Your Halo Has A Screw Loose, Angel
Summary: Chuck tries to be a man; Eleanor tries to be a mom…
Author's Note: Wow, I can't believe I finished this story. Sorry it took me like two months, I am just terrified of finishing things. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading it, and that you don't find the ending too anti-climactic :)
Ch. 30: All Good Triangles Must Come To An End
Chuck barged straight into Blair's room without sparing a second thought for the semblance of decorum he was supposed to be presenting in front of Eleanor. He was not losing Blair to his best friend again, not after he had put in so much effort to do the right thing by her and be her prince and do whatever the hell else she wanted.
There was no worse feeling than knowing he was aiming to be nothing more than a less effective carbon copy of pretty boy Nathaniel. He functioned far better when he was simply being his own disgusting self, after all. But if this is what Blair wanted, this is what she would get. And yet it sickened Chuck to think that she still might want the real thing, even after all this time and everything Nate had put her through. Why settle for a Bass when you could get an Archibald, right?
The door flew open and he found his best friend and his girlfriend in the most compromising position he would have allowed himself to imagine in the first place: they were hugging. Damn them. He stopped only long enough for the image to fully hit his retina and then grabbed Nate by the back of his jacket and spun him around.
"Hey, man. What's—" But Nate never got to finish his enthusiastic greeting because, just then, his face connected with Chuck's fist and he went flying backwards into Blair's bed.
Blair was so taken by surprise that she could do nothing but scream and cover her eyes to avoid the sight of blood.
Fifteen minutes earlier
"Thanks so much for meeting me, Nate." Blair smiled politely as she ushered Nate into her room, away from her mother's prying eyes. As if her mother were ever really interested in what she was doing.
She closed the door behind them and waited for Nate to speak. When he said nothing, she spoke in a slow and careful tone, so he would be able to comprehend every word. "I know this is going to sound weird, given the less-than-friendly way I've been acting lately… But I'd really like us to be friends."
Nate blanched. It almost sounded like Blair had just apologized for being a bitch. Had offered an olive branch, even. With no strings attached. Was he dreaming? It had been awhile since his dreams included Blair, so this was pretty revelatory. Realizing she was expecting a reply, he cleared his throat and said the only thing he could think of. "Did Chuck put you up to this?"
Blair was almost hurt by his lack of good faith, but then realized she was actually outraged at the thought that she could be going around doing Chuck's bidding. She wasn't a lapdog, for God's sake. "He knows nothing about this. In fact, I'd like to keep it that way. He'll be here in 15 minutes, so can we please wrap this up?"
"Huh?" Nate furrowed his brow at this piece of information. "So… you want us to be friends in secret? Like you're ashamed of me?"
Blair shook her head at his silliness. "Not at all. It's just… I know Chuck wants us to be friends, but I don't actually think he's ready for it yet, you know? I don't want him to feel threatened or anything."
Now Nate had to laugh. "Chuck? Threatened? Please. You know him. When has he ever felt threatened?"
Blair kept her smile in check. She didknow him, and even now it still made her glow inside to think she was the one of the only things in Chuck's life that he ever felt he could lose. She loved how much power she had over him (even though he would never actually admit it out loud), but she loved it so much that she never wanted to abuse it.
Nate glanced curiously at Blair's warm expression before continuing with the make-up session. She looked so beautiful and content, and he had no idea why. It reminded him of how she had been during the secret affair with Chuck, when he had been so oblivious as to the reason behind her unBlairness. Why hadn't he ever been able to make her this happy? "So, we're giving up the fight, then?" He finally asked jokingly.
"Well, we just have so much history, you know? The four of us have been best friends for so long… It's stupid to let that go to waste over a few misunderstandings and a couple of failed attempts at a relationship." Blair was pleased by how mature she was being about this whole thing. Despite everything she and Nate had gone through, it was true that they would always need each other in some sense. And when their relationship had been good, it was perfect.
So now it was Nate's turn. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he sighed, "I guess I should apologize, then. I'm really sorry about how I reacted to finding out about you and Chuck. I know I was being unfair, especially considering how badly I hurt you in the first place." It was still embarrassing, although admittedly kind of hilarious, to think about how badly all four of them had screwed each other over through the years.
Blair nodded thoughtfully. "I get why you were hurt, though. You thought that sleeping with Chuck was just about getting back at you…Wherea I've always known somewhere that Serena was the real love of your life."
Nate's eyes widened at that thought. "Let's hope that's not true, because otherwise I'm screwed. I've already started moving on, anyway."
Blair scrunched up her nose and replied, "Ugh, Little Jenny Humphrey. So I heard." She shrugged, though, enjoying the lack of jealousy. "Well, she's got potential. At least it's not Vanessa Abrams, because then I'd have to kill you. For your own good, of course."
Nate let out a genuine laugh. It was the first time in a good long while that he had felt so at ease around his ex-girlfriend. An awkward pause followed soon, however, as there didn't seem to be anything left to say. Then Nate decided he was going to have to ask, just to get it out in the open: "So… You didn't sleep with Chuck for revenge? The first time, I mean."
Blair rolled her eyes slightly. "Of course not," she sighed, feeling a little odd about being so honest with Nate. "I didn't realize it at first—or maybe I didn't want to realize it—but I really care about him."
Wow. it was more than a little surprising to hear her say it so casually. Nate knew that there was something pretty big between them, but it was impressive that Blair had let go of her past enough to just embrace her feelings for Chuck now. He smiled at her. "Man, that must suck," he mused, "caring about a selfish pig like Chuck Bass."
"I guess that puts us both in the same boat," she teased. If there was anyone who knew the dangers of giving a rat's ass about Chuck, it was most certainly Nate. Blair held out her hand in anticipation of a possible handshake and tentatively whispered, "Friends?"
He grinned and pulled her into a full embrace. "Friends," he agreed wholeheartedly.
And that was the moment Chuck crashed into the room.
"Chuck, what the hell are you doing?" Blair cried once she had regained the ability to speak, looking worriedly back and forth between Chuck's throbbing hand (which he refused to nurse) and Nate's bleeding lower lip.
Chuck glanced Blair's direction for only a moment before turning all his anger and attention on Nate. Nate was still sprawled out on the bed, cradling his face. "I can't believe you, Nathaniel," he breathed in a low, threatening voice. "Just who do you think you are?"
Nate rubbed his face and sat back up, thinking this would go best if he didn't get angry right back. He had always been the only person who could calm Chuck down. Of course, he had never been the target of Chuck's rage, so it might be a little different this time around. "Jeez, man! I take it back. You definitely don't punch like a girl. Way to prove a point."
His best friend's light-hearted response stopped Chuck cold in his tracks. How was he able to be so flippant? Did he feel no remorse whatsoever? Of course, if he really thought about it, Nate hadn't necessarily done anything to feel remorse for.
While Chuck was contemplating his next move, Blair came up to him and angrily hit him in the chest with her purse. "What is your problem, Bass?" Her eyes were full of innocent indignation and Chuck was sure she felt there was nothing for her to be ashamed of. And so the story of how much I suck continues…
"Eleanor said…" He faltered. "I thought you two were getting back together."
Blair scoffed. "Please. What do you take me for, Chuck?"
Chuck's nostrils flared in self-defense. "It's not like it hasn't happened before," he retorted bitterly, but Blair met his response with such a withering gaze that he wanted to break away and look at the ground instead. Of course, that was impossible. Chuck Bass never backed down from a challenge.
"Yeah, Chuck. Maybe you didn't notice, but I broke UP with you before getting back with Nate. It's not like I owed you anything. I have some sense of decency, you know."
Chuck's face reddened considerably at this—she did have a point, after all. It was better if he didn't deal with Blair for now, so he turned back to Nate. "Sorry, Nathaniel, for marring your beautiful face." Nate nodded his acceptance, and so Chuck took a deep breath before continuing. "And Blair…"
She cut him off with a wave of her hand, as if she could make their problems disappear through sheer force of will. "Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do here."
"I'm possessive," he informed her (like she couldn't already tell). "You're just going to have to get used to that fact."
"Well, maybe you're just going to have to get used to the fact that I am not a possession." She spoke in a matter-of-fact tone to hide the slight flutter in her stomach. It was terribly unfeminine to be thrilled that Chuck was so jealous, so she banished those thoughts immediately. "You can't mark me as your territory."
I thought I already did that, he thought, but kept it to himself. Chuck hated losing, so he changed tactics in order to be on the offensive for once. "Why didn't you tell Eleanor about us? Are you embarrassed?"
She narrowed her eyes impatiently. "I wanted you to be here first. I didn't know how she would react, and I didn't want her to treat you differently."
Nate made a coughing sound, just to see if they would turn to look at him. They didn't. "Hey, guys. I'm still here, you know…" No response. On the one hand, he didn't like the idea of having to play third wheel from now on. On the other, that had kind of always been his role—he had just never noticed before.
"Why can't you trust me?" Blair's voice almost broke into a kind of pleading, which she despised. This was not the way a conversation with Chuck was supposed to go. She should have just slammed the door in his face at this point.
Chuck closed his eyes before responding, "I do trust you, okay?" It was now or never. He didn't want to allow the verbal diarrhea that was threatening to spill any second, but he supposed that sometimes the truth was better than games. "I just don't trust that I'm the person you want to build your fake, fairytale life with, Waldorf."
The words stung, but Blair oddly didn't feel hurt. "I'm done with fairytales, Bass," she announced with a smile. "I don't want you to play replacement Prince Charming in a script I have already thrown out." She took one step closer to him and said, in a low tone, "I'm ready to get down and dirty with real life."
Chuck smirked, cupped her face in his hands, and gave her a long, hard kiss worthy of Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind. Except so much better, because he would get the girl in the end. Plus, it was real and not being captured on film.
"Thanks, guys. Really. I appreciate the show," Nate grumbled. But he was really doing a little dance of joy inside. Nothing could make him feel more fulfilled than seeing the people he loved most happy with each other.
Just then, Eleanor ran in. She had had a delayed reaction to Blair's screams, but was now sure something was wrong since no one had come back downstairs. "What in God's name is happening?" She called out as she passed the threshold.
Taking in the blood on the carpet (that would take hours for poor Dorota to scrub out!) and Nate's mangled face, she cried out, "Charles! What have you done, you deranged lunatic?"
Before Nate could protest that, really, he was fine, Eleanor caught sight of Chuck passionately kissing her daughter and had a near-meltdown. "Get of off her, you pervert! Dear God, someone call the police!" She successfully pulled him off and dug into his arm with her nails. Of course. Blair had to learn it from somewhere.
Blair pulled Chuck out of Eleanor's grasp and back by her side. "Mother, please don't touch my boyfriend. It feels inappropriate, and you're definitely no Julie Cooper."
The word 'boyfriend' definitely left Eleanor floored. "Blair, darling," she began soothingly, much like a psychiatrist speaking to a patient in a mental hospital (or a teacher speaking to kindergarteners), "Nate Archibald is the only boyfriend you've ever had."
"Ah, not anymore, Eleanor," Chuck replied with a winning smile.
"Blair, please." Eleanor lowered her voice, not wanting to hurt Chuck's feelings. He was a very charming boy, but he clearly had… a past. "Think about what you're doing. You know very well what Charles is like."
"Precisely, Mother." Blair huffed a little, hating that her mother questioned her judgment about everything—especially relationships, which was ridiculous. Blair wasn't the one who knowingly stayed married to a gay man for almost two decades. "I do know him. I know him better than you do, and I also know that he is the best possible guy for me."
At some point during her little speech, her hand had taken hold of Chuck's, but she had no idea how it happened. She was obviously not thinking clearly, seeing as she glared triumphantly at the woman who birthed her and finished her declaration with, "I love him."
Eleanor gasped audibly and covered her mouth with her hands, while Nate tried very hard to simply disappear on the spot. He did not like being witness to these awkward moments, but he had to admit the expression on Chuck's face was humorous enough to relieve the tension he felt.
Blair cursed herself for letting something like that slip and tried to pull her hand away. Chuck wouldn't let go, though; he just held on and squeezed slightly. She turned to look at him with what she hoped was an expression of defiance, daring him to run away or look disgusted. He looked back, however, with so much confusion and unmasked adoration that she couldn't help but be thrilled that she had said the words out loud.
Eleanor took a deep breath, trying to process all this new information in a way that didn't feel like a punch to the gut. When she finally felt composed, she proclaimed, "Looks like it's dinner time!" Eyeing Nate pleadingly, she asked, "Would you care to join us, dear?"
Nate shook his head with as close to a sardonic smile as he was capable of. "No, thanks, Miss Waldorf. You're probably dying to spend some quality time with your new son-in-law." He clapped Chuck endearingly on the shoulder as a conciliatory gesture.
Chuck threw Nate a faux-menacing look as his friend walked out the door. "Nathaniel, I will not hesitate to kick your ass all over again."
"Honestly, Charles! Language, please," Eleanor chided. "If you're going to be dating my daughter, I'm afraid I will have to wash your mouth out with soap."
"No need, Eleanor," Chuck said in an overly solemn voice. "You will never hear another naughty word escape my lips." He even pretended to zip up his lips for proper effect.
"And tell your father as soon as you get home that I would like to speak to him immediately."
Chuck nodded, but he didn't like that idea as much. Who knew what his father would say out of a misguided need to speak the truth?
"As a matter of fact…" Eleanor thought it over, "I don't think I'd trust him when it comes to you. Have Lily call me instead."
Perfect. Lily practically worshiped the ground he walked on. Chuck knew how to work the ladies, of course, and he had Lily eating out of his hand since practically day one.
Blair slipped her arm through his as they started making their way downstairs to the dining table. Eleanor took the scene in for a brief moment and spoke up once more. "Charles… If you hurt my daughter, I will hunt you down and kill you."
Chuck contemplated her very seriously for a moment. "Not if I kill myself first."
Sufficiently satisfied with this response, Eleanor sat down at the head of the table and rang the bell to call for the food.
Chuck kissed the top of Blair's head before releasing her to take his own place at the table. "I hope Dorota made the meal today. I do love the smell of her Polish cooking."