Title: So Damn Beautiful

Author: fading_tales
Pairing: Chuck/Blair/Carter
Disclaimer: I do not own Gossip Girl or any characters, they belong to the CW and Cecily von Ziegesar.

Rating: PG-13
Summary: Because Chuck and Blair are nothing if not dramatic. Because I Love You's don't equal to a Happily Ever After. Because she's so damn beautiful. Because he wants it all. Future fic.

A/N: My first attempt at a multi-chaptered fic. I always thought the Chuck/Blair/Carter storyline was cut too short in season 2. The fic takes place in the future so any episodes that have been aired are game. I did start writing this before season 3 started, however, so I'm going to ignore the Serena/Carter storyline. Any comments/reviews are love! I'm also in need of a beta reader so if anyone's interested let me know!

Prologue

There are many things the people of high society associate with Blair Waldorf.

The first thing that comes to mind is that she is the long-time girlfriend of one Chuck Bass. She is the hostess of a great many sophisticated soirees and head chair for various charitable organizations. All this she does while working as head of Waldorf Designs. She is happy.

Of all the things society thinks of when they think of Blair Waldorf, happiness cannot be further from the truth.

Chapter One

So much time had passed since she had last been in New York City. It's an odd déjà-vu type of feeling to see nostalgic landscapes of youth and have foreign images of herself plastered all over them.

It amused her to reminisce over a time when she was stiff and shy in front of the camera. Now she could give even Serena a run for her money. Of course since Serena was also an employee at Waldorf Designs it would not be prudent to compete with one's own model.

As if thoughts of the golden haired goddess summoned her, the lovely Serena Van der Woodsen herself manifested in front of the limo door just as she arrived at the doorstep of her childhood home.

"Welcome back, B!" Serena exclaims with delight as Blair steps out of the limo and into her open arms.

"S!"

Of all the things that she has missed of the sleepless city, the leggy blonde who was currently squeezing the air from her lungs ranks high on the list.

"It's great to have you back in the city. I haven't seen you since that last photo shoot we did in Milan ages ago."

"I know. I've missed you."

"I'm glad you're finally back. What could I ever do without you?"

"Which reminds me, you still have to do that fitting with Enrique at eight tomorrow morning, so don't party too much tonight," Blair warns while fussing around with her blackberry.

"Argh! On again about work! Must you be such a workaholic? As if I don't have to deal with Chu—"

Serena stops herself abruptly from her rant on work ethics or lack thereof as she notices how her friend had stiffened by the mention of her stepbrother, Manhattan's notorious Bass-illionaire.

Blair is suddenly reminded of all the years of weariness that had took her from the Upper East Side in the first place. If Serena Van der Woodsen ranked on the top of her 'Things I Miss in New York' list, then Chuck Bass would most definitely be at the bottom. The fact that he's on the list at all is irrelevant. At least that's what she tells herself.

"B, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to mention him. You just got back and I just don't know what I was thinking…" Serena trails off as Blair quickly fixes her composure.

"It's fine," she was with a grin that is more like a grimace, "It's all ancient history now."

She struggles to regain hold on her slipping mask of serenity.

"How is he anyways?"

"Oh, you know…buried in his work as usual. I don't think I've even seen him outside of his office at all this week. That might also be attributed to the fact that they just started posting up all the new ads for Waldorf Designs around the city on Monday," Serena suggests.

Blair tried not to dwell on the thought that pictures of her all over New York City could influence a certain bass-tard to stay cooped up in his office.

"Well, I thought the Upper East Side might have been getting sick of seeing your blonde mug all the time. I thought it was time to change it up a little with a brunette instead," Blair retorts flippantly, giving Serena a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

"And what better brunette bombshell model out there than our very own Blair Waldorf?"

"Adriana Lima had contract issues with Victoria Secret and it was just chaos in the casting session. So I thought if you want something done right, you might as well do it yourself," Blair proudly proclaims with a smug, self-satisfied smile.

Serena laughs and hooks her arms through Blair's. Some things just don't change and Serena was glad Blair managed to keep her snarkiness intact despite the time and distance apart. The day Blair Waldorf is without her scathing wit is the day the world as Serena Van der Woodsen knew it has come to an end.

"Let's go get some dinner, super girl!"

xoxo

The digital clock on his desk reads: 4:29am.

Chuck Bass rubs his eyes and peers out the window behind him, noticing that already the night was no longer quite as dark as he remembered the last time he checked the time. Another all-nighter. They have been his constant companion the last few days. He's been in his office for so long, he's not sure he remembered how the outside air smells like anymore. But then he remembers he's in New York so the outside air can't be that amazing that he should miss it.

Chuck once again rubs his sore eyes and reaches for the coffee pot only to find that it is empty. He sighs and motions to buzz Arlene to get him a new pot of coffee only to remember it's four in the fucking morning. He heaves another sigh and grabs his jacket. Maybe a short walk to the nearby 24/7 grocery would clear the headache he's had since Monday. Can you call it a headache when the pain is in your chest?

Chuck likes to ignore such nagging thoughts.

xoxo

Serena is late for her eight o'clock fitting and the designer is having a hissy fit. It has not been a very good morning for one Blair Waldorf.

She hates the uncertainty.

Blair calls Serena, again, and again it goes to voicemail. In the middle of leaving an elaborate threat, the lovely blonde in question stumbles into the studio.

"B! I know I'm late! I'm so sorry! I—"

Her tirades of excuses come to an abrupt stop as Blair switches from being super girl to super bitch in the time span of two seconds. The staff trip over themselves to get into order.

"Enrique! Quit your sniveling and get this fitting started! S! Strip! And make it snappy. We have only 5 days left till the runway show, people! Let's move it!"

She likes the control.

xoxo

The fitting finished on schedule thanks to Blair's merciless supervision, allowing the two friends exactly 15 minutes for an early lunch before Serena had a go-see.

"Blair! Pause for a second, I need to tell you why I was late."

"It's alright, S. I should've known better than to schedule an 8 o'clock anything for you. Let's just go grab a salad next door, you have that meeting with Zac Posen's people at 11:30… even if he is competition," Blair spares a quick glower at Serena before becoming once again absorbed with her phone, "Besides, I need a new mole in there… the last one was disastrously incompetent. If Posen thinks he can steal two of my designers away from me and get away with it, he has another thing coming."

If Blair Waldorf was a pro at scheming in her high school days, by now she was the grand high master.

"B! Will you stop playing with your phone and listen to me for a sec?"

Serena accentuates her seriousness by snatching Blair's phone out of her hands mid-text.

"What is it?!" Blair cries out exasperatedly, an indignant look on her face and her hands on her hips. Every pore of her being screamed 'super bitch mode' and despite the warning signs, Serena remain adamant on gaining the feisty brunette's full attention.

"A particular photographer has followed you from Europe. And I'm not talking about your stepbrother, Aaron."

To say Blair was shocked would be an understatement. Various emotions chased themselves across her face. What ended up winning the race was rage.

"Carter Baizen is in town?! Why didn't you tell me sooner?!"

If Blair had a list of reasons for why she left Europe, Carter Baizen would be at the top. However, by now she has too many lists to count and so Carter had been pushed to the farthest corner in the back of her mind.

"I tried! You're the one too busy plotting against Zac Posen to even listen!" Serena declares with an eye roll.

"Who, what, when, where, why?!" Blair demands.

"I saw him meeting with Stella from the marketing department when I was heading here from the office. Maybe he's checking out how his handiwork turned out. I overhead Stella saying that the ads have been getting pretty good responses from the public… How does marketing even figure out what the public likes? Do they do those random surveys or something?"

Let it be Serena who becomes distracted over marketing techniques in the middle of an important conversation.

"Serena! Focus! Give me all the information you got. The last thing I need to deal with on top of Zac Posen trying to sabotage my runway show is Carter Baizen stalking me."

"We're not getting that salad are we?" Serena states more than questions, her eyebrows quirked in non-amusement.

"You're a model. You're not supposed to eat. Now dish! For lack of a better term," Blair replies tartly.

xoxo

Unlike Chuck, Carter has always been very direct in his pursuits. So, she had been avoiding going back to the office all day because that would be the first place he'd go look for her. But, the day fades away and eventually she has to go back to her office to finish up some paperwork to secure the venue for the runway show.

She wasn't surprised when he was there waiting for her. That knowledge does not erase her irritation.

"Hello, beautiful."

The complimentary words are met with a glare that seemed to proclaim the end of days.

"What? Not glad to see me, Waldorf?" Carter says with an arrogant smirk, making himself comfortable in Blair's leather chair.

"Carter. I can't say that I am. What are you doing here? The last time I checked you had at least three full months booked with shooting assignments in Prague and London."

"I managed to move things around," he answers with a nonchalant shrug, "especially when I heard you were heading back to the states. New York is so beautiful this time of the year isn't it? Of course, its beauty can't hold a candle to yours…" he says with a seductive smile.

"I thought I was clear the last time we spoke that that thing we had between us was over."

She ignores the flicker of hurt in his eyes. She shouldn't have worried. He's Carter fucking Baizen, so he recovers quickly and the mask of bravado is back on.

"Ouch. You sure know how to hurt a man's ego, Waldorf."

"Well I thought yours was so big a bit a deflation couldn't hurt."

She's made her bed, so now she's going to sleep in it. Or not sleep in it, not with Carter Baizen anyways.

"You know…it's funny. You ran away from Bass because of his inability to have a serious relationship and yet now asking you to move in together is too much? I just don't know how you please you," Carter sighs, shaking his head.

Despite his teasing tone the words are a little too sharp for comfort. She reprimands herself for the stab in her chest, but she's not Blair Waldorf for nothing.

"You can please me by getting out of my chair and out of my office," Blair bites out.

"I can think of another way of pleasing you…" Carter answers with smirk.

The lecherous remark reminds her too much of another brown haired bad boy and stirs up unwelcomed memories of similar words in a similar setting and a wholly different reaction. It must be the city, because such memories have not invaded her thoughts for a long while.

Carter catches the flinch she tries to hide and makes his way to her side.

"Carter –"

"No, you don't get to talk anymore. Every time you want to talk it ends up badly for me so I'm going to talk and you're going to listen."

The joking manner of which he's held up to now has disappeared. It is replaced with such solemn gravity that she wishes he would maintain the lighthearted mocking façade he had kept up when she first walked into her office.

"You can't run away this time. You have to stay here and hear it."

His words echo the ones she once spoke of and she can feel herself unraveling.

"I told you I was in it for the long haul and I am," he says as he takes her hands in his, his eyes reads sincerity loud and clear. At the moment she wishes she was blind.

"I love you, Blair Waldorf."