He's often recognized by the more intellectual people in New York. He enjoys the praise, though he is increasingly modest with every gasp of acknowledgment. "You're Daniel Abrams!" they exclaim in awe, fumbling as if he's a celebrity.
He shakes his head and smiles softly. "Yeah."
His first book, Champagne and Sunshine, made it to the best-sellers list within a month or two of its release. He hesitated before he had put his pen name there: Daniel Abrams.
He wishes they call him Dan Humphrey, now; somehow his legal name doesn't sound right.
He doesn't know why he took Vanessa's name in marriage. He wants to believe it was because he loves her, and wants to wear the name with pride.
But he's not proud of it - and in the deepest recesses of his mind, he knows exactly why he took her name.
He'd simply wanted to prove he was over her. The girl he wrote about in his best-seller.
Denial, he tells himself, should be a sin.
In grace and essence, there she stood; and never once had I contemplated her to be anything but beauty and benign words, with a flashy smile and long, curling blonde locks. Never once had I seen her as foul or horrid, though my words, harsh and judgmental and cruel, said as such. I'd lost her, but the collection in my memories still remained. She is there, holding my hand and smiling at me, always with her blue eyes shining and her skin glowing with sunshine and champagne.
"Congratulations, Dan," she whispers in a soft undertone, voice hesitant, almost uneasy. It's the first time she ever takes the time to visit.
He cannot answer - he is left staring, mouth agape in wonderment and awe, dark eyes wide with shock and surprise. "S-Serena," he manages to choke out, wishing desperately to reach out to her. "I..."
"Did you write that about me?" she inquires in a breathy murmur, blue gaze touched with sorrow.
Unable to speak, unable to comprehend, he manages to nod, swallowing down the huge lump forming in his throat. "Yes," he whispers. Then repeats it, louder, "Yes. Serena, I can't -"
"Thank you," she tells him sincerely. She gives him a sad smile, a fleeting moment of kindness, before she nods quietly and is gone.
In his book, he remembers, he'd ran after her, shouting her name. In his book, he touched her hand with his, pulled her to him, and promised he would never let her go.
In reality, he watches her leave and returns to his home where Vanessa says something like, "I love you," and he doesn't answer because all he can see is her.
"Wait!" I shouted desperately; I couldn't just let her go, not after everything. She did not yield her unrelenting steps, not once, her heels clicking softly on the tile floor. "Wait, don't go!" I cried out, and without inhibitions, I ran after her, footsteps thumping harshly. I reached out with one hand, brushed her fingers, tugging her to me. "Please," I whispered, pulling her to me suddenly and gathering her in my embrace. I breathed deeply into the cloud of her blonde hair. "Don't. I'm not ever letting you go."
How can he just let her go?