This is written in honor of Chairversary 2015, Chuck and Blair's 3rd wedding anniversary. But, me being me, I had to go back to the beginning, so this is a pre-series story. I hope you enjoy it.

As the old song goes, there's nothin' like a dame…to ruin the prospect of a beautiful Lost Weekend.

God, how they needed that weekend too. With the flurry of late-term assignments, several sports seasons being at their height, and the stresses of dysfunctional family life around the holidays, the necessity was great. What was needed was an escape, a pressure valve to allow the dangerous steam to safely release before meltdown was imminent.

So Chuck Bass had proposed the coming weekend at his place. There they would be free of parental supervision and daily hassles, free to indulge in alcohol, video games and perhaps a trio of stripping triplets who called themselves The Striplets.

The guys had all enthusiastically agreed. Nothing could stop this blessed event from coming to pass. Nothing except….

Blair Waldorf.

The young lady in question was making a beeline for the group. Chuck groaned. This could not be good. There was no way she was sashaying in their general direction just to say "hello" or to show off shapely legs highlighted by dark stockings with a perfectly straight line running down the back of her thigh and calf. Though she certainly should. Chuck's eyes followed that seam all the way up to where it ended at a short (though not short enough, in his opinion) skirt that swirled flirtatiously around her hips and belied the prim and proper tone set by her blazer and uniform shirt. The cool exterior, the fire below. Hers was always a show worth watching.

"Nate, I need to talk to you about our plans for the weekend." Blair was not one to ask. Queens do not ask favors; they demand them.

"I—uh…," Nate looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Chuck stepped in. He had to. If he didn't, then Nate would go and ruin everything. A Lost Weekend just wouldn't be the same without his best friend there. "Listen, Princess, Nate has to send his regrets for whatever you want to do this weekend. He already has plans with us."

"You have plans for the weekend?" She arched a brow that perfectly showcased dark, intense eyes. "Tell me, what are all the fashionable manwhores doing this season?"

Oh, she was quick. He had to give her that. And her wit was biting. He might even find it bracing, if it didn't sting so much. She could make him angry faster than anyone he knew and right now he was approaching livid.

"I can tell you what they're not doing: they're not holding hands and feeding ducks in the park. Or maybe you'd prefer Nate to come over and play Barbies with you, now that Serena is off being Boarding School Barbie now. Maybe you need new minions," he looked meaningfully across the street, where her court was watching with bated breath.

Chuck was not lacking in lackeys himself. His group of friends stood around watching, with poor Nate, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other, unsure what to do or say.

Chuck and Blair could be the best of partners and friends, bonding over a scheme or scandal….or they could be the very worst of enemies. It was a clash of titans, with lesser gods lining up for a front-row seat. Everyone wanted to witness the action up close and personal; no one wanted to have to read it second-hand on Gossip Girl.

Nate just looked at the ground as though he wished it would swallow him whole.

Blair fixed Chuck with an icy glare. "My minions are all sane and sober; I can see how that would appear strange to someone like you." She subconsciously adjusted her headband, as one might a crown. Let him remember he was dealing with the queen here.

Chuck merely smirked and raised a brow in her direction. "If that passes as good company for you, then you won't mind Nate being unavailable this weekend."

She took a step closer to him, her jaw clenched tightly. "And for what glorified purpose, I must again ask."

They were like two opponents, cautiously circling one another and growing ever closer. Their audience watched with bated breath. There was a charge in the air, sizzling and crackling between them. Were they going to kill each other…or kiss? Neither scenario seemed impossible.

"A Lost Weekend. That's a bit hard to pull that off…if your girlfriend won't get…lost."

She blanched.

"The guys need to blow off some steam. How is Nate supposed to do that in the presence of the Ice Queen?" His mocking tone made the words sound all the more harsh.

She gasped in shock. Had he really just said that? Of all people, Chuck knew that her ongoing virginity was not her idea and usually he was the biggest supporter of his friends 'sealing the deal' as he called it.

"I'm sorry," the only thing sincere about his tone was the snark, "was that hitting below the belt—the chastity belt, that is?"

"Like you would even know what one is," she sniffed, before turning to Nate. "When you get bored with your bacchanal and these beasts, come find me." Then she turned on her heel and walked down the hall, head held high and heels clicking loudly with each step.

Chuck hated to see her go, truth be told. He was nowhere near finished with their argument. Somehow fighting with Blair was always more interesting than getting along with anyone else.

A bell rang, sounding the end of lunch for the students of Constance Billard and St. Jude's, and the crowd dispersed.

Too late, Chuck remembered he needed to go to the library for a copy of Cyrano de Bergerac for English Composition. He knew it would make him late to class, but why ruin a perfect record of tardiness now?

A quick stop at the front desk, some flirty words exchanged with the student library aide and before long, his overdue fees were erased and he was leaving with a copy of the title in question.

As he passed the girls' restroom outside the library, he heard a sob. Normally, he would've just rolled his eyes and ignored the hormone-fueled histrionics of a teenage female, but….

That sob sounded familiar.

He stopped in his tracks. Could it be…Blair? No, that was crazy.

The sobbing continued, as did the uncomfortable feeling that he knew the girl in question.

Then the retching began. Maybe someone's lunch simply wasn't agreeing with them…but if it were Blair in there…well….

Suddenly the wheels in his mind began to turn…going over the many times she'd suddenly 'disappeared' following an upsetting incident, only to return looking pale and strange. It had happened more and more in the months since her father and Serena had left. He'd always known something was off, but he'd never known exactly what.

Now he knew. Worse, he felt partly responsible for triggering today's episode. Could their fight have made her feel so bad that she'd made herself ill?

Surely not. He was probably just imagining things. Soon, the door would open and some other girl would walk out and he'd know that Blair, who was probably sitting in class right now like the good girl she was, was just fine.

Five minutes passed.

Then ten.

Then the door slowly opened.

From his watching post around the corner, Chuck took a peek.

She was perfect from the bow of her headband to the perfectly applied red lipstick to the red-bottomed soles of her Louboutins.

He let out a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. Great, now he had no idea what to do. If only there were someone who could talk to her, someone whom he could talk to about her…problem. Serena was off who knew where at her new school. Blair's minions were, without their leader, just a gaggle of silly, empty-headed girls. Blair's mother was part dragon—really, Chuck would not be at all surprised to find the woman could breathe fire. And Nate was…well, not especially perceptive about things. How did he not know this was happening with her? Last of all, Chuck felt a surge of anger against himself, because he could've gone to her as her friend…if he hadn't just made himself her enemy during lunch break. It would be hard enough to talk to her about this at the best of times; now they were at war, it was nigh impossible.

But someone had to make her feel better, to make her see that this cycle had to stop.

He looked down at the book in his hand and suddenly drew inspiration. He knew what he could do. He reached into his pocket, drew out his phone and immediately rang Arthur.

By day's end, Blair was exhausted and more than ready to go home. As she dialed the combination to her locker and opened the door, she was stunned to see the mini bouquet of pink peonies sitting on the shelf with a card simply marked with a B.

Her lips curled into a smile. Nate had finally come to his senses and wanted to apologize for not taking her side earlier today at lunch. And such lovely flowers! It was unusual; Nate usually sent tulips or daisies or some sort of wildflower. The peonies suited her far better.

She grabbed the card and opened the flap. Her face fell. It was not from Nate. She read the lines on the small piece of paper over and over again, telling herself she must be dreaming.

"I know you are making yourself ill," it read. She frowned and rolled her eyes. Did the writer also know what she did last summer?

"What I don't understand is why." She sighed. She didn't understand herself, really.

"You are Blair Waldorf. Like these flowers, you are beautiful and rare." Really, how could one read something like that about herself and not feel the corners of one's mouth curving up?

It was signed, "Your Secret Santa and Not-So-Secret Admirer." She had a secret admirer? Someone knew about her problem…and was not passing judgment or turning the tip in to Gossip Girl? They were instead…sending her flowers? She completely forgot her initial disappointment they were not from Nate.

She stood stock still for a moment, unsure how to react. Then she slipped the note into her handbag and plucked one of the blooms from the bouquet, tucking it under the edge of her headband.

She had a secret admirer!

He had to know, simply had to know, if she'd gotten his gift. She didn't appear any different at the joint school assembly the following morning and finally, after watching her intently for quite a while, he cut out early and went to her locker.

Figuring out the combination had been easy. He guessed she would be partial to her birthday and sure enough, it worked like a charm, both yesterday and this morning.

His eyes flew to the shelf, which was empty of his bouquet and card now.


Another card was there now in its place, addressed in a familiar hand to "My Secret Santa."

He was stunned. He'd never imagined she would write back.

But she had and there it was, sitting on the shelf just for him.

A flash of fear went through him. He should just close the locker and go about his business, pretend he'd never seen it.

If he took the note and read it, things might never be the same again.

But he now knew the note was there, he couldn't exactly unknow it.

And he had to know that she was okay. He was honor bound to read it.

Justified in his mind, he slipped the envelope into his jacket pocket, determined to find somewhere quiet and private to read it.

The library seemed a likely place. The student aides were certainly happy to see him back again, but he ignored them in search of a quiet corner where he could be undisturbed.

Then he ripped open the envelope and let his eyes scan the familiar stationery and handwriting.

"My dear Secret Santa, This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…"

To Be Continued in Chapter 2

Author's Note: Happy Holidays, everyone! This will be a short fiction that's a brief detour from my other writing. I am not abandoning The Gilded Cage or Endings and Beginnings. I just couldn't bear not to participate in Chairversary 2015 and inspiration struck. I may need to change the rating to M as the story progresses.

Special thanks to SnowedUnderNJ, Chrys1130, rayj829, and an extra big hug to Chairship, who is invaluable in her edits.

I love readers and reviews the way Santa loves milk and cookies, so I hope you share your thoughts with me. I also hope that, wherever you are in the world, you are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season with many reasons to smile and look back in wonder.