The dimmed kitchen spins. If he shuts one eye, it helps. But he needs two eyes for this, so squinting blearily he lifts unsteady hands, trying to pour more scotch from the decanter into his highball.
He is shaking too badly, or else his depth perception is off, because the amber fluid misses the glass completely, sloshing onto the counter.
"Shit," he mutters, reaching for a towel, not realizing he had just let go of the bottle rather than setting it down until the thing shatters by his feet. The noise is explosive in the silent apartment. "Oops."
Seconds later, a light comes on. Chuck winces at the sudden brightness, feeling it like stabbing pain in his retinas.
"What the – " a female voice begins alarmed. Then the tone shifts. "Charles?"
"Lil?" a male voice calls. "Is everything – "
"Go back to bed Rufus. Everything's fine."
Rufus. She'd brought him here. The slut.
"Yeah, go back to bed Rufus," Chuck repeats, slurring loudly. "Do what your whore says."
"Now you listen you – "
"Rufus, please! Just go. Let me handle this," Lily begs.
The man sighs, obviously displeased, but shuffles off to the bedroom regardless.
Chuck grabs another bottle. Clear fluid. Vodka? Gin? Doesn't matter. Alcohol is alcohol at this point, and he can't taste anything anyway.
He shuffles away from the counter, glass shards crunching under the soles of his expensive Italian shoes.
Lily intercepts him. "Charles, I think you've had enough."
"You aren't my mom, Lily," he sneers, sidestepping her with a stagger. "You can't tell me what to do."
She moves to block his path again. "No, but I am your guardian, and I say you've had enough." Her fingers close over the bottle, prying it from his grip.
"Fuck you," he scowls, glaring. Shoving past her, he stumbles into an end table, upsetting it and sending a lamp crashing to the floor.
Lily grabs his shoulders, steadying him. "I understand you don't forgive me Charles," she grinds out, "But really, I'd appreciate a little respect in my own house."
"Right. Like you respected my father?" he bites back with a laugh. Such a bitter sound from one so young.
He jerks away from her, colliding with a wall. He uses it to keep himself upright as he lurches towards his room.
A door opens somewhere. "Mom? Is everything okay?"
"Go back to sleep honey. Everything is fine."
"You sure?" Eric asks.
"Yes, I've got it," Lily assures him.
"If you say so," Eric mumbles, unconvinced. But his door clicks shut.
Meanwhile, Chuck has reached his room. He trips over his own feet on the way to the bed, landing heavily on the plush carpet. "Goddamn it."
Lily tries to assist him up, but he pushes her away, remaining on the floor.
"What is going on, Charles?" she demands. "You don't usually get like this."
He snorts. "Like I would ever confide in you, bitch."
"Fine. I was just trying to help. Goodnight Charles," she snaps, turning to go.
The words fall from his lips inexplicably. "I lost her."
Lily pauses in the doorway. "Lost who?" she prompts, already fairly certain she knows.
He draws in a shuddering breath. "Blair," he whispers. Then it just tumbles out of him and he has no idea why he is saying any of this to her. "Serena told me to fight for her, and I tried. I went over there, but… But… Nate… He… She… They…" And he is crying. Fucking sobbing in front of Lily van der Woodsen, the slut who had cheated on his father with a nobody from Brooklyn.
Can this evening get any worse?
She sits next to him on the rug, sliding an arm around him. He tries to shrug her off, but she is insistent, pulling his resistant flesh against her shoulder. It only makes him cry harder. The first touch of tenderness from a parental figure he has ever known.
She strokes his hair, murmuring soothing words.
"It'll all be okay, Charles. Everything will be alright."
Lies, of course. Nothing but comforting lies. But the only lies anyone has ever cared enough to tell Chuck Bass.
He gradually relaxes into her embrace. His tears slow. Stop. Breathing returning to normal. Eyelids getting heavy. He drifts off to sleep listening to the calming melody of her voice.
The next day, it is like last night never happened. Nothing changes. He still treats her coldly. Still occasionally calls her derogatory names. Still refuses her offers to spend more time with the family.
But weeks later, when she returns from her mother's day brunch to see him passed out drunk on the couch, after sending Serena to fetch a blanket and starting to clear the glasses away herself, there under the empty bottle of scotch, she finds a card.
Happy Mother's Day
It may just be the best mother's day gift she has ever received.