Title: La Belle et La Bête
Summary: Lady Blair Waldorf has been wed to Lord Charles Bass. She knows little of him since he has been kept in his castle by his father practically all his life. Others tell her he is an awful man. Then how has she fallen in love with him? (Historical CB Series)
A/N: So this has taken forever and I am very sorry. There will be more time to talk at the end. I hope you enjoy the Epilogue of LBELB.
P.S. If you have been watching Blair's fashion in this story, you will see that it has changed and matured quite a bit in this one. Find the links on my fanfiction profile page.
The Opera House was filling up quickly on another rainy night in London. Only the wealthy aristocrats had come out to play on such a night. It was a joyous setting, especially given what was going on with the rest of the world. As the last carriage pulled up people inside began to quiet down. It was not time for the show to start, but the always-awaited guests to arrive.
The men stood back, prepared to admire. The women gathered in small groups to converse.
"Did you hear that she has three children at home now? They are all rather handsome too. Though a woman can only wonder how one came to have such fair hair," a woman whispered, sounding suspicious.
The other frowned, having some confusion. "Darling, you must be mistaken. Which child are you speaking of?"
The other nodded her head. "The eldest, a daughter. I believe they call her Abby," she answered.
The woman next to her then laughed. "Do not tell me you haven't heard? Abby is not their child, not by birth at least. Honestly, they adopted her ages ago," she recalled. She was much older than most of the women there.
"I was not aware. I suppose some gossip dies out after a while," the younger one replied, shrugging her shoulders.
The elder woman nodded. "Yes. Yes, I suppose it does," she said to herself.
The doors then opened and the announcer, who proclaimed when each guest arrived, prepared his staff. He banged it against the marble floors three times. "Announcing the arrival of Lord and Lady Charles Bass and their daughter Abigail," he called out.
The crowd silenced as the couple entered the room.
Always first, everyone's eyes were immediately drawn to Lady Blair Bass. She was younger than her husband, but still older. Never did she show even the years that had passed though. Her skin was still fair, soft, and beautiful. Her ruby lips had not faded to a light pink, as many women's did. Her doe brown eyes were still dark brown as was her even longer curly hair. The only thing that changed most about her was her girlish figure. She was now a woman. Her hips were not unattractively large, but they were childbearing hips. Her figure was curvier. It was clear she no longer starved herself to be rail thin, thanks to her husband no doubt. She was a woman who belonged in a Renaissance painting. Someone Titian or Rafael would have loved to paint.
After one could pry their eyes from Lady Bass, they noticed her husband. He was older than his wife and time had aged him some, but he remained handsome. His hair was darker, but he had a few specs of gray growing around his face. He also had a modest scruff against his pale skin that had only a few wrinkles. Over all, he was a classic fine looking man. He was the type of man that even when he aged more he would still be nice to look at. His wife certainly thought so.
They were smitten with each other, as always. Lady Bass had her husband's full care and attention. He looked at no other woman in her presence, or out of it, which he never was. At her side always, he kept a protective, but sweet hold on her. She was undoubtedly the only love of his life.
"I cannot believe they still stare at us," Blair mused, shaking her head. She was not angry. It did not faze her anymore. Sure the occasional rumor came back every once in a while, but most of them had died out. Plus, she had her hands full with being a wife and mother. There were more important things to worry about.
Chuck smirked, "Not us, love. They stare at you, like they always have. I'm he most envied man in England for having you as my wife." He kissed her cheek, closing his eyes as he breathed in her delicious scent.
She smiled, not at his words, but his actions. She had to admit that she relished at the fact her husband still held such passion for her.
"Excuse me, Father… Mother," Abby said, coming between them. She hurried across the room, holding up her gown, as she found her Prince in the crowd. Only her Prince was actually a Prince, Prince Raphael. He was visiting her from England that night.
Chuck took hold of Blair again, but kept his eyes on Abby. Eyes narrowed and lips pursed. "I thought their friendship was going to fade with time," he remarked.
Blair giggled, "It would, had they not been so fond of each other. Honestly though Darling, Abby is a young woman now. When she wants to go, we will have to let her." Her tone became more serious and she gave her husband a stern look.
He scoffed, "And what reason would she have to leave? I am her father and she will stay at home as long as I see fit. Also, it is not likely Raphael will take her as a Princess. He lives in Italy, Blair."
"He is not a Prince in line to be King and according to him he can do whatever he wants. He is quite the mischievous little devil, reminds me of someone else I know," Blair hinted, kinking her eyebrows.
"Well it appears you two have spoke without me then?" Chuck assumed. He tried not to take on a tone with her, but it was growing hard. He was not ready for Abby to leave. In his eyes, she was still a little girl. Then again, until he looked into a mirror, he still felt like a young man.
Blair shook her head. "You know I would never do that to you, Husband. I know my rights as a wife," she replied, kinking her eyebrows.
He rolled his eyes, smirking. "Perhaps when we first married, but I've long since changed that, Love. We both know that."
"Well I've changed a few things as well, you know," Blair stated proudly as they strode down the hallway. They were headed towards their private booth. Chuck still liked to be alone and that would never change.
Chuck nodded in agreement. "Yes, filling the castle with happy children being one of them." It was such a different atmosphere from when he was growing up.
She giggled, "I think we both know I didn't do that entirely on my own." She gave him a look she reserved for only him.
He chuckled, shaking his head. "People would shun you for speaking like that in public Wife."
She touched his chest, pouting her lips. "But you wouldn't care. You'd just take us somewhere far away, where we could both be shunned together," she whispered, kissing his cheek.
Chuck grinned, "That I would, Love. That I would."
"Just a few more moments, Samuel. Stay still for mama," Blair told her son, gripping his hand. They were out in the gardens, getting a portrait done. She stood, holding onto the two youngest children's hands, Evangeline and Samuel. Abby stood beside her, holding onto Blair's side. Although they were dressed nicely, they were also in casual outwear. Everything was light, a soft pastel color scheme.
"Can we play when we are finished, Mother?" Evangeline asked, pouting her rosy pink lips. She was the first baby Blair bore and she favored both of her parents. She had Blair's small nose and full lips, but Chuck's almond-shaped eyes and straight dark hair.
"Of course, Darling. You mustn't be so rough with Samuel though. He skinned both his knees last time you two played," Blair reminded her. Her tone was scolding, but soft.
Evangeline sighed, "Father said it was alright. Sam was just throwing a fit and being a baby about it. He's a boy. He should be tough."
"I am ta—tough. Te—tell her Mama," Sam stuttered, his eyes watering. He was going to start crying if someone did not intervene. Blair's third and youngest child had been a boy, Samuel. He took mostly after his mother, right down to his curly brown hair.
"We know you are tough, Samuel. Do not cry. It will mess up the painting for father," Abby cut in, smiling some. She watched the relief wash over her mother from the corner of her eye.
"Alright, Lady Bass. It's finished," the painter announced a few moments later. She smiled at the mother and then began to clean up.
Blair sighed in relief and let her posture fall. She let go of Evangeline's hands and was going to let go of Samuel's, but he gripped it tighter as always.
Evangeline pulled away instantly and grabbed Sam's other hand. "Come on. Let's go and play with Prince Edward," she told him, yanking with all her might.
Samuel's face twisted and he shook his head. "No! Leave me alone!" he shouted. He then turned to his mother. "Pick me up, Mama!"
Blair sighed and bent down, hoisting her son on his hip. She then looked to a very irritated Evangeline. "Leave your brother alone, Evie. You know he has not had his midday nap yet," she reminded her daughter.
Abby smiled, touching her younger sister's shoulders. "Yes, come on. I'll play with you, Evie. And Prince Edward, if he'll get up from his nap," she chuckled.
Evangeline sighed, "Fine." She then took hold of Abby's hand and pulled her along, wanting to play in Abby's old cottage playhouse.
Blair smiled, watching them go. She then kissed Samuel's cheek. "You should play with your sister next time. She won't always be willing," she told him.
Samuel only pouted in response and buried his face into his mother's shoulder. She didn't mind though and sat down on a stone bench by the tree. She looked up to see Chuck coming to her with a letter in his hand. Her heart clenched at the thought of what it could be. She prayed it wasn't.
"Chuck—" Blair called out in a breathless voice. There was a look of fear in her eyes for the news she may here.
Chuck shook his head. "Do not get upset, Love." He handed her the letter. "It's from Gabrielle. She has escaped from France with help from insiders in the Revolution. She'll be traveling to America until things come down," he reported.
Blair put a hand on her heart, closing her eyes. "Thank God," she whispered.
Chuck sat down next to her, stroking her back. "She also writes that her friends, the Queen Marie Antoinette and the Princess Lamballe were not so lucky. The Queen has been imprisoned and the Princess—" He paused, looking to Samuel who was also listening.
Blair glanced from her husband to her son. She then picked him up and set him on his feet. "Why don't you go pick some flowers for Mama over there," she suggested, kissing his nose.
"All right, Mama," Sam nodded. He then scurried off, falling to his knees in the dirt, as he began to pick fistfuls of lilacs.
She looked to her husband again. "What happened to the Princess Lamballe? She was such a good friend to the Duchess," she recalled. Gabrielle would always write to Blair, telling stories of her and the Queen. They seemed to have quite fun times.
A dark shadow came over Chuck's face and he lowered his voice. "When they imprisoned the Queen, they brought Lamballe out onto the streets. She was mangled and her head ended up on a post. They held it to the Queen's window, insisting she kiss her lesbian lover's lips," he explained. The story was even gruesome for him.
Blair felt sick to her stomach, bringing a hand to her mouth. She shook her head. "Those people, they're savages," she remarked, astonished.
Chuck touched her arm. "They've been hungry, sick, and neglected for a while Blair. The citizens of France are taking such drastic measures because they see no other option—"
She scoffed, "And not everyone of the Aristocracy is evil. Think if something like that were to happen here. They'd have my head on a post." She was getting worked up.
He shook his head. "We would leave if that ever happened and it wouldn't. The English Monarchy is far better in budget and ruling," he maintained.
"That's why the Americans got independence?" Blair questioned, challenging him.
"Yes, the British were smart enough to let them go. The monarchy works well here, as the democracy in America does as well. The French though—it was all going to hell for quite some time," he reasoned.
"And Lamballe couldn't have changed that—"
"She was friends with the Queen, even accused of having a lesbian relationship. I don't believe she deserved such a death, but I can't change what happened. I can only be thankful with you that Gabrielle is fine. Now, I don't want to see you upset," Chuck expressed. He brought his hand up to her cheek and caressed it.
Blair calmed some and nodded her head slowly. "I don't want to tell Abby how it happened, not yet at least," she sighed.
"Of course," Chuck agreed. He then kissed her on the cheek. "Now, try to get some rest tonight and stop reading the papers. There is nothing we can do and I can't have you faint hearted for our trip to New York."
She smiled, "What do you think it will be like? Do you think we shall like it there?" The New World had been told to be many different things and she was excited to see for herself which one it actually was.
He shrugged, sitting back. "I do not know, Love. Whatever it will be though, we will be happy because we will be together," Chuck reasoned.
She giggled, "And if we absolutely hate it, we still have England. I don't think I could ever fully leave our castles here behind."
"Well I am not selling the land so we certainly cannot," he agreed.
She snuggled up to him, touching his chest. "And I just thought of something else. When we go there, no matter what it's like, no one will know us. Your reputation will be nothing, but wealthy Englishman," she whispered.
He turned to meet her eyes, staring passionately into them. "With a beautiful English wife," Chuck concluded. They kissed.
A/N: So it's over and I kind of feel like crying. What can I say? I wrote this story throughout high school and into college. I've left and entered old and new chapters in my life. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed it. I guess this is goodbye. Thank you so much for reading!