Let the Games Begin

Chapter One

"So, has this date lived up to your expectations?" Chuck asked.

It was their fifth date, though the first that had actually run according to plan. The last few forays into public had been rather unsuccessful—well, from a certain point of view.

The first "date" had been an appearance at a charity fund-raiser hosted by the Colony Club; Blair had taken Chuck along after receiving an invitation, ready to daringly shove her new "piece of work" boyfriend in the Club's snooty argyle faces. But Chuck and Blair had only lasted 15 minutes before disappearing from the bore-fest to their waiting limo. While getting all dressed up and parading triumphantly around were all well and good, having her boyfriend first undress her with his eyes, and then with his hands, was even better.

Their second "date" had been a weekend stay at the Archibalds' Hampton beach house. Nate was in Europe and his mother was visiting the Vanderbilt family home, so Chuck had gotten permission and was determined to experience the Hamptons the way they should have been experienced with Blair last summer. The only trouble was that the couple had hardly left the house. Or the private beach on the property. After returning to the city, Blair had complained of all the sand that had gotten in her hair…and Chuck had promised to help her get it all out in the shower back at home. And he thoroughly kept his promise.

The third outing had been an attempted regular dinner and drinks at Butter, but when the club somehow screwed up their reservation, the duo had ditched their evening plans for a more…full-filling pastime in Chuck's suite.

Their fourth "date" had involved a shopping outing in the middle of the day. The browse through accessories went flawlessly: an added bow tie and scarf on his side, a matching headband and clutch on hers. But they'd never made it to actual outerwear—once Chuck had convinced Blair to try on lingerie, he'd taken one look, bought it all on the spot, and they'd raced out of Barneys so fast that the revolving door was still spinning as the limo sped off.

So all in all, the fact that they'd lasted this long tonight without slipping up to the roof to rip each other's clothes off was a feat in and of itself. Gossip Girl would be proud. This time they'd lasted through a whole dinner. With other people in the room. In comparison with the previous attempts, this date was running perfectly.

Across the table, Blair pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Drinks, dinner…and actually leaving the bedroom for once," she said, counting the points off on her fingers. "The only thing missing is dancing." She nodded to the dance floor and raised an eyebrow. "What do you say, Bass?"

Chuck leered good-naturedly. "Feeling you up in public—one of my favorite pastimes," he said, standing up and offering her his hand. "How could I possibly say no?"

Blair accepted his help and stood up, their bodies inches apart. She met his eyes, a challenge lurking under the surface. "I have to go powder my nose," she said. "But after that, dancing? And can you try and behave?"

"For you? I suppose I can manage it." He leaned in, his lips grazing her cheek before he whispered in her ear, "But you'll have to make it up to me."

Blair unsuccessfully tried to repress a shiver as he backed away. Her insides were molten just at the gravely tone of his voice. She gave him a hot look. "Get me another drink and I'll make it worth your while," she promised.

"Your wish is my command, my Queen." Chuck nodded his head, taking the martini glass from Blair's hand, his fingers intentionally brushing hers.

She shot him a bright smile, grabbed her purse, and headed off to the ladies' room, her perky ass looking utterly delectable in her form-fitting, bright red Waldorf original dress. Chuck offered a silent thanks to Eleanor for creating such wonderful clothes.

Snatching his scotch glass from the table, Chuck made his way to the bar, unable to keep a small, satisfied smile off his face. He could hardly remember ever being in such a good mood, especially for so long. It was early July and they'd been together for over a month. And he could hardly remember why it had been such an ordeal to get together in the first place—they just fit. From this side of the relationship line, there was no reason for them not to be together. Blair understood him—and accepted him—in ways that no one else did, not even Nate. They were Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck; a perfectly matched pair.

"Scotch, no ice. And a dirty martini," he said, after signaling the bartender. The drinks arrived quickly and Chuck glanced over at the doors to the bathrooms, but didn't see Blair.

A hand appeared, claiming the martini sitting next to Chuck's elbow.

"You know," a voice said, "a man's never ordered me a drink without even saying hello before."

Chuck took her in: endless tan legs, sculpted shoulders, salon blonde hair, and a D-cup rack. Nothing he hadn't had before—and nothing he wanted.

She took a long sip from the martini. She was plastered. Or certainly on her way there.

"Excuse me?" he asked politely.

Her lips parted and she took a somewhat wobbly step closer, leaning in so that their arms brushed "accidentally."

"Aren't you Chuck Bass?" she asked, her eyes widening a little.

Chuck nodded, checking his watch. Dealing with a drunken flirt was not on his agenda tonight. "Yes," he said in a flat voice. "And that drink is actually for my girlfriend."

The blonde's lips twisted in amusement. "Please," she said, waving the drink in her hand. "Chuck Bass doesn't do girlfriends. Everyone knows that." She giggled. "Unless it's someone else's girlfriend."

Chuck certainly did remember a time when he spouted such sayings proudly, when those very words had most likely dropped from his lips with a conceited smirk. Boasting about his lack of real relationships, his many conquests, and his philosophy of sex, drugs, and revenge had really occupied his time. A time when selfish desires ruled his world. Chuck Bass didn't have a girlfriend—Chuck Bass didn't want a girlfriend. Chuck Bass didn't date. Chuck Bass scored. Hard. Every night with someone different. He never fucked between the same legs twice.

Until Blair.

"Even I'm not drunk enough to believe that one," the girl continued. She sent him a flashy smile. "I noticed a limo outside. It's yours, isn't it?"

"I wasn't aware that my transportation of choice was known by common Lower West Siders," Chuck said scathingly.

His tone was lost on the blonde. "Don't you want to take me for a ride in it?" she asked playfully. She ran a finger down his chest. Her breath smelled strongly of the gin she'd just inhaled from Blair's now empty martini glass, and her cheap, fruity perfume was so…common. "I can be very good company." She let out a giggle, throwing an arm around his neck. "Or very bad company. Whatever you want."

Chuck tried to disentangle himself from her grasp. "Listen, I'm waiting for someone—"

"Well, it looks like you found someone, doesn't it?" she asked breathily, her face aiming for his.

Chuck dodged her glossed lips, rather frustrated at the way she clung to him. "I'm serious, I'm waiting for my girlfriend," he insisted.

"And I told you, that trick doesn't work on me. Stop playing hard to get, Bass," she pouted. "I know you'll screw anything in a skirt. And I happen to be wearing a skirt." She lowered her voice in a way she no doubt thought was sexy but just made her sound whiny. "And I could really use a good fuck."

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Blair's voice cried.

Chuck's eyes shot to his girlfriend. Blair stood a few feet away, hands on her hips, her eyes narrowing as they zeroed in on the way the blonde was pressing herself against him.

"Blair," he started to explain, unhooking the blonde's arm from around his neck and pulling away. "I didn't—"

"I leave you for five minutes, Bass, and you've already got a girl crawling all over you?" Blair interrupted, her voice hard. She raised an eyebrow. "I thought you said you were going to behave?"

"Well I tried," Chuck bit out darkly, straightening his jacket. "She wouldn't back off."

"Let me guess," the blonde simpered, looking between them. "You're the girlfriend, right?"

Blair glared at her. "Yes, in fact, I am. And the guy you were just throwing yourself at is my boyfriend. But you must have known that."

"She did," Chuck said.

The blonde simply smiled. "Let me give you some advice: No one can hold down Chuck Bass, so you may as well give up now."

Chuck and Blair stared at the blonde.

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news," she continued, "but he was all over me. He even bought me a drink and wouldn't stop talking about his limo. So I guess you're over." She shrugged her shoulders in a completely fake gesture of female sympathy. "He doesn't want you any more."

Chuck could sense the storm clouds brewing. He was almost surprised he couldn't see them above Blair's head.

"Actually, no one else can hold down Chuck Bass," Blair sneered, her face hard in anger. "I'm Blair Waldorf. I can. And I don't need to hold him down, anyway. I'm not afraid he's going to run away." She took a step closer to the girl at the bar. "So you might as well give up now, because Chuck Bass is off the market. And even if he was still single, he wouldn't lower himself to sleep with a tipsy made-over Barbie doll who doesn't know Manolo Blahnik from Jimmy Choo. And who the hell throws themselves at a guy they know is taken, anyway?" Blair cried. "Did you think he'd just cheat on me and I wouldn't find out? We're at the same fucking club! Together!"

"Guys cheat all the time," the blonde said cattily. "And I know your boyfriend's reputation. Besides, he ordered me a drink first. I didn't do anything wrong."

"Slut." Blair took Chuck's drink from his hand. "That drink you guzzled was for me." Blair tipped the glass and poured the scotch down the front of the blonde's pink dress. "And this is what you get for trying to steal someone else's man."

"This is couture!" the blonde shrieked, grabbing her dress.

A long, wet patch covered her front. It would stain. Chuck felt oddly proud of his little vixen's revenge.

"It's a knock off," Blair said nastily. "Just like you."

And with that, Blair slid her hand into Chuck's, turned on her heel, and marched toward the door, the small crowd that had gathered parting for the couple's exit.