A/N: This is my first historical fiction, but I actually have ideas for other ones I could do. This chapter is short because it ends on a cliffhanger to see if people want me to continue this. The title is an obvious reference to The Killers.
Summary: It was then, as Blair strode through the double doors to the top of the staircase that would lead her towards her married life that she made a promise to herself. It would not always be this way. She would find her way and not be dominated by a simple man.
Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me (none of them) and any anachronisms are mine because I am actually not that well versed in history (shocker.) Sorry for any typos. No beta.
In a world where illusion and facade were everything, Blair Cornelia Waldorf wanted to believe she was a romantic. But it was hard to be a romantic when all of your innocence was sapped away. It was not just one event that had turned the seventeen year old into a cynic. Contributing factors concluding in the scandalous rip of her parents' marriage that was just as well an illusion made her realize that her life was not like anything her mother had promised her it would be.
And it was on that very day did Blair realize her life had come to an end. Dorota tied the strings of her corset as she waited for an audience with her mother and as her skirts swished around her ankles, she realized that she was about to be sold like cattle for her mother's own privilege.
She hated her for it. Blair wanted so desperately to hate her mother for the impending arranged marriage that she could feel on the horizon. She was of age and she was surely about to be sold into the slavery that she realized society had become.
Blair let her handmaidens ready her for her mother even though she knew it would never be enough. Not for Eleanor Waldorf whose only chance to escape being a ruined woman was to marry her daughter off to the richest family in London, even if they did not have old bloodlines like the Waldorfs.
It was upon this knowledge did Blair feel the first resistance to the match, knowing that it would not be the last.
"What do you mean 'no?'" her mother scowled, obviously unsatisfied with her daughter's appearance as much as her words.
"I have never even met him," Blair protested.
"Did you think I met your father before our wedding?" Eleanor asked.
"And look how well that turned out."
"I will not take your insolence," Eleanor replied. "This is the hand that we women are dealt. We must marry who we are told and bear the heirs that our husbands want."
"And that has nothing to do with the fact that you never bore father any male heirs."
Eleanor flinched visibly, a sign that Blair was aware that Harold Waldorf was never to be mentioned in the household again.
"Your father has brought our name nothing but shame," Eleanor seethed.
"He promised I could make my own match," Blair said, in her last bid for freedom.
"And when was this match to occur, Blair?" Eleanor asked. "What suitable suitors have been waiting in line to court you? That stable boy, Humphrey?"
Blair felt emotion prick at her eyelids. But she wouldn't give her mother the satisfaction.
"You are lucky to have such a match."
"I don't want this," Blair said sullenly, looking at the fabric of her elaborate dress.
"It has nothing to do with your wishes but what is good for our family," Eleanor instructed. "You are moving to the estate at once where you will be wed to the younger Bass."
Serena Cecelia Bass studied her mother intently. Of course the Bass Estate was humming with the news that there was actually going to be a wedding. No one could have predicted this turn of events, even with Bart's negotiating skills. That didn't mean that her irresponsible lecher of a brother was taking it well.
She hadn't promised Charles anything, but right now, his inheritance was depending on what happened next and she also happened to know that he was ill.
That was what he informed her, though she knew his illness was that of the Laudanum he kept had stolen from his father's study. He was in no respects ready to attend the engagement party. And her mother need not know about that at the present moment.
"Where is that brother of yours?" Lily Bass asked, inspecting the preparation of the newest arrival. "You know your father already has restricted him to the house after his last exploits."
"I'm sure he's around here somewhere, Mother," Serena said hopefully. It was at the very moment that she knew she spoke too soon when she heard a loud clatter and said brother's distincitve voice turn into raucous laughter.
Her mother's statement was by all definitions an understatement as Charles Bartholomew Bass sauntered drunkenly into the room after knocking over several caterers in his attempt to walk in a straight line.
"Charles," Lily said disapprovingly.
"I have arrived," he announced as though the whole room had waited on bated breath.
"And we are all pleased to hear that," Lily said. "Does your father know of your arrival?"
"The whole house knows of his arrival, Mother," Serena said under her breath.
"Sister, dear," Charles sighed, pulling Serena into a too-friendly embrace, in her opinion.
"Charles," Lily said curtly to snap him out of his affection. "If your father sees you like this--"
"I have heard it all before," Charles said, waving it away. "Disinheritance, disappointment..."
He didn't bother finishing his train of thought.
"Well you best get ready for the celebration," Lily said hastily.
"Explain the point of that," Charles replied.
"Chuck," Serena snapped, using the affectionate nickname only when she was furious with him. "This engagement is everything."
"It is of no matter to me," Chuck shrugged it off completely. He ignored Lily's appalled look. "Whoever she is, I'll see her at the wedding."
"I surely hope that is not your true feelings on the matter, Charles."
The entire room froze as Bartholomew Bass commanded the room with his voice. Only his son remained unfazed as he turned to face his father.
"Would that be a problem, Father?" Chuck asked coolly.
"Get ready for the party, Charles," Bart said sternly. "I expect to see you down here and presentable in one hour."
"I am not sure how up to the challenge I am," Chuck sighed dramatically.
"While, I am sure the servants will have difficulty searing the scent of scotch out of your clothing, I am also sure that the guests will see no noticeable difference."
"If that is how you feel about it," Chuck shrugged and strode out of the room with only the poise that an inebriated Chuck Bass could possess.
"I am sure he will come to his senses," Lily said optimistically.
"You are alone in that assumption, Mother," Serena said dryly before Bart walked strictly from the room.
She was just saying what the rest of them were thinking.
Blair had no cried the entire ride there. It was an accomplishment, to be sure, since she cried every day for a week since her father had left them. And now she saw the same path as her mother that she was following and she was not sure if she could stand it.
Her mother remained behind her while the handmaidens did her hair and readied her dress for the event. It was that small fact that allowed Blair not to cry. Because she would not shed a tear in front of her mother over something that she had no control over. She just scowled at her reflection, wishing her reflection would surely break the same way her life was.
"I do not understand why you are being so resistant to this, Blair," Eleanor sighed after she had dismissed the handmaidens. "You will live a life of luxury by becoming the wife of a Bass."
"I don't love him," Blair said.
"Love is an overrated luxury," Eleanor said. "It is something we cannot afford. Women of our station must just learn to live the life that is given to them. And if marrying you off to a billionaire is the way to save us, then it is what I am going to do."
"It will not save me," Blair murmured. But she knew her mother had heard her, in spite of her silence, as cold as it was.
"I shall be unhappy for the rest of my life," Blair announced.
"You will learn to live with it," her mother replied coldly as she led her daughter to the ballroom.
The Bass Estate was the most grand and impressive in all of London and Blair would have been a fool to deny otherwise, as much as her feelings for the man who had officially become her fiancée proved detrimental.
The sounds from her future life echoed outside of the hallway and Blair halted.
"Do not make this difficult on yourself, Blair," Eleanor warned. "It will make it all the more painful."
"You have heard of his reputation, I am sure," Blair said. She took her mother's silence as affirmation. "How can you marry me off to someone of that nature?"
"Marriages are that simply to provide heirs," Eleanor said. "It is something you have to understand. You feelings contribute to it none whatsoever."
It was then, as Blair strode through the double doors to the top of the staircase that would lead her towards her married life that she made a promise to herself. It would not always be this way. She would find her way and not be dominated by a simple man.
His footsteps echoed and Blair felt doom approach like a speeding steam engine. She looked up into his face and tried not to cringe.
Jonathon Bass, Jack to his friends, took Blair's hand and kissed it, to her mother's approval.
"At last we meet, my beautiful fiancé," Jack greeted.