A/N: Originally this was only supposed to be a o/s. It was made to be sort of open ended by the lovely Valkyrie requested it for her Christmas fic so here's the continuation. Though please don't ask me to continue it more because I don't think I could come up with anything. Anway, here you are. I hope you're not disappointed.
Summary: Chuck Bass had never stuttered in his life. His heart never fluttered. He had never stumbled. But the second that Blair Waldorf walked down the marble staircase of her mother's home, Chuck couldn't help but gape at the woman he was going to marry.
Disclaimer: Chacters are not mine besides Henry and Ike Buck as well as Beatrice Gansevoort (Buck.) Thanks so much to comewhatmay.x who was an awesome beta and of course VeryLastValkyrie who was the inspiration that brought this light to fic. I will be very impressed if my reading Henry's dialogue and Beatrice's references if anyone knows what song is supposed to be playing in the background.
Manhattan, New York
Somewhere Around Midtown, 1967
The electric guitar struck up the familiar riff and his heart stopped.
The song was sexual. The song was passion. The song was everything he heard when he saw her.
And there she was.
She wasn't supposed to be here. In that seedy loft with the most illegal of fumes permeating the air, he knew it was the exact last place she was supposed to be in that inappropriate little black dress of hers.
Beatrice Gansevoort pulled the cigarette from her mouth, smoke curling from her perfect lips to perfume the air. She was in the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time. It was the exact place he would expect not to see her and yet there she stood, Beatrice Gansevoort, resident Park Avenue Princess.
"Hold this," Henry said gruffly, shoving the paraphernalia in his hand to a random passerby. He shoved through the crowd. Girls gossiped excitedly in her perfect ear and suitors crowded her, taking full advantage of legs Henry was sure that he had only seen.
Beatrice's dark eyes lit up malevolently as she saw him making his way towards her. That mischievous smirk quirked that mouth he wished he could kiss again and he knew that she had come for him. Not just in that arrogant way that he got to her, but that way that she dared him to come even a foot closer to her.
Without preamble, he grabbed her hand, dragging her away from eyes that should never be taking such liberties with that perfectly tight fitting dress.
"Watch the hands, Jim Morrison."
She felt him grasp her hips possessively as the soulful cry sounded from the speakers. He paid no heed as he gripped tighter, their hips aligned perfectly as they danced to the song Henry was sure that she would never listen to.
She was a lady.
But he couldn't help but listen to her blatant reference and knew from personal experience that it was just a facade. Because he had never had a woman that was so far from the illusion she put on for the public.
"What are you doing here, Gansevoort?"
"Oh, you know how I love The Doors," Beatrice smirked at the music thrumming around them.
"Do you?" he asked.
"This song reminds me of you," she teased.
And that was exactly what she was. A cruel tease and he hated her for it.
"You sound like him."
Henry was quiet for a moment as they both figuratively and literally danced around each other. He couldn't help but stare at her and her provoking gaze. He couldn't help but be fascinated by this woman that he could never figure out.
"He sounds like me," Henry smirked. But it couldn't help but fall as he watched her cavort with the hedonists of their society. She wasn't meant to be here. She was too perfect. "What are you doing here? Come to torture me?"
"Now what would make you say that?" she asked innocently.
"You mean after you let me pleasure you again before stealing away in the night, leaving me to wake up in a cold bed?"
"You act offended," Beatrice remarked.
"I act offended," Henry murmured in disbelief.
"You do," Beatrice replied. "As though you've never done that to anyone yourself."
"I never did it to you," he answered.
But Beatrice was pulling away from him again and he attempted to hold on tighter. He lost her in the pounding sound as she taunted him with those dark eyes of hers.
He found his feet following her as though he were in a trance, unable to control his movements or stop himself from being her slave completely. Her hand was pulling on his and he stopped short.
"Why should I?"
He pressed his lips against hers and he felt her short of breath.
"Love me two times, girl," he whispered. "One for tomorrow, one just for today."
"Quoting lyrics to a girl only makes you sound poetic if the girl's never heard the song before," Beatrice pointed out. "And I obviously have."
"I didn't think you were actually listening."
"Are you?" Beatrice asked.
During their conversation they had drifted closer together and he had to admit, he wasn't listening to a word she was saying until her breath brushed hotly against his ear.
"You know why I'm here," she murmured. He jerked away, his eyes narrowing.
For the first time that night, he didn't feel as though she was playing him. She was looking imploringly into his eyes and that one syllable was the most genuine thing he had ever heard come out of her mouth.
"Just come back with me."
"Give me one reason why I should," he taunted. He loved the way her eyes glinted as she leaned in again to his inviting embrace to whisper.
"I'll take this dress off for you."
End of discussion.
He liked looking at her legs. Somehow, he had followed her down from the loft that she seemed to know how to navigate all too well. He didn't like it. He didn't like being led by the hand like a child, but he was getting her out of a sordid establishment that she had no reason for being in to begin with, and for that, he was grateful.
And ever the gentleman for his lady counterpart, he opened the side door of his Cadillac Coupe de Ville that he knew Beatrice found slightly ridiculous, judging from her laugh—even for him. But as he held the door open for her she just shook her head. She made a short gesture with her hand towards the back and Henry eyed her suspiciously. He didn't know why she even wanted to ride in the back but he eased the seat down anyway for her, letting her crawl in the poised way only she could emulate.
Henry looked at her in confusion as he started the car, weaving expertly through traffic.
"You know you're the only person I know conceited enough to buy a car to drive in New York just for the car."
Henry would have thought Beatrice's statement so casual that she wasn't in fact stripping in the back of his car.
He was wrong.
"What are you doing?" Henry asked, his eyes flicking to the rearview mirror.
"You don't actually expect me to go to your father's Christmas party dressed like your usual company," Beatrice asked condescendingly. "Besides. I made I promise and I'm keeping it."
"And what promise was that?"
"Taking off my dress."
Henry should have known it was too good to be true as Beatrice slid out of her black mini in a favor of a more modest, floor length red number that he couldn't help but be partial to.
He liked it when things were left to the imagination.
So much that it was only Beatrice's voice that brought him back to reality.
"Eyes up front, soldier."
Henry's head snapped back to the road, determined never to stray.
Easier said than done.
Cold wedding band cutting into her forearm, Beatrice knew exactly whose nails marred her flesh in distaste as she was pulled into a secluded corner.
Strangely enough, it was the new Mrs. Richard Rhodes and not in fact that man she was being pulled away from.
Beatrice wrenched her arm from Cecelia's grasp, finally turning her dark eyes to the probing ones of ice.
"Do you mind?" Beatrice snapped. "I have more pressing things to do than be manhandled by you."
"Like be manhandled by Henry Buck?" Cecelia retorted.
The lines had been drawn and as much as Beatrice loved her best friend, this was the exact reason why she didn't tell her anything.
"There's no need to be tawdry," Beatrice responded delicately.
"You told me that you stopped seeing him," Cecelia answered.
"And what makes you think that I went back on my word?" Beatrice asked. "Ike Buck asked me to retrieve his son. Don't tell me you would refuse one of the richest families in New York if one of them requested something of you."
"But Ike wouldn't," Cecelia reminded her. "There's a reason he asked you and no one else. Your relationship with his son hasn't been kept quite a secret as you would have hoped. If there's one person Henry would listen to, it's you."
"That doesn't mean anything."
"You know it does," Cecelia replied. "You promised you wouldn't ruin your reputation for him."
"And I haven't," Beatrice protested. "All I did was go and get him from some abhorrent party."
"Then why was Henry the one driving?"
"This isn't any of your business."
It was the only retort Beatrice could concoct as she stormed away.
It wasn't much of one.
"That was the saddest attempt at denial that I have ever seen."
His dark voice drawled in her ear, his hands at her elbows, turning her around. Beatrice reluctantly allotted him one small victory as their eyes locked.
"And you're the expert on that," Beatrice answered smoothly. "I can't imagine the amount of women here that will deny that they ever touched you."
She hated that amused kink to his smile, but she found herself hating even more as it faded away just as quickly.
"Your father wants you here," Beatrice said quietly, knowing exactly what sort of darkness lurked behind his cold facade.
"He wants his social appearance untarnished. As long as I don't humiliate him he couldn't care less," he responded icily. "Besides, it's not like you want me here either."
"I came to get you."
She didn't know why she was defending him but that glint in his eyes always led to trouble that she couldn't be caught in.
"Under my father's orders," Henry reminded her, "as you made so explicitly clear to your blonde counterpart."
She knew that he thought she would at least attempt to say something comforting. His eyes hardened with betrayal.
"What do you expect me to say?" Beatrice asked condescendingly. "You do have to propensity to ruin my Christmas."
"And what Christmas would you be referring to?" Henry asked. "Would it be last year?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You don't?" he asked in his fake astonishment. "You don't even remember what happened on the first anniversary of my proposal?"
"That wasn't a proposal," Beatrice snapped. "That was you marking your territory. To your complete and utter failure, I might add."
"Failure?" Henry repeated. "I don't see William Vanderbilt around her anywhere."
"He bored me," Beatrice answered easily.
"If memory serves," Henry replied, "that was somewhat similar to the prediction of your doomed relationship."
"We were never in a relationship," Beatrice answered. "He was my date to my debutante ball. That's it."
"And what about what happened after?" Henry asked lewdly.
"We were never in a relationship either," Beatrice said stiffly.
"The diamond ring I bought you begs to differ," Henry replied.
"You mean the one I never accepted?" Beatrice parried.
"And what about last year?" Henry questioned.
"I don't recall," Beatrice answered, forcing herself to look away.
She hated that mocking tone of his voice.
"You mean you don't remember what happened at my father's Christmas party at this very spot?"
"It obviously didn't have that much of an impact if I walked in on you getting serviced by hippies from downtown."
She had snapped. She hadn't meant for it to happen and she knew that it was just encouragement for Henry Buck but he was smirking at her and she knew that she could only end this the same way she had exactly a year ago.
By a slap.
"Don't even think about it," Henry said lazily. Beatrice's fingers twitched and she hated that he could read her mind as easily as she could his. "Your attempts at pushing me away are really starting to tire."
"So are your attempts at courting," Beatrice sneered.
"I shouldn't have to court you."
It was the first time that she had felt his true ire from what had happened to them and it frightened her as his fingers gripped the exact place that Cecelia's wedding band had burned her.
"The likes of William Vanderbilt and the rest can go through the motions but not me," he warned. "You stripped yourself down to your bare essentials in the exact place that you rode with me here tonight. And if that isn't an opening for proposal, I don't know what is."
"Will you get a grip?" Beatrice asked, her decibels reaching higher than were deemed socially appropriate. Eyes of cold WASPs were on them, but she couldn't stop herself. "It's been two years. Get over yourself, Hank."
His eyes widened in an uncharacteristic look of surprise that she didn't recognize.
"You just called me Hank."
"Only my father calls me Hank."
"So?" Beatrice asked. "It just slipped out."
It was when he failed to turn that phrase did she realize this was more dire than anything else.
"I guess it just proves it."
"Only Bucks call me that endearing nickname," Henry answered. "Which makes sense since you're about to be one."
This time her hand did make it across his face. All eyes were on them but Henry couldn't help but smirk as his eyes drifted to what was hanging over them.
"Look," he said conversationally, loving how Beatrice's chest heaved with her exerted anger. "We're under mistletoe."
It wasn't clear who made the first move but the both of them were suddenly kissing wildly beneath it.
In front of everyone.
Manhattan, New York
1136 Fifth Avenue, Present Day
It wasn't the most compromising position he had ever been in. In fact, Chuck Bass never would have thought that getting caught with a cigar was suspect at all. This was the Upper East Side.
However, he had never had the stare of Blair's grandfather upon him. Chuck suddenly realized where Blair got her withering glare from.
Never in his life had Chuck ever feared the wrath of an authority figure.
Then again, this was the first time he had met Hank Buck.
He was sure this wasn't the greatest first impression.
"Would you light me one of those?"
Chuck narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the older man but complied. If there was one person he didn't want to get on the wrong side of, it was Hank Buck. In a horrible twist of fate, he wanted to impress this man more than his own father.
Harold was easy. Whatever Blair wanted he would allow. Eleanor was more difficult but really Blair could get away with anything, even her mother disapproved. Which luckily, she had never denied him entry. To the day, it was Dorota who always barred his entrance to the Princess' castle.
Sometimes he pined for the days when the only thing that got in his way was Blair's pride and her Polish maid.
With practiced hand, Chuck clipped another cigar and handed it over. Dark eyes still surveyed him contemptuously as the both of them sucked in the bitter perfumes.
"Is this the way you usually court girls?"
Chuck looked up in surprise, realizing that he had been avoiding eye contact for the first time in his life from someone that wasn't his father.
"Smoking in front of their grandfathers?"
"Not usually," Chuck said, his false bravado ringing true. "Then again, Blair is much more than a girl. As a matter of fact, she turned into a woman by my hands."
Chuck hadn't expected Hank Buck to emit any sort of surprise.
He didn't expect to hear him laugh either. Chuck watched apprehensively as Hank put his cigar on the ashtray.
"You want to marry my granddaughter," Hank said, "don't you?"
Chuck Bass had never stuttered in his life. His heart never fluttered. He had never stumbled. But the second that Blair Waldorf walked down the marble staircase of her mother's home, Chuck couldn't help but gape at the woman he was going to marry.
Chuck finally forced himself to stop gawking at a stunning woman in a red dress to see Hank's amused eyes on him.
"She looks exactly like her grandmother did at that age," Hank noted. "I don't blame you."
For a moment, Chuck couldn't recall what he wasn't being blamed for because her eyes were on him. Over the shoulder of one of her mother's associates, she smiled quaintly and he had that familiar feeling in his stomach that made him nauseous.
"And I forgive you for violating her."
Chuck tore his eyes away from Blair to stare blankly at her grandfather.
"I don't know what to say, sir," he said honestly.
"You respect me more than her own father, don't you?" Hank asked.
"You aren't trying to be her friend," Chuck observed. "And I know you respect me more than my own father ever did."
Hank nodded, tapping out the cigar in the ashtray. He turned his back on Chuck before hesitating in the doorway.
"I never did like Nathaniel."
Chuck couldn't conceal his prideful smirk.
"I thought you weren't coming back from the Hamptons," Chuck noted.
"It's Christmas," Hank said. "And I know all my granddaughter wants is a marriage."
"It's too bad you don't like Nate," Chuck said. "It seems like you're going to be disappointed."
"I don't think so," Hank said. "It must be that I'm biased."
"Why?" Chuck asked.
"I'm a narcissistic bastard who likes seeing his own image right in front of him."
That was as good as a blessing.
Blair felt her grandmother's fingers comb through her dark locks down her back. She smiled secretively, looking at the diamond that still glinted on the older finger even after more than half a century of marriage.
Being with someone that long boggled her. She couldn't comprehend it with the amount of times she had seen divorces and adultery plague the Upper East Side, she couldn't say that she had an optimistic outlook on marriage.
But she did. Because when she did think about it or imagine her life in the future, she only saw one person. No matter how dangerous it was.
"Oh, you don't want that."
"Want what?" Blair asked, taken from her reverie. Beatrice smiled warmly and Blair hoped she looked half as good as her grandmother did when she was that age.
"This old thing," Beatrice remarked, noticing her granddaughter's eyes on her fourth finger. "Besides, eight karats are more glamorous than this impulsive buy that your grandfather sprung for."
"Eight karats?" Blair asked innocently. She knew it would never fool Beatrice. Blair had lost her innocence when she was sixteen in the back of a limo and she knew exactly what eight karats looked like when she opened a box in the Harry Winston store in Paris.
"Is he going to be here tonight?" Beatrice asked conversationally.
"Who?" Blair asked, batting her eyelashes.
"You know I had a dress like this when I was younger," Beatrice began. Blair smiled. The stories her grandmother always told her were so rich. She felt more connected to the older woman than she ever had with Eleanor. "I made a fool of myself in it."
"What happened?" Blair asked curiously.
"It seems like these stories always end the same," Beatrice remarked. "Me being stubborn and up kissing your grandfather inappropriately in front of a sea of Manhattan's elite."
"Did that really happen?"
"Would I lie to you?" Beatrice replied.
"I don't think I could ever do that," Blair said.
"You don't?" Beatrice asked, returning to brushing the younger girl's hair. "You've never stood in front of a crowd of people, baring all before him just because you know his man's eyes are on you?"
"I don't recall," Blair said with as much dignity as she could muster.
"Blair, darling," Beatrice sighed. "If you are willing to get on top of a burlesque stage and do a strip tease for that boy, the least you can do is marry him. You wouldn't want anyone to think you're a tease."
Blair commanded her jaw not to drop at her grandmother's candid words. Then again, that woman was in favor of Chuck Bass. She obviously had some sort of brain damage.
"You look beautiful," Beatrice said kindly. "Now go downstairs. I saw him in the study."
"So he is coming?" Blair asked quizzically.
"But you knew that already," Beatrice smiled. "Didn't you?"
"Mother wants me to go down and speak with her associates," Blair sighed, smoothing out her skirt.
"And you do as your mother says," Beatrice nodded. "But after she goes to bed all bets are off."
Blair laughed. "Done and done."
His eyes were heated coals and as much as she wanted to concentrate on what her mother's friends were telling her, his lewd smirk made her flush. She almost raised her hand to his eyes but right as he turned away, a familiar hand closed over hers and wrenched her away.
"I was in the middle of a conversation," Blair said snidely before turning to her antagonizer. Navy blue judgment reprimanded her and Blair rolled her eyes before Serena could speak.
"Really?" Serena asked. "Because it looked like you were in the middle of having eye-sex with Chuck."
"Don't be vulgar," Blair said almost half-heartedly.
"I could say the same thing to you."
Blair's eyes hardened and she couldn't take the hypocrisy of the insufferable blonde any longer.
"I feel so sad for you," Blair said disdainfully. She saw the hurt flash across Serena's eyes but she didn't stop. "You spend all your time and energy telling me how wrong my feelings are. And yet you're the one who was accused of having an affair with a professor. Two, to my recollection. And you have no idea what it's really like to feel."
"I'm trying to protect you," Serena protested. "He's going to hurt you again. He always does."
"That's just what makes it all the more worth it," Blair answered, pushing past her. Serena watched helplessly as Blair stalked up the staircase from where she had come, hating how carefully chosen words form one insecure brunette could tear her down.
And the blonde's best friend didn't even know it.
"It was always you."
Serena turned at the voice full of revelation to see eyes that mirrored her best friend's retreat.
"You never wanted me for her," Chuck accused.
"She deserves better than you."
"I know," Chuck said. "But she also deserves me."
Not bothering for a retort, he climbed the stairs hastily after her. Relieved that he didn't see a light underneath the bathroom door, he recognized darkness underneath her own bedroom door that made him recall blackouts and candles extinguished from the breath of her lips as moonlight was cast over their silhouettes.
"You didn't tell her."
Blair's gasps were quiet and he was glad it was dark because if there was one thing he abhorred more than anything, it was the sight of mascara streaking down her porcelain cheeks.
Her voice was stoic and cold and he hated it. He hated how they still couldn't let each other in even though the both of them knew what was really lying beneath.
He sat beside her on her bed, never touching, but always feeling. No one truly realized how delicate she was. Everyone saw the Ice Queen with her words of poison but no one really knew how acutely sensitive she was and the degree of emotions she felt.
No one knew how much she loved him. And how it almost killed her in the past.
"She doesn't know," Chuck disagreed. He finally allowed him to look at her profile. He hated how beautiful he found her when she was in pain. He put his palm to her wet cheek and she finally turned her face to his.
"Do you want your present?" he asked softly as she leaned into him.
"If I have to unzip your pants to get to it, I can honestly say that doesn't qualify."
"That wasn't exactly what I had in mind but if you're offering..."
Her light laughter broke through her tears and he knew there was a reason why he hated Christmas. There was always a reason why he ran away. The only time when he had stayed for the holidays was when he could officially call Blair his. When she allowed him to curl himself around her for all the world to see. Otherwise it was Monaco and Bangkok and New Zealand. There were woman and illicit drugs but none of it masked the emptiness he felt when he couldn't call her his own.
"It's easier to push you away," she whispered. "Because then I'm not the one getting hurt."
"And what about last night?" Chuck asked. "Last night you didn't push me away."
"I know," she answered. "Because I'm exhausted. I am so exhausted of fighting nature."
He pushed her strands of hair that were sticking to the side of her damp face.
"Chuck," she whispered. "I'm tired of waiting."
"When you smiled at me tonight," Chuck said, "I knew."
"It was like seeing you for the first time again on that burlesque stage."
"Was that the first time you saw me?" Blair questioned.
"It was the first time I admitted it," he said. "Because before then you weren't free."
Her lips were hot and wet and salty and he knew he had been tired too.
But he didn't have to wait anymore.
"Are you going to wear it now?"
She recognized underlying threat in his voice but she didn't care because this was the point where he marveled at her glow and she was glad she could feel it again.
"I would have worn it last night," she countered.
"I didn't have a blessing last night," he answered.
"From who?" Blair asked.
"Well you do have three fathers," Chuck mused.
"Eleanor likes you."
"I wasn't sure if your grandfather would."
"My grandfather?" Blair asked quizzically, leaning back on her elbow. He traced the bead of sweat gliding down the curve of her hip. He liked that he put it there. "He doesn't even live here."
"He's the patriarch," Chuck said. "And he accepts me."
"Who knew you were such a traditional gentleman."
"You do," he answered. "That's all that matters."
"Are you going to stay with me this Christmas?" Blair asked softly.
"As long as you wear it."
His skin smelled of its natural musk and she could die like this, pressed against him in a warm bed forever—a diamond glinting on her hand.
"I don't want to go back downstairs," she sighed, settling herself back again comfortably.
"That would be uncomfortable after the wildly inappropriate and unladylike sounds you made that your mother's guests most certainly heard."
"You love me anyway."
"I suppose that's a reason why I'd marry you."
"Not just for convenience?"
"Convenient marrying a lecherous playboy?" Blair asked. "I don't think so."
"You're here with me now."
"I think I'll stay."
"I think I will too," Chuck replied.
It would be the story he would tell his grandchildren. The Christmas Eve that he proposed to make an honest woman out of the infamous Blair Cornelia Waldorf.