A/N: I thought this quote at the beginning had a place in this fic because I sort of think Chuck's opinions are way OOC in the middle and Rhett and Scarlett are just Chuck and Blair. And correct me if I'm wrong, (SPOILER ALERT) but I'm pretty sure that new money (Chuck) is held in less regard than old money (Nate.) If that isn't true, too bad, because that's the reality that this is set in. I just got this idea randomly while watching "Seventeen Candles" and it also has correlation to "Hi, Society." Its not that hard to spot.

Summary: "I love Blair with more capacity than you even possess," Chuck articulated. "I don't get angry. I get what I want. And she was always it."

Disclaimer: None is mine, quote belongs to GWTW. This was written before the whole Chuck-Mother SL so that whole thing is disregarded.


With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.

-Rhett Butler

--Gone With the Wind

At age 23, Blair was proposed to by Nathaniel Archibald and her mother was dying. She watched him with her unflinching gaze across the table where Cornelius Vanderbilt's ring lay in front of her eyes. It was the ring she knew was once again pressed on her by William Vanderbilt and the impending wedding that her mother was pushing.

Her mother was dying and Blair knew there was only one thing she could do.

"I don't love you."

She had to be honest. It hurt her to even look at the nasty glare of the gaudy ring that she only ever pretended to like. She remembered the other ring that cut her with its cruel diamonds and lay on an elegant woman's finger. The only other woman that he had ever loved, even if he never knew her.

But this was Nate and an entirely different story. It was different and she had to do it. She was obligated to do this. It was the path that was set for her when her mother found out she was pregnant with her only daughter and heiress to the Waldorf fortune. She was supposed to marry Nathaniel Archibald and no excruciatingly rash and passionate true love could be an obstacle big enough to bar that. No matter how much she wish it were true.

"I know," Nate sighed with those brooding eyes that always had the hint of torture that he could never even conceive. "It's hard for me to believe you ever did."

"Don't say that," Blair said blandly. Just because she wasn't in love with him didn't mean they weren't still friends. Even after everything that had happened. "I did. Once. But it just didn't compare."

"I know," Nate said, a little more strongly this time. He knew the story. He didn't need the synopsis.

"You just need to know," Blair replied. "You need to know that this isn't real for me."

"I wish you could be with the one I loved too, Blair," Nate said. "But that isn't going to happen."

"Tell me this isn't real for you," Blair pressed. "I need to hear it."

"This isn't real," Nate said. "And it never is going to be."

At age 23, Blair accepted Nathaniel Archibald's proposal and her mother was dying.

And she didn't love him.


Her mother was happy and that was all she could ask for. There was no question about what this fraud of a relationship was about. But her mother was happy. She couldn't come to the engagement party, but then again, neither could Serena. Not that she blamed her. It was a complete betrayal of what she was doing.

Ironic how in their teenage years, it was just the opposite. But she knew this was coming. She always knew. This was the society that they lived in. She would have a cold marriage with an even colder marriage bed.

She smiled through her invisible tears and put cover up over those invisible scars. William Vanderbilt told her how he couldn't be prouder of a granddaughter-in-law and Blair couldn't feel more irrelevant. Because this wasn't about her or even about Nate. This was about the Waldorf and Vanderbilt line and how Old Money New York was continuing the line.

She knew Serena wouldn't be there. She was glad for it. But she wasn't given the same courtesy from the one person who mattered. And she was stupid enough to think that he would give it to her.

She stopped in the hallway leading to the ballroom. She didn't know what it was. It was a sense of thrilling familiarity and strange safety that she couldn't understand why it was and what it was doing giving her intense déjà vu. It was when the scent hit her like a ton of bricks along with the realization and cold draft of paralyzing fear did she force herself to turn a fraction of an inch.

He walked with security as his Italian leather tread on the expensive tile. But it was that arrogant certainty that alluded her to the exact reason why he was here.

Chuck Bass had ingested a year's supply of single malt scotch. And he smelled like it. Without letting him give her a word, she increased her pace and entered the cold world of her engagement party where his fire couldn't lick her flesh and make her succumb.

Blair passed the guests in a flurry of fake pleasantries and even faker smiles before she reached her destination.

"You're just in time for dinner," Nate said with his warm society voice that he found he had to perfect for events exactly like these.

"We have to talk," Blair said more sharply than she intended. She didn't want anyone to know that this relationship was as fake as Jenny Humphrey's bleached peroxide extensions.

Nate studied her expression with a hint of worry. "Not now."

That was what she got before being led to the table. She passed the tables with the engraved name places before her heart stopped.

Chuck Bass

William Vanderbilt had known him too long as Nate's Lothario friend to call him by his given name like all the other adults who pretended to take him seriously did.

Nate took a seat beside her before she whispered viciously in his ear. "You knew he was here."

"Who?" Nate asked, genuinely unaware of what she was speaking of before he broke of and stared. With practiced ease, Chuck sauntered to his place like his world wasn't actually spinning with intoxication.

"Oh," Nate said inarticulately without anything else to say on the matter.

Throughout the entire dinner, Blair really had to control her gag reflex. She knew she wouldn't be able to keep too much of her dinner down. This wasn't supposed to be happening. She was supposed to be getting the fairytale so her mother finally accepted her.

He always made things more complicated than they had to be. She could feel his gaze burn into the eyes that wouldn't meet his own. She knew the signs. She could tell. He was here on a mission and he wasn't going to leave empty handed. She just hoped he would settle for a check that would keep him quiet and be on his way.

But then again, he always made things complicated.

During the third course, Blair decided that she couldn't take this anymore. She had to make her early escape so he couldn't catch her like he had been doing since they were 16. It wasn't like that anymore. They weren't in high school. She had obligations and she couldn't leave that behind on just a whim.

"Excuse me," she murmured in Nate's ear before pushing away from the table. She noticed dark eyes flame in her direction at the gesture, no matter how innocent it was in actuality.

Blair caught her breath in the hallway, begging for whatever emotion she had suppressed for years to stop welling in her eyes.


Chuck Bass never wanted this. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. He had to stay collected. He had to remain objective. But as he saw her lips whisper in Nate's ear in a sweet caress, he could have vomited up all the scotch he had drank that night. It was a knee-jerk reaction. If she was with anyone else that meant that she wasn't with him. And that was just not acceptable.

She skirted the ballroom and Chuck didn't even register the fourth course. He couldn't remember why he was here, staring at the dull eyes of who used to be his best friend. Chuck couldn't remember how old he was. He couldn't remember what he looked like. He couldn't remember his checking account. All he remembered was the agony that led him here. And he wasn't leaving without her.

Their plates were cleared as the society matrons went to gossip about who was wearing what and who was sleeping with who's driver.

Nate hadn't moved either. They were looking at each other for the longest time before Chuck realized he was thirsty. The pounding in his head alerted him to the fact that his buzz was leaving in a hurry and that would just not suffice.

He rose gingerly, trying to keep the spinning at bay. He reached the bar and knew Nate was at his side.

"You're here," Nate said in astonishment after a moment.

"I was invited," Chuck reminded him, his throat coarse from being out of use for the longest time.

"I didn't actually think you would come," Nate admitted. "Grandfather wondered why I hadn't asked you and I thought it would bring up some... unpleasant conversations."

"And who would want that?" Chuck asked dryly. It made him physically ill how the one person who tried resisting this world now sounded like the very people he was against.

"I still don't know what you're doing here," Nate said cautiously. He could tell his old friend was a ticking bomb and the wrong thing could trigger him. He just didn't know that chain of events had already started.

"I thought that much would be obvious," Chuck returned coolly. "Serena says 'hello' by the way."

He relished the way Nate paled.

"Don't worry," Chuck replied, "she doesn't know that I'm here. That would bring up... unpleasantness. And no one wants that, do they?"

"It wasn't supposed to happen this way," Nate tried to protest.

"Save it, Nathaniel," Chuck said. "The fact of the matter is that I'm not upset with you. And I don't need explanations from you. I don't need it from anyone, actually. I just need affirmation."

"Chuck," Nate swallowed harshly.

"Not to fear, Nathaniel," Chuck said. "We will be seeing more of each other. I can promise you that."

It was a small satisfaction that Chuck left the ballroom without being barred. He was on a mission, after all.

She was easy to find. She was right where he expected her to be. Waiting for him. She may have not known that, but he sure as hell did.

She was all alone. She was always alone. He hesitated, watching her silhouette shrouded in darkness. He watched her back as she leaned against the wall on her right shoulder, breathing evenly. It was the quickest of twitches, invisible to the untrained eye that alluded him to her knowledge of where he was.

Slowly, she turned, leaning her back against the wall. He couldn't see her eyes in the darkness, but felt them on him. He approached her with deathly silence, gaging the reaction that she would never let him see.

There was no mistaking her. Even after their time apart, she was still that 16 year old girl with innocent eyes that unleashed fury when provoked. It was her all over again and he was falling for her all over again. He didn't think it was possible to need her even more than he already did, but he couldn't help it. He couldn't help manifest destiny.

He placed his hand deftly on her waist. She didn't stop him. Her breathing hitched as she leaned into him. She pressed her face against his shoulder. He didn't miss her deep inhale. He wished he could soak her all up too.

"I missed you, lover," he murmured into her hair, placing his hand on the small of her back.

"You're not supposed to be here," Blair returned, muffled by his shirt.

"I was invited," Chuck said ironically.

"That doesn't mean anyone wants you here," Blair said.

"One person does."

At that, she pulled away from him and he could feel her eyes on him once again.

"Are you going to push me away again?" he asked softly.

"You're making this more complicated than it has to be," Blair said.

"You're right," he replied. "You were never supposed to be here to begin with."

"You weren't supposed to come back," Blair said. "You weren't supposed to care anymore."

"Are you going to push me away again?" he repeated.

"If that were true, security would have escorted you out," she confided. He let his embrace surround her. He missed feeling all of her against him.

"Blair..." he said, liking how her name felt on his tongue once again.

"Do you even have to ask?" Blair asked dryly.

"Ask what?" he tested.

"I don't understand why you're here," she confessed. "Do you want to ruin me? Is that it?"

"You know," he answered.

"Then you know why I have to do this," Blair replied.

"Then why am I still standing here?" Chuck asked carefully. Blair touched the front of his shirt soundly, wondering how long it was since she felt the expensive material.

"Did you sleep with him?" Chuck asked after a moment.

"Does it matter?" Blair asked. "This doesn't have anything to do with you. You left."

"I didn't have a choice," Chuck said. "And neither did Serena."

"I don't want to talk about her," Blair said quietly.

"Why?" Chuck asked. "Are you guilty?"

"Only that I've waited this long," she whispered like it was a secret.

"For what?" Chuck asked cautiously, dreading the tear in his heart that became more prominent with each passing second.

"We both made the decision the second you walked in here," Blair said, her hands becoming more obvious on his chest. "What are you waiting for?"

"For you, love," he said against her. His back hit the wall in an instant and he remembered why he was here. It wasn't for this.

Okay, it wasn't only for this.

But his mentality was so hard to crack, he couldn't think of anything else. His whole ride here, he couldn't help but remember how it used to be. How she used to be his.

How he hated sharing her with anyone else.

He tangled his hands in her hair, pressing her closer. Her lips traveled down his jaw to his neck when he realized who was watching right behind her.

Nate's cold eyes were as dull as ever. But he saw that glint of clarity before Chuck reached for the door handle leading into the suite.

He didn't wink at his best friend on a stairwell. This wasn't it. Because he knew it didn't matter to Nathaniel. Not as much as it mattered to him, feeling his heart shatter for the first time.

They tumbled into the room, Chuck slamming the door behind them both. She was suddenly shivering in front of him, becoming that vulnerable girl he needed to save. Just because she had saved him first.

"Come here," he urged, feeling like his old self at the authority in his voice.

"I missed you too," she whispered before they both plunged into oblivion.


Chuck laid heavily breathing on his back, staring at the ceiling. It was a defense mechanism he used to use. Just ignore the girl and she would go away. But he didn't want her to go away this time. He just couldn't bear to look into her heartbreaking eyes, knowing that this wasn't for good. Feeling her pressed against him so passionately wasn't for good. He knew as soon as he looked into her eyes, she would slip that flimsy dress of hers over her head and be out of his life forever. She just needed him one last time and that was it. But it could never be one last time for him. It was never only once with her.

So he waited. He waited until the sweat dried on his chest and his breathing evened out. He waited for his blood to calm and stop thinking of stupid fantasies that would never come to fruition. He waited until her breaths crashed against his side rhythmically and he could look at her again. The blankets were draped delicately over her soft form as her eyes fluttered in her sleep.

He knew it wasn't supposed to be this way. They were just satisfying themselves for the cold months of a society marriage. But Chuck knew. He knew that this was always their problem. As soon as her eyes closed in exhaustion, there wasn't any way they were letting go.

Chuck let his hand hover above her head. He didn't want her to wake, fearing that he would surely break at the last glance at her. He gently wound his fingers through her hair, stroking her softly.

He should have known she wasn't really asleep.

Sometimes she could fool even him.

"I don't know who I am anymore."

As segues went, it wasn't what he had expected. But he knew what she meant. He always knew. He didn't stop stroking her hair. He could never stop.

"You're not going to find out here with me," he finally said.

"Then why do I feel more like myself whenever I'm with you?" Blair asked. Chuck finally forced himself to look into her face. He remembered that innocent look that wondered if he could ever truly love her.

"Don't say that," Chuck said. "Go face to your fiancée and stay there."

"You don't really feel that way."

"You don't want to know what I feel," Chuck said.

"You think I don't already know?" Blair asked. "You wouldn't be here if you wanted me to go back."

"It doesn't matter what I want," Chuck said roughly. "It matters what you do."

"You know I don't want this," Blair said, subdued. And he suddenly knew this wasn't the only hurt.

"What is it?" Chuck asked, tilting her face so he could read it.

"It doesn't matter," Blair said, sitting up, shaking him away.

"It matters to me."

"She always liked you, you know," Blair said distantly. "It wasn't you that was the problem. It was me."

"Tell me," Chuck commanded.

"She just wanted me to marry into an old money family," Blair said. "That was it."

"What?" Chuck asked. Blair turned at the waist to face him.

"Eleanor's dying," Blair said. "And I still can't find a way to please her."

"You're doing this for her," Chuck stated.

"She wanted this," Blair said. "And I have to do this so she can finally be proud of me."

"It doesn't have to be that way," Chuck said, placing a hand on her bare shoulder.

"And what would you have done?" Blair asked thickly.

"I never could have let you go," Chuck said.

"But you did."

"No," Chuck said solemnly. "You know I didn't."

"What do you want me to do?" Blair asked.

"You don't have to ask me that," Chuck said. "You know." His hand turned to her neck pulling her towards him. She laid down uncertainly next to him, unsure of what to do, where to go.

"Tell me," she whispered. "Tell me something."

"What?" Chuck asked.

"Something to make me stay."

This was wrong. It was all wrong. He had to let her go. He could fool himself into thinking this was for closure but it wasn't. He didn't think it was for getting her back, either. He just needed her, no matter what that entailed.

"Stay with me."

It was the only thing he could think of. It was the brutal truth and he hoped she heard it.

"And what if that's not enough?"

Because you don't want to.

That's not enough.

Because I don't want you to.

It's not enough.

He had heard it enough and he couldn't take it.

I love you.

But that wasn't what she wanted to hear. She already knew that. They both knew it. What she wanted to hear was something that Nate and the entire Vanderbilt line couldn't provide. It wasn't something that no Vanderbilt diamond was worth.

She wanted him to stay because he wanted to.

And stay there.

For good.

"I can't leave him, Chuck," Blair said. "You know that."

"You can do whatever you want."

"No, I can't," Blair said. "That's what it's like here."

Chuck didn't want to be having this conversation now. He didn't want to be having this conversation ever. He just wanted her to be with him. He didn't understand why this had to be so complicated.

"Then we could leave," Chuck said, savoring the silky strands that he thought he would never see again. Blair sat up on her elbows, her eyes narrowed at him.

"No matter what house we went to, they would track us," Blair said. "I made a commitment."

"I didn't mean to Tuscany or the Hamptons," Chuck said. "I meant really leave. Leave this society."

"Leave the Upper East Side?" Blair asked skeptically.

"I used to hear Nate talk about how this was a prison," Chuck said. "But I found out that it came with you... I can't watch you with him."

"So you suggest..." Blair prompted.

"Leave here together," he said. "And not come back. We don't need to conform."

"Who knew you were such a transcendentalist?" Blair murmured.

"With enough courage, we don't need a reputation," Chuck said darkly.

"This isn't about a reputation, Chuck," Blair said quietly. "This is about a contract. And that isn't just something I can take back."

"Why not?" Chuck asked.

"Because I promised her."

Chuck looked at her.

"Blair," he whispered, stroking her hair away from her face. "She's going to be gone. And she isn't ever coming back."

"Stop," Blair sniffed, shirking away from his comforting touch. She scoured the floor for her clothing.

"It's the truth," he answered, sitting up in the bed. She ignored him, pulling her dress over her head. His stomach churned with the self fulfilling prophecy. "If she doesn't accept you by now..."

"I said stop, Chuck," Blair snapped. He had to ignore her shiny eyes. He knew she had to hear this even if it would hurt his chances in the long run.

"You think I don't know?" Chuck asked, taking his pants of the floor. "You think I don't know what it's like to be neglected like that? You think I don't know what its like? Bart left without a word."

"Bart died in a car accident," Blair sneered.

"Eleanor is going to die, Blair," Chuck said. "And you marrying Nathaniel isn't going to fix it. And it isn't going to make her show you the affection you've been missing for 23 years."

"You don't know anything," Blair choked out before slamming the door behind her, leaving Chuck standing alone in the room, half dressed.


He should have known that Nate would be waiting for him. He just couldn't bring himself to exit the room that was still permeated with memories that still hadn't faded. And never should have looked into the eyes of the man who he had betrayed once again.

Chuck shut the door behind him, pinching the bridge of his nose, trying to ward away the impending hangover.

"Hey."

Chuck looked up, knowing exactly who that voice belonged to. He didn't answer. He just crossed his arms across his broad chest. Nate would always break before he did.

"She loves you."

That was something that Chuck wasn't expecting. Nate wasn't really a fan of the difficult conversations.

"If I could put that in even more obvious terms, I would," Chuck said dryly. He didn't know what else to say to the person who used to be his best friend. He didn't know what to say to the person who stole away the one thing that was his salvation. He wanted to hate him. He really did. But the sad fact about Nathaniel Archibald was he had no idea the damage he did with his whims. He had no consideration. Only selfishness. And Chuck Bass knew a thing or two about selfishness.

"I'm not mad," Nate offered like it made a damn bit of difference to Chuck. It never did. Not anymore.

"Should I be thanking you?" Chuck asked coolly. He watched Nate's innocent eyes narrow in confusion at Chuck's hostility. But he could never convey anything he was feeling to Nate. "Because I would be fucking your old lady either way."

For a second, Chuck wondered if Nate was paralyzed in fear. He was just staring like a catatonic.

"Or was that more than you wanted to hear?" Chuck asked. "You should be more careful at the statements you make before you find out facts that are just as true whether they're spoken aloud or not."

"I knew what you were doing in there," Nate said quietly.

"At least I didn't wink at you," Chuck said. He didn't think Nate would understand his allusion to something that happened six years ago.

"I didn't understand what was happening that night," Nate said quietly after awhile. "But you were already together a long time before then. Weren't you? She was already yours."

Chuck didn't answer. There wasn't really any way to answer without stating obvious and cliché proclamations.

"I think I pretended that she hadn't been with anyone else even though it was obvious that wasn't right at all," Nate said. "She didn't seem afraid. Or nervous."

"You don't know your fiancé very well," Chuck finally replied.

"Was she nervous with you?"

Chuck hated having to coddle Nate. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to him and it wasn't fair to Nate. Nate just didn't know it. He didn't know anything.

"I took care of her," Chuck finally said. "And I keep taking care of her."

"This is right for the family," Nate said, though Chuck noticed a note of uncertainty in his voice.

"The family," Chuck repeated. "This isn't organized crime. It's a society where you are deemed better than me because you're old money and I'm new money. That's the way it is."

"We can't break this thing off," Nate said, taking a deep breath.

"You would be on my side if it had been you and Serena that had stumbled into that room."

"Serena's not here," Nate said roughly.

"Are you sure about that?" Chuck smirked. Nate had that panicked look about him again. "She's not mad at you. Or Blair for that matter."

"You're angry with me."

"I love Blair with more capacity than you even possess," Chuck articulated. "I don't get angry. I get what I want. And she was always it. Ask yourself the same question about Serena and you'll come to a decision."

"I didn't mean to hurt her," Nate said distantly as though Serena was standing right there. "It just happened."

"Try standing up to your family sometime," Chuck advised.

"What if Bart told you never to see Blair again?" Nate asked.

"Irrelevant," Chuck said. "Bart loved Blair. He loved me when I was with her. And I foolishly squandered that. I won't let it happen again."

Nate looked studiously at the floor as Chuck spoke again. "Blair is braver than you. She would have told her mother that old and new money doesn't matter. We have the same status and that's enough for her. But then Eleanor got sick and you took advantage of that to be a coward."

"And what about you?" Nate asked, finally fighting back.

Finally.

"I'm done being a coward," Chuck said. "I finished that when I made the decision to be right for her. And that's what I'm doing. I'm taking the heat for all of this so you and Serena can finally be together."

"You're doing this for me," Nate stated skeptically.

"You know I'm not," Chuck said. "But luckily for me and my motives, you have a stake in this too."

"Where are you going?" Nate asked, realizing Chuck wasn't staying.

"I'm going to wait for her," Chuck said. "Like I always have."

He shouldered past Nate and down the hall, away from the party.

"Chuck," Nate said, causing Chuck to turn back. "Back in high school... you let me have her."

"Yes," Chuck said.

"You could have taken her away in a second," Nate said. "But you didn't."

"It wouldn't have been nearly as satisfying as her leaving you for me," Chuck said. He paused before speaking again. "But I knew. I knew you were just a boyfriend to her and that it wouldn't last."

"And what are you?" Nate questioned.

"Destiny."


"Why didn't you tell me?"

She wasn't crying. That was a good sign. But he didn't expect her. He didn't expect her to come to him like this and on some level, he didn't expect her to return to him at all. Chuck rose from his chair in the darkness, trying to make the room stop spinning.

"What didn't you tell me?" she asked again. He took tentative steps towards her, trying not to lose his balance. "Serena was here and you didn't tell me."

"I didn't think you were coming back to me either way," Chuck answered honestly. "Familial obligation is a powerful thing."

And then everything was okay. Her hands were on his upper arms and he realized that he should have been the one to be holding her up. Not the other way around.

"What aren't you telling me?" Chuck asked. He knew this scene all too well. The sickening feeling of dejá vù overcame like nausea and the salty taste of tragedy.

Instead of answering, she took a hold of him firmly and led him towards his bed. He let her seat him on his own bed and he suddenly knew what was wrong when she laid her head in the crook of his neck.

Instinctively, his arms circled her and he didn't have to ask what was happening in the darkness.

"I was so stupid," Blair whispered into his neck.

"It feels like that at first," Chuck said.

"I didn't want to hurt you," she said honestly. "I thought I could do all those things for her... and it still didn't help."

"It wasn't like I never hurt you before," he reminded her, suddenly sobering at her words.

"She's dead, Chuck," Blair said bluntly. "And me wanting to please her was never going to bring her back."

"I know," he said, holding her close. "You will never know how much I understand."

"I do," Blair said. "Why else do you think I'm here?"

"Why are you here?" he asked. He needed to know. He just needed to know.

"Were you serious?" she asked. "When you said all of those things... Did you mean it?"

"I wouldn't lie to you about something like that."

She pulled him closer.

"I'm sorry."

"About what?" Chuck asked, though knowing the answer.

"What if it was you?" she asked. "What if that was an engagement party for us?"

"It wouldn't be," Chuck replied. "Us getting married wouldn't be for some political move or family ties."

"But that's why you left," Blair said. "Because I was scared."

Chuck shifted, feeling inside of his pocket. He watched Blair's eyes narrow in the moonlight at sharp diamonds.

"It's yours," he said. "I wasn't proposing, but it was always yours."

"It was your mother's," Blair said. "It doesn't belong to me."

"Well I'm not going to wear it," he smirked.

"Doesn't it frighten you?" Blair asked.

"Commitment?" Chuck asked in surprise.

"Marriage," Blair said. "Marriage here. It doesn't mean you love someone but someone's money. It doesn't mean that you'll stay together."

"You didn't care about that with Nate."

"Only you," she said with innocent honesty, like she didn't know the weight it had.

"Did you think there was someone else for you?" Chuck asked. "Because for me, there was only ever you."

"I was afraid of losing you," Blair said. "But it was just a self fulfilling prophecy."

"I left knowing that I would just come back for you," Chuck said. "I wasn't going to let him take you away from me."

"Chuck," she whispered.

"Yes."

"Will you be here in the morning?"

"You're more likely to be the one to run," Chuck said. "I know that better than anyone."

"We can't go back there," Blair said.

"Does that make you want to change your mind?" Chuck asked.

"I thought it would for you," Blair replied. "That's all we know."

"I'll take care of you," Chuck said. "You don't have to be tied to that anymore. I have the means for us. I'll always take care of you."

"Chuck," she said. "I don't think I'm afraid anymore."

He pressed his lips to her ear, hoping she would be forever cemented to him.

Blair Waldorf was 24 and her mother was dead. But she wasn't afraid anymore.