Champagne High

by: Katy

Prologue

Spring is here,
the sky is blue.
Whoa! the birds all sing as if they knew.
Today's the day, we'll say, "I do"

June 7, 2014

The sun shone brilliantly amid a cloudless, cerulean sky and the temperature on the Upper East Side was a mild 80 degrees. She couldn't have ordered more perfect weather on what was to be her most perfect day. After fastening her earrings, she studied her reflection in the full length oval mirror and smiled approvingly. Her chestnut mane was perfectly coiffed into an elegant up-do, makeup had been expertly applied to her flawless skin, and her trim body was sheathed in an Eleanor Waldorf original. The white gown was truly spectacular; her mother had really outdone herself this time. Shifting in place, she enjoyed watching the full skirt of her gown sway gently back and forth with a soft swishing sound.

"B, you look amazing," Serena said, appearing in the mirror behind her best friend. "I don't think there's ever been a more beautiful bride. And that includes my mom at her four weddings." Blair met her eyes in the mirror and they broke out in giggles like they'd done numerous times during their tumultuous friendship.

"Thanks, S. I promise not to tell Lily you said that."

"Whew," Serena replied easily. "I can't believe my best friend is getting married." Her eyes welled up and she wrapped her arms around Blair.

"Serena, you'll wrinkle me," Blair protested, but then gave in and hugged her friend tight.

They pulled apart at the sound of the door opening. Eleanor Waldorf entered the room, the picture perfect mother of the bride. "Oh, Blair, let me have a look at you," she said softly. "Darling, you look magnificent."

"Thank you," Blair beamed.

"But I think we should tighten up the back of that dress just a bit more, don't you? We need to make sure everything is sucked in for the cameras."

Blair resisted the urge to cry. Even now, on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, her mother couldn't drop the judgmental act for a few hours. But having been subservient to Eleanor Waldorf her entire life, she knew how to pick and choose her battles. This wasn't the time. "Whatever you say, Mother." She cast her eyes toward Serena and pressed her lips into a thin, tight line. Serena squeezed her shoulder gently as a show of support.

"Turn around, Blair," Eleanor said brusquely.

With a small sigh, she did as her mother instructed. She winced as the laces of her corset back dress were pulled tighter. For a brief moment, she was Scarlett O'Hara gripping the bed post as her maid cinched the corset around her impossibly small waist. When she thought that surely her last breath was going to be forced from her body, her mother patted her shoulders signaling the torture was finished. After receiving the Eleanor Waldorf nod of approval, she managed a small smile.

"I've got to check on a few things before the ceremony starts. This is the wedding of the year and I want everything to be perfect. I'll see you as you walk down the aisle." With a wave and some air kisses, she breezed elegantly out of the room.

Blair tried to take a deep breath and discovered that shallow breaths were on the menu for the rest of the day. "I hope I don't pass out as I'm saying my vows, S. I can't breathe."

"Here, let me loosen that for you," Serena offered.

"Just a little...so she won't notice. I don't want Eleanor having one of her classic meltdowns on my wedding day." After Serena loosened the laces a little, Blair took a deep breath of relief. "Thanks, S. That's so much better."

"What are friends for?"

"Would you mind giving me a few minutes alone before the ceremony, Serena? I just want to go over my vows."

"Sure thing, B. See you soon. You really do look amazing. He's going to love it."

Blair smiled genuinely at her friend and watched her leave the room. Once she was all alone, she held a hand to her stomach, hoping to calm the butterflies that raced there. Looking around the room, she spotted her garter on the dressing table, realizing she'd forgotten to put it on before the gown. She ran an exquisitely manicured finger over the delicate white lace, lingering on the platinum heart-shaped locket she'd sewn there with a blue ribbon. The corners of her lips twitched into a smile as she opened the locket and saw the picture of them that was taken so long ago at Bart and Lily's wedding. She was so lost in the memory of that day that she didn't hear the door open behind her. A throat being cleared made her nearly jump out of her skin and she whirled around to come face to face with the man in the picture.

"A penny for your thoughts, Waldorf?"

"Chuck! You can't be in here. You should be out there with the rest of the bridal party."

"I had to see you before the ceremony started." He crossed the room grabbed her hands and held them against his chest. "Don't do it. Please."

Her heart thundered loudly in her ears. "W-what?" she stammered.

"Don't marry Nate!"