Love is eternal.

That is its terror and its final beauty.

The joy may go out of it, and, in time, even the pain may end.

But it lingers like a living thing and follows you every moment of your life.

-Alice Borchardt-

"Yes," she whimpers, lifting her hips to meet his thrusts. "Oh my God, yes."

She's close. Almost painfully close. Hovering on the edge, really. All she needs is for him to stroke just a fraction harder, or deeper, or faster and she'll be there.

Legs wrapped around his waist, hands clutching his ass, urging him on, she purrs encouragingly, "Please, baby, please."

In response, he lowers his head and captures one of her nipples between his lips, sucking the tawny peak into his mouth and lapping at it with his tongue while he continues to slide in and out of her slick heat. She arches into the sensation, moaning low in her throat as she thrashes her head upon the pillows.

And then his driving rhythm into her tight sheath falters once, twice, his muscles tensing as he loses the battle to hold back, to wait for her to go before he does, and abandoning his last shred of restraint as he climaxes, he shouts hoarsely and pounds into her one final time with enough force to give her what she'd been craving and she comes undone beneath him with a rush of warmth and a raking of nails.

"Chuck!" Blair cries in ecstasy, her tone buoyant and joyful, her every nerve ending electric.

And before her last spasm of pleasure even starts to wane, he withdraws abruptly, rolling off her and onto his back.

For a long minute, both of them gasp for breath and stare fixedly at the ceiling in silence, neither willing to be the first to acknowledge the gigantic elephant that had just dropped into the room with the subtlety of an atom bomb. An elephant by the name of Chuck Bass, because despite what she had exclaimed when she'd came, the guy who'd brought her there and is now currently laying beside her amid the tangled blankets is not Chuck Bass, but Nate Archibald.

Since the last time they had been together nearly a year ago, Nate's prowess between the sheets has improved. Seems being a kept man for the Duchess had honed his technique. But although he can now make her orgasm with regularity, he is still no match for his onetime BFF, who can, with an intense look and a few choice words, have her wet and practically sobbing for release before her clothes ever come off. The smug bastard doesn't even have to touch her to set her aflame, and while she has always enjoyed being intimate with Nathaniel, now more so than ever, her traitorous body knows the difference and has a terrible tendency to make its preference known at the most inopportune times.

Like when she peaks with her boyfriend, for instance.

"Nate, I'm sorry," she whispers, turning onto her side to peer at him. "It... It just - "

"Slipped out," he finishes, his voice devoid of emotion, his eyes remaining on the ceiling rather than meeting her apologetic gaze. "I know."

"It was involuntary," she stresses. "It didn't mean anything."

"I know that too," he replies in the same detached manner. "It still doesn't make me feel any better."

"Nate, don't get upset," she pleads, touching his shoulder hesitantly, wishing he would do something other than just lie there like an unyielding stone. Even anger would be better than this. "It was an accident," she soothes rapidly. "I didn't do it deliberately, and I swear I am not thinking of him when I'm with you. I don't want him that way anymore. I want you."

Slowly, he rotates his face to search her eyes. "Do you Blair?" he asks with deadly calm. "Do you really?"

"Of course I do!" she laughs, reaching out to cradle his cheek. "Why would you even ask that?"

"Because this isn't the first time you said his name," Nate snarls suddenly, jerking away from her gentle caresses. "And I doubt it will be the last, and call me paranoid but I have a feeling you're not being entirely honest with yourself!" With a derisive snort, he sits up and tears his fingers through his sandy blonde hair. "Neither of you are," he adds bitterly.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" Blair bristles, instantly defensive.

"Just that whenever you are around each other anymore, it's like the rest of the world ceases to exist and there's only Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck."

"That's not true," she denies, forcing herself not to glance away from Nathaniel's probing stare.

"Yes, it is," he grinds out through clenched teeth. Then a look of pain crosses his handsome features and all the fight goes out of him. "As much as I hate to admit it, it is," he sighs. "And I can't compete with that."

Scooting across the mattress, Blair wraps her arms around him and brings his face to hers for a kiss. "You don't have to," she murmurs afterwards. "I made my decision and I chose you. Always have. Always will."

He brushes a stray curl behind her ear, smiling at her sadly. "For how long Blair?" he inquires. "Until Chuck beckons? Until he says he wants you again?"

"I do not want Chuck," she asserts. "And Chuck does not want me, Nate. Not anymore. He said so himself."

And he had, she thinks with a twinge of something like regret. She'd offered herself to him, had begged him to take her, and he had turned her down flat, claiming she wasn't herself, that she wasn't the Blair he wanted. And when she'd stalked away, that Basstard, that MotherChucker who supposedly cared hadn't even bothered to follow her. He'd let her go again, at the time she needed him most, and it had been Nate, her white knight Nate, who had come to her rescue, who'd stopped her downward spiral, who'd made sure she'd gotten home safely, and when she'd offered herself to him, he hadn't rejected her. He'd held her close and told her she was beautiful and made her feel wanted and safe. And that was that. Goodbye heartache and misery and Basshole who couldn't commit or say 'I love you.' She'd reunited with Nathaniel and hadn't looked back. When one has a golden boy, who needs a dark prince?

Interrupting her thoughts, Nate speaks again. "Chuck doesn't know what he wants," he says emphatically, disentangling himself from her embrace. "And neither do you. That's the entire problem."

"I do too know what I want! I do!" she protests petulantly, not caring that she sounds very much like a child at the moment instead of a young woman about to embark on life after high school, a life where one day she will be an Archibald instead of a Bass. Not that she'd ever considered being a Bass in the first place.

"I wish I believed that," Nate continues, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and picking his discarded pile of clothes up off the floor.

"Nate, please don't go," she begs as he shrugs into his sweater and starts to step into his trousers. "Stay. Lay back down. Cuddle with me. Let me fix this."

He stops, his fly halfway zipped. "You want to fix it? Then talk to him Blair. Talk to Chuck."

"I don't see how that - "

"Whatever this thing between the two of you is, get it out in the open and settle it once and for all, because quite honestly, I don't know how much more of it I can take."

With that parting shot, Nate walks out of her room, and Blair is left gaping after him, clutching the covers to her nakedness, feeling quite positive that her fairytale romance is going to end like those of the Brothers' Grimm rather than the happily ever after Disney equivalent unless she does something to save it very soon.

And if that something has to involve a discussion with a certain seventeen year old billionaire with incredible stamina, so be it. It isn't like one conversation will change anything. Chuck Bass is ancient history, and this is one instance where history is not going to repeat itself.