"You want your dad to invest in a strip- joint. How mid-town."

Blair Waldorf's heels clicked superiorly across Victrola's hard floor. Chuck Bass quickly followed her stride. They had always been like this Blair and Chuck. Chuck and Blair. Always teasing and striving. She was one of his best friends. His other was Nate Archibald, her boyfriend of… let's just say a lot of years.

And honestly, Chuck never acted this way with any other girl. Women were meant to be used and discarded in on one night span. That's the thing about neglective fathers. But he treated Blair with respect. Because he did. But he didn't know why. And he didn't know that exactly two days later, he would find out. Blair was his only friend that was a girl and she understood him better than anyone, better than even Nate did. Because she was just like him. Striving, evil, conniving, manipulative… and beautiful.

Blair looked around the place with nonchalance but Chuck knew the real emotions beneath her cool exterior. He knew them like no one else did. And she liked it. He didn't know why but it made his soar.

"A burlesque club," he corrected with his intriguing smile. "A respectable place where people can be transported to another time. And feel free to let loose. No judgment." He used his flirtatious drawl which he knew had no affect on Blair. This was just how he talked to her. And this was how she accepted him. Blair rolled her eyes at his correction.

"…Pure escape…" he continued. He leaned in close to her in let his voice go low and seductive and said, "what happens at Victrola stays at Victrola."

Blair let her eyes widen at his allusion. She was used to such displays but had to admit, he could be crude at times. He could get a lot worse. And had. She turned back to him from her scanning of the establishment to see him looking straight at her. Blair mused if this was his charm. She never really knew Chuck Bass to have charm but from what she heard from every single female he had conquered, that's what he was. Charming. His slanting eyes did have some dark attraction, she supposed but Chuck was just Chuck to her. No one knew him like she did. She knew every gesture fidget and innuendo. She had him down. It's easier to understand someone when you are practically the same person. They had practically the same qualities and this is why he contacted her to come down here. He knew that she would understand his intense need to impress his father. Because like Chuck, she was had a constant itch to please her mother who practically had no idea of her existence except for when it was her duty. When doctors told her that she needed to control Blair's urge to… be perfect.

Blair could tell Chuck was excited. For once maybe Bart would actually be proud of him.

"Oh. Well, it does have franchise potential. Chuck Bass. I do believe all your years of underage boozing and womanizing have finally paid off." Both their eyes followed some leggy blonde that passed in scantily clad costume. Both of them knew what Chuck had in mind. Her attention centered on Chuck again while his eyes were still following the girl. She let a grin cover her face. She had to admit, Chuck was amusing. And he actually had ambition that did not involve corrupting a vestal virgin.

"Truly, I am proud."

Chuck bent his head down to her level and nodded.

"And you are my toughest critic," Chuck admitted. Blair was always reaming him on his actions being playboy-esque. But most of what she said was teasing. It was their favorite pastime, the witty banter that always passed between them.

But Chuck couldn't help but notice something about Blair's smile. It was flawless. The past days between her and Nate were… painful to say the least. If it were any other girl, he would tell Nate to dump her. Nate shouldn't be tied to with someone as high- maintenance as Blair. But despite her flaws, he really liked Blair. Nate was always worrying about following in his parents' footsteps, but Chuck liked this world. All the money and unlimited resources. And he knew Blair did too. Despite the constant need for attention that they both had, he knew that he couldn't imagine living any other way. And Blair had a piece of him that no one could even understand. He knew he would never think about that about any other girl because that wasn't what girls were for. But Blair was different.

Blair and Chuck had a relationship that no one could understand. No one could understand because there wasn't another pair like them out there. Smart, manipulative, beautiful and rich.

"Well," Chuck corrected, "second toughest."

"So," Blair mused, "you think your father will go for it?" She asked with genuine concern. Blair knew as well as he did the complications of the Upper East Side parents. Bart was as cold as Eleanor which was one of the reasons that Chuck trusted Blair enough to tell her about Victrola first. She understood him in a way that no one, not even Nate could. Chuck whipped out a copy if The New York Observer that he had ready. It had a caricature of Bart Bass's face on the front page. The title read "Bad Bart's Big Deal" under the picture.

"It is exactly the type of innovative thinking upon which the Bass Empire was built. It is the perfect thing. I've been waiting for this." Ever since he was young, Chuck had the intense urge to impress his father to no end. He knew all Bart saw him as was a partier and womanizer, the same as the rest of the Upper East Side, and maybe even all of New York. And he knew Blair knew this. Even if her façade said otherwise.

"We are so late, are you coming?" she asked, sidetracked. Chuck turned his head to one side and held up his briefcase.

"Gotta pitch it to Bart." And for a split second they shared a look. He let his signature smirk cross her face as she let her superior glance sink into his. Chuck always had wild an eccentric ideas but that was where Blair and him were the same. It seemed at times like these they could read each other's thoughts as well as their own.

So she left him behind, letting her heels click again against the hard floor. And she knew he was watching her. Chuck watched her go and had the sudden urge for her to stay. It wasn't that he was afraid of Bart. He had faced the terrors of Bart alone since childhood. Chuck just wasn't ready to let Blair go yet. He wasn't needy, especially for her, he convinced himself, but he knew that she knew how important this was to him. Knew the importance of this more than anyone. He wanted her to be there.

"Victory party. Here. Tomorrow," he said after her. Without even turning she responded

"I wouldn't miss it," Blair said, cocking her head to one side as she left.

"I'll send a car," he said hastily, enjoying the way she was making him feel, like for once in his life, he mattered. He wanted to soak up this feeling as much as possible.

"Don't be nervous," she said back, "he's gonna love it." Chuck looked around at his surroundings, for once feeling like something belonged to him, just hoping she was right.

Chuck followed the driver of the limo that pulled up. His limo. His limo that contained his best friends, Nate and Blair, to come to congratulate him on his victory. He waited patiently as the driver opened the door.

The door opened and Chuck stood in front of it in disappoint meant. As much as Blair understood him, she was no replacement for Nate. But Nate wasn't in the car. Blair emerged with her hard mask in place. That meant something potentially devastating had occurred and she didn't want anyone to know her emotions. Chuck wasn't fooled. But he shouldn't have asked.

"Where's Nate?" he asked as Blair emerged from the car, her face unreadable. She paused for a second in front of him and said something that he never expected.

"I think we just broke up," she said blatantly as she slammed the car door shut.

"What?" Chuck was so overcome with surprise he couldn't formulate correct thoughts. She dismissed it quickly as she did when there was something she didn't want to remember.

"I don't want to talk about it," Blair snapped. "I just want to escape," she said, her voice almost pleading. Then he heard a smile creep into her voice as she walked towards the building, with or without him. He reflexively followed her, thoughts of Nate quickly disappearing. This was his night.

"That's what this place is for, right?" she asked cockily as they walked into the building. Chuck couldn't see that a smirk matching hers had crept onto his face.

The music blared as the spotlights and strobes danced erotically across the dancers onstage and the inebriated audience. Including Blair and Chuck. But mostly Blair. The dancers' costumes were… authentic, thought Blair. But honestly, everything looked authentic at the moment. Everything looked authentic with wine glass in hand, from Chuck's ever present smirk and bow tie down to his in- season shoes with his leg crossed over his knee.

They were in the front center couch, reserved for Chuck and his friends while the rest of the rowdy audience yelled and drank in the back. Chuck was drinking as well, but his heart wasn't just broken. And he knew that Blair liked to take advantage of her resources. They had a small table in front of them with a victrola placed on it, for which the establishment was named.

Blair was staring mesmorized at the stage but all Chuck could like at was her. As much as he loved the scantily clad girls on the stage, Blair could always capture his attention. Even when she wasn't meaning too.

Chuck couldn't help but feel guilty and he didn't know why. Nate was somewhere—Chuck didn't no where, Blair had failed to give any other explanation—single, doing who knows what. And here Chuck was. Partying with his ex- girlfriend, the one who he couldn't keep his eyes off. Mystery. He didn't like how his conscience felt and he did genuinely care for Blair. He knew that she was running from her problems and not looking back. And just for once, Chuck didn't think about himself, but for Blair. He didn't want her to be hurting just because he was egocentric enough to no care.

"I know you don't want to talk about what happened but—"

"—Relief," she interrupted him. "I feel relief." Chuck knew this was due to his own self absorbed ways, but so did he. He wanted her to feel better to make himself feel better. And he did know she didn't want to talk about it. That was him and Blair. Bury your emotions deep enough and no one will find them. Well, except for each other. And that's why she quickly changed the subject as she watched the dancers onstage. Chuck watched her nod to the music again, another smile creeping onto her face.

"You know, I've got moves," she said, captured by the light display. This caught Chuck by surprise. And he prided himself on knowing women. But Blair was always different.

"Really?" He leaned forward and spoke in his trademark low voice. "Then why don't you get up there?" He heard her sparkling laugh. Yes. She was definitely on her way to becoming trashed. And Chuck would help her free herself from the constraints of sobriety and any other unwelcome feeling she was experiencing as much as he could.

Blair still didn't look at him, but the stage. He would make her look at him.

"I'm just saying, I have moves," she said smiling, amused with her glass level with her face.

"C'mon," Chuck tried to convince her, "you're ten times hotter than any of those girls." He suddenly wasn't so sure what his motivations were anymore. Usually he liked to see virginal women like Blair cut lose, and have him be the one reaping all the benefits. But this was still Blair. She was different. She was always different. And Nate should have been in the back of his mind, like he was moments ago. But all Chuck could see was her.

"I know what you're doing, Bass," Blair said superiorly. She always knew.

Blair didn't know what she was doing. But she knew what Chuck was doing. And it was working. Nate should have been in the back of her mind, but he just wasn't. And she couldn't see how he ever would be again. There was just something about Chuck that captivated her. He was the most mesmorizing person she had ever met in her life. She hadn't met anyone who knew her as well as Chuck did, not even Serena. She didn't want to think what she thought that he though of her. She was a just a sheltered Upper East Sider. No much different from him, but he let the world know that he was anything but sheltered. Only Chuck has seen that side of her. And now an entire burlesque club was about to.

"You really don't think I'll go up there," her voice suddenly sobering. at the realization of what Chuck was doing to her. What he could only do to her. She turned her face to meet his gaze. Finally. He saw the quick vulnerability there for a split second. Then he almost saw offense.

"I know you won't do it," he replied confidently with a smirk on his face. He prided himself on knowing her better than anyone. Blair couldn't help but feel offended. How dare he question her. When her mind was set on something, there was no question, there was no backing down. She set down her glass and looked Chuck square in the eye.

Chuck was looking back up at the dancers but turned to face her when he heard the clink. He was still smirking, but now more at the resolve on her face.

"Guard my drink."

He leaned back against the couch as she smiled and got off the couch. He had to see this. Nate had never been farther away from his mind as he watched Blair ascend of the couch. He motioned towards the stage allowing her to leave, admiring on her split decision. He crossed his foot over his knee again and couldn't help but grinning.

He had the feeling again. Not guilt, but something he had never felt before. Pure happiness. He had felt pleasure, sure, but this was different. She excited him without doing anything provocative. Yet. His mind really hadn't jumped to the next conclusion. If she ascended that stage, she would partake and the rituals of the dancers. In other words… But Chuck's mind hadn't skipped that far ahead yet. He was just reveling in her essence. In the happiness he felt when he was with her. Hoe no one else made him feel this way.

He watched Blair's high heeled pumps clink noiselessly against the stair case. He heard others call out to her and her obvious beauty but he couldn't help but feel superior. He had everything but physically corrupted the young girl he had known forever. The older men in the audience at all. They couldn't see the true beauty that he saw every day, even when she wasn't about to do a strip tease.

Blair spun to face the audience, and thrust one hand into the air, enjoying the feeling that for once, all eyes were on her, and there was no one else. She rocked to the steady beat of the music. Chuck was easy to pick out. He was the only one who actually looked calm. He was leaning against the massive couch in the front and center of the room, his eyes locked on her. Everyone else was shouting and cheering, but he was just staring, seemingly completely mesmorized by her. This was the only time that entire night that Nate came to mind. Nate was always with her, but only with Serena. Nate was mesmorized by her, but here was his best friend, unable to keep his eyes off her. And for some reason she got a complete thrill out of it. Chuck had a reputation for complete corruption. He was the most perverted and manipulated person she had ever met—but she liked they way he watched her. He watched girls like this all the time, of course, girls more confident than her, but for some reason, she couldn't look away from him either. But she wouldn't let him now, of course. She just let her superior façade encase her.

She reached up to her head and slowly removed her headband. This was her trademark, her mark of Upper East Side and virtue. But all of that was gone now. As she threw it into the audience, Chuck leaned forward, not wanting to will a single moment of this unforgettable night.

Chuck watched her slide the zipper of her dress teasingly down. No one, no thing had ever intruiged him more than this goddess who was dancing. Dancing because of him, because he convinced her too, maybe even for him. The dress slid to the floor and one snap. He eased himself off the couch. He needed a closer look. Blair never acted this way, and he wasn't going to miss it. And he was the only one who was really seeing it.

Blair's back was to the audience as she raised her arms over her head in a fell swoop. She swayed her hips to the music to the enjoyment of the crowd.

Chuck still walked closer and closer to the stage. He didn't yell or whistle. He just watched. Watched something he knew he would never be able to get enough of. One of Victrola's employees came up from behind him, also enticed by the show and slowly rocking to the music as well while Chuck stood completely still.

Blair sifted her hair to the side and looked over her shoulder scandalously to the crowd.

"Who's that girl?" the employee asked. Chuck didn't even look back. He was never looking back.

"I have no idea," he responded in awe. That's when everything changed. When he realized how perfect and flawless she was. And how no one could ever possess her like he did right at that moment. And how he wanted to possess her more. At that moment, he realized for the first time in his life, he had genuine feelings for someone. And how no one could take that away.

"You go, baby vamp," the employee cheered. It suddenly became extremely hot in that club. Chuck was always used to intimidating girls, and them coming to him. He straightened his jacket and saw Blair's eyes shift. An intoxicated grin had crossed her face.

Blair saw Chuck take another drink and wondered for a split second what he was thinking. He was up from his rest on the couch and he seemed almost… in awe of her. Like he admired her. Maybe it was the alcohol of her sudden intoxication of the limelight, but it looked like Chuck Bass was actually impressed. She sank to the floor.

Chuck grinned at her from where he was standing. He was completely impressed with her. And no other woman in the world would ever do that to him. He just shook his head. How could he not see before that this goddess of perfection was always standing in front of him. And with someone else.

Blair tossed her pears from her crouch on the stage floor, unable to look away from Chuck. Chuck took another swig of his drink. The drink that Blair had asked him to look after. Well… He was. He swallowed it down and toasted to the stage. He toasted to Blair.

Blair caught that. She let a smirk worthy of Chuck cross her face and her feeling of superiority catch hold of her again. She rose again gazed fondly down at Chuck, enjoying the feeling that he was indeed staring at only her, and toasting her. Little did they both know the, of course, Gossip Girl spies were everywhere. Including here, including tonight. And they caught a snap shot of Blair in her position.

GOSSIP GIRL:

As you might have guessed, Upper East Siders, prohibition never stood a chance against exhibition. Its human nature to be free. And no matter how long you try to be good, you can't keep a bad girl down.

Chuck's limo coasted along the darkened streets. Blair couldn't keep from smiling. Chuck wasn't the only one who was impressed with her. She couldn't believe that she had just done that, but was glad that she had. She and Chuck had been silent for a while but she couldn't help thinking that there was something more in store. She turned to Chuck, not quite sure what else to say.

"Thanks for the lift home," she opted for.

Chuck was gazing off to the front of the limo, but all he could see was Blair. He didn't know what these knew feelings were inside of him but he wanted to see where they took him. So he did what his instincts told him.

"You were… amazing up there," he complimented her, finally gazing fully into her face. She was beautiful.

Blair looked down at her lap quickly then looked into his dark slanting eyes. She could finally see the appeal he held. She didn't know if this was he was trying to do but she couldn't think of anything else. She didn't know why, or how it happened, but she wanted him. Now. She slid awkwardly across the seat until she was right next to him. Chuck never looked away from her. She had never felt the way she was currently feeling right not. His eyes praised her. He made her feel like she was the only one in the world.

Chuck was in a midst of emotion that he could not name. He felt him going back to his old ways. The formula to capture girls. His eyes narrowed, drawing her closer in. He didn't think that this might be wrong, or where he was, but he wanted Blair. Now. They both leaned in and softly kissed each other on the lips. Blair shifted to a more comfortable position on her side.

Chuck didn't want to let her go. But he… respected her. He didn't want to make her do something that she didn't want to do. He never really asked for conformation from anyone else but Blair was something altogether different.

"You sure?" he asked her.

This took Blair slightly by surprise. Chuck Bass asking for her permission? But there was no other scenario in her mind. He made her feel special and she couldn't see anyone else. He asked her if she was sure. They answer was definitely. She gave him one swift look as if to say are you kidding? He wasn't. And neither was she. She gave in to same and crushed her lips against hers.

His reaction was instinctual. It didn't matter that they were in the back of a moving vehicle or that they never even said anything more than friendly playful words, but this was happening. And nothing, no hurricane or armegeddon could stop it.