A/N: That's it. I hope everyone has enjoyed this story. I hope you like the Epilogue, it is possible I've overdone it but hey it was my last hurrah… Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have reviewed, especially those who have been with me since the beginning. I can never tell you how much your words me… Well until next time. Peace.
For Mary: who always encourages me to write.
Much to Chuck's displeasure Blair moved home a couple of weeks later. They rarely spent more than a couple of nights apart, even after Chuck moved into the Van der Bass home. They had a strange relationship. Bart nearly choked on his coffee one morning when Blair came out of Chuck's room wearing his pajama top and said a polite good morning, and then took two coffees back into the room. She and Chuck emerged a while later acting like any normal forty year old married couple, her straightening his tie and him telling her he'd see her at home after his meeting. Lilly simply patted Bart's knee and smiled over her tea.
They went to France the summer after their junior year. Blair and Roman bonded. Possibly because Chuck took Harold on a trip to Africa to tour some coffee factories and left them there alone. Blair railed at him on the phone for days for leaving with her father, but after the 8-day trip she and Roman were like best friends and Chuck was forgiven.
Senior year was good all around. Blair was the Queen-B but it wasn't really like before she let the other girls' gossip and run around. She simply made sure the social and charity events were top notch and left the rest to the others. Jenny and Blair were never really close friends, but they were civil and Blair tried to teach her what she could. Blair would never know what it was like to be the poor girl and as much as she had changed she was still Blair Waldorf.
Chuck and Nate finally made up at the beginning of senior year. Nate seemed to realize that Blair and Chuck were a couple and it had nothing to do with him. Blair and Nate were friendly but they would never be as close as they once were, which was fine with Chuck, that would be a wound that he would nurse for years. Nate began to date Vanessa, she seemed to suit is more low-key side. The four tried to go out several times but it generally ended badly until Vanessa watched Blair take a girl by the hair in the bathroom and hold her under the tap at the sink. The girl had made the mistake of passing her number to Chuck while Blair was dancing, Chuck thought it was funny Blair was not amused. Somehow watching Blair protect her territory Vanessa finally saw her for what she was. Yes she was snobby and bitchy but dating Nate showed Vanessa that the UES was a tough world to live in and Blair did what was necessary to protect what was hers. The mutual respect and the fact that neither spoke of the evening again went a long way to making it all work out.
Dan and Serena were close as ever, though they often fought about his ideals or her past or their future. Chuck told Serena all he wanted for Christmas was for her to not fight with Dan for at least two months. While initially he didn't mind Dan crashing on his sofa spinning some sad yarn about Serena, when it interrupted his 'play time' with Blair he got annoyed. Blair either wanted to console Dan or refused to have sex with Dan in the room. Either way Chuck lost. After that if Dan showed up, Chuck called Serena and told her to come over for one reason or another. Then he would stand between them while they glared and say, "you love her, she loves you…now go have sex, somewhere that is not here." Usually that seemed to work, whether from embarrassment or being the truth he didn't care.
Blair and Chuck broke up once, for six whole hours. Neither could remember what the other was screaming about when it started or ended, just some slamming doors. Blair went and hid out at Dan's thinking that would be the last place Chuck would come. Trouble was Chuck didn't come, he didn't know what to do. He simply sat down on the floor and drank until he couldn't hold the glass up any longer. Blair cried about the fight and then was hysterical when Chuck didn't call or try to find her. Serena was in London with Eric visiting their dad and Dan was at a loss. Finally he got her drinking, a lot, and then he put her in a cab and guided her back to Chuck's place. When he got there Chuck was in the floor, bottles next to him barely able to hold his head on his shoulders. When he saw Blair he slurred something akin to "Baby" and Dan laid her in his lap. When he left Chuck was just stroking her hair. They both woke up the next morning and neither remembered the fight for almost two days. When Blair put the pieces together she bought Dan a first edition Hemingway, Chuck said "Thank you". They were equally priceless.
When college acceptance came around Blair got into Yale, Dan to Brown and Serena to Princeton and Nate and Vanessa to UCLA. Chuck did not get a letter that week. Blair marched into Bart's office and informed him that he would move heaven and earth and build Yale a whole new campus if that is what it took to get Chuck in. He hadn't been a good father for a lot of years and his bribing everyone in Chuck's way had set a bad precedent. Though Chuck had done well in school since he and Blair had been together there was a lot to make up for. She tapped her foot and said she wasn't leaving until he picked up the phone. When he reached for it she pointed her finger at him and said, "Get it done." When she left the office he put the phone down with a huge smile on his face. That girl had spirit, he thought she'd make a fine Bass someday. Bart had made the call two days before.
Graduation night came and Chuck threw a huge party at Victrola. After it was over on the limo ride home, he proposed. He wanted to make sure all those Ivy boys knew she was spoken for. She flew into his arms and didn't come out for two days. When they did make it out in public there was no question about what the six-carat brilliant cut diamond solitaire represented.
Dorm life was hard on them, not quite as carefree as being at home, and certainly didn't afford them the privacy. School was hard and Chuck was still getting used to all the studying. However, he held down solid B's to Blair's mostly A's. They all tried to visit occasionally or have a weekend in the city but really it came down to Christmas and spring break. One at home the other in Monaco. Both memorable.
Sophomore year had its problems. Blair and Chuck had been together for almost three years and one women's studies class and some new friends later and they broke up for the second time. This time it lasted more than six hours. Blair watched her friends date and break up, have those first crush feelings and she started to feel like she was missing something. Blair told Chuck she wanted to take a break, just for a month or so. She wanted to date other people and he could to, she promised that there would be no sex. He sat calmly and listened praying she was joking. She wasn't. After she left he broke almost everything in the room.
A week later and Chuck hadn't been to class in days; the resident assistant was threatening to kick him out. Dan called and when Chuck didn't answer the phone in a coherent voice for two straight days he drove out. He arrived to find Chuck as far-gone as he had ever seen him. Based on the empty bottles in the room it was a wonder Chuck wasn't dead. After another week he really needed to go back to school, so he finally went to see Blair. From what Serena said she had been out on a different date every night and was having the time of her life. When she opened the door to her room Dan saw the truth. Shaking his head he simply pulled her into a hug and looked at her. Reaching his finger to the side of her neck he lifted the heavy chain out from under her shirt with the even heavier diamond on the end. Laying it on the outside of her shirt he leaned in and kissed her forehead and said "The grass isn't greener Blair, listen to your heart." She simply nodded. Ten minutes later she was helping a plastered Chuck into bed, he saw the ring around her neck and took ahold of it the question written on his face. "I promised that I would never take it off and I didn't and I never will."
They were married the Christmas of their junior year, Chuck wasn't taking any more chances. It was a beautiful small ceremony. The reception at the Palace was on the other hand ridiculously excessive. Harold and Roman both gave away the bride. Serena was maid of honor and Elizabeth and Rachel were bridesmaids. They were Blair's freshman suite mates. Dan was the best man and Nate and Erik were groomsmen. Lilly and Eleanor drove Blair nuts until she finally said she didn't care they could do what they wanted. She would grow to regret that somewhere between the 7th course of dinner and the four different musical act that were keeping her from her wedding night. They spent their first night as husband and wife in Chuck's old suite, room 1812 had been the first place they said I love you, the good memories washing away any bad.
Graduation arrived and then it came time to decide what to do. Bart presented them with an enormous penthouse in a newly renovated building overlooking the park. Blair went to work in the marketing department for the company that published Vogue. Chuck went to work for his father. He had been running Victrola since he was seventeen; there were eight of them now from Paris to London to LA. He found he and Bart actually worked well together.
Dan called to tell Chuck he wanted his help in picking out a ring for Serena. Chuck said sure then promptly picked up the phone and called Lilly and convinced her to offer up the Van Der Woodsen ring. She wasn't exactly using it anymore. On the other hand, the Archibald diamond looked a bit out of place on Vanessa's hand but for some reason she loved it. Being a filmmaker in LA though ostentatious was the norm. Chuck had been surprised to be asked to be in the wedding, but Blair had been floored. Apparently it was hard to make good friends in SoCal, or maybe they just needed people to round out the 8 bridesmaids and groomsmen. It was a ridiculously large affair but completely laid back and on a beach. Anne Archibald had never looked more out of her element. Except perhaps on the red carpet with her son and daughter-in-law when Vanessa was up for an Oscar, she won.
Chuck was relieved when he didn't have to hear about any more wedding planning the day Dan called and said to pack a bag for a quick trip to Vegas. One visit to an Elvis impersonator later and S was Mrs. Serena Humphrey. Lily had nearly come out of her skin. Chuck enjoyed being the good child for once. Erik had moved in with this artist boyfriend of two months a week earlier.
Eleanor and Blair finally came to an understanding when Blair laid Charles Harold Bass in her arms. At six pounds and seven ounces he was a beautiful brown haired brown-eyed little boy. Charlie would be the darling of everyone's eye. Until they realized he had gotten his mother's temper and his father's penchant for trouble. His parents however thought he was perfect.
Bart came into Chuck's office two days later and handed him an envelope. Chuck raised his eyebrow but when Bart said nothing he opened it. His mouth dropped open on it's own but when he looked up to speak Bart was closing the door behind him. Looking down Chuck read the contract clearly. It was a transfer of 50.1 of Eleanor Waldorf's clothing line from Bart Bass to Charles Harold Bass. Flipping the pages Chuck soon realized the significance. Bart had purchased a controlling share in the company in 2008 around the same time as Eleanor had thrown her hands up and told Blair to see whomever she liked. Chuck couldn't figure out how Bart knew, they hadn't even told him at that time they were together. He had proof on paper that his father loved him, the tears flooded his eyes without his permission, he allowed himself to shed one.
Charlie was less than pleased initially to meet Audrey Waldorf Bass. His baby sister was a screaming crying mess that took all of his mother's attention and a lot of his father's. At three he didn't much care what anyone thought, but when Chuck sat him down and said that he was disappointed in him and he was breaking his mother's heart he changed his tune. He had tried to smother his sister just a few minutes before, and not for the first time. Charlie never wanted his father to look at him like that again.
After a long talk Charlie understood his new responsibility to protect his sister. It was something he took seriously for the rest of his life, much to her chagrin when she wanted to date in high school. Audrey looked just like her mother but with her father's wicked grin. She loved to sit and watch her mother get all made up for a party, but at heart she was a daddy's girl. Charlie would have never admitted it but he adored his mother. When he was in a mood she was the only one who could talk to him. He and Chuck often clashed; they were simply too much alike. But Charlie always knew his father loved him.
They were a happy family, as much as one could be. They fought and made up and moved on. Chuck worked a lot but tried to never be gone for more than three days in a row and if he was home he was always there for dinner. Blair stopped working and took up charity work full time after Audrey was born. She saw such a huge need in the city, so many hungry and needy children. The Bass foundation sponsored projects all throughout the city and Blair oversaw all of them. Chuck and Bart would simply smile and write the checks.
After a long day Chuck found her out on the balcony staring at the lights on the horizon. Wrapping her in his arms, "Hey everything ok?" She heard the concern in his voice, and she remembered she had been a bit abrupt on the phone earlier that day.
"Yes, fine. Just taking a breath, it was a long day." Leaning back against him she closed her eyes reveling in the love she felt for him. It amazed her every day when she seemed to wake up and love him even more.
"And…" Nuzzling into her neck he waited for the rest.
She smiled, "You know me so well."
"Of course I do." Blair always wondered how smugness seemed so adorable on Chuck even after all these years.
"I went to the battered women's shelter today." He felt her sigh as she got the words out. He tightened his hold on her knowing she always got upset when she went to visit the charities she worked so hard for. Especially the ones with women and children.
"There was a woman who seemed so young, she had two small children two and four I think. She started talking about how hard her life was and that she had tried to kill herself a couple of times thinking everyone would be better off without her. And suddenly I was hugging her and telling her that I had tried to kill myself once too."
Chuck froze. Blair hadn't talked about that part of her life since a few months after it happened. He wondered if she was still bothered by it and just never said anything.
Continuing without seeming to draw a breath, "I couldn't seem to help it, I don't think I have said that out loud in over 10 years and suddenly I was telling this stranger. Somehow it seemed to help her though, she asked what I did after and I said that I had some people who helped me through it and that was what she had now. I told her that we were going to help her, all of us at the shelter and we would figure it out."
"I think back now and wonder how I could have thought things were so bad. I don't know maybe if I would have done something different." She seemed to fall into him a bit more as if the air was coming out of her.
"Blair you can't worry about the past, it's done. Every choice takes us down a path to where we are now. Our path has led us to a pretty amazing place." Chuck's voice was so smooth and low, one he used for the rare serious conversation.
Turning in his arms and looking into his chocolate eyes and smiling. "My husband the philosopher." His soft smile curled into a smirk.
"And you are right I wouldn't change a thing."
"That's my girl." Leaning in he found her lips eagerly awaiting his. As the passion in the kiss grew he shifted and pressed her back against the balcony railing his hand sliding up and into her hair. Her mouth turned against his giving her more access to drink him in. Just as his hand pulled the silk fabric of her blouse free from her skirt and found the soft silky skin beneath, their alone time was at an end.
"I didn't do anything."
"Yes he did, he stole my doll. The special one you gave me Daddy."
Chuck leaned his forehead against Blair's silently commiserating with her over the loss of the moment.
"DADDY, are you even listening to me."
"Of course I am honey." Chuck tone was so sweet most people wouldn't have recognized it. Luckily Audrey wasn't old enough to recognize the patronizing tone to it yet.
"Dad I didn't do anything, I swear." Blair had to laugh, Charlie sounded just like Chuck, guilty as hell.
Smiling, she watched Chuck pick up seven-year-old Audrey and intently listed to her rant. Ten-year-old Charlie was pulling on his sleeve pleading his innocence. Blair couldn't have been more happy. Chuck was right, everything happens for a reason.
And now she had so much more than Enough, she had everything.