It was the way he looked, she decided. The adrenaline had still been running thick in her veins and it was the way that those steady, slanting dark eyes had rested on her, drinking her in – Blair had never seen Chuck look at anyone like that before, regard anyone or even anything as an entity with more worth than a mere object.

It was the way she tasted, he decided. That first kiss had almost been a mistake, a footstep to a darker pleasure: sweet, forbidden. But something so enjoyable had no right to end up like this – as butterflies in his stomach, as the whirling in his brain, as the way every voice he heard seemed to shout Blair Blair Blair!

It had been like a ritualistic dance between them – one pushing forward as the other stepped back, never both to come together at the same time, never to understand what it meant to love and be loved simultaneously. And all because Blair loved Nate – or at least thought she did. She knew that she should. She knew that she could, if she tried.

Things were breaking and smashing in Chuck's mind. His world was suddenly painted in shades of drab and dismal because he'd sent her away, and because nothing and no one could comfort him. He knew it was driving him insane as he searched the bedsheets for a last whiff of her perfume; bewitching and bittersweet as love itself.

Three words.

Eight letters.

Two selfish, egotistical, masochistic, sadistic people whose only redeeming factor was the love that they had for each other – the ability to take things at face value and yet to understand what lay beneath layers and layers of frippery and farce. But still they weren't together, and it actually, physically hurt. They were both so strong, so dominant and stubborn – and thereby neither surrendered. Neither could admit it, say the simple words, speak the syllables that could and would and should bind them together.

I love you, Chuck Bass. I love you with every single fibre in my imperfect, inadequate being.

I love you, Blair Waldorf. I love you with each and every piece of the heart I never knew I had.

But I can't.

And I won't.

Ain't life a bitch?