"Mr Bass, your wife is here to see you."
Chuck looked up from his seat at the head of the conference table. He nodded at his secretary, then excused himself from the board meeting. "Gentlemen," he murmured, then buttoned his suit jacket as he stood. He looked out the glass walls and saw Blair bundled up in her winter clothes, then picked up his pace.
"Blair, did you walk?"
She nodded, her lips trembling with the cold. He drew her close to him then hurried to his office. Blair always did enjoy walking in Manhattan, and she loved doing it during the holidays.
"You should have called for the limo."
She shook her head, and he helped her out of her moist coat. He opened a hidden cabinet from the wall and took his own winter coat out and bundled her in it. "I couldn't wait," she gasped.
He knew better than to suggest anything else. When Blair was possessed with an urgent need to spill her news, it was most usually news that benefited him. They had been in their flight back to New York when she shook him awake to tell him, with her teary eyes, about her epiphany.
"I want to stay," she had whispered to him. "As long as you'll let me." He had closed his hand over hers and told her to prepare for a lifetime. "I just want you know, when it comes down to it, you'll have a reason to quit and I won't ever get mad."
And it was enough for him, because come hell or high water, there was no way he would let go of the love of his life. Baby or no baby, this was it for him.
Stubbornness paid off in the end. Best inheritance he ever got from his father.
She brushed the snow out of her hair, and fumbled with her gloved hands to open the zipper of her bag. When she lost her grip, she bit at the ends of the gloves and pulled them off. Then she grinned up at him, because it was something Blair Waldorf Bass was not supposed to do. He returned the grin with a smirk, then plucked the gloves from her hands.
He arched an eyebrow, and she gave him a fat smile. "I will own you after this."
He took her hands in his and rubbed them for warmth. "What else don't you own about me?"
The rhetorical question made her happy just as he was sure it would. His wife was as predictable to him and he probably was to her. He had no doubt she was right, and whatever she had in her Chanel clutch would actually make her own him more, if such a thing was possible. His mother's diamond glinted on her ring finger, and he waited with bated breath.
She drew out a white envelope and handed it to him. He reached for the envelope, and she teased him by pulling it away.
"Give it," he said.
She gave him a sly smile. "I want a new house."
The request was easy to grant. Bass Industries gave them enough independence to buy anything they wanted. But the penthouse in the Bass Highrise was close to his heart, and he was a little hesitant at the prospect of leaving it. He did not bother to refuse, because he knew himself and in the end, he would give her what she wanted. Yet still he found himself, not refusing, but asking, "Why do you want another place? You love our apartment."
"It's too small."
Chuck snatched the envelope from her hand and slid out the folded paper. "I assume you've looked around," he commented, thinking the documents were a little too thin to be a lease.
And the Basses did not lease.
He unfolded the paper and glanced at the stationery address. His gaze slammed to her, and he saw her liquid eyes before she nodded. He looked down at the bottom. His throat had never worked as much. He opened his mouth but no sound came out.
Chuck took her hand and pulled her to him, then buried his nose, his lips, into her cold, snow-flaked hair.
"Are you happy?" he heard her say in a stifled sob into his shirt.
He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. "You even need to ask?"
"Can I get a new house now? I really want to keep my closet."
And he laughed softly, because it was all he could do. They had agreed that the mirrored closet would be the nursery, because Serena's twins needed a room of their own.
"I'll buy us a whole building," he promised her.
She pulled out of his embrace, and he brushed his thumbs over the tears falling on her cheeks. Blair reached up and did the same for him, and he was surprised to realize that he was crying too. "Was it the hormones? The doctor thinks it could be the hormones," she gasped.
If it was the hormones, he would dump a million dollars into that research in the next ten minutes.
"Or the trip," she said. "Maybe we needed a break."
Or maybe she just needed to know that he would stay, no matter what.
"Doesn't matter what it was. We're having a baby!" he told her in his most controlled delight.
She squealed and jumped up, wrapping her arms around him and he caught her up and whirled her around. He put her down abruptly. "I'm sorry. Are you dizzy?"
Blair shook her head. "I'm throwing a party," she said, a little guilt creeping in.
"Tonight," he agreed. "We'll block off Socialista or Butter, and invite everyone."
She bit her lip. "You know what they say about the first trimester. We shouldn't really celebrate too much. It keeps people from getting too disappointed." Her voice dropped. "Should anything happen."
He smirked, and already he was puffing up with pride. "That's a Bass in there, Blair." His hand easily went to her belly. "He may have taken a bit longer to get here, but now that's he's here, he's gonna stick around."
She stifled a grin. "Sounds like another Bass I know."
Chuck dropped a kiss on her lips, then told her, "Call Cyrus and your mom. Then tell Serena to tell all your friends to meet us in Butter." He watched fondly as his wife settled into the cushioned armchair and started dialing. He pressed the intercom. "Christine, book Butter for tonight—the whole place."
"Tonight, Mr Bass?" came his secretary's voice.
Any other day, he would have hung up. He hated repeating himself. "Yes, Christine. It's for me. Book it."
"Yes, Mr Bass."
"And send everyone home. Invite them to Butter at eight if they want to join."
"Home, Mr Bass? Holiday's not until tomorrow."
"It's a holiday today in Bass Industries. Tell the board I'm not coming back in there so they should just join us in Butter."
"Yes, Mr Bass."
"You're doing a good job."
The secretary was silent. And then she stuttered. "Thank you, sir."
He looked up to see his wife eyeing him with an arched eyebrow. "You do know if you continue to be so sweet to her, she's bound to fall in love with you," she told him.
"Is she?" Chuck strolled towards her, then settled on the arm of her seat. He bent low and teased her lips with his until she accepted his tongue into her mouth. Blair's arms wrapped around his neck. "Good thing I haven't been acting like a giant asshole, because that's how I get special girls to fall hard."
She smiled fondly at the memory. "Oh yeah." Blair took a deep breath. "You've made me so happy, Chuck."
He kissed a burning path on her jaw, then licked the shell of her ear. "Have you called everyone?"
"Serena will call them for us," she assured him. "We'll let them have champagne," she offered, "when you announce it."
Chuck nodded, then abruptly stood, feeling his throat closing in on him. He strode to his private bathroom, then turned on the faucet. He cupped his hand under the running water and brought some of it to his lips. Chuck looked at his reflection in the mirror. He shook his head. He splashed water onto his face.
He could not breathe.
He loosened his bowtie, then tossed it onto the sink. He shrugged off his coat and let it fall to the floor. He drew in a deep breath, and his lungs could not seem to get enough. He drew in an audible gasp. Chuck's hands gripped the marble sink and he opened his mouth to suck in some air.
In. Out. He breathed. In. Out.
He stared at the reflection on the mirror, and could not believe that he was seeing himself, fucking hyperventilating, tears rolling freely from his eyes.
He was Chuck Bass.
"Chuck?" he heard her uncertain voice. He turned his head and saw his wife looking in on him with concern. "Chuck, are you okay?"
He bowed his head, willed himself to relax, willed his body to calm. "I'm fine," he hissed.
She walked into the bathroom and picked up a glass he used when he needed to brush his teeth. She filled it with the faucet water and handed it to him. Chuck reached for the glass, but his hand was trembling, so she held it up to his lips and told him, "Finish it."
He drank the contents, then nodded, breathed more easily. His shirt was ruined with the water. His bowtie was drenched. His jacket was likely crumpled. He met her eyes, catching his breath. "We're pregnant," he said again in disbelief. "We're finally pregnant."
"Yes, we are," she said tearfully. She drew him to her arms and held him. He clutched tightly to her arms. "And we deserve it. We really do."
"It's real," he said. "We're having a baby."
And he had been so proud. For such short notice, Serena managed to get eighty people in Butter, and everyone looked up when he rose with his glass of apple juice. "You can all have champagne," he said in jest. His audience laughed a little, and Chuck waved the waiters to refill the flutes. "Only two people not drinking here are Mr and Mrs Bass," he said out loud.
Serena's eyes widened, and she turned to Blair. Blair reached to cover her friend's hand with hers, and place a finger on her lips. "Let him," she said.
"Eleanor, Cyrus," Chuck said with a big smile, "you are going to be grandparents soon." He turned to Lilly. "And you're going to be a grandma again." And the words filled him with such joy he could not contain his big grin. "I finally got my wife pregnant," he said, for the first time letting people glimpse the long, difficult road to this announcement.
The applause warmed him, like he finally reached the finish line in a marathon. He raised his apple juice. "Here's to the best present a man can ever get in his lifetime."
"A baby," Blair mouthed.
Chuck corrected her, "A wife like mine." Blair rose from her seat and gave him a big smile, then drew him to her for a kiss. "The baby is a very welcome addition," he whispered into her ear, establishing, for her, what he had tried to do for the last year.
Their marriage first. A child afterwards.
And he was so very happy.