a cokehead," she protests weakly, "And she's a bigger slut than I am."
He chuckles, low and affectionate. "Are you implying that you're a slut to some degree?"
"Chuck." She says his named mutedly, somehow stretching the single syllable out into three, emphasis on the middle one, which makes her reprimand sound more like a whine.
He smirks at her, his body leaning into hers, causing her to sink into the mattress a bit more. The blanket slips off of her upper body and he tugs it a bit further. "That wasn't a denial."
She lets him kiss her but then pulls away, unable to meet his gaze, the tears she's been fighting pooling in her eyes. Chuck kisses her neck, his hand falling onto her thigh and slipping just a bit higher.
"Our parents are married," she whispers as his other hand moves, barely grazing her skin as it glides up over her abdomen, her ribcage, and cups her breast for just a second.
"I know," he murmurs against her skin. She wants to shrug him off but she also wants to melt under his touch, and the of those two contradicting urges balance to leave her there, still.
"And they're…they're happy…" She trails off as he lifts his head, giving her a look that clearly says well, you're not, are you? before her eyes drop closed instinctively as he leans in to kiss her eyelids.
"They're having a baby, Chuck," she whispers tightly as his hands push her shirt up gently before moving to tug at the tie on the pair of his drawstring pyjama pants she's stolen at some point since this thing between them began. She finally moves, covering his hand with one of her own, shaking her head slightly. "We are going to have a sibling."
"Still doesn't make us related," he counters her simply.
"You knew going in that this was…forbidden. And you like it. I know you, Serena. We're so alike, and you forget it too easily. We're not doing anything wrong."
"But sometimes it feels –" she stresses, but he interrupts her right again.
"If it feels wrong," he mimics her huskily, "then you like it that way." Before she can say another word, he kisses her hard, pressing her body into the bed, tongue battling hers mercilessly.
She whimpers into his mouth lightly before they pull apart. He tucks her hair out of her face, something near but quite not reaching tenderness in the way he touches her. His body is heavy against hers, very real, and it gives her a strange sense of security.
"If you're worried about what will happen when; if we –"
They've hit a pattern today, and it's her turn to cut him off, to shield them both. "Don't," she gasps out, still breathless from that kiss. "Don't do that. Stay here. With me, right now. Just…don't think about later."
His grasps her hand in his own, and she lets her fingers trace over his palm. "Later's always going to be there, Serena," he says, his expression suddenly blank.
"So what do we do about it?" she says intensely, both asking and daring him.
Chuck studies her face carefully, closes his fingers around hers so that they're both perfectly still. "You tell me," he says slowly.
Her face crumples even though she tries valiantly to prevent it from happening. For all the times she has cried in front of him, for everything she's been faced with since the two of them began whatever it is that they have, this is the most vulnerable she's ever been with him. "Will you break it off with her?" she requests quietly. It is a serious question, a meaningful one, she is asking for more. "With Blair. Will you end…" A solitary tear rolls down her cheek. "Will you end this game, or whatever you two play? Can we…"
"Can we what?" His eyes are searching hers solemnly.
"I don't know," she breathes.
"I…I don't either," he admits, unable to give her more, not now, not yet, not like this.
And maybe not ever. That is what gives her the momentarily strength to push him away, to shake her head, to pull herself away from this unworkable relationship, undefined when it should be definite, to get away –
But then he's kissing her again, even more fiercely, his hand finding the drawstring of her pants again, pulling hard, and it comes undone instantly. She wants to resist him, she really does, but there is emotion in that kiss, it is passionate and heavy and almost heartbreaking and she finds herself responding with the same intensity, undoing the buttons on his shirt.
"Chuck," she hisses softly, breaking the kiss in need of oxygen, meaning to say something, but then his mouth covers hers again.
"Yes," he murmurs against her lips as she lifts her hips, letting him slip her pants off her legs, "Yes," he says once again, and she realizes that he's answering her question, he's giving her more, and it makes her sob a little before she kicks the cotton pants off of her ankles and presses her body against him, rolling them over and straddling him as she kisses him urgently, Bittersweet Symphony playing quietly in the background, over the credits of the movie.
She watches his conversation with Blair the next day. She doesn't mean to, but she just happens to be turning into the quad when she spots them at one of the tables, having a heated discussion, so she slips back into the shadows and watches them.
She feels horrible, and she guesses that in some way she's looking out for them all. She doesn't want to hurt Blair again; it's the last thing she wants. She doesn't want Chuck to get hurt on her account. And she just doesn't want to hurt anymore.
Chuck has that intense gaze of his, the one that can see right through you, and the low tone that indicates something serious, something with actual, personal meaning. Blair's making a face Serena knows well, the one that appears when she's guarded and her voice is tight in her throat, intimidating and small all at once. Serena bites her lip as she watches them. In the end, Blair is glaring and Chuck's expression is soft, kind. She knows they're both breaking, and as he kisses her hand she feels like she might be breaking, too.
They don't look over, no matter what words have been exchanged. And part of her thinks they might never be. She might be falling for someone who has already fallen.
On impulse, she runs to Dan. Chuck will always have Blair, or at least, that's how it seems right now. She was being unrealistic, she was upset over that movie and they were there, in that moment. Now it's later and she's afraid, because if Chuck has Blair, she has no one.
Except for Dan. She's not exactly comforted as she steps inside his Brooklyn building, but she is relieved. Things are still tense between them, messy and confused, but the fact remains that she's Dan's dream girl. She's doesn't know what to say to him, or what she wants from him, but he'll be there, and he'll probably want things and have words to say. She breathes a little easier as she walks up to his door and lifts her fist to knock. She feels a little achy, like this isn't right, but she and Chuck are so dysfunctional and everything's been so hard lately. She needs someone who can be something actual to her, not hidden, not forbidden. It doesn't have the same draw for her, admittedly, but she's lonely and Dan's always been lonely, so maybe right now they can just be lonely together.
There isn't an answer, so she tests the knob, which gives easily. The Humphreys are always casual about their space, so with one last soft knock and a tentative call of hello? Dan?, she lets herself in.
Barely a minute later she's racing back through that door, gloved hands pressed to her mouth, a fresh batch of tears in her eyes, because Dan isn't all that lonely after all.
"Serena." Chuck says her name intensely, pacing over to her, his eyes narrowed. "I waited for you by the limo after school, you weren't –" He stops short when he finally lets himself look at her. "What is it?" he asks, softening his tone considerably, all sharpness gone, replaced by concern.
She is tired of appearing before him in tears, so very sick of it. She's always had a wild spirit, always been good at getting herself stuck in messy situations, and he's always been good at getting her out of them, but she never used to need it so much. It is a hard place to be in, needing Chuck Bass, because he doesn't always need back and he doesn't necessarily know how to be needed.
And yet, he's here. She's here and he's here, right when she needs him once again.
"What is it?" he repeats, placing his hands on her upper arms. "Serena."
She wipes at her cheeks uselessly and he produces a handkerchief, seemingly magically, and hands it to her.
"Hey," he says quietly, pulling her close to him. She tucks her head into his shoulder and breathes in deep as he lifts a hand, teasingly tugging on the bowtie of his she's wearing in her hair, a move so boyish that she would giggle and tease him back in any other circumstances. "Today, Blair and I…well, I can't say we broke up because we were never really…but we did talk, we…"
Serena pulls back from him, her blue eyes wide and scanning over his face quickly. "You what?" she whispers disbelievingly.
He's trying to be blasé about it, she can tell, but they both know it's not working. "You asked me too, sis," he tells her with the ghost of a smirk.
She grimaces, a lump in her throat. "Dan cheated on me," she blurts out tearfully. She knows it's hypocritical to be upset, and she feels even worse about it now that she knows that Chuck actually, apparently, called it quits with Blair, but it still stings. She trusted the wrong person; she should have let herself take Chuck's word. She should have realized that whatever they have means more to him, too, but it's only occurring to her now what a scary thought that there is, and there was probably a deeper reason that she chose not to believe it.
"What?" he questions in a soft, deathly tone.
"Georgina," Serena babbles, licking her lips nervously. "She's pretending – some girl from I don't even know where – she told Dan another name; I was over there, they were togeth…" Her words fade off as she finds herself being pulled into his arms again, into an embrace that's a bit too crushing to be described as a hug, but she understands it, she absorbs it greedily, burying her face in his chest.
"I don't even know why I'm…upset," she whispers brokenly after a few moments of silence. "I didn't…I didn't even love him, not anymore, I –"
His grip on her tightens even more, his head tucked into her neck, breath hot against her skin. "Don't. Don't say that."
So she stays quiet, clinging to him, and he stays quiet, holding her, because they are both too scared of the truth to express it in any other way.