A/N: Hi. Don't hate me. I'm really really sorry that it has taken me so long to update, but this week was crazy for me. This is the last chapter of this story, so I hope you all enjoy it! Thanks to everyone who's been following the story. This was the longest story I've ever done, so hopefully it turned out pretty good. Enjoy!
Nate's arrest for domestic violence that night made headline news not only in New York, but around the country as well.
Chuck, of course, had been hesitant when he had first heard Blair's plan, claiming it was too dangerous and he wasn't willing to put her in harm's way once again. But she had been able to convince him it was the only way to get rid of Nate for good, and when he saw the end result, he realized she had been right.
After the arrest, Blair refused to press charges, despite Chuck and Serena's initial urgings. She said that she did not want to go through a very long, public trial and she just wanted the whole ordeal to be over with. Plus, she knew that even without the trial and conviction Nate's reputation was pretty much destroyed.
But before she dropped the charges, Blair and Chuck met with Nate and his lawyers. They told him that they were willing to let the case go as long as he left the city and never came back. Nate readily agreed, knowing that starting over far away from Chuck and Blair was really his best and only option.
Once the charges had been dropped, Nate stepped down from his position on the city council and released a short, simple statement saying, "The events of the last few days have made me see that I have become a person that I never wanted to be. There is no justification for what I have done and there is no way for me to take it all back. All I can do is ask for forgiveness and work towards becoming the type of person who is worthy of that forgiveness and respect."
Soon after he stepped down, Nate left the country to go work for a friend of his grandfather's in Europe. His departure made it into the news, but by that time, most people were glad to see him go and had turned their attention to Chuck and Blair and their picturesque relationship.
A short time after Nate left and his divorce from Blair became final, Chuck and Blair became engaged. They planned to marry a little over a year later, and as the date approached their wedding became the social event of the season in the city.
In all of the time since everything that had happened with Nate, Chuck and Blair had rarely spoken publicly and when they had, it was never about Nate or what had occurred between him and Blair. But a few weeks before her wedding to Chuck, Blair decided that she would do an interview about the whole ordeal and finally clear the air so she could start fresh with her new husband.
In the nationally televised interview, Blair explained her relationship with Nate, saying that it was never the picture-perfect marriage that the media painted it to be. She smiled politely as she explained, "Our relationship started off good enough. We were never really passionately in love, but we could have ended up happy together. We started dating when we were 14, so obviously things weren't always bad. In the first years of our marriage, Nate was the same as he had always been; kind and docile, and maybe even a bit boring."
Blair laughed softly before her expression sobered, "But when he neared the end of law school, the pressure he was under started to affect him. He-, I don't think he ever really wanted the life he had. He never wanted to go to Dartmouth, but that's where his dad wanted him to go. He never dreamed of being a politician, but that's what his grandfather pushed him to be; that's part of the Vanderbilt legacy. He never even wanted me, not really. Sure, he liked me, and on some level I think he loved me at some point, but our parents had basically been planning our wedding since we were children. We were expected to end up together, even if it wasn't necessarily what we both wanted."
She shook her head sadly as she continued, "Nate had all this pressure on his shoulders to match up to the picture perfect life that was planned out and expected from him. Eventually, that pressure just got to be too much and I-, I think he just felt out of control, so he began to take out his frustration out on me, the one person he felt like he had some power over."
As she recalled the painful memories, tears began to form in Blair's eyes. Seeing her pain, Chuck stepped in front of the camera and sat down next to her, putting an arm around her waist and taking her hand in his. The interviewer handed Blair a tissue as she continued, "At first, it was just verbal stabs, telling me things like I was stupid and useless and ugly, or that I was a burden and I couldn't do anything right. Only after a while did he begin to be more violent. First he would only push or shove me or grab me a bit too roughly, but eventually he started hitting and slapping me and leaving bruises all over my body."
Blair carefully wiped away the tears, doing her best to keep her make up intact, "I always had self-esteem issues from the time I was young, and without any sort of stable support his constant criticism very nearly broke my spirit. I had gotten to the point where I almost believed what he said about me. Don't get me wrong; it didn't happen overnight. It was a gradual process, so even my closest friends didn't realize what was happening until I had basically become a different person. I didn't do a lot of the things I used to love. I didn't go out, I didn't socialize. I became quiet and withdrawn; choosing to stick by Nate's side at dinners and events."
The interviewer gave her a perplexed look, "But how did you keep it a secret from everyone? How did no one know what was happening?"
Blair's lips turned upwards slightly in a forlorn smile, "I was a pro at making everything seem fine, even if it wasn't. I was taught from a young age that when you step out into public it should always be with your head held high and a smile on your face, even if your entire world is crashing down around you." She shook her head as she laughed bitterly, "And Nate, he was a politician, so he obviously had perfected the art of lying and making a good public appearance. We both wore these masks of perfection that no one could see through."
"So what changed?" The interviewer asked, "Did someone finally see through the charade?"
Blair's eyes brightened as she looked at Chuck and squeezed his hand, "Chuck did. He came back from Europe and noticed right away that I was merely a shell of the girl he remembered. He didn't just let it go either, he came back determined to fix things."
She looked at him lovingly as Chuck simply shrugged his shoulders, "I could see it in her eyes. I knew she was unhappy, but I never imagined that things had gotten so bad. Once I realized what the real problem was, I couldn't just let her stay with him."
"He was furious." Blair said with a slight roll of her eyes, though her gratitude was still evident. "At first I wouldn't let him do anything about it. I wanted to avoid the scandal and maintain our good public image. But after Nate beat me again, probably the worst one ever, Chuck finally convinced me to leave him. He made me realize that nothing was worth the hurt and pain he was causing. He made me see that I deserved better."
"And now, with Chuck, things are better?" The interviewer asked.
Blair beamed and her smile widened, "Oh definitely; there's no question. Chuck and I, we've always had something special. He was always different with me, even when we were kids. No matter how he acted around other people, or other girls, he always treated me with respect. In high school we were actually together for, like, a month and it was the greatest, happiest time of my life; better than any of the years I spent with Nate. But we were both young and stubborn and emotionally scarred and immature, so it didn't work out and he went to Europe."
"But now things are different?" The interviewer prompted.
"Of course." Blair stated matter-of-factly. "We're both older, we're both more mature, and we're both ready to be open and honest with each other. My feelings for Chuck have always been greater than anything I ever felt for Nate. I love Chuck in a way that I never loved Nate, and I know he feels the same way. I know a lot of people blame him for our divorce, but my feelings for him had nothing to do with the end of my marriage. I always knew, ever since that month we were together in high school, that my feelings for Nate would never even come close to what I felt for Chuck, but I still stayed with him. Something as trivial as a lack of love would have never been enough for me to end a marriage, especially one as public as mine was. It wouldn't have been worth the public scrutiny and the scandal, no matter how much I may have loved Chuck, or how hard he may have pursued me." Blair locked eyes with Chuck and smiled as he pulled her closer.
"One more question." The interviewer said, "If you ran into your ex-husband today, is there anything you would want to say to him after everything he did to you?"
Chuck scowled and answered before Blair could formulate a response, "I would ask him what the hell he was doing here and tell him to get far, far away before I have someone take him away."
"Chuck!" Blair admonished as she hit him lightly on the chest.
"What? That is exactly what I would say to that bastard if he ever came anywhere near us ever again."
Blair merely shook her head reproachfully before she turned her attention back to the question, "Do you want my honest answer? I would ask him if he was finally happy, and then I would tell him that he never should have crossed us; that he should have known better."
A few weeks after the interview, Chuck and Blair were married at the Empire in one of the biggest weddings New York had ever seen. The interview had only increased the public support for their relationship, so the attention on their nuptials was overwhelming. For their honeymoon the couple escaped to a private resort on a tropical island in the Caribbean.
Blair was sitting in a lounge chair on the beach enjoying the sun as Chuck stood nearby getting them drinks. She watched him as he began to approach and she couldn't help but marvel at how everything had turned out. She thought back to when she was younger, when she had considered Chuck to be the devil and Nate to be the prince charming. She grinned in realization as Chuck handed her a drink and kissed her softly on the lips. It turned out that Nate was always the villain dressed up as the hero and Chuck had been her knight in shining armor hiding in the shadows behind the mask of a villain, waiting until she needed him before he revealed himself and saved the day.