Disclaimer: I own nothing, nothing, nothing. I mean, did you see the end of Gossip Girl Season 1? Did you think I would really have let that happen?
The Third Option Chapter 7
Blair wakes up Saturday morning with her stomach practically twisting with anxiety. She feels too stressed to even be sick, which she supposes is one benefit. She has not been enjoying morning sickness.
The reason Blair is even more anxious than usual? Her brunch with Nate in just-Blair checks the time on her cellphone-three hours.
Blair flops back down on her bed. That means she woke up at eight in the morning on a Saturday. What a perfectly disgusting hour.
Blair sighs and decides to at least be productive in her obsessive-compulsive anxiety. She manages to pull herself into a standing position and heads for the en suite bath.
An hour later, Blair's hair is wrapped in a regal-looking towel and her freshly scrubbed, waxed, and moisturized body is wrapped in a silk bathrobe. She walks over to her vanity and selects an expensive floral perfume, spritzing herself before she turns back to her room.
Now, Blair thinks to herself, it is time to declutter.
She spends the next hour and a half sorting through her possessions. She cannot even begin to truly sift through all of them, but she does her best. Dried up liquid eyeliners are tossed in the trash next to the holey socks that had been hiding out at the bottom of their drawer. She places out-of-season shirts in a pile to give to Goodwill and recycles all the old school papers she can find. Blair even rearranges her closet, placing the clothes with the most elastic fabrics and the most forgiving cuts towards the center while pushing anything midriff-baring towards the sides.
It is cleansing and rejuvenating. Blair likes having a project and a purpose.
Suddenly her Palm Pilot beeps-the thirty-minute reminder for an event. She's supposed to be meeting Nate at eleven for brunch.
Blair now turns her attention to that most pressing issue. She scans her closet briefly. What to wear? She grabs an unworn BCBG dress that her mother picked up for her at the spring fashion shows.
She holds it up to her reflection. The strapless, dark blue bubble dress shows off her expanding cleavage while effectively camouflaging her expanding stomach. Blair pairs the look with a cream button-up sweater and doe-eyed makeup. After all, a hint of innocence is exactly the impression she wants to give off today. First the brunch with Nate, then the tea with her mother at three, then drinks at nine-thirty with her friends.
Blair is stepping into the cab by 11:50am. Blair does not intend to be obnoxiously late to meet Nate, but she has no intention of beating him there. She'd prefer him to squirm in wait, not her.
And Blair is sure that Nate is worried. The couple has barely had a real conversation in days, even weeks. How could Nate be anything but worried about the future of their relationship?
'Worried' is probably not the correct adjective to describe Nate Archibald's state of mind as he approached brunch on that Saturday. 'Preoccupied' would be a generous descripton, but the most fitting might be 'disinterested.'
Nate used to look forward to seeing Blair. Sure, he may not have felt as passionately about her as he did Serena, but Blair always used to be fiery and exciting, if not exactly unpredictable.
However, ever since their breakup and makeup last November, Blair's personality seemed like it had been toned down around him. She acted normal around her friends, but whenever Nate talked to her he felt like he was talking to Blair Waldorf, Socialite Mannequin-Robot. She looked beautiful like the real Blair and even smoothed out the wrinkles from her clothes in the same way as real Blair, but her head might as well have been completely empty for all the similarities it shared with the real Blair.
Nate became fed up. Now, he is just putting up with her because of their family's business deal and his mother's pressure. He supposes that there is probably some leftover affection from their old friendship, but as far as romance goes Nate has no feelings for Blair any more.
Not that there is anything Nate can do about it. His hands are tied by his family and society. Dumping Blair Waldorf, Princess of the Upper East Side, would be the last straw before his family finally stumbled out of the upper echelons of the UES social ladder.
Nate arrives promptly at Café Angelique at 11am. His crisp pale blue button-up shirt and light khaki pants are neatly ironed and his hair is flawless. He wants to give Blair nothing to complain about. Any arguing might shake their relationship out of the facsimile it has become.
"Table for two, please," he requests of the maître d'.
The penguin-suited man looks down at him over his horn-rimmed glasses. "Name?"
"Archibald," Nate says robotically.
This seems to mollify the maître d'. Nate hasn't made a reservation, but his last name is usually enough to guarantee automatic, no-reservation-necessary entry into all but the most exclusive of restaurants.
"Right this way, sir," the man grabs two menus and leads him to a small table by the window. "The best seat in the house."
Nate nods at him and sits down. "Thank you."
"Am I correct in presuming a young lady will be joining you soon?" The maître d' asks.
Nate nods again. "Yes, sir, just send her this way when she arrives."
Nate sits patiently at the table for the next fifteen minutes, resisting the urge to drum his fingers against the table in a distinctly ungentlemanly manner. Blair's fashionably late tendencies annoy him to no end, but he has learned to put up with it over the years.
Suddenly Nate hears a most likely unprofessional squeal from the host desk.
"Ohmigosh!" The maître d' exclaims. "I saw you in the New York Post for your debutante ball!"
Blair Waldorf has arrived.
"You're Blair Waldorf, aren't you?"
Nate can picture Blair smiling benevolently in his mind's eye even though the reception area is screened from the rest of the restaurant.
"How many for tonight?"
"Actually, I'm meeting someone," Blair's voice rings out pleasantly.
"Tall, dark, and handsome?" The maître d' jokes.
It is more difficult to conjure up a picture of a genuine wry grin by Blair than it is to imagine one of her fake, for-the-adoring public smiles, especially since Nate sees genuine expressions from Blair so little these days.
Nate looks up to see the host leading Blair over to his table. He lifts his head and smiles at her but makes no move to get up to greet her properly.
Blair inclines her head politely before sitting down. She doesn't even bother to lean across the table to kiss her boyfriend on the cheek. It would be a wasted gesture of fake affection.
The two make idle small talk as they peruse the menu. Neither asks any questions that might suggest that they are closer than casual acquaintances. They cover the basics of the statuses of their family, friends, and social life before their appetizers even arrive. Nate only lifts his eyebrow when Blair orders a full-size stack of blueberry pancakes with the works, including whipped cream. And then asks for pickles on top of that.
"And your father and Roman's flight arrived safely back in Paris?" Nate asks, successfully exhausting their conversation topics.
Blair takes a hearty bite of her appetizer, toast with butter.
Butter! Not even margarine. Nate wonders if the Blair Waldorf Robot is malfunctioning. The Blair Waldorf he remembers eats like a bird. She never binged in public. That Blair Waldorf had considered overeating in public very unladylike.
Blair chews, swallows, and nods. "Yes," she responds. "They are probably enjoying a nice glass of Bordeaux in one of their balconies overlooking the vineyards as we speak."
"That's good," Nate sips a glass of his own drink, orange juice. "It was nice to see them last week."
Blair takes another bite of toast and repeats the digestion process. "Yes," she says finally.
Just when Nate is wondering if the entire brunch is going to go this way, Blair pushes aside her food and looks to have a change of heart. She runs her fingers through her hair, a move that Nate traditionally associates with Blair's insecure side.
"I've been thinking," Blair begins. "Kati and Iz were saying something about, you know, these guys they hooked up with and I wanted to ask you…"
Nate thinks he knows where this is going. Blair had been trying to shed her virginity since the beginning of the school year, but something always happened before they went all the way. Nate may not be emotionally attracted to Blair any more, but he is certainly not immune to the physical charms of his sex kitten-look-a-like girlfriend. He hasn't had any for a while, seeing as he's tied to the Blair Waldorf leash. Might as well get some with his hot girlfriend, hey? He sneaks a surreptitious glance at her dress. Is it just him, or does her chest look bigger than he remembers?
Nah, it's probably just a good push-up bra. Her mom did that deal with Victoria's Secret after all.
"And I was wondering what you thought about us, you know…" Blair continues. Nate missed the middle part in there and tries to catch up.
"I think we should take it slow, you know?" Nate interrupts, trying to demonstrate that he is still paying attention. "It is your first time after all and I know you're nervous, but I promise you it will all be good."
Blair frowns. "Okay, I only understood half of that." She looks faintly upset. But maybe it's confusion. Nate can't read this new Blair!Lite
Nate sighs and explains. "Blair, it's okay that you're a virgin. I don't mind. I think it's sexy," he finishes, knowing that will make her smile happily at him.
Or not. Blair blushes and looks down.
"That's not what this is about, Nate," Blair finally gets out nervously. "I'm not a virgin."
"What the fuck?" Nate practically shouts. As far as he knows, he's the only guy Blair's ever even thought about sex with, unless Johnny Depp or that guy from Breakfast at Tiffany's counts.
A few other diners look their way and Nate lowers his head. "Well, who was it?" He says in a more palatable tone of voice.
Blair only looks down at her food.
Nate thinks back. The only other guy he knows she's even ever kissed is… "Chuck?"
Blair blushes and keeps her eyes trained on the toast in front of her.
Nate had expected Blair to deny it immediately. It's the ultimate betrayal, sleeping with the best friend. He should know. But her blush confirmed it.
"There's more," Blair says quietly.
Nate glares at Blair. "What?"
"Well," Blair starts, and then she runs her fingers through her hair again. She glances at her toast, across the restaurant, out the window.
Then Nate puts it together. All the weird food cravings and sickness and Chuckness and ohmygod: "You're pregnant?!"
"Don't say that so loud!" Blair hushes in a wobbly voice before blushing again. Nate thinks that this is so weird because Blair never blushes. The Blair Bot must really be out of tune or something.
But Nate knows this can't be right, because no construct of Blair would ever admit that she wasn't a virgin, let alone that she was pregnant. Which means that this must be the real Blair Waldorf breaking down right in front of him. And suddenly Nate's heart just breaks for the girl in front of him. He's no longer mad. The girl sitting in front of him has been his friend forever and now he worries about her like a brother might his sister.
"How are you going to handle this?" Nate finally asks gently.
Blair sighs and looks at Nate. "I don't know."
Nate rubs his hand over his forehead. "Have you thought about…you know?"
Blair looks faintly embarrassed but Nate thinks it must be a trick of the light. Blair Waldorf does not know the meaning of the word shame. "Yeah, I thought about it."
Blair shrugs. "It didn't work out."
"God," Nate exhales. "I mean, you're running out of time here."
"I know, I know, I know," Blair snaps. "I made the appointment and I just couldn't do it and I know, I know what it means to even think about keeping it but even though I know, I know, I know I just couldn't go through with it."
Nate puts his hand up. "Okay, calm down crazy girl," he says soothingly. "I'm not saying you have to give him-I mean her-I mean, it, whatever-up. Just think about your options here."
Blair nods. "I am."
Nate assesses the situation. Clearly Blair has done some thinking about this before. He just needs to fill in some gaps in his own information. "Okay, so who else knows?"
"Just Chuck," Blair tells him. "Well, I told Serena, but she thinks-" Blair pauses.
"She thinks what?" Nate prompts.
"She thinks I aborted it yesterday," Blair says in a rush.
Nate runs his fingers through his own, short hair. "Wow."
"Yeah," Blair says. "Oh, and also I think Dorota might have figured it out."
Nate shrugs. "No surprise there. Dorota's like the Yoda of the Upper East Side; she knows everything."
The two laugh at this, even though the mood hanging over them is still all heavy and serious.
When the laughter subsides Nate looks at Blair carefully. He takes her hand across the table and smoothes his thumb over her soft skin. In a way, it feels more intimate than any make out session they've ever had, but at the same time they both know there isn't anything there but friendship.
"You know I'll be there for you, don't you, Blair?" Nate asks her softly. "Even if Chuck flakes and takes off to, like, Morocco, you know I'll stand by you, right?"
Blair smiles at him, and it's the most genuine expression he's seen on her face in months. "Yeah," she says. "I know."
She doesn't bother to say thank-you, but they both know it isn't necessary. Blair would do the same for Nate in a heartbeat.
Blair's brunch with Nate lasts much longer than she expects it to. She had predicted maybe half an hour of awkward conversation before she got the courage to broach the subject of breaking up with Nate.
Thankfully, Blair never even has to raise the subject. Just as she is trying to reach the topic in a roundabout way by telling Nate she wanted more independence, Nate stumbles right over a minefield by asking about her virginity.
Everything comes rushing out after that and even though the topic of their relationship hasn't been discussed, Blair and Nate both leave the brunch as free agents.
Blair declines the doorman's offer to call a cab for her, instead opting to walk a few blocks to Central Park. She's got some time to kill before she meets her mother at 3pm at the Crystal Room for tea with the old biddies running a charity auction. It's just some stupid society thing, but Blair's got plenty of those on her agenda anyway.
Blair makes a beeline for a wooden bench that she sees by the side of a path. It's shaded by an old oak tree with a thick trunk; perfect for relief from the sun.
Scratch that. A bit of a noisy path. Small children bounce and chatter as they stroll along with their parents on the sunny day that is bright enough to forget the chill of winter.
Blair stretches out on the bench. She takes her Palm Pilot out of her purse and starts scrolling through the functions. She finds the SAT Vocab Flashcards she uploaded a while back and starts practicing them.
Suddenly Blair's phone buzzes in her purse. Blair reaches over, grabs it, and checks the Caller ID. It's Chuck. She lets it buzz to voicemail.
Seconds later, the phone buzzes again. It's still Chuck. Blair ignores it once again and tries to concentrate on memorizing the definition of the word 'ameliorate': "to make better or more tolerable."
Blair fixes those words in her mind. She's almost positive she's going to remember them when her phone buzzes for a third time. Fuck. She forgot already. She makes a noise in her throat that sounds almost like a growl of frustration; a little girl passing by gives her a weird look and Blair decides to just pick up the goddamn phone.
"Hello?" Blair snaps.
She hears a chuckle. "Lovely to hear from you as well, Blair."
"What do you need, Bass?"
"Just curious," Chuck begins wryly. "I got a strange phone call from Nate a few minutes ago. Something about wanting to kill me, but I can't be sure. Any idea why my best friend wants to rip my guts out?"
Blair grins in spite of herself. "I may have told him about…you know."
Chuck mock-gasps. "What?" He asks. "I thought you wanted to keep it on the down low."
"Well I had to break up with Nate," Blair says in exasperation. "It wasn't fair. You know, for his sake."
"Of course," Chuck agrees in a pompous voice. "You wouldn't want him to feel betrayed or anything. I mean, sleeping with the best friend-that's pretty harsh."
Blair sighs. "Shut up," she tells him, but without much venom. "At least Serena didn't get pregnant."
"I think it would have been funny."
"I know, I know, everything's funny to you."
"So…how'd you tell him?"
Blair is torn briefly. Telling Chuck about their conversation will most certainly end up with him mocking her mercilessly, but she feels a strange twinge about the idea of lying to him. Shuddering, she shakes it off. What a strange compulsion. "Oh, you know," she answers vaguely. "I just sort of…did."
Blair can practically see Chuck raising his eyebrows. "Oh, really? Nothing prompted that conversation at all?"
Blair shakes her head vehemently. "Nope, nothing."
"He didn't, by any chance, mention your virginity, did he?" Chuck questions neutrally.
"No!" Blair responds a little too quickly. "How'd-I mean, why do you ask?"
A pause on the other end of the line. "I might have mentioned to him yesterday that word around school was that you wanted to shed your virginity more than ever lately."
"What?!" Blair exclaims. "You told him that? No wonder he thought-" She stops.
"No wonder he thought what?" Chuck asks slyly.
"I hate you!" Blair finally says, frustrated. "I can't believe you did that."
Laughter rumbles over the phone. "No, you don't, and yes, you can."
"No to the first, I guess to the second. I've always suspected you were the devil."
"Ooh, so you're bearing the son of Satan? What does that make you?"
Blair sighs. "Enough, Chuck."
"Alright, alright, sorry about all that. Look, let me make it up to you. Want to come over to my place tonight?"
Blair rolls her eyes. "No, Chuck."
"Not for that!" Chuck clarifies hastily in a softer voice. "I just meant…you know, if you wanted to talk or something. I mean, we have a lot we have to talk about if we're actually going to do this, you know?"
Blair doesn't say anything for a second.
"You still do want to do this, don't you?" Chuck queries tentatively, as if he's afraid she'll suddenly reverse her decision of last Monday.
Blair reassures him. "Of course I'm doing this," she says. "But I think we should take some space this weekend, you know? Relax."
"Blair," Chuck pleads. "You can't avoid me forever. Hell, you barely picked up this call."
The stupid twinge in Blair's heart is coming back. "I'll see you on Monday, okay?" Not even waiting for a response, Blair ends the call.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Chuck looks at his door as he sits on his black leather couch in his suite at the Palace. Old-fashioned mahogany, it's probably stood there for years.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
And now his best friend is going to smash it in so he can smash Chuck's head in.
It does not sound like an appealing future.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Chuck winces. The old mahogany will probably crack soon if he doesn't go to answer. He braces himself as he gets up and walks over to the door. He turns the handle and swings it open to reveal a spitting mad Nate Archibald.
Chuck automatically takes a step backwards. He cracks a smile. "Hi?"
Nate steps in the room and slams the door behind him. The frame rattles.
"Hi?" Nate snarls. "Hi? That's all you have to say to me?"
Chuck's smile turns downwards. "Um…how are you?"
Nate is almost shaking with anger. "Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about, Bass."
Chuck takes another couple of steps backwards. "Nate, just calm down, okay?"
"Calm down?" Nate practically yells. "Calm down? How can I calm down when you screwed my girlfriend, huh? Behind my back! And you even knocked her up! What the hell did I ever do to you, man, what the hell did I ever do to you?"
The smile slides off of Chuck's face as he tries to calm Nate down from his rant. "Nate, just think about this rationally, okay? It's been months. You guys were on a break. And it was only a few times-"
"Only a few times?" Nate roars. A part of Chuck's brain is laughing at Nate's need to repeat the last few words of everything Chuck says, but the other part of his brain is telling him to keep backing away. "Only a few times? You did it more than once? I can't believe you!"
Chuck backs up again, this time all the way back to the couch, but he's too scared to sit down and let Nate tower over him. Usually, Chuck would never be frightened of his docile and slightly stupid best friend, but he's never seen Nate like this before. And Chuck Bass isn't exactly much of an intimidating fighter, physically. His manicured nails would probably cause the most damage, to be honest.
"Nate," Chuck says nervously. "I've been your friend forever. Me. Chuck Bass. Remember?"
For a second Chuck is actually worried that Nate is going to punch him. Nate's fingers are tightening into a fist and Chuck can almost see him releasing his arm and he closes his eyes, preparing for the impact. After all, he deserves it.
Which is why Chuck is surprised to hear the sound of Nate's laughter instead of the crunch as Nate breaks his nose. He opens his eyes. "What?" He asks in confusion.
Nate holds up his hands in the traditional 'I surrender' gesture. "Dude, relax," Nate tells him. "I'm not gonna punch you." He chuckles again.
Chuck is still in shock. "What?"
"I'm not angry," Nate assures him. He pauses. "Well, that's not entirely true-I'm kind of pissed that you slept with my girlfriend-"
"You were on a break!" Chuck interjects.
"But you know Blair and I weren't going to last anyway," Nate continues. He shrugs. "You knocking Blair up kept me from another year and a half of our boring-ass, pretentious relationship before college."
Chuck attempts a winning smile. It half works out. "So really, I did a good deed?"
Nate laughs. "Well, I wouldn't go that far…"
"Of course not," Chuck mutters.
"But hey, all's well that ends well," Nate says. "Speaking of which, you better be good to Blair, okay? If I hear that you've upset her at all, I'll kill you."
"Dude," Chuck rolls his eyes. "Me just breathing upsets Blair."
Nate shrugs. "Well, yeah," he answers. "Before. But now you guys are together, right?" When Chuck doesn't answer, Nate's eyes narrow. "Right?"
Chuck throws up his hands dramatically. "I try, okay? Blair barely wants to talk to me."
Nate looks a little taken aback. "I guess I just figured that you guys were together now."
"I wish," Chuck mutters bitterly. "I fucking love the girl, but just the idea of talking to me is goddamn repulsive to her."
"Huh," Nate scratches his chin. He doesn't bother to respond to the part about Chuck loving Blair. Part of Nate realizes that his subconscious has known that for years.
Neither boy speaks for a few minutes.
Finally Nate sighs. "I'm all thought out for the day," he tells Chuck.
Chuck nods. "Me too." He pauses. "So, want to go play video games?"
Nate nods. "Hell yeah."
Blair walks out of the austere Plaza building in midtown at 5 o'clock on Saturday evening surrounded by a mixture of teenage girls sporting Louis Vuitton purses and middle-aged women sporting pricey nose jobs.
"So we'll meet in a few weeks to discuss the progress everybody has made?" Blair confirms to the group of half a dozen people around her.
They all nod eagerly. Blair Waldorf is a good person to agree with.
"Where will we meet?" One girl pipes up.
"Can we meet at Café Angelique?" Another asks dreamily. "It's so chique there."
Blair shrugs. "I suppose." She takes out her Palm and scrolls through to a couple of weekends ahead. "The Café for tea in two weeks?"
"What time is tea?" One younger girl whispers.
An older matron looks back at her. "The same time as today." She rolls her eyes.
"See you there!" Blair smiles and walks over to her mother, who is also extracting herself from another similar group.
Blair and Eleanor saunter towards the curb and step into the taxi that another woman just hailed. The woman steps back, resigned. No need to cause a confrontation with two of the most powerful women in Manhattan.
"I think that went well," Blair remarks to her mother as the taxi speeds towards the Waldorf-Astoria.
Eleanor smiles approvingly. "It certainly did, Blair," she praises. "You did very well. Getting appointed head of the entertainment committee? Why, I saw Leticia Vanderbilt herself looking pleased at that."
Blair grins. "Nice job beating her out for the decorations committee head, by the way," she comments wryly.
Eleanor shrugs smugly. "I'm a fashion designer. She's nothing but a frumpy old socialite."
The two share a superior glance before turning back to their respective Palm Pilots.
Blair sweeps into the Ritz Carlton's bar at 10:15pm to the waiting Kati, Iz, and Serena. The girls are clearly far past their first round of drinks as they enthusiastically down more shots.
"Blair! Over here!" Kati squeals even though Blair is practically right in front of her.
Blair raises an eyebrow and takes a seat at the table with them.
"You look so great!" Iz compliments Blair.
And she does. Blair is still wearing the same outfit she donned at 10:30am that morning, but nearly twelve hours later she still looks fresh and fashionable wearing it. Sure, her mascara is a bit more smudged and her hair has fallen out of her ponytail from earlier to be down and framing her face, but the eye makeup makes her look more mysterious and the hair makes her look more relaxed.
Blair laughs. "How would you know? You're too drunk to tell me apart from that skank over there," she comments, pointing towards a random overly made up twenty-something with a miniskirt smaller than the belts Blair wears.
Iz purses her lips. "She looks just like that Kathy girl, actually."
All four girls snicker at this.
Serena waves the waiter over. "Some Absolut for my friend here!" She waves her hand towards Blair. "Actually," she reconsiders. "Another round for all of us!" The waiter chuckles and walks off.
Kati faux-glares at Serena. "Serena! Are you trying to get me drunk?"
Serena tosses her long, curly blonde hair. "Maybe."
The girls dissolve into giggles.
"Here you are," the waiter has returned with their drinks. "Ladies?" He offers each one of them a drink.
Kati and Iz, drunk though they are, set their fresh drinks in front of them to wait for a minute. Blair, however, slams her drink down and then places her glass back on the waiter's tray, carefully camouflaged by the other dirty drinks.
Kati and Iz cheer Blair, but Serena narrows her eyes. She may be tipsy, but she could have sworn she saw liquid in the glass Blair put back. And she definitely did not see Blair swallow any alcohol. But why wouldn't Blair…
Serena's alcohol-addled mind takes a bit longer to connect the dots than usual, but it doesn't take too long. Blair didn't get the abortion, Serena's hazy brain slowly concludes. She's still having the baby.
Author's Note: So yeah. I suck. I know. My life just spins out of control a lot and I gotta prioritize. I wish fanfiction didn't always get stuck at the bottom of my list, but it does. However, I really enjoyed writing this chapter and I hope you guys like it as much as I do. More should come soon (ish).
Thanks so much to my ab fab beta gleechild for taking me back after months of abandonment. This fic is so much better thanks to her. All remaining mistakes are 100 mine!
By the way, I just really want to thank everybody who has been reviewing lately-you guys really kept me motivated and this update is for all of you!