A/N: Last Chapter! I just have to tell you all now how much fun I have had writing this and interacting with you through pms and such. It's clear you enjoyed this and I enjoyed writing it, as well. So..here's to hoping this ending chapter does the story justice :-D
It had been three months since the night in his limo and two months and three weeks since she had picked out her ring. It was less gaudy than he would have thought. While he knew Blair was not a new-money socialite needing to assert her standing with expenses he did know that she enjoyed a somewhat showy existence. He had thought that this ring would be the perfect opportunity to show off their reunion and how much he cared for her. Instead, she picked a simple ring with three stones nestled beside each other. Granted, she ensured that the metal was platinum and the diamonds flawless, but it still surprised him. In fact, as they lived together and his injuries became less and less of a hindrance she often proved to be different than he had remembered. It seemed her tastes had grown simpler since his accident. She favored time at the hotel over nights out. Several times she opted to escape to some small restaurant instead of attending a society function that had been anticipated for weeks.
"I just want to be with you," she explained. "And I don't need all that other stuff to do that."
He personally wanted to get back into society and show everyone just how well he was recovering. More than that, he wanted to walk with her on his arm and show the world that miracles of miracles she had returned and they were as strong as ever. She meant more to him than any society acknowledgement, though. He loved her almost to a fault, which meant he would do whatever she wanted, even if it meant staying in and watching movies or driving a half hour to only have a cup of hot chocolate. He saw that she found immense joy in little things and he fought with himself to find a similar joy. Usually he succeeded just by the fact that she was with him. He found that it didn't matter what little trip or adventure they were on as long as she was beside him. She was the driving force in his happiness and ultimately his life.
"I'm selling The Empire," he told her on afternoon.
"What?" She looked at him in alarm. "Why would you do that?"
"Too much has happened here," he told her. "There are too many bad memories and it's not right to make you live here among them."
"Chuck," she sighed, reaching for his hands. "I don't care about all of that. It happened, yes, but we moved past it. I have moved past it."
"I won't have to live where I have caused you so much pain," Chuck said resolutely. He was firm in his decision, but so was she. Her head shook from side to side as she argued, "This hotel was your dream, Chuck. I remember you taking me here and you were so proud. You worked for this, Chuck." Her eyes darkened. "You were willing to sacrifice everything for this and I won't let you throw it away."
"That's it, though, Blair. I was willing to sacrifice the one thing that means more than anything to me to have this place. I almost lost you Blair, and for what? Some bricks and wallpaper? It took me too long to realize this, and I'm sorry for that, but a hotel is not worth more than the people you care about."
"Where will we go?"
He shrugged. "We'll find some place. We can always rent something small while we're looking, maybe start a charming existence in Brooklyn,"
"Over my dead body," she deadpanned. He laughed and put an arm around her shoulder and gently kissed her head. "Blair, the bottom line is that I don't want to be here anymore. This hotel did mean a lot to me but now it's just an empty shell."
"And who needs dreams, anyway? I have you and you're better than a dream. You're real."
Blair grinned softly. "That I am."
"So, we'll start looking tomorrow," he said. "I already called a few colleagues of mine asking if they knew of anything open. I have a few places we can check out. I don't know if they're any good but we'll see."
Blair wrapped her arms around him and rested her head against his chest. "You're a good guy, Chuck. You know that, right?"
The words "good guy" and "Chuck" sounded foreign to his ears but Blair had said it so he took it to be true. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and said, "Whatever you say."
The first place they looked was an absolute disaster. Blair found fault in everything she saw and Chuck had to admit he didn't find one thing he actually liked about the place. He had a feeling, though, that Blair's distaste was partially accredited to the real estate woman. It was one of his former conquests which he did not voice but Blair could tell by the stiffness of his body. As they left she remarked, "That woman is real estate poison."
He had a feeling she meant something different.
The second place fared better, partially because the real estate person was a man whose first trilled words of greeting underlined clearly what team he played for. Blair shook his hand enthusiastically and said, "What a beautiful apartment."
They walked around and while both of them agreed the place was nice neither felt the pull that one should feel in their home. They left after maybe thirty minutes and Chuck said, "It was nice, no?"
"It wasn't right," Blair said.
That night they returned to The Empire, four more apartments visited and discarded. They sat on the couch and she curled up next to him, resting her head on his shoulder.
"I don't like apartment shopping," she sighed.
He looked down at her with a smirk and remarked, "I thought you liked all types of shopping."
"Not apartment shopping, it's too much of a commitment." He looked at her pointedly and she said, "You know what I mean, Chuck. A dress if I don't like it a week down I can just return it. An apartment, though, it's different. I need to feel that the place is perfect. But no place will be perfect."
"You don't know that."
"Perfect is unattainable," she argued. "I'll never find the perfect apartment."
"You will," he told her, rubbing her arm. "You'll step in and just know. It's like with people. You meet them and you just know that you will be spending the rest of your life with them."
She looked up at him and laughed. "Bol shit."
"Excuse me?" He said, laughing in surprise.
"I bet you didn't feel that way with me."
He shook his head solemnly. "You're wrong."
She sat up fully and looked him squarely in the eye. "You did not feel that way when you first met me."
"We were eight," she argued.
"Nothing happened between us until-"
"I loved you from the moment I saw you, Blair," he told her. "It's just that I had to get Nathaniel out of your system before I could do anything."
She didn't speak for a moment and he could tell that she didn't believe him. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek. "At least we can agree it wasn't love at first sight for you."
She giggled and said, "That's true, you take some warming up to." She snuggled against him again and slung an arm around his waist.
"I'd say you're warmed up now?" he teased.
She looked up at him with devious eyes and hitched her leg over his hips. Her lips a breath from his she murmured, "Definitely."
Blair walked into The Savoy and smiled when she spotted Serena sitting in the corner. Her friend waved gaily as she rose from her seat. Blair walked toward her and laughed loudly as her friend threw her arms around her. They sat down and Serena leaned forward conspiringly as she asked, "So, how does it feel?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean! Chuck's first day back at Bass Enterprises. It's like sending your kid to school."
Blair laughed, "Well, that is one way to put it."
"How was he this morning?"
Blair remembered his tense features as they ate breakfast and said, "Nervous."
"He was gone for a long time," Serena reasoned.
"I'm sure he was fine," Blair said. "The company is his."
"You're right," Serena said, her eyes catching on Blair's left hand as she reached for her water goblet. Serena smiled softly and said, "I still can't believe he bought you that?"
Blair took a sip of water. "Why?"
"Chuck is just so different with you."
"We're good for each other," Blair said, smiling indulgently. "Do you know he's selling The Empire?"
Serena's eyes widened. "He is?"
"I tried to talk him out of it but he won't budge."
"Wow, so where are you guys moving?"
Blair shrugged. "I'm not sure. We've gone and looked at a few places but nothing seemed right."
"Wow, so moving in together? That's a bit step, B."
"We were already living together," Blair reminded her.
"Yeah, but you guys are looking for a place together! Blair, this is huge. It's all so official."
Blair laughed, "It was official a long time ago, S."
"Well, I'm just happy that you've been able to keep him on the straight and narrow. If anyone can it's you."
Blair grinned. "Don't argue with someone when they're right."
Chuck left his first day back at work feeling that he hadn't quite asserted his power but things had not gone poorly. Everyone treaded softly around him, overly worried about his previous injury. He had been given a clean bill of health from his doctor and didn't wear a bandage anymore. Still, people tip-toed around him and treated him with velvet gloves. It would take some time to assert his power again at Bass Industries but he had no doubt he would do it.
He had opted to walk back to The Empire, needing some fresh air to clear his mind, and stopped suddenly when he found himself in front of a tall building with a sign offering apartments for lease. He had felt a jolt when he had passed it, a drop in his stomach. He walked in without much thinking and asked the woman at the front desk if he could see one of the rooms. She nodded her head and took him to an elevator. They rode up to the fortieth floor and when the doors opened he knew he was home.
He walked slowly, feeling the oddest sense of déjà vu. He had never seen the apartment before yet felt that he had stepped in it hundreds of time. He looked at each room and could easily picture Blair there. It was effortless, her reclining on the couch, her fixing them drinks in the kitchen. He pictured them in the bed, their limbs intertwined so closely that he couldn't tell his body from hers.
"How much is it?" he asked.
The quote was high but he found that he didn't care. He told her he would take it and pulled out his phone to text Blair. He told her to meet him at the address and went downstairs to meet her. Bright anticipation coursed through him as he waited, his wing-tipped shoes clicking against the floor.
Her phone beeped as they collected the check and she flipped it open to a message from Chuck. It was peculiar, only an address and an order to meet him there. Serena looked at her and asked, "Who is it?"
"Chuck, he needs me to meet him somewhere. Do you mind if I leave?"
"Of course not, I'll see you later." Serena stood with Blair and kissed her cheek briefly before pushing her toward the door. As she left the restaurant she felt excitement boil in the pit of her stomach.
The moment he saw Blair cross the street he rushed out to her and took her hand. She smiled up at him and asked, "What's the rush?"
"Trust me," he said.
They passed the woman at the desk and Blair wondered idly why she smiled so strangely at her while they stepped into the elevator. Blair had seen the sign outside and watched Chuck hit the fortieth floor.
"Are we checking out an apartment?" she asked him.
He didn't answer and when the reached the fortieth floor and the door opened up he led her into the apartment and her breath caught as he said, "This is your new apartment."
She looked around wildly as he said, "I came here literally twenty minutes ago and it's the place, Blair. I can get my deposit back if you don't like it, obviously, but I had to do it."
Blair didn't respond but began to walk around the apartment, slowly running her hand along the wall. She stepped into the kitchen and looked around, moving next into the living room and into the bedroom. The bedroom led to a balcony and she opened the door and stepped outside. The sun hit her face and warmed her all the way to her toes. She heard Chuck join her and she turned at the feel of his touch on her back. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him fully. His arms wound around her waist as she opened her mouth, tasting him on her tongue.
"So?" he asked, pulling away.
"You are an amazing man," she murmured. "Only you could find one apartment in this city and find the perfect one."
His eyes brightened. "So, you like it?"
She kissed him. "I love it. And I love you."
He dropped his arms from her waist and took her hand, leading her back into the bedroom. He led her to the bed and began to take of his suit jacket as she looked on with the grin he knew too well.
It was time to christen their new home.
A/N: Last chance to leave feedback- PLEASE DO. I would love to hear all of your thoughts on this ending!
A LITTLE PLUG: Please read my new story "Royal Flush". Gangster Chuck. Haughty politician's daughter Blair. What's not to love?