Please don't stop calling.
You're the reason I love losing sleep.
manchester orchestra
colly strings

The calls started taking place in frequency after college was over.

Graduation came and went, easily compared to ripping off a bandaid. Although their was the inevitable excitement that came with the end of college, there was also a heavy sense of relief, like finally it was over, and they could begin anew on a clean slate. It was a sort of thrill. Dan took up writing classes at a local community college, purely for the fun of it, while Blair continued on as an interior designer.

Their lives were in two separate directions, of course; even Blair's tight friendship with Serena was dwindling, due to the distance apart and the difference in their lifestyle. As it stood, Serena still refused to go to Brown, and her application there was tossed away. The blonde spent most of her days wallowing at home with Lily, claiming to not regret the decision.

But the story of Serena van der Woodsen and Brown is far ahead in the future.

Anyway, it was when the calls began that Blair decided to move back closer to home. She'd been in Jersey at the time, enjoying her time their despite the drastic change, but she was adamant on the fact that returning was solely for Cyrus and Eleanor.

"I want to be closer to mother, that's all," she'd defended herself to Serena once before, arguing halfheartedly with her friend. "It's certainly not because I hate it here. I do love it here, actually. Did I tell you about..."

And on the story would go, Blair evasively avoiding the subject altogether.

The first call happened at nine o'clock on a Thursday night. Blair remembered it very clearly, every word that was said, every tone to his voice, even what she was wearing at the time. It wasn't as if it was a particularly monumental matter - it was only a phonecall, after all - but it was, all the same, a mark at a crossroads. It was a point in time in which she realized, came to terms with, even, an idea that had never remotely crossed her mind.

"Blair," came the call on that Thursday night years before, "it's Dan Humphrey. I was going through my address book, and I realized it's just been so long..."

"Humphrey," she'd replied, surprised and yet pleased at the same time, "I knew I could smell Brooklyn from across the line."

So it began.

It was innocent, at first. A peculiar sort of innocence, at least; to an extent, it was almost laughable, the way two people from entirely different backgrounds could talk for hours upon hours. It was odd, and rightly so. It only began with a phonecall, a last reminiscent of college and the Upper East Side. Truthfully it was the only motive on Dan's mind at the time.

They talked about nothing at all, in the early days, nothing of any significance. He would call at generally the same time each night, to rant about a coworker at his part-time job, or confess details of his latest attempt at literature. He would call to relay information on Jenny's exploits, ask for advice, even, at times, asking her for ideas on his story. It was how it began: simple. It was a friendly companionship via the telephone.

Blair was much the same, in a way; she would never initiate the call, but when she got it, she always answered with a familiar greeting and sage advice awaiting him. She'd ask him questions at random, gossip about Chuck's most heinous crimes in several parts of Europe, or merely listen to his rants. She, too, would rage on about a client, or something of the like.

It was, in an easy, understandable way, a give-and-take relationship.

It was platonic. They'd never been much of friends, even though there had been a lingering sense of deep respect for each other underneath the barbed comments. To the outside world, they hated each other with fervency, but on a different level, they understood each other and admired each other's strengths.

In these days, that relationship was over, and rather than being accepting of one another, they cared for each other, in only the way friends should. Each would listen sympathetically to a sad happening, and they'd pay attention to each word, always concerned for the well-being of the other.

The first tip that it was getting out of hand was when Blair moved back home. It was the very first hint that only Serena managed to catch.

"I'm moving back home," Blair had announced gleefully on the phone to Dan, plopping back onto her soft comforter with a satisfied smile stretched across her lips. "We'll be closer, then. Anyway, Eleanor wants me home."

Dan never did articulate his immense feeling of excitement that she was returning.

Rather, it was with a casual, habitual, "Oh, that's great," that he answered. The nonchalance was obviously false, but for reasons Blair couldn't name, she was incredibly frustrated with his reaction to the news. She said not a word, and neither did he.

Blair returned home in October, when the first chilly winds started to roll across New York. It had taken days for her to truly get settled in, but when she did, she awaited the phonecall at nine o'clock, as was ritual. This time, it didn't come. She waited even longer, hoping it was some mistake, or he'd been occupied at the time. Yet still, the phone remained deathly silent. She stared at the tiny device for the remainder of the night, wrestling herself to sleep at last in a fitful of frustrated sighs.

It had been a fluke, Blair had assumed; surely he wouldn't stop calling for no reasons. Perhaps his phone broke, or it died before he could call; perhaps he was away from home, with his family, and couldn't call.

The ideas floated helplessly throughout Blair's tangled mess of a mind, but she knew it was no use. He simply hadn't called; there was no excuse about it. Parts of her were extremely angry, and rage dripped like blood into her eyes. How dare he, she thought incredulously, break tradition for no reason? Why couldn't he simply call her and let her know, ahead of time, he wouldn't be able to contact her later?

Blair marched herself to the apartment building Dan had said he'd been staying at. It wasn't fair, truthfully, that she couldn't simply pop in and see him at random. They'd been such great friends over the phone, it would seem almost ridiculous if they pretended otherwise in the real world.

A slight nervousness fell over Blair's features as she knocked lightly on the door. Inside, she heard the muffled shuffle of footsteps, and yet once more, her heart raced excitedly.

She wondered, in a single lucid thought, how such a thing could change.

Dan opened the door with disheveled hair, as if he'd just woken up, or had spent the day in bed. His eyes widened at the sight of her, taking in her designer heels to her Waldorf original dress, half-surprised and half-confused.

In the end, all he managed to say was a lowly mumbled, "What're you doin' here?"

Blair pushed past the threshold and kissed him, uncaring almost at once if there were others in the world watching, or if it was out of character. In her mind, it was right. It felt better to say it was right, at least; in her mind, it couldn't have been truly destined.

The calls, the late-night conversations into the early hours of the morning, all came down to this.

The sex was fantastic. But that's not the point.

The phonecalls came less often after that. Blair waited by the phone yet still, every night at nine o'clock, hoping for it to ring and desperately clutching onto that hope. After they'd succumbed to each other, the morning after, he'd barely spoken a few words to her. They were guttural and inaudible, all the while with a singing burn of sadness to them.

Eventually, Blair stopped waiting by the phone. Eventually, the calls stopped altogether, and Blair made the decision to move back to Jersey. She'd loved it there before she moved back. Of course, she'd missed the rich lifestyle of her friends, and the wealth of the Upper East Side, but she much rather would make her own living, alone.

On the night before Blair left, she waited by the phone once more. She wished she could say it rang at exactly nine o'clock, and that he begged her to stay, his voice raised into a thin, desperate wail. She wished she could say that she had epiphany at once and decided not to leave New York City, but she didn't. She left in the early, early morning, without even a whispered goodbye.

"Blair? It's Dan Humphrey."

The nostalgia of the half-murmured words hit Blair all at once. She was back in New Jersey, back in her old loft, comfortably squeezing under the covers with a good book. It hadn't been much longer after she'd left - maybe a night or two, or perhaps even the night of her arrival.

"Dan," Blair whispered simply, as if awed by the single name.

"I think I made a mistake." The way he said it made Blair want to laugh. His voice was raw and full of remorse, and he seemed to perfectly understand he'd made a mistake. She could imagine his woeful face, downcast on the carpet below him.

Blair laughed, succumbing to the bubbling feeling inside of her. Somehow, the bitterness and anger fled from her mind without a second thought. She pondered her words for a moment, drumming her fingers idly to an unknown beat. Finally:

"It's all a matter if you can fix the mistake, Humphrey."

She could practically hear his relieved smile on the other end.

The story of how Humphrey fixed this mistake is another story, too.