AN: I am still swamped with work, and real life has me by the throat. But I decided to stop by and drop this off. / Most of my opinion on what went down with CBJ is already captured in my old fics—most closely Blair's actions in Inglorious I covered in Ashes, Ashes. This oneshot is post-breakup.
The Many Parts of Blair Waldorf
There were many parts of her, many countless endless parts so strange and fearsome that she hated the prospect of naming them. There were parts of herself she abhorred, quite telling when one knew how very narcissistic a Waldorf could be.
She was a queen in other people's eyes—at least in the way she saw it.
Someday Nate Archibald and Marcus Beaton would accept the fact that she was the best woman they ever lost—and would mourn their mistake in the back of their heads, with the sadness lurking in the periphery of their consciousness even while celebrating the best days of their lives.
One day alumni of her third-rate college would realize what an opportunity they'd squandered when they refused to bow down before her and her spectacular presence.
Blair Waldorf was pretty sure even her own mother right now still shook her head at her disastrous decision to replace her with Serena in her line's photoshoot.
How very vain she was, and in the glory of her vanity she knew all these were true. She had even gotten Dan Humphrey, who was her greatest critic in high school, to admit in between bottles three and four of the cheap beer he insisted on that Blair Waldorf had some points of salvation.
He had dragged her with him to yet another dorm party in a room that stank of stale popcorn and milk that had gone sour—and she wondered why it surprised her that Dan Humphrey could already be coerced in drunken admissions with 3.5 bottles of light beer in his bloodstream but given that he had hooked up with Georgina after a kegger Blair merely assumed that 7% alcohol beverages had drastic effects in the pretentious Brooklynite. She had to remind herself to be kinder. It was not as if many people gave her the same chance that Dan did to prove she was human.
"In this kind of light, you look a little less of a bitchy, sophisticated, spoiled brat," he told her when he ambled over to where she stood by the window, more to breathe in the polluted New York air that was far more fragrant than the body odors of drunk college kids who had just stumbled in from long, shower-free hours than to act like she was better than any of them—although she was, so very very much. Chuck always insisted on that.
"Ummm… thank you?" Blair replied with raised eyebrows.
Dan frowned, then shook his head. "That did not sound the way I wanted it to sound."
"Thus your writing professor remains unimpressed with your creative endeavors." At the look of surprise on his face, Blair decided to give his tired, sodden brain some respite. "He doesn't just teach one class," she pointed out. "I have him as an elective, and I saw your grade on your last paper. Suffice it to say that a manila folder would go a long way to ensure discretion." She grinned, just because she could not help it. "Maybe he marked you down for being a cheapskate alone."
Dan huffed, then decided to point out, "A folder isn't required. It's the thought that counts."
"How insightful. What an original statement. No wonder it's raining Cs."
Dan stepped backwards, as if stabbed, or pushed. "And here I was going to say you look kinder tonight. Gentler."
But he looked at her like he actually related to her, and he was Dan Humphrey and she was Blair Waldorf. She had no patience for pity coming from someone who deserved pity much more than she did. Just because he was living off of Bass money now—
"Like a kitten? Spare me."
She handed him her cup, and the beer overflowed at the pass because she barely sipped any of the disgusting liquid. Chuck always spent on Dom because he knew she deserved better. Blair stalked out of the dorm party and shut the door behind her. When she made it to the corridor she sucked in a deep breath. The loud music still rang in her ears, and the door opened as four people stumbled outside smoking something that smelled vaguely familiar and reminiscent of Nate's kisses.
The door shut, and she closed her eyes, composed herself. She was better than all of them, better than where she now found herself. When this happened before it was easy to call for a car to take her to the lush hotel that she practically owned, because when she was with Chuck Bass they were married more than married than married people were.
She did not have the option now.
The music got louder for a little bit, indicating the door having opened and closed. She prepared to leave, because she was far better than hanging outside a college dorm party. There were still DVDs in their little black cases, she thought as she felt her chest tighten and her stomach cramp just a little. She swallowed heavily to relax her throat muscles.
"Damn. Almost forgot you were a bitch."
Her eyes opened and she saw Daniel Humphrey leaning back against the door, his face turned towards her.
"I don't know what came over me," he said by way of an apology, although she could so easily see on his face that even Dan Humphrey did not know why an apology was necessary. "It's just that the lights made you look a little like those Michelangelo angels."
For some reason, the admission made her smile. She chalked it up to irony and a little bit of pity because Daniel Humphrey obviously never saw the real things. With the Humphrey budget, Dan probably educated himself on coffee table books.
"Saw the pictures on the internet."
Worse. Worse and worse. A tiny bubble of laughter rose in her chest. She straightened from the wall and replied, "Thank you."
She was better than the party, better than their cheap beer and better than a guy who would probably have Italy on his bucket list. She was assured enough to know all these in her head. Blair had tasted grand balls thrown with a day's planning, and politicians and royalty in attendance. She had knew the tangy, semi sweet taste and the headiness that resulted in two bottles of Dom Perignon consumed in one afternoon.
And she had been with the love of her life.
So she thanked Dan Humphrey for the effort, and made her way back into her own dorm room. In her bed lay her cellphone, with the battery dead. It must have rung merrily the entire night, draining power and the reason she needed to get out. She picked up the remote and played the movie she had been watching.
One of the many parts of her knew this was not a night for Audrey—not a week for Audrey. Instead she had swung by the store and picked up a few other movies that suited her more. Tonight, she had been chased away by Debra Carr and Cary Grant.
The playboy had fallen in love, and Debra Carr rushed across the street to their rendezvous on top of the Empire State Building.
And then what happened suited her just right. The heroine was run over by a car, and her life would be ruined forever. She hated the ending, because after all the hurt and the lies it ended up happily ever after, with cheesy music and that scrawled The End. "Our love affair is an affair to remember," the haunting piano-filled song played in the background.
And just as slowly as the reveal unfolded, when Cary Grant saw the portrait reflected in the mirror at Debra Carr's apartment, Blair felt the small amount of beer—and she would insist it was the beer—climb up her throat. She scrambled out of the bed and into the bathroom.
She turned on the faucet to drown out the song, and splashed water on her face.
There were so many parts of her. She scrubbed off the surface with water and soap until the topmost part fell away, the one for show, with smoky colors that did not serve to hide it all. Dan should see her now, without the makeup. He could compare her to angels again and he would be right. Her cheeks were cherub cheeks, fat and full. She had no woman's grace, completely asexual. She turned a sex maniac like Chuck into a business-minded man with little time for sex.
This was a part of her she hid. She hid it for years, struggled with it with Nate and with Marcus when nothing she could do could make them want her. None of it worked, not the complicated, delicate underwear that just peaked accidentally—coupled with her coy smile. Somehow, it was easy to blame it on them.
Nate and his hangup with Serena; Marcus with the unspeakably dirty connection he had with his stepmother.
She wasn't a woman, not to any of them. She stared at her reflection, disgusted at the round curve of her face and puffy cheeks that told her she had a dozen too many post-breakup ice cream and a bagel too many. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut but the disgusting image remained on the back of her eyelids.
She was too good for all of them—in their eyes. In their eyes she was prefect, the best, the person who got away, the ideal woman who they can never have, never be.
And she gripped the edges of the sink and threw up, the sound of the liquid hitting the ceramic was satisfying to her ears that still strained from the end credits of the movie.
So many parts of her, she thought, that needed to stay out of the light of the day. She picked up her toothbrush and gargled, then cleaned herself up enough that she could pick up her foundation and swipe some on her face, then brush a high cheekbone that would hopefully minimize the fat.
"You're beautiful," he would tell her, when she took time in the bathroom and he waited in the bedroom to take her out, to parade her about the restaurant of the hotel he bought just because she believed.
Even the memory was a little salve in a heart that had only just been battered by her own thoughts.
"Remember that I love you," he told her, like it meant the world, like it would solve all the problems in her life.
And a few brief months, those three little words did.
There were many parts of her, most of them pretty, smart, desirable. They were the parts she worked on, the parts she flaunted to the entire world.
But there were parts of her, strange and fearsome and dark, which remained in the shadows because they were too awful for anyone else to see. But he loved her so any part of her was acceptable, and there were moments when the worst of her seemed fine.
There were parts of her so loathsome she could not bear think about them, no less explore them. But he loved her, and she loved him.
If only she loved herself as much as he loved her.
The worst thing he ever did was to her. And he apologized. Hell if she believed him. She would not have the same arrogance and confidence in her own intelligence. If push came to shove, she knew now that the man who professed to love her with all his heart had his loyalty only to himself.
The worst thing she ever did was to love him more than she loved herself.
The music stopped as the movie ended. She swallowed when she saw her reflection.
She opened the door and stepped back into the bedroom. The dorm room door opened and he stepped inside. He unbuttoned his jacket and removed the heavy garment, then draped it on the back of a chair.
"Thank you," he said, putting the keys in the jacket pocket. "I didn't think you'd—"
"No talking." It was her turn now.
He unbuckled his belt and the leather fell onto the floor. She pulled off clothes and stood in front of him in her bra and panties, and reveled briefly in the way his eyes consumed the body that had never been as desirable to anyone else's eyes—not even to her own. He pushed off his shirt and walked towards her in his boxers.
When she lay down in bed, she turned to her side with her back to him. He climbed into his side of the bed that even now still bore the crease of his head. He curled behind her and pressed his lips on her back. She closed her eyes and relished the brief touch. For a little while she could pretend.
"I love you," he said, breaking the one rule she had, typical of him because in the end all that really mattered was what he wanted.
If only she loved herself as much as she loved him.
There were many parts of her—some brilliant, some shameful. There were so many parts of her even Blair Waldorf couldn't name them all. This part of her she hated, and this part of her she can't let go.