A/N: The final chapter has finally arrived. I know the ride started out a little rough in the beginning, so a huge thank you to those of you who saw this story through until the very end. The last bit of the chapter touches once again on the novel, one which I implore you to read. Please leave me with one final review and although I am an advocate of the phrase 'never say never', I have a feeling this will be my last Gossip Girl story. It's been fun.
"Oh no," Penelope comments, shaking her head at me as she watches me bite my lower lip in obvious agony. "You're not…second guessing this, are you?"
"Of course not," I snap at her, although that had not been my intention in the least bit. "But I can't do this if my mother doesn't bring Jenny her goddamn designs!"
"Wait, I thought we were taking her down," Serena clarifies, her eyebrows stitched together in confusion.
"Catch up blondie," Chuck tells her, rolling his eyes. "Eleanor's bringing her the modified versions of her designs of course."
"I'm still not following," she informs him in return. "Isn't the whole point of this to prove that that butterfly dress is Blair's? How is tampering with Jenny's other designs going to help our cause?"
Penelope pinches the bridge of her nose in frustration then and reminds her, "Because Eleanor stitched those scarlet letters we gave to her onto each of them, remember? You brought them to her for God's sake!"
After a moment of pondering, Serena smiles in enlightenment over her words.
"Gotcha," she voices, spelling the word out to us for confirmation, "T-E-A-C-H, right? As in we're going to teach her a lesson? Very clever Blair."
Before any of us can wipe the look of absolute disbelief off of our faces and correct her, my mother arrives (finally!), dresses in hand.
"Oh thank God you're here," I breath, rushing over to her immediately and taking the designs from her hands. "Agnes, take these backstage and make the switch right away. Make sure Jenny doesn't catch you, alright?"
She nods at my instructions and scurries off backstage. Lucky for me, Jenny's assistant isn't a huge fan of her either. Otherwise, we might not have been able to pull this off tonight, especially since Jenny had given the event staff specific instructions to let no one backstage except for her assistant and her models.
"Thanks for coming through for me," I thank my mom quickly before turning to address everyone else. "You all remember what to do, right?"
They all nod in response much to my relief. Alright, show time. I wring my hands together in anticipation as Jenny begins to deliver her acceptance speech, her new, shiny award in hand.
"Wow," she starts, her free hand pressed to her chest in feigned shock. "This is such an honor. There are so many people I'd like to thank, but I'd like to dedicate this award to my deceased parents. Mom, dad, I know you're watching over me up there in heaven and I hope I've made you proud tonight! Thank you!"
I find myself rolling my eyes at her vomit-inducing speech. Don't get me wrong. That speech would have been totally touching if the wicked witch of the Upper East Side hadn't been the one to give it. I mean, just look at that fake smile she's plastered onto her face! She doesn't even look sincere!
She's about to walk off the stage now as the audience applauds, so that her little showcase can begin, but Penelope blocks her path. I can see them arguing with each other in hushed tones as the lights begin to dim from where I'm standing. Jenny looks in slight panic to the right stage exit after a moment (her only other exit option) only to find Serena stationed there. She's stuck on stage just like I had planned. Perfect, stage one complete! It wouldn't be a very successful confrontation without her, now would it?
As the five models begin to walk out on stage, I'm feeling particularly giddy because I know what's to come. Of course, my attention is on Jenny rather than the models as I'm waiting anxiously for her reaction. After all, I already know what those five models are going to spell out for me, for her, and subsequently, for the rest of the country.
I notice Chuck cock his head to the back of the room then by the judges' table. I swivel around in the direction he's pointing me towards to find my mother motioning for the press to have their equipment ready for what's to come. You know, I truly believe that the two of us are on our way to a fabulous mother-daughter relationship. Who knew my mother was such a good scheming partner?
The moment the models have lined up on stage, they turn. As rehearsed, Dan increases the brightness of the lights in order to successfully highlight the carefully thought out word across their garments, C-H-E-A-T.
At first, she smiles wide because the audience has gone silent. I feel like laughing. The girl actually thinks her designs have rendered them speechless! That poor, naïve child. When she finally catches on to what has happened, however, her jaw drops wide open, her eyes even wider still. Recovering from her initial shock, she runs over to the models to shoo them off the stage as the audience (including the committee) murmurs amongst themselves about the scandal. She grabs the microphone from the podium and pushes her hair out of her face, her cheeks flushed, evidently trying to regain her composure.
"I'm terribly sorry," she apologizes to the committee, to the viewers. "I have no idea what just happened there. I assure you that those were not my original designs. Someone has evidently tampered with them."
Then, her expression changes because the implications of her own words seems to set in. She looks out into the crowd and I just know she's searching me out. She spots me just as my mother arrives at my side. The two of us share a victorious smile before giving her a little wave from where we are, which only serves to infuriate her.
"You set me up? You pathetic little bitch!" she screeches, obviously forgetting where she is at the moment and giving absolutely no thought to the word 'decorum'.
The audience gasps at her outburst. How classy.
Finally, one of the judges clears his throat, silencing the audience. Walking up to the podium, he brushes Jenny aside.
"It has come to our attention that the designs we have seen just now may not be Miss Humphrey's," he informs the audience, who again gasp in surprise (seriously, do these people have any other expressions?). "Until we can do a complete investigation on the matter, I'm afraid we'll have to revoke Miss Humphrey's award for the time…"
"She tampered with my designs!" Jenny persists, effectively interrupting the judge.
She's pointing to me as I casually join her on stage.
"These are my designs!" she continues to shout, only further embarrassing herself. "I have the original sketches to prove it!"
Turning on the microphone in my own hands, I agree with her, "Actually sir, those designs are indeed Miss Humphrey's and yes, I did tamper with them."
Jenny smiles victoriously upon hearing my words. The judge just looks even more irritated.
"We are in the middle of an awards show here," the judge hisses, clearly unhappy about the disruption.
"I guarantee you this won't take long. Plus, the network and I have an understanding with one another," I assure him, taking a step closer to the young blonde. "As I was saying, those designs may be hers, but the centerpiece that won her the award? That's mine, isn't it Jenny?"
I lean in close to ear and add (for her ears only), "I'm giving you a chance to admit to your mistake and repent. You might get some sympathy from the viewers that way. Otherwise, I'll ruin you. You'll never set foot in the fashion industry again, at least not in this country."
She seems to consider my generous offer for a moment before deciding to board the train of humiliation instead.
"She's lying," Jenny assures the audience, a nervous chuckle in her throat. "She's always been jealous of me."
"Young lady, do you have any proof that this dress design is yours?" the judge addresses me, deciding to just settle this right here and now. "Because if you don't, I'd really appreciate it if you'd stop wasting everyone's time."
I hand him the re-drawings I did of my dress then, a triumphant smirk on my face. He takes them in his hands and flips through them daintily, saying 'hmmm' every so often. I swear I see a drop of sweat running down the side of Jenny's face right now as the rest of audience continues to watch in stunned silence. After awhile, the judge speaks again.
"I know how to settle this," he finally announces, readjusting his glasses on the bridge of his nose. "Tell me Miss Humphrey, what was your vision when you included those extra buttons and zippers into the design. They're quite lovely, but they don't seem to serve a purpose."
She looks at him skeptically, turning to observe me for a split second before returning her attentions to him. She's obviously trying to figure out what I'm up to, but she can't of course.
"Go ahead, explain your design Jenny," I dare her and she does or at least she attempts to.
"I just wanted to spice up my piece," she explains with a nonchalant shrug, walking over to the model who's wearing the dress, the one design of hers we didn't tamper with. "It gives it a more aesthetically pleasing look, don't you think?"
There are some murmurs of agreement from the audience, but all is quiet again when I speak up.
"Wrong answer," I tell her sweetly, walking over to the model myself and waving Jenny away. "I included them in the design for a reason. I would never even have remembered this had my mother not sparked my memory, so thank you for that."
She nods at me in encouragement from the audience as I continue.
"Get to point Blair," Jenny says before I can though, her current stance suggesting that she's not in the least bit threatened by me.
Her underestimation of my abilities to bring her down never seizes to amuse me. I mean, she never even saw this coming despite all of the preventive measures she had taken to make sure that I wouldn't be anywhere near this event tonight.
"There are six ways to wear this dress," I reveal at last, turning to face the audience as I do so. "Miss Humphrey, needless to say, isn't aware of this, since she merely copied my design stitch for stitch so to speak."
Jenny scoffs, rolling her eyes in absolute incredulity. When she notices that she's the only one doing so, however, she desperately turns towards the awards committee.
"You cannot seriously be believing the nonsense that's coming out of her mouth right now," Jenny clarifies, throwing her hands up into the air in frustration. "She works at Bass Industries for God's sake! She doesn't have a creative bone in her goddamn body!"
"Please Miss Humphrey, let her finish," the judge asks of her in return and Jenny (of course) can't very well refuse.
As I go through each of the ways to wear my design, giving purpose to each and every button and zipper on there, the crowd is amazed. Jenny? Not so much. Actually, she's kind of foaming a little at the mouth at the moment. After I finish with my demonstration, Jenny looks absolutely livid, the audience beginning to chatter amongst themselves once more. I'm more interested in the fact that the committee is chatting amongst themselves to be honest.
Five minutes later, one of the judges from the panel makes his way over to the stage, whispering something or another into the first judge's ear as the rest of us wait in anticipation.
"Given what has been presented to committee by Miss Waldorf," he states finally, getting the attention of the audience. "We hereby revoke Miss Humphrey's award. Only the original designer of the piece could have possibly known what Miss Waldorf knows."
He then approaches me and I feel like I might faint. This is the moment I've been waiting for, the moment where I've finally destroyed the evil that is Jenny Humphrey.
"Congratulations Miss Waldorf," he says, shaking my hand and handing me Jenny's award. "We look forward to your future endeavors in the fashion world."
The crowd breaks into applause immediately afterward, my friends and family cheering the loudest of course. When I catch a glimpse of security escorting Jenny off the stage kicking and screaming out of the corner of my eye, I can't help but think that yeah, victory can be pretty damn sweet.
I make a quick thank you speech and then walk off stage, the show at long last able to go on as planned. As they hand out the next award, we're already out the door. Compared to what just happened, the rest of the awards show is bound to be dull anyway.
"That was so freaking awesome!" Serena shouts the moment we're outside, her smile even more explosive than mine.
"Did you see the look on her face?" Penelope adds excitedly, beaming wide. "I don't know about you guys, but I got some great shots."
"Plus, we can relive the moment whenever we want to," Dan inputs, having been quite appreciative when I agreed to include him in my plans.
"Yes, the entire country can relive the moment should they ever wish to," my mother points out, following my father into the limo. "Honestly, we'd love to stay and celebrate with you dear, but your father and I are not young anymore. We're going to go home and get some much needed rest. We'll see you at brunch tomorrow, yes?"
A Jenny-free family brunch? Hell yeah!
"Absolutely," I promise her, giving her a quick hug.
Before she leaves, however, she looks past me to address Chuck.
"You can come too Charles if you'd like," she says and he smiles, assuring her, "I'll be there."
Not soon after, Serena and Dan bid us goodbye. They're going to stay at his loft tonight. Now, I still don't like him, but at least I don't want to light myself on fire anymore when I'm around him. We're making serious progress here.
"You want to come over?" Chuck wonders then, leaning in close to my ear.
Damn. I want to say yes, but seeing Penelope all alone a mere few steps away just completely breaks my heart.
"Not tonight," I inform him, cocking my head over to where Penelope's currently standing and Chuck seems to understand.
"No, go B," she echoes sadly instead. "I'll be fine. I'm a big girl."
Much to our surprise, Chuck smirks at her response. Ugh! Does he find some sick pleasure in her unhappiness or something?
"Actually, I've got that covered," he enlightens the two of us and judging by the expression on Penelope's face at the moment, she's confused as hell too. "Louis?"
At the mention of his name, Penelope's eyes widen in shock and I'm just pissed. How dare he plan something without my input! Besides, Serena and I have already made plans to do something about him. We just haven't put them into motion yet.
"Penny," Louis greets her hesitantly, walking over to Chuck's side. "Can we talk?"
In my haze, I didn't even take note of where he came from, but that's not important. What's important right now is that I protect my best friend from further heartbreak.
"You sure as hell cannot," I answer for her, stepping in between them. "So unless you're interested in being castrated in less than sixty seconds, I suggest you go back to where you came from, got it?"
"Ok, come on, Blair," Chuck interjects, dragging me into his waiting limo. "Let the two of them talk."
I'm about to protest vehemently, but upon turning to look at her, she seems to agree with Chuck, so I sigh in defeat and enter the vehicle.
Before we leave though, I poke my head out of the window and make sure she knows, "Call me if you need me P, no matter the time."
She nods, a grateful smile on her face as she waves me off. I keep watching them from the window though until the limo makes a left turn into the next street.
"Waldorf, everything's going to be fine," Chuck assures me, taking my hand. "Now, if you could stop worrying about your best friend's love life for a moment, I'd like to discuss ours."
Ok, now he's got my attention.
"Excuse me?" I clarify, wondering what the hell we could possibly need to discuss.
"Now normally, I'm a very patient man Blair," he explains, loosening his tie a little. "However, I'd very much appreciate it if you returned my earlier sentiment some time soon."
His earlier sentiment? I'm lost for a moment or two, but then, I finally catch on to what he's oh so subtly asking of me.
"Aw," I tease him, playing with his hair. "Is me telling you I love you too Chuck somehow tied to your self worth?"
He scoffs, rolling his eyes at the very idea as he slaps my hand away.
"Not a chance in hell Waldorf," he lies, avoiding my gaze.
"Ok, well, for the record, I do," I tell him anyway, shifting closer to him.
He opens his mouth and I know he probably has some smartass retort in mind, so I kiss him then to shut him up. He seems to want to push me away at first to finish his thoughts, but then thinks twice and changes his mind, kissing me even more urgently than before. It's a miracle. I'm in love with an amazing guy who's head over heels over me too and the best part? It's not even a damn secret.
Six months later
As I'm lying on top of the hard wood surface of Chuck's office desk, trying to catch my breath, I'm thinking that my life turned out to be pretty damn great after all.
I mean, I actually kind of look forward going to work each day now. Turns out Vanessa and I actually make a pretty awesome team when we're not plotting to make the other person miserable. I still spit in her coffee every once in a while when she really pisses me off, but you know, we're civil with each other for the most part. Plus, I get to have office sex with Chuck practically every day. I've learnt that sex with the added fear of getting caught at any moment is actually quite exhilarating. The smug bastard always reminds me that it's one of the perks of being his favorite employee.
What makes my life so great is that my friends are also doing well. We've all moved in with our boyfriends now, but we're closer than ever. We've even kept the apartment around for rainy days (read: whenever our boyfriends do something stupid and piss us off). Career wise, they're doing better than ever just like I am. For one, Serena's TV show is a huge hit. It's actually kind of cool being best friends with someone famous. Humphrey thinks otherwise of course. Apparently, her suitors just make him extremely insecure about himself (as he should be in my opinion). As for Penelope, she and Louis reconciled on the same night I took Jenny down. He gave up his title to be with her after all, which is sort of romantic I guess. They run this neat little catering company together now and they've even hired Bree to help, which is great.
Speaking of Bree, sometimes I can't help but feel a little jealous of her. She and Nate are engaged! They've only been dating for about as long as Chuck and I have, but apparently, they're each other's soul mates, whatever that means. I'm still not sure I fully understand the meaning of the term. I'm in no rush to get married of course, but it'd be nice to know that Chuck had some plans for our future. The man doesn't think past what we're having for dinner that night for crying out loud! Problem is I'm still hopelessly in love him anyway. Plus, I love having Eric around. He's in remission right now and living with us. He's slowly learning the ropes at Bass Industries and soon enough, he'll be running the company alongside Chuck.
My relationship with my own family is wonderful as well. I mean, my mother and I have our arguments here and there and sometimes I feel like punching her in the face, but all in all, we've made a lot of progress from where we were before. I've dubbed that dark period in my life the pre-Jenny-take-down era. On the subject of Jenny, I actually haven't heard from her in a while, which further adds to the list of reasons as to why my life is so freaking awesome right now. She left Manhattan not long after her reputation was trashed on national TV and I never saw her again. I've heard a rumor that Damien went after her again though. Some boys just never learn I suppose.
So yeah, at this particular moment, I wouldn't trade my life with any one person in this entire world. As for the whole deal with my secrets, I'm happy to announce that Chuck and I are still completely honest with each other. He's the only person in the whole universe that knows each and every one of my secrets. I don't keep anything from him.
"What are you thinking about?" he asks me then, interrupting my thoughts as he runs his hand suggestively up my inner thigh.
"Nothing," I answer him, a moan on my lips as I signal for him to hurry the hell up.
Alright, so actually, come to think of it, I might have this one little secret I keep from my gorgeous CEO boyfriend.
1. I've already planned our wedding. In fact, I've already started to name each and every one of our future children.