AN: I own nothing except the story line and the characters not seen in the show!

Thanks for all of the reviews; they really meant a lot to me!!

Chapter 13

Everyone rode to the Humphrey penthouse in silence, the limo laced heavily with tension. Something was brewing beneath the surface ready to explode any minute.

The elevator ride was no better. Blair felt like she was suffocating from the overwhelming quiet that engulfed them all.

Blair flashed back to the night where she and Chuck…reunited. It was exactly one week ago. The memory of it was still so fresh in her mind. She could still remember every touch, every lust-filled look, the taste of him. She almost couldn't bear it.

Chuck had similar thoughts. It was around this time last week when he extricated himself from Joanna's grasp with some excuse about going to talk to Nate. He would have actually done so if he hadn't noticed Blair at the bar throwing back scotch. And then he saw the way some of the guys were eyeballing her and he knew he had to step in.

Before he knew it they were talking and laughing and drinking and she was looking so gorgeous and perfect like she always had and he wondered what it would be like to kiss her. Then he was thrown for a loop when she leaned in and kissed him.

He felt something stir inside him. It was something he had grown to both love and hate simultaneously. He loved the way it made him feel but at the same time it broke his heart.

She was the only girl to ever ignite those stupid, obnoxious, pesky…things in him. Not even Joanna, the supposed love of his life had ever come close to making him feel so alive.

But of course, those butterflies had never been too kind to him and it was only a matter of time before they decided to bite him in the ass.

He was foolish for even starting something with her. He knew nothing could ever happen, he was engaged for crying out loud, but for a fleeting moment those butterflies made him think that maybe they would have their second chance.

Naturally, that all went up in flames when she wouldn't keep sneaking around behind his fiancée's back. He knew she was right, knew it was wrong, but it felt so right.

He was going to leave her alone and try to pretend like he didn't have, dare he say…feelings for her, when she decided to drag him shopping with her. He couldn't stop smiling. Only she could make a boring day of shopping seem like the most exciting and meaningful day of his life.

He couldn't just let it go. He had to talk to her, to see if she felt something too. So he waited in her hotel room for her to come home from her dinner with Nate, convinced that she would never bring him back to the room, only to be proven completely wrong.

He wanted to scream and cry and vomit and beat the shit out of Nate for touching his girl. He just had to get out of there. He couldn't let himself get sucked into this again. He couldn't let her break him again.

When she tried to talk to him he refused. He knew he would forgive her and he couldn't let that happen. He had to be strong and forget what they had. So he told her that they were a mistake. He needed to hurt her to make sure she left him alone. No matter how much he didn't mean it.

Finally, the elevator stopped and everyone let out a breath of relief.

Serena led the way to the sitting room and Dan went to the bar to get the alcohol. Blair hung back trying to catch Nate's eye. She needed to talk to him and this might be her last chance. She wanted to make this right.

"Nate." She whispered after he refused to acknowledge her.

"What?" He answered angrily, his voice never rising above hers.

"Can we talk for a minute?" She asked pleadingly.

"Talk about what? About how you're exactly the same as you were in high school. How you're still a slut. I don't know what else there is to say except well done." Nate retorted

"What are you talking about?" Blair asked, perplexed.

"Well done. You made me fall for you again even though I promised myself I would never let it happen only to have you crush me, yet again. So bravo!" Nate spat and then walked into the sitting room with the others.

Blair tried to hold back tears. She never meant for this to happen. She never wanted anyone to get hurt. But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

She took several deep breaths, quickly brushed the tears from her eyes and proceeded into the sitting room with a fake smile in place.

"Blair, what are you having?" Dan asked as she strolled into the spacious room.

"Umm, vodka tonic." She said quietly. It wasn't her usual martini, heavy on the gin, but it was time for a change. She needed to grow up, make some decisions, and stop playing these childish games.

After Dan mixed her drink and everyone was seated around the room, Dan raised his glass for a toast.

"Here's to good friends, may we always be there for each other." He said. Everyone raised their glasses and drank to the toast that somehow felt half-hearted.

Three drinks later, the overall mood of the group had still not changed. Dan and Serena were awkwardly trying to make small talk with Joanna while Chuck, Nate and Blair were lost in their own thoughts.

Without warning, Nate stood up and raised his glass.

"I'd like to propose another toast." Nate began with a malicious look on his face. "To my good friend Chuck and his soon to be bride. May their marriage last a lifetime."

"Here here." Dan said and everyone followed suit.

"And I would also like to congratulate Chuck on not letting his affair with Blair get in the way of his relationship with Joanna. Nice job, man." Nate said and drained his glass.

He walked to the door and turned back to give one last glance to Chuck and Blair, a smirk spread across his pretty face.

No one said anything for a minute. Time seemed to stand still as everyone processed Nate's words. Blair gave Serena a worried look and Serena tried to give a reassuring smile but it fell short.

Joanna broke the silence.

"Is it…is it true?" Joanna whispered.

Nobody said a word.

"Answer the fucking question! Is it true?" Joanna was hollering now.

"Jo…it's not what you think." Chuck tried but even he knew she wouldn't believe him.

"Answer me! I want you to look me in the eyes and say it to my face." Joanna demanded as her eyes shot daggers into Blair's.

"Yes." Blair whispered.

"I want you to say it. I want you to say that you're a fiancée stealing bitch. It's the least that you can do for me." Joanna yelled wildly.

"I'm sorry." Blair murmured. This, however, only infuriated Joanna further.

"You're sorry? You're fucking sorry? How dare you insult me with your false apologies? You're not sorry. You're only sorry you got caught. It's no wonder you're still not married. You are nothing but a two-bit slut!" Joanna said venomously.

"I never meant for you to get hurt." Blair muttered softly.

"Oh, well in that case, I forgive you. If you never meant for me to get hurt then it's all okay. That changes everything. Because, you know, for a second I thought you might have done this to hurt me but since that clearly is not the case let's just forgive and forget." Joanna raged with bitter sarcasm.

Blair said nothing, her head hung low. She couldn't exactly blame Joanna. It was her fault that this was happening. She had made her bed and Joanna was merely tucking her in.

"Say something." Joanna demanded. Blair remained quiet.

"Say something, you little whore!" Joanna shouted at Blair and threw her drink in Blair's face.

Blair had been holding her tongue until now. She felt sorry for what she had done and didn't want to further upset Joanna by trying to defend her actions. However, as the cold martini hit her face, Blair felt rage and adrenalin rush through her veins.

"Whore? You're right, J, I am a whore. I'm the whore that fucked your fiancée so hard, had him screaming out my name, begging me for more. I'm the whore that he has always, always been in love with. I'm the whore that he couldn't leave alone, even after I turned him down. I'm the whore that he said was the best he ever had." Blair roared.

"You're a CUNT!" Joanna yelled.

"That I may be, but at least I'm not a cheap replacement. Everyone here knows that the only reason that Chuck is even with you is because you look like me. Even after seven years he can't get me out of his head. He has wanted to be with me since we broke up, he told me so himself." Blair taunted in a dangerously soft voice.

"You're wrong. Chuck loves me! He wants me!" Joanna declared loudly. Blair chuckled.

"If that's what you have to tell yourself." Blair said viciously.

Joanna turned her head to Chuck, looking for confirmation, silently demanding that he agree with her. Chuck, however, said nothing, further infuriating Joanna.

"Chuck Bass, listen to me and listen good, you make a decision, right here, right now: it's either her or me!" Joanna bellowed in a mixture of pain and rage.

Chuck said nothing, unable to look either woman in the eye, instead looking at his feet.

"Don't worry; I'll make this easy for you, Chuck. Goodbye everyone. I hope you won't regret the decisions you've made." Blair said and rushed out of the Humphrey's penthouse in tears.

The next morning Chuck ran into the Humphrey's penthouse in a frenzy.

"Has she called?" He demanded.

"No. Her cell is off and she won't pick up her room phone. And when Dan went to her room she wouldn't open the door. Can you get a key?" Serena explained nervously.

She had never seen Chuck so worked up. His face was panicked and his eyes were sad. He never looked so lost.

"I am such and asshole. This is all my fault." Chuck rambled off, ignoring Serena's question.

"Chuck, relax." Serena said putting a comforting arm on Chuck's shoulder. "Now, can you get her room key?"

"Uh yeah." Chuck said distractedly.

All he could think about was finding Blair and making things right. He needed to tell her how he felt. He needed her to know that he loved her. He should have said it last night but he was afraid he'd get rejected. Now he didn't care if he got rejected, he just needed to see her again.

He had let Joanna down gently the night before, as gently as the situation allowed. She hadn't taken it well but Chuck was too preoccupied with talking to Blair to care much about it.

He had called her several times after he broke up with Joanna but she refused to take his calls. He figured he would try her in the morning, when the dust had settled down, but she wouldn't answer her damn phone.

That's when he called Serena and Dan and filled them in on the situation. They also tried calling Blair to no avail.

Dan walked into the room and shook his head. She wasn't at her mom's house either.

Serena and Dan followed Chuck to the front desk to get a key for Blair's room and then tried to catch up with him as he sprinted up the stairs to her floor.

When he got to the room he thrust the key in the hole so hard it almost broke. Eventually the door opened.

Serena and Dan rushed after Chuck who had ran into the room, the key forgotten in the door.

The room looked empty. The lights were off, there were no clothes in the closet or the dresser, and the bathroom was spotless. The only indication that someone had even been staying there was the bed, which looked slightly rumpled.

Chuck let out a growl of frustration and sat on the couch trying to think about where else Blair could be.

Serena went to his side to comfort him and Dan walked to a chair across from Chuck. He sat down and felt something underneath him. He got up and realized it was an envelope marked "Dan."

"Look." He said and Chuck's head sprung up at his voice.

"Open it." Chuck ordered and Dan quickly did.

Dan pulled out the letter, which Chuck snatched from his hands. Chuck was about to read the letter when he realized that it wasn't written in English, it was written in French.

"What is it?" Serena asked softly at the look on Chuck's face.

"Why would she do this?" Chuck sighed, handing the letter back to Dan.

"Do what?" Serena asked. Then she looked over Dan's shoulder and understood. Blair obviously didn't want her or Chuck to read the letter. Dan was the only one of them who was fluent in French.

"Read it." Chuck said softly, but with force.

"She clearly doesn't want either of you to know what it says." Dan answered.

"Just read it!" Chuck yelled.

Dan nodded. He couldn't refuse Chuck when he looked so desperate.

"Dan, I am writing to you to explain my sudden departure.

First let me start off by thanking you for letting me stay with you and always being there for me. You are a great friend and I feel blessed to have you in my life. Serena is a lucky woman to have found a husband as kind as you.

Second, let me apologize for the incident last night. Last night should have been a celebration for your wonderful son and instead it was ruined by my selfish acts. I am truly sorry but I want you to know that you should be proud of him and yourself for raising such a great kid. I see a lot of your qualities in him, which can only be a good thing.

Third, if you are reading this then you have noticed that I am no longer staying in The Palace. It is just too hard for me to stay here. I should also mention that I'm leaving for France tonight. It's for the best really. I've hurt too many people and I've overstayed my welcome. I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear that Pierre came to New York the other day and proposed. I accepted and we're going to elope in France. I'll send you and Serena pictures.

I was also wondering if it wasn't too much trouble if you could tell Serena that I love her and I'll miss her and I'm sorry for not telling her. I just knew she would try and stop me and I couldn't let her talk me out of doing this.

I also ask you to apologize to Nate for me. Tell him that I care about him so much and that I love him, I'm just not in love with him. He is a special guy and there is a great woman out there for him, it's just not me.

Lastly, I need you to talk to Chuck for me. I know it probably won't make a difference but I just need him to know I'm sorry and I wish that things had been different. Tell him that I'm sorry about what I said to his whore of a fiancée (use the word 'whore' at your discretion). Also, let him no how terrible I feel about her finding out this way and that I hope they can fix this. And if you can, tell him that I love him, that I never stopped loving him and I was just too scared to admit it. He deserves better and I hope he gets it.

I love you all and I miss you already. Say goodbye to Ryan for me and tell him he can visit any time.

Love always,


P.S. I knew they'd break you!"