He watched her from a distance. She stood aloof from the hoard in the ballroom a flute of obligatory champagne between her fingers. He always planned on seeing her again. Preferably sometime after his heart had eviscerated every sliver of her existence. In the intervening years he had often wondered what her life was like. He would never ask, but he had gleaned a few facts slipped like precious pearls from the careless tongues of Serena and Nate to hazard a guess. He often pondered taking the route of dear old Dad, showing his love through stalking. Instead he decided to be mature. A word he once thought only pertained to whether the girl he was trying to screw was legal.
She watched him covertly, never catching his eye. A valuable skill she had learned hosting far too many political parties for numerous causes. This was not a party she normally would attend. She had only a passing acquaintance with the host and his very irritating much younger bride, but she couldn't pass up a chance to see him. She correctly assumed that Chuck would wish to be present for the wedding party of one of his largest hotel partners. His gaze burning her like the sun through a magnifying glass she turned gliding in the opposite direction of the dancing crowds and towards the gardens, hoping he would follow.
Chuck had no choice but to follow. Ever since her immigration to British foreign soil he vowed never to travel anywhere in the United Kingdom. It had been surprisingly easier than expected considering that the country was the size of Maine and surrounded by water. That they should both be in Paris and at the same wedding party forced his hand. They would finally end the détente between them that existed for eight years.
The moon, a silver fishhook, illuminated Blair. The crystal beads of her dress trembled like drops of early morning dew with the rise and fall of her chest. Silent he watched, waiting for her to acknowledge the intrusion of her space. Unable to ignore him any longer she gave in turned to face him.
"Chuck." The name emerged from the depths of her soul, breaking free from the chains and locks it had been bound in.
"Blair." He mocked, not bothering to hide his contempt. Steadfast he held her gaze until she was compelled to look away. Uncharacteristically flustered she focused on the night blooming jasmine that perfumed the air. She racked her brain trying to recall from her botany class the Latin name for it anything to keep her focused. Even now after everything she still came undone in his presence.
"I would say I was pleased to see you, but I don't think you'd believe me."
Chuck regarded her, like a he drank in the changes eight years had made. "You're right I wouldn't."
He had always known Blair would age beautifully, but it pained him that she looked lovelier today than she had at eighteen. The glowing look of youthful, yet in her case non-existent innocence, had matured into something beyond stunning. The same mahogany curls still framed her face, but her slender adolescent body had ripened into curves that held the promise of sexual delights not yet tasted. It was hard to reconcile the Blair of his dissolute youth with the one that stood before him now.
"I can see you have yet to learn the art of tact," she said, her lips quirking to herald a forthcoming smile. He was just as she remembered. Damn him! Technically she knew he was no longer the reprobate bad boy of the UES, but he still had that unmistakable aura of dark sensuality. Since she would rather give up every Christian Louboutin she owned than ask Serena about Chuck's life she had been forced to take the route of making discrete inquiries through a very expensive private firm. Although still a notorious womanizer Chuck had taken Bass Industries further than his father ever dreamed. Branching out into oil alternatives, nanotechnology and experimental pharmaceuticals he had doubled the company's worth. It frustrated and pleased her to no end that he had accomplished so much.
Smirking Chuck moved nearer, closing in on the little space remaining between them. He was so close she just merely had to reach out and her hand and it would tangle in his hair. "Are you offering to teach me? Unfortunately, I have no desire to graduate from Blair Waldorf's school of bitch."
"It's Blair Errol now. Lady Errol to you," she countered sharply.
"Serena mentioned you whored yourself a fairy tale." Chuck bowed mockingly. "Lady Errol."
"I am not a whore! " She yelled her control strung taunt snapping. "If anyone is a whore it's you. I'm not the one who spent a month in a brothel when my father died or ended up a member of some crazed sex society. You're the whore! A big stupid man whore!"
"I prefer connoisseur of the female form," he said smugly.
"More like connoisseur of herpes and syphilis. It must save Bass Industries a lot of money in research and development to be able to use their own CEO to test their STD drugs on," she said, witheringly.
"Why Blair, I never realized you took such an interest in me," Chuck drawled, inordinately pleased at her knowledge of his successes. "Society owes a great debt to me. Without my company herpes would still be incurable, destroying the sex lives of so many very lovely ladies. Paris Hilton thanked me personally twice−" Chuck tapped his chin lightly with his finger pretending to contemplate the matter. "Or was it three times? There was even talk about a Nobel for my contributions, apparently scientists like clean pussy." He shrugged, affecting bemusement. "Who knew?"
"You disgust me," Blair seethed. "You're even more revolting than I remember."
"Maybe so, but at least I am honest in my affairs. I don't use lofty professions of love to justify my desire for a good fucking." His voice mellowed to a husky whisper, but his eyes met hers bitter and accusing. He closed the small gap that existed between them towering over her, intimidating. He reached with tenderness, running a finger along the side of her cheek, ignoring the slight tremble she quickly repressed. Chuck bent slowly closer, cupping her chin, smiling when she leaned into his touch. "If it was the fucking you loved you just had to say so."
Blair slapped him hard. The smacking sound of her hand hitting flesh rang like a gunshot in their ears. Releasing her chin, Chuck fell back from the unexpected blow.
"You have no idea what you are talking about." Chest heaving, her eyes clawing him like talons, she stepped away putting much needed space between them. Shaken by her uncharacteristic violence she shut down, mentally shoving her emotions into the vintage Louis Vuitton trunk she had created in her psyche long ago. Brimming over the trunk refused to close regardless of how hard she shoved it close.
"I did love you," she sighed, her voice full of anguish. She bit her lips as a rebellious tear managed to escape, to roll down her face. He watched the tears descent fascinated by her unexpected lapse of control.
"Still lying to yourself?" Chuck studied her face intently, his lips curling arrogantly. He reached out awestruck, smearing it with the pad of his thumb before she could wipe it away. He came closer, lowering his face next to hers. His rough cheek rasped against hers, his lips hovering over her ear, his breath causing tendrils of hair to dance along the tips of her ears.
Blair swallowed hard, drawn to him even as his words battened against her walls. Against her wishes she found herself coming forward to meet him. She stiffened as his hands slid down tightening around her. His fingers whirled intricate patterns over her shoulders and down her back. His touch, his nearness was making it impossible to resist.
"Whatever you felt for me was not love. Love is more than spouting some Blair and Chuck and Chuck and Blair nonsense. When faced with something less than your vision of perfect idealized love you destroyed it by running away," he murmured.
He pulled her closer to him, taking full advantage he ground his hips against hers, her body writhing sinuously against his. Sensing her surrender his lips painted kisses along her neck, making her his. Yearning, longing with desire, Blair gave in. He responded, gripping her tighter, his lips whispering in her ear.
"You left without a note, a text or even a fuck you. You didn't even wait a month before shacking up and marrying a Lord Marcus clone. Only in your fucked up fantasy world is that love. "
Blair stiffened in anger, furious at him but even more so at herself. Filled with self-disgust she used all of her strength to push him away. He released her, taking a step back, but making sure she was still within arm's reach. She was humiliated at her lack of control, how easily he was able to evoke a response from her body despite all her efforts to resist. She hated that he made her feel weak, helpless to her own desires.
Her discomfort grew as he continued to observe her as if she meant nothing to him; as if she was an insect he'd smashed under his shoe. Blair tilted her head defiantly, narrowing her whiskey colored eyes. She was a peer of the realm, Lady Blair Errol, wife of the twelfth Earl of Dorincourt. She managed a staff of twenty, entertained heads of state and had even blackmailed the prime minister for a good cause, of course.
"I did love you Chuck. When your father died you went crazy constantly looking for your next fix. All that mattered was drugs, alcohol, whores and God knows what else. You made it a point to show me how little I meant to you. I lost Yale, my life was in ruins disintegrating piece by piece and you couldn't even be bothered to talk to me. I wasn't going to stay and watch you destroy yourself when I was dying inside," she cried.
"I get it Blair. I was an ass, but you were supposed to wait," he retorted contemptuously.
"What was I supposed to wait for?" She stared at him in disbelief. " You were more than happy to remind me I was not your girlfriend and your fucking every cheap, fake baked tart in a 100 mile radius confirmed it," she said scathingly.
"Jealousy looks ugly on you," he said cynically, enjoying her discomfort.
"So does banging coked up sluts!"
"At least I didn't marry them," he said, his anger carefully hidden beneath a smug smile.
"I didn't plan to get married!" She paused, containing her emotions and sliding them once more behind a mask of complacency. "It just happened. I was a mess and Cedric…he was there. He picked up the pieces. He needed a wife and I needed a purpose."
He tilted his brow, looking at her incredulously. "What the hell kind of marriage is that?"
"You couldn't possibly begin to understand. " Blair sighed, all fight gone. She had been dreading this moment for years. Empty and near drained she wanted the fighting to end. "What is wrong with us? When is it going to stop? Surely we have come further than this in eight years." Silence stretched between them, each lost in contemplation.
"I think part of us is still arrested in time back in 2009 and I'm still standing in that elevator holding that bouquet." His voice was resigned, accepting. Everything he did, all of his accomplishments, had been influenced by that one moment in time. He could deny it all he wanted, but that night for better or worse had changed things forever.
She reached out to touch his arm in an instinctive gesture of comfort. "I am sorry I left like I did. I honestly didn't think you cared."
"Blair−" Words that so easily came to his tongue were now lost. His eyes clung to hers, keenly observant to the slightest nuance. "So you're happy?"
"Of course I'm happy. Who wouldn't be?" She looked away swiftly, refusing to meet his eyes. Looking down she laced her fingers. Absently twisting and pulling at the large diamond its ornate gothic setting heavy on her slender finger. He closed the distance between them taking her hands in his, stilling her fingers.
"Don't lie to me. I can still tell when your eyes don't match your mouth." His voice, uncompromising in its need for truth was soft and tender. His hands skimmed her sides, his heated touch melting her skin through the thin silk of her dress. With each sensual caress, each lingering touch he became more passionate, more insistent.
"Fine. Maybe I'm not happy." The admission, dredged from someplace deep within her disturbed her. The truth of it now spoken aloud could never be erased. Capturing her gaze he reached up to cup her chin tenderly. His lips brushed her with a promise of a kiss.
"I could make you happy," he whispered tenderly.
Blair sucked her breath in harshly. Senses overwhelmed she gripped his shoulders hard. She was losing her hold on reality and she desperately needed something solid to focus on.
"Maybe for a night," she conceded. With that cryptic statement hanging in the air Chuck's mouth descended to cover hers in a bruising kiss. He thrust his tongue between her lips, exploring her mouth. A strangled moan escaped her and her arms slid around his neck forcing him closer. He pulled away only to drop adoring butterfly kisses across her cheek stopping at the shell of her ear.
"Then give me one night." He buried his head in her neck leaving her burning with fire. With a shuddering sigh Blair surrendered to temptation. Ignoring the voice that told her she was playing a dangerous game.
"Where?" She asked, beautiful in her defeat.
"Hôtel Le Bristol Paris, the Presidential suite."
The haze between them lifted. Colors shifting brightening reality interfered. Once more they heard the twinkling strings of orchestral music carried though the French doors. A glance filled with the misspent longing of eight years passed between them. Blair nodded, turning swiftly on her heel. Chuck watched as she glided back into the ballroom, back into a life that didn't include him.