A Dinner to Remember
Disclaimer: everything belongs to Gossip Girl. I'm just showing my appreciation for it.
Jenny Archibald (nee Humphrey) has a strange penchant for observing other people. Some may call it prying. Others may say stalking. But Jenny prefers the word 'observing' because she does not go and out and deliberately seek secrets; secrets instead reveal themselves to her.
Take for instance the monthly Bass dinner party to which New York's elite congregate like moths to an incandescent flame. Here, Jenny learns many things because often people tend to forget she exists or just say or do things that they think 'little Jenny' (as they call her condescendingly behind her back) would never reveal.
As usual, the Humphreys and the Archibalds are seated with the Basses at the head table while the other nameless minions are seated at the lower tables that are no less elaborate. The table cloths are a blinding white; the best silverware, fresh flowers and the antique china are also laid out with perfect symmetrical precision. Each table has the distinctive trademark of Blair Bass (nee Waldorf) on them. Not that she would have set the tables herself, of course, for Blair was born to give orders, not take orders.
Blair is dressed in a black lacy Chanel dress with a diamond butterfly around her neck and a Tiffany's diamond bracelet. Her husband Chuck is garbed in Armani black with a silver tie and for once he is not wearing his trademark scarf. Even though he is on the opposite end of the table to Jenny, she still feels that same repulsion for him after he tried to take advantage of her in high school, and high school was how many years ago now? Ten? Twelve?
Even after all these years, she still can't figure Chuck and Blair's relationship out. They exchange sharp barbs that roll off each other's tongues with seemingly little effort and Jenny has never seen them look all doe-eyed at each other like Dan and Serena were always doing. Jenny wondered if Chuck was even faithful to Blair. Chuck and Blair in contrast to Dan and Serena are still rich, haughty and manipulative. One could even say ruthless as three years ago, Chuck overthrew his father and became chief executive of Bass Industries—and to the surprise of everyone else, made Blair his co-executive partner.
"Are you alright there, Jenny? Maybe you've had a few too many champagnes?" drawled Chuck, raising his champagne glass mockingly to her.
Jenny flushed whilst Nate said "Leave her alone, Bass," though Jenny was hurt that Nate was actually grinning at Chuck.
"I think, darling, Jenny is simply not used to vintage French champagne. Not everyone has your consumption for alcohol," Blair said, placing her slender pale hand atop of Chuck's.
"Too true," Chuck responded, his hazel eyes gleaming at his wife.
Jenny went even a deeper pink when Serena gave her a sympathetic gaze and never felt more grateful to Serena when she attempted to diverge Blair's attention from Jenny by asking "How's your daughter going, B?"
"Very well, thanks. Juliet's in the top of her kindergarten class and Mrs. Michaelmas thinks Juliet has a very promising future," Blair said in a triumphant tone.
Jenny couldn't fight down the giggle that erupted out of her mouth. Top of her kindergarten? Puh-lease. Juliet was only five, for goodness sakes!
"Is there something amusing, Jenny? Perhaps you're thinking of your own son's disciplinary problems?" Chuck asked, smirking.
"Hey!" Nate said in a warning tone.
"Sorry, Nathaniel, but before your wife goes sniggering about my child's achievements, I think she should think about the demerits of her own."
"You leave my sister alone, Bass," Dan said coldly.
"That's not fair, Chuck," Nate remonstrated quietly.
"Life's not fair in general, Nathaniel," Chuck lazily responded.
"Let's just drop the topic," Serena said brightly, ever the peace maker, "Because this is the most delicious crème brulée that I have ever tasted!"
"Well for the price I paid, that better be the best thing you've ever tasted!" Blair said, smiling.
"For the price we paid," Chuck interrupted. "Sometimes I think Blair believes that money grows on trees."
"And you believed that you were God's gift to the female population," Blair said sweetly. "I guess we can all be deluded at times."
Jenny did not miss the quick, complicit glance Chuck and Blair shared.
"Touché, Blair!" Dan said appreciatively. It was well known that there was little love between Chuck and Dan.
Blair took a self-satisfied sip of champagne and then popped a strawberry into her full, red mouth with particular relish at her husband.
Jenny accidentally knocked over her fork and ducked her head under the table quickly to retrieve it but what she saw nearly made her choke up her alcohol: Chuck and Blair's hands entwined under the table.
Later on that evening when drinks were flowing, Jenny ducked off to the bathroom with the need to escape the incessant chattering and artifice, and as usual, she got lost along the winding corridors and numerous doors that made up the Bass household. She stopped in her tracks when she heard the drawling voice of Chuck say, "What is my daughter doing up at this time of night? My wife and I have told you numerous times that she must be in bed before midnight and it is now two am. I think we will need to rethink your terms of employment."
"But Mr. Bass," a flustered voice began, "She just will not listen to me and—"
"She is girl of five and you are an adult. There should not be any problem," said Chuck scathingly.
"Daddy!" Juliet squealed delightedly.
Jenny was surprised by the way Chuck's habitually inscrutable features warmed considerably as a small girl that looked exactly like Blair ran up to him.
"You can go now," Chuck said dismissively. "I will take her to bed myself since you are seemingly incapable of doing so."
"Leave us now."
Jenny saw the nanny slunk off with a dejected air, another victim to the Bass insensitivity. As soon as the nanny had climbed the stairs, Jenny's eyes widened in shock when she observed Chuck lifting the little girl into the air and planting a kiss on her nose. "You are a little terror, aren't you?" he murmured to Juliet, tweaking her ear affectionately. "Keeping all those incompetents on their feet is very Bass-like. You're learning quickly."
Juliet giggled and yawned, nestling her curly brown head on his shoulder.
"I think it's time for bed now, little lady."
Juliet did not argue as her eyes were already drooping closed. Chuck glanced around as if he were checking for any witnesses to his rare glimpse of humanity and Jenny pressed herself against the wall while inwardly praying that she would not be seen. Chuck appeared to be satisfied because he scooped a sleepy Juliet as if she were a precious commodity that he did not want to share with anyone else, kissed the top of her hair and slowly ascended the stairs.
Jenny was left with a startling revelation: that there was a humane, compassionate side to the seemingly ruthless, womanising and manipulative Chuck Bass.
"You really outdid yourself tonight," Chuck said with surprising sincerity, sliding his arms around Blair's waist and nuzzling her neck.
"I know," Blair said airily, turning in his arms to face him. "Did you see Jenny's face when you asked if she had a few too many champagnes? That was a classic."
Chuck snickered, tenderly brushing a strand of Blair's hair off her face. "Little Jenny looked as if I'd offered myself to her on a platter."
"I don't think she's got over what you nearly did to her in high school."
"I do tend to leave a lasting impression on people."
Blair laughed softly and rested her head on his shoulder, her limbs relaxing as she felt Chuck expertly stroke her hair and curling her brown tendrils idly around his fingers.
"Have I mentioned how much I love you in this dress?"
"Actually I distinctly remember you telling me on numerous occasions that you like me with no clothes on at all."
Chuck smirked. "How about that? I think I must have temporary amnesia because I can't remember ever saying that."
"Really?" purred Blair stepping back from him and leading him into their bedroom. "Perhaps I can refresh your memory and then you can decide."
Chuck smiled broadly, his hazel eyes utterly captivating. "Then lead the way, Mrs. Bass," he breathed.
The end. I hope you all enjoyed it. Please review and tell me what you think!