A/N: I only write when I'm inspired. I don't know why when I heard this song, I immediately thought of writing something Cherena out of it. Anyway, this one's set literally after Lily & Bart's wedding (Much I Do About Nothing). Big hug to my girls; Alex for patiently uploading for me, Lucy for the great proofreading, and rest of the GGA-ers who have been nothing but supportive.


I used to party hard. And I can say that I've already experienced the most painful hang-over ever. I've experienced the hardest morning-after, no doubt. An all-night of pushing your body's strength to the limit just to feel the joy of what I used to perceive as heaven-on-earth, surely pays off in the morning. Muscle pain would be the least of your problems. Sick stomach? No big deal. Stinking sweat? Used to it. Bitter taste in the mouth? Definitely not new especially if you concluded the event with a bow… to puke, that is. And the greatest reminder? An epic headache, for without it could the party be considered a party at all?

Party.

Some. Party.

Last night was not some party but the pain I feel right now cannot be compared to the morning-after of the greatest party I've been too. Not even to that one where some random upperclassman literally made his parents' penthouse rain with scotch. What I feel right now, there's no word to describe it. Nothing to compare it with. The horror I felt upon hearing what has happened to Erik, the fury I felt about mum's plan to get married, again. No, this cannot even be compared to what I felt the morning after Savannah and Svetlana hang out with some older...

No. Not again. I'm not thinking about that anymore. This is the third Dan-less morning. I'm not going back to rationalizing again how things have happened, and who caused it, and how…

…how Dan dumped me... at my own mother's wedding.

And I'm not reliving the instant he said it's over. No, not really. It actually came from me… that it's over. And the most painful two-words I've heard in my entire life were not the "Out! Now!" from Blair after our biggest fight at her place, nor "Grow up! Will you?" from my mom (okay that one's four words, whatever.). It's the rather gentle "I guess" from Dan after I asked if it's really over, if we are over.

I sighed. Lately, there has been a lot of sighing. Lately, I've been really aware of my own flow of breathe. I remember they said in a certain science subject that breathing is an involuntary action. It should be effortless and one should not be aware of it. I should be doing it unconsciously. But why is it that lately I've been nothing but so aware of all that's going on in my body. The flow of air to and fro my lungs, the number of blinks I do in a minute,

Pound, pound.

And the number of knocks my door receives a day, at least for the last 3 days.

"Serena!" yelled a girl's voice on the other side of my door.

"Are you seriously locking yourself in that room for good?" Silence.

I didn't respond, hoping she'd give up and go away just like yesterday and the day before yesterday.

"I'm not giving up today, S!" Pound, pound.

So she's reading minds now, huh?

"The Serena van der Woodsens of the world do not turn themselves into some hermit after some cabbage patch from a garage sale decided they're not good enough for him!"

If this was just another Blair-bitch day, I would have laughed. But since it's not, I closed my eyes so tight and covered my ears with both hands, sitting with both knees under my chin. The Serena van der Woodsens of the world get dumped. That's the reality. So what if I've been in this room for days now? Don't I have any reasons to deal with it on my own? They don't know what I'm going through.

"I know exactly what you're going through, S. We can talk about it over coffee. C'mon!" I know that tone of voice. Damn it, Blair.

"Damn it, Serena! I'm not leaving, okay? I'll wait for you. Go ahead and bathe, and wear something nice. I want a gorgeous S spotted with Queen B over coffee looking better than ever to be on Gossip Girl today, okay?"

I glanced at the clock on my bed side table. It reads 8:00. Too early to go out, I thought. But all the time is too early for me these past few days, or too late. Last night it was Chuck who asked me over a text message to go out and enjoy the life, free of the shame of being affiliated in any way with a Humphrey. It was 9:00 in the evening then and I simply replied "Too late C, not now. Off to bed. –S" when in fact I finally got my sleep at around 2:00 in the morning.

Blair will be more than pissed if I don't go out now but I really am in no mood to expose myself beyond the four walls of my room—at least not yet. I'm afraid seeing the outside world will just remind me of all the things Dan and I shared. The walks we took to and from school, the Palace lobby where he first asked me out for a date (or was it me who asked him out? whatever). Lily understood me, why can't Blair just shut it? Surely she knows I'll resurface soon. Why can't she just wait for me to be ready? I was in the middle of pondering these when I heard the knob of my room door turn. I'm pretty sure I locked it. I was about to leave my bed to check what it was when...

"Starving much, sis?" Chuck entered the room with a tray in hand; wearing his new gabardine D&G coat (my mother's gift to him) and his signature smirk on his face. He closed the door using his left foot while still facing my direction.

"Chuck, I'm not in the mood to eat. Please just leave me alone. How did you get my door open anyway?" I then sat back to my bed. It's then that I became conscious of how I looked. It's too late to fix my hair now. When was the last time I brushed it? I could not remember. All I know is that through the side of my eyes, I'm seeing golden locks all over my face. Yesterday was the first time I showered since the wedding. But I failed to brush it even then because I was too busy crying. I wept day and night. I slept in between tears. This morning was actually my first to welcome the day with dry eyes. If anything, it can be a sign of my recovery--if there's such a thing.

My room looks like a mess but I didn't care. He studied the surroundings while finding a place to put the tray. He positioned it on the table placed on the other side of my bed—on that table where a picture of a kissing Dan and me during the cotillion used to rest. I made sure that that picture was out of sight the first Dan-less moment I entered the room. "I'm sorry to break it to you sis but the last time I check, I'm the only son of the billionaire who owns this building. It's a shame not to use my resources, don't you think?" Then he got comfortable sitting on the chair in front of my dresser.

I didn't say anything. I'm in no mood to say anything let alone exchange any banter with him right now. I checked what was in the tray he brought—bagels and coffee. And a note, most probably from Lily or Erik. And... a red rose? Am I hallucinating? I checked Chuck's face to see any indication of the flower's where-from or who-from. From Dan? Did he finally realize he can't do without me? Did he miss me already? Or did he forgive me already? Accept me for who I am?

But Chuck was wearing a poker face this time. Looking at the tray, looking at the flower. Still not saying anything.

It's amazing
How you can speak
Right to my heart
Without saying a word,
You can light up the dark
Try as I may
I could never explain
What I hear when
You don't say a thing

This bastard is making fun of me. Why do I get the feeling that he's actually enjoying this? He's having fun seeing me in my most awful state. For a lack of better thing to do, I grabbed the coffee. I smelled its aroma.

When was the last time I ate something? I didn't even touch the boxes of chocolate I kept inside one of the drawers of my dresser. I didn't even attempt to check if I still have the bottle of champagne Blair & I bought one afternoon on our way home from school. We planned to celebrate the conclusion of our exams in my room that day only to find out that something came up (and that something was Nate), so I had no choice but to go to Victrola, and have a drink with Chuck. I totally forgot about that champagne. I didn't drink any alcohol since the wedding. Because I didn't need to. Not when I'm more than hung-over.

I sipped the coffee. Dark and bitter—couldn't find a better way to describe my current demeanor. I glanced in Chuck's direction. He's still quiet. Not even a sign of boredom, or fascination, or disgust. Not even a sign that he's breathing. I wonder what he's thinking.

I put down the cup and get the small card.

Something to do with the Waldorf design. Will be back soon though and I expect you in an elegant dress by 7 tonight, I'll reserve us something special at Butter. See you. –B

So she left. I let out a breath of relief. That's one less person to deal with. Sigh..

Here and now.

Since the moment Dan gave me those two words, I started to live my life in a here and now perspective. No more plans, no more looking forward, which means I don't have to worry about Blair for now-- at least not for the next 10 hours, and I don't need to worry about tomorrow. Who cares about tomorrow, anyway? School is over so I have all the time in the world for myself. Most of all, Dan and I are over. All the more reason for me to have more than enough time for myself. Alone. But I am not alone right now. After three lonesome days, I'm finally not alone… which reminds me, why is Chuck still here? And why am I not asking him to leave? Though I must admit, his presence is invigorating... but goodness! This silence is deafening!

Finally, Chuck stood up. He went to the mini bar beside my dresser and looked for something there. He then grabbed the untouched bottle of champagne and got the only shot glass left from my cupboard. He poured himself half a glass of it and drank the entire content in a split of second. I didn't say a thing for the simplest reason that it's the most normal thing for him to do.

He went back to where he was sitting; now looking at me. I'm trying to decipher what's on his mind but I was hopeless. Damn it, Chuck. Just spill it.

I took the bagel from the plate and made my first bite since the wedding. So my taste buds still exist. I let out a smile—my first smile since the break-up. Goodness Serena, are you going to count all your first times since the doom's day?

All day long
I can hear people
Talking out loud
But when you hold me near
You drown out the crowd
Try as they may
They could never define
What's been said
Between your
Heart and mine

Chuck made his second glass and just like the first, he took it in like he was dehydrated for days. I finished the first bagel after he finished his third glass. I was expecting he would drink more of it until I finish the last bagel but I was wrong. He stopped after the fourth glass. He then returned the bottle on one of the sections of the bar and returned to where he was sitting. I waited for what he'd do next, but for the next hour, he just sits there comfortably; legs crossed and back leaned on the chair's backrest.

This is too good. I don't want to talk. He didn't push me. Apparently, he didn't want to talk either. This is too good. I checked if the red rose is still on the tray. So I wasn't hallucinating because it's still there. I touched the thorns gently with my index finger. This flower looks so… so fresh, like it was picked not more than an hour ago. Out of curiosity, I lifted it up and place it in front of my nose. Smells like rose. Interesting. I sighed. The statue sitting in front of me still hasn't moved. What did he really turn into some bust now?

I started to blush. He was looking at me so intently that it made the hair on my arms and nape stand… but I still couldn't figure out why he's here. I mean, of course he'd care and just like Lily or Erik or Blair, he would want me to feel better. This, this is just so not him to come to my room first hand. He surely has something better to do—shove his tongue at some chic's throat at Victrola, or lock himself in his room with a bottle of scotch at hand, anything. Just not this. Not to mend Serena.

I almost jumped when he suddenly stood up. He removed his coat and set it near my dresser. Apparently, champagne makes statues feel hot. I expected him to return to where he was sitting only to find him already fixing my bed that was a mess. He flattened the creased part of my comforter and folded the rest of it enough for him to have space to sit beside me. He lifted both legs and rested them straight on my bed without removing his Loake 1880 black shoes. Only then that I noticed he was wearing the grey bamboo trouser we bought from Barneys a couple of weeks ago. Clearly he's supposed to go somewhere. He wouldn't dress up like this if he's planning to just stay in the suite. And was that his musky cologne that just hit my nostrils?

Chuck Bass. I almost forgot he's officially my stepbrother now. I was too preoccupied mourning Dan that I almost neglected the good things the wedding has brought me.

The smile on your face
Lets me know
That you need me
There's a truth
In your eyes
Saying you'll never leave me

He then looked at me straight in the eye. "Let me use your laptop, play a dvd, or let's play strip poker. Anything that will save me from dying of boredom, S." Now the real Chuck has returned. He waited for my response but I didn't say a thing. At least not for the next couple of minutes. I looked at him with the most creased forehead I could. But he didn't see me because he has already covered his face with my pillow even before I could react. For the first time since he came in, I left my bed. Who cares if I'm wearing nothing but my Juicy Couture ruffle trim knit night gown? This is just Chuck. And dressed or not, Chuck has the same impulse to a stimulus called woman. I paced back and forth. I checked how I look in my dresser's mirror. Then I positioned myself to where he was seated earlier.

"Why are you even here, Chuck?"

Silence.

Has he fallen asleep already? I checked the time. Half till noon. Gees, I didn't know he's here for hours now. And we didn't even talk about anything. This is so… un-Chuck.

"Chuck!" I couldn't take it anymore. I grabbed my pillow from him and forced him to face me. He surprised the remaining sanity in me when he did not hold on to the pillow like I expected, but grabbed my arm so hard instead, hence making me sit on my bed facing him. Our faces are less than a foot away now, with him still holding my arms lightly this time.

The touch of your hand says
You'll catch me
Whenever I fall

"THIS. What you're doing in here, Serena, it's beyond pathetic." He let out each word with so much pressure that I can almost taste the smell of his breath to my face. Those eyes, why do I see wrath in them? He didn't let go of my arms. It's starting to freak me out.

"Your mother just married my father three days ago. You know what that means? We should be celebrating now. Bart gave me three tickets to London so you, Erik and I could have the time of our lives while he and Lily get laid. All my bags are packed and so are Erik's since last night. We're supposed to leave this afternoon, S. That was the plan until I saw this morning how terrible you look."

He waited for me to say something but I was too shocked to react... or too hurt, to say the least.

Tears. I didn't know they were generously falling until Chuck wiped my cheeks. I was facing down. I couldn't look at him anymore because I was too scared he might see how devastated I was inside-- terrible isn't even enough to describe how I felt. If my body was still capable to feel anything, that is.

Chuck touched my face with both hands and made me look at him straight in the eye. Wrath turned into something between concern and plea.

He spoke with odd gentleness this time. "Look. I see you can use some reminding. Do you know how you look like right now? You are that rose I picked this morning." I then glanced at the rose's direction. So it's not from Dan.

"-you are gorgeous, alone or not. Your perfection will remain no matter who you're with. That Brooklyn is a creepy-crawly who doesn't deserve to be near even to a single torn of your beauty. He isn't even worth the charge I'm going to pay the airport for the extra baggage we'll bring to Europe so I command you to come to your senses right now. You've had more than enough me-time and I've waited long enough. You're boring company. Wake me up when you're ready to go. You only have a couple of hours to bring back the Serena I know. Whoever you are Barbie, remember that you only have two options—dinner on the plane to London or Humphrey's head on the dinner table tonight."

Period. End of his speech. He released my hands, which I didn't know he was holding, and then he got back to his position earlier with my pillow covering his head. For the nth time today, I let out a sigh.

You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all


A/N: How was it? Please let me know what you think. Sorry if I feel so secure using Serena's room as a setting. Don't worry I'll try to use Chuck's next time. Lol Please review because reviews make my world go round. Thanks!