Left of The Middle
By Liz Wyatt
End of the third round
As I put the phone down
Chasing the same lines
Over the old ground
Im pushing zero
Where is my hero
Hes out there somewhere
Left of the middle
As soon as Antonio had shut the limo, Dan could feel that 'flight or fight' moment of hesitation once again. He knew he could turn back now before things got too deep, but he opted to follow the tiny frame in front of him.
"Now these aren't my usuals, as you could have guessed so you and I may have to work a bit of magic to line hop."
"We have to what, to what?" Dan was still trying to decipher 'Blair speak'.
She stopped in her tracks to face him. He didn't expect her to halt so quickly and spin right around. As a result he nearly crashed straight into her rolling arms that pushed his shoulder gently to create space between them.
"Humphrey, I know you are far more interested in having your nose in a book rather than a social life, but you must have seen some lame teen comedy movie to offer you proper skills on getting yourself into a busy night scene?" she waited as his face altered as he sifted through her musings and appeared to cycle through his own memories.
"Just go with what I say Brooklyn boy."
He simply nodded, afraid to continue her ranting.
They approached a bouncer who was checking IDs of eager line dwellers. Dan stayed a bit yielded from the large man in black until Blair's all too wide smile turned to face him. She then proceeded to yank him to her side while looping her arm in his.
"Hi…we're here with some friends and we just popped out here for a moment, but we'd like to go back in now."
"Sure. You know how many dumb college girls try that every night?" it was a rhetorical question followed by his examining Blair with a laugh.
Dan was ready to give up at that; however, Blair was not so easily deterred. Dan had an inkling that she was going to give the bouncer a piece of her mind for having laughed her off so easily. He shrunk back a bit.
"Really, you must know who I am. If not me then-" Blair leant in closer to the bouncer to whisper the last part. Dan leaned in a little as well to hear her concocted story.
"You must know my date, you know son of a rock god. He hates having to deal with all those screaming fans that wait outside clubs, cozying up to him for the chance to get to his father. Just makes me sick and his father upset, that's why we usually plan so well ahead. Our limo driver, see over there our limo?" she was pointing into the distance with her smile slimming down.
"See? Yes. Well he usually would have someone call, but this was a spur of the moment idea. So, we'd really appreciate it if you could just let us pass. Please?"
It was Dan's turn then to roll his yes. He began pulling out of Blair's clutches and taking a step back.
The bouncer took a once over on Dan.
"This is ridiculous. Come on let's go." Dan sighed.
"You know you do kinda look like him…aww what the hell, just go on in and get out of my sight."
Blair thanked him and dragged a stunned Dan through the doorway. Girls outside were already spreading whispers and pointing to his retreating form.
Walking through the entranceway was an ordeal of it's own. Dan noticed the Indian inspired décor where guys were settling up with girls in little nooks behind sheer material that was draped to provide separation from the main dance room. Squeezing past the erratic traffic of multiple bodies, Dan found himself getting light headed. This was all a bit much. Not an hour ago, he was more than happy to fight out his anger alone in his Brooklyn apartment. Now he was reverting to the confused lonelyboy he was before meeting Serena. This all would have seemed far more foreign a few years ago.
Though he could barely find Blair's form, he felt her hand clasp around his once more in order to keep them from getting separated. She eventually led him towards the bar and let him go. When she stopped, she made a point to exhale quite loudly.
"Wow can you believe how many people are here?" she said to no one in particular as she scanned the room a bit.
"Yeah, it's definitely popular." He said lamely.
She seemed to catch something near them because she paused her scan and turned back to Dan directly.
"I guess you are too. I think our little fib has spread." He quirked his eyebrows in confusion. Blair stepped closer to him in order to be heard better over the music.
Dan's eyes went wild as she leaned in to his ear. He'd never thought the Blair Waldorf that used to tease him about smelling like pork and cheese for simply riding the subway was the same girl choosing to invade his personal space.
"There are some girls pointing at us, though I'm sure they aren't making those outrageous gestures about me."
He spun around to see some girls clearly pointing him out and gesturing to fan themselves with their hands.
"That's crazy." He yelled over the music as the DJ moved into a more techno beat.
Blair simply nodded. "Want a drink?" she asked.
"Are you offering to do something for someone other than yourself?" he said with mocking shock.
"hardy har har Humphrey. You are so hilarious." She responded with as she navigated to the edge of the bar and ordered up a few mixed drinks. Dan noticed with an amused look that while the bartender went away to get the drinks Blair had subconsciously begun swaying to the beat of the music. As he was sitting in his own thoughts, a hand tapped his shoulder from behind. Dan twisted to find three blonde girls grinning at him.
"Hi?" he said with a sort of questioning tone.
"Hi. I'm Manda, this is Carrie and Barbie." The middle one pointed out her companions.
Dan half smiled nervously. "Dan. Is me. I'm Dan." He gave a small wave even though they were close enough that he hadn't really needed to.
"So you come here a lot? We heard you like to travel." The one named Barbie said while pulling her shoulders back so Dan could get a full view of her silver shirt that barely contained the contents of her chest. He tried to mull over what she had said and not her body, though he wasn't sure what her question had to do with the second part.
"umm, yeah I've never really been here. My friend sort of chose it."
"friend?" Carrie asked.
Just then Blair seemed to have appeared on call. She had two drinks ready as she simply handed one to Dan without saying anything.
"Blair, this is Manda, Carrie, and Barbie." Dan introduced them.
"hi." Blair muttered and looked over the blondes.
The girls just smiled, but it was hardly the grins that they had given to Dan. Blair rolled her eyes and pulled at Dan's arm.
"I need to talk to you for a sec." she flashed a tight fake smile towards the newcomers.
Dan felt his shirt being yanked again. Blair moved her hand to one of the sides of his button up shirt since it was undone towards the top. They were close enough that only he could hear her.
"I'll back off if you're game to chat it up with the playbunnies next door. I just wanted to make sure you wanted me to go off so you can have some alone time because obviously they want you rock star."
Dan hadn't even really thought about Blair's suggestion. Though he had surveyed their appearances, he hadn't thought he would be trying to hook up with some girl tonight. Clearly Blair was showing that she was going to let him go off and have some fun if he wanted that. A little voice in his mind wondered what she would do.
"Daniel. Hello. You in there? Please don't tell me you're having one of those sick this writer fantasy moments." she asked while snapping her fingers in front of his face.
"okay, well I think you should go for it if you want. I did say I was going to get your mind off everything and here is the perfect distraction." She slowly took a sip of her drink while watching the girls talk amongst themselves.
"what about you?" he asked which seemed to throw her off for a second at tone of his voice as though he was concerned. Her eyes met his for a few seconds as neither quite knew what to say.
Her brow relaxed as she smiled and hit him playfully. "I'll manage."
"okay…well, thanks?" he said.
"yeah, don't mention it. Just let me know if you won't be needing a ride home so I can inform Antonio." She said quickly and ducked away from him and the bar.
Dan turned back to his newly acquired companions. They led him to the dance floor.
Blair was sitting on a red velvet cushion that overlooked the dance floor from an elevated section. She was on her 7th drink and had no intention of stopping. Watching Dan gyrate with his new fan club was getting to her and she was not sure why. Maybe she was feeling protective of her new friend. Were they even really friends? So much of the events that had occurred this night were so out of character for the both of them. She's not sure Serena would even believe her if she confessed that she had spent her evening in the same vicinity as Dan Humphrey.
Glancing at her phone she saw that Serena had sent her a text message asking her if she had seen Dan because the family was gathering at the Vanderwoodsen-Bass residence to talk. While contemplating getting up and informing Dan or lying to Serena, Blair was interrupted from her thoughts by a pair of legs standing in front of her. Her eyes had been fixed down on her cell so as she scanned up the form of this man she sighed in frustration at seeing his face.
"hey beautiful. You look lonely with all those drinks."
"hardly. Even if I was lonely, you would be the last person I would call." She bit back.
"you say that now, but a few months ago you didn't seem so unwilling." His smile sent shocks through Blair's system, though not happy ones. It was like hitting a stonewall when she was up on her high from the alcohol. The memory of his hands on her skin only made her realize how far she had fallen. She'd used him to scratch an itch, but more importantly to piss Chuck off. Both reasons seemed so stupid now.
"don't make me throw up on you Carter." She said as she gathered up her things and stood quickly. A little too quickly as she swayed for a second, but seemed to catch herself.
"easy there kitten." He laughed as he caught her elbow.
She quickly wrenched it out of his grasp. "don't call me that you…perverted thief."
"ouch, Blair that really hurts. Kind of like the scratch marks you left on my back." Her face hardened and she began walking away from him and toward the dance floor.
"come on babe" he said as he held her arm and spun her to face him. She stumbled into his chest as she tried to free herself. Forming a consistent thought to get him off her case was becoming increasingly more difficult. She didn't know why she would have assumed that he could be civil after everything, but then again he was always more of a man whore than Chuck.
"let me go you cocky bastard." She stated.
"clever choice of words." He irked an eyebrow suggestively. "but sadly, I'm somewhat taken now." He said as he let go.
"oh you finally found someone with loose enough morals that she'll sleep with you on a regular basis instead of waking up the next morning in shame and self loathing?" she smirked.
"is that anyway to talk about your best friend?" he mused.
The color drained out of Blair's face.
"no. you're not…you're lying." She felt the fear and anger rising up inside of her from the shock of his statement.
"Funny how Serena didn't mention it to you. Maybe it's because she realized she's going off to college without her low jack Blair. Face it, she doesn't tell you anything for a reason."
Blair wasn't sure what to say. She looked around in a panic, unsure what she was even searching for. The room was spinning a bit as a few guys came up to Carter and yelled his name. 'Great' she thought. Now they were blocking her exit.
"who's the girl?" one asked as he undressed her with his eyes. Blair felt dirty from the glint he had and protectively crossed her arms.
"This ones the one I told you about. The Nymph with the daddy issues."
"stop!" Blair yelled.
Dan had been coming back from the bathroom when he heard Blair's yell. He wandered up behind her.
"what's going on?" he asked.
Blair turned to look at him and as her head was turned away from Carter she let out her breath, exasperated and closed her eyes for a second.
"nothing. I'm leaving. You can come if you want." She said before turning completely away from Carter and his friends.
"What, is this your next sucker Blair?" Carter asked while laughing.
"what was that?" Dan asked in his schoolboy bewilderment that was really bothering Blair at the moment. She just wanted to get out of there and beat up a tall blonde girl.
"hey, I know you." Carter pointed at Dan like they were old buddies.
"yeah, we've met." Dan stated, though not as enthusiastically.
"oh yeah, you're that kid. The lonely guy or whatever."
"I guess." Dan said a bit annoyed by his Gossip Girl nickname that seemed to stick against his will.
"Dan, let's go." Blair knew Carter would probably mention Serena and she didn't want them to get into that mess.
"can't leave now B." Carter's smile made Blair more infuriated. "we're just getting started. Maybe I can give your boy a few tips. You know she loves it when you-"
"Humphrey! Now." Blair demanded, though her eyes were pleading with him. Dan saw her fighting back some emotion underneath the surface while trying to hold it all together. Whether it was tears or fury behind her eyes, he couldn't say.
"Humphrey? Oh now it all comes together. Serena told me all about you."
"and what would you know about Serena" Dan was clearly upset now. Carter had pushed the wrong button.
"oh the things I know would blow your mind. At least they blew hers." He smirked. Dan started towards Carter, but Blair stepped in and was pushing back on Dan's chest.
"Dan, no. Stop. Dan, let's just go." Blair pleaded once more. Dan was furious towards the other man, but as he felt her hands move from propped on his chest to his neck she forced him to look at her. He saw her eyes and thought better of it. He held the sides of her upper arms, letting her know he was calming down.
"you always did have that touch Blair. I'll miss that. This one is a prize boys. She's pretty easy from the get go, but when she opens her mouth she's hardly worth the fuss. We all know her mouth is only good for one thing."
Dan pushed Blair aside and pulled back to punch Carter's laughing face. The rich boy staggered back before moving to launch himself.
Blair was having trouble standing upright, so even though she wanted to intervene her legs wouldn't let her. Carter took a swing at Dan's jaw. He also stumbled back and fell into Blair a bit.
"you are such a bastard." Blair spat at Carter as the security guard came up in between the guys. Carter's friends held him back.
"we don't want any kind of trouble in here children." A large man bellowed. The other patrons seemed to be watching the whole situation unfold.
Dan's chest was heaving in anger, but he managed to walk away.
"hey, you okay?" he asked Blair as they began walking to the exit.
"fine." She muttered in frustration.
Once outside Blair weaved her way towards where she had left the limo. Dan was rubbing his jaw as he realized Blair wasn't walking in a straight line. He laughed at the outrageousness of their situation. He had gotten into a fight, in a club, where Blair Waldorf had clearly had too much to drink.
Dan's cell began to vibrate so he removed it from his pocket. He saw 'Barbie' come up on the screen.
Blair was searching for her limo, but it was nowhere to be found. She swirled around to look at Dan, only to realize he was on his phone.
'I guess you had time to program my number. You're not a typical Barbie then I guess.' his voice chuckled as it was carried through the parting crowds and over to Blair.
Blair made a face to that. He noticed her then and quickly mumbled something else into the phone. Blair tried to ignore the fact that he had caught her moment as she pulled out her own phone and began dialing her driver.
"Antonio! Where are you?" she demanded, though with utter exhaustion. "you're with my mother? But she has her own driver! No. Well what am I meant to do?"
Angry at the outcome Blair slapped her phone shut and threw her head up to the sky as she stomped around. Dan had now come to join her by the curb and burst out laughing at her outburst.
"This is not funny Humphrey! Antonio had to go play driver to the great Eleanor, so you and I are stuck here until she decides to let him go, which may be never since she probably won't even go home tonight! My mother actually…she had the nerve…she suggested…"
"What?" Dan shot in to stop Blair's internal argument.
"she said I could take…a taxi." Blair's face scrunched up.
It was Dan's turn to roll his eyes. "a taxi, really. Blair you are one of the most ridiculous girls I have ever met."
"fine. Make fun of me." She started walking away from him, stumbling down the sidewalk.
"hey, you are in no condition to be high and mighty princess."
"I am not a princess, Daniel. I am the Queen B." she said matter of factly.
"yeah, well Queen B I see a cab over there so let's get you home." He said as he gestured across the street. She nodded, but eyed him with contempt.
He laughed it off and guided her by the small of her back across the street.
Pulling up to Blair's building he felt his phone vibrate again. This time it was a text message.
"Serena texted me before. They want to talk to you." Blair mumbled sleepily.
"yeah…" he quietly said as he read his own message. "Jenny says she and my dad are waiting at the loft for me to come back."
"guess they didn't realize the intervention already went down." She smiled through half open eyelids.
Dan grabbed her arms and pulled her out of the cab. "oh no you don't go passing out on the street. I thought Waldorf had class." He mused.
"we also don't hold liquor well." She leaned against his side.
Dan paid the taxi driver.
"Humphrey, why are you letting your cab go?" Blair asked out of the blue as if she had just realized where she was.
"because I'm not taking a taxi to Brooklyn."
"oh yeah, you like the porky ride under the ground." She laughed.
"that, and you are not capable of getting upstairs right now on your own."
Quickly a doorman opened up the front door and shook his head at Blair's state. Dan smiled tightly while supporting Blair into the elevator.
The doors opened to a quiet house. The lights were dimmed in the hallway making it harder to navigate.
"Dorota? Ms. Waldorf?" Dan called out to the darkness.
"not home cabbage…"
"patch, cabbage patch is the word you're looking for." He said as he hauled her over to the stairs. He knew she wasn't going to make it up them easily.
"Up we go Waldorf." He said as he took her by surprise and swept her up in one swift movement.
Inside he was laughing at his current situation. He was carrying his enemy in his arms. Not only was he carrying her, but also he was now entering the famous bedroom.
He sat her down on the side of her bed while she unclasped her arms from around his neck. He sat beside her and pulled her heels off one by one.
"who knew." She muttered.
"who knew what?" he asked.
"you." She smiled lazily.
"you need to go to sleep." He stated.
"and you need to go back to your family so they can yell at you." She laughed.
Dan cringed. He was trying to prolong his death sentence. He knew how bad he had treated his family in the past week.
"might just have to knock on the Vanessa house of runaways. Though she'd most likely rat me out. I've been quite shitty to her." He said more to himself.
Blair took her headband off and threw it across the floor. She began removing her jewelry as well. Dan cleared his throat and stood to move to the door.
"wait." She said and stood up slowly. She walked towards him and opened the door to her room.
"you felt the need to kick me out properly?" he asked confused by her actions.
"no. come." She demanded and walked into the hall. She went to the door next to her bedroom. She opened the handle and revealed an open space with a bed. He looked in and then back at her face.
"I don't understand." He said.
"Oh Humphrey you are so…precious." She pulled at his cheek, which got a wide-eyed expression out of him. "I'm letting you stay here to avoid the storm hovering over Brooklyn tonight. Think of it as a thank you for punching Carter." She smiled.
"He did deserve it." Dan said. They both gazed at the other one. Both thinking the same thing. Serena.
Neither knew what to say, but it was clear they both were thinking about how to confront their friend. Blair's anger was now being replaced by sadness for the fact that her friend had been neglecting to trade stories as of late. Carter's harsh words came flooding back.
"goodnight Dan." She said quietly.
"goodnight Blair." He said while watching her eyes glaze over before she left him standing in the open doorway.
I also know that this chapter(?) part(?) came out a bit differently than the previous one, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. The first part had been floating around in my head so long that when I went to write this I had no idea where it was going to end up. It could be another part of a standalone in a way, but who knows. I think it deserves another chapter. What about you?
Thanks to everyone who read this and reviewed my last one. You all are so lovely! This continuation is for you!
PS: did everyone see the Dair WTF promo for season 3 with the headbands??? That made my day today!