"Don't mention his name again," Blair warns her dangerously. "This summer is all about forgetting, remember?"
"No buts, Serena. Now, does this dress make me look fat?"
"Chuck," she whispers into the phone. "Chuck, please come home. Everyone's worried."
She sighs as she hangs up the phone, preparing to call him again. Preparing to hear the recorded voicemail message once more.
You've reached Chuck Bass…
Blair sighs happily up at the TV, a box of chocolates at her feet and a gin martini in hand. It is their second to last night in Paris, and the two girls had opted for staying in their luxurious suite at the Ritz, with Audrey on the TV and free-flowing alcohol.
"How is Lily?" she asks as Serena returns from the balcony, phone in hand.
"Fine," Serena says, uneasiness creeping into her voice. "She still hasn't heard from-"
"He's either fucking some brainless European whore or drinking himself into oblivion. Nothing unusual. Nothing to worry about."
She is sill staring at Audrey as she speaks, but her knuckles turn white on the stem of her glass. As she recalls a conversation made in the dead of the night.
"Charles Bass," she enunciated.
"How much?" the voice on the other end answered.
"No limits. I'll send a picture in the morning." A single tear escaped, and Blair covered the mouthpiece on the phone, lest the PI hear her sobs.
Serena knows enough not to push the subject further.
"So what are you going to say to Louis? You know you'd love it if he came back to New York with us."
"And then we went to Daniel for dinner, and he gave me the most perfect bracelet. It's white gold with-"
"You hate white gold," Serena reminds her best friend with a small laugh.
"Says who?" Blair nearly growls in return. "Trust me, when you see it, you'll love it as well."
"Whatever you say, B" Serena placates, a small smile playing on her lips as she held the phone closer to her ear.
"How did the dinner go?" Blair asks, her eyes still affixed to her wrist. "Rufus still lamenting over Jenny? Dan still acting awkward?"
"More or less," Serena agrees with another laugh. "Actually, B…"
She sighs. "Spit it out, S."
"Have you heard from Chuck?" Serena's voice carries a note of worry. "Mom mentioned it tonight at dinner, and she was wondering if you'd heard anything from him. The police haven't had any luck."
Blair is quiet, and Serena had to wonder if she was still on the phone. "B?" she prompts.
Blair shuts her eyes tightly as tears threaten to escape. Four hundred and seventy eight calls. Not one of them had been answered before his phone had been disconnected completely.
"It's just, he's never disappeared for this long before," Lily explains to Rufus once more. "It's been five months Rufus. Five months."
"He took advantage of my daughter," Rufus all but snarled. "My eighteen-year-old daughter. How can you spend all this time looking for him when he's probably lying in a drug induced haze somewhere exotic?"
"He's not," Lily says firmly. "This is Charles. He's my son. I can't just not look for him Rufus, please understand. Jenny even admitted-"
"He took advantage of her, no matter what everyone else convinced Jenny to say. If you want to waste your time on the worthless human being that is Chuck Bass, that's your decision."
Lily's eyes turned steely, and she picked up her bag, shouldering it as she turned towards the elevators.
"Don't speak about my son like that."
"Lil, I didn't mean-"
But she was gone.
Lily sat on the couch, legs tucked under her elegantly as she held the singular sheet of paper in her hand.
"What's wrong?" Erik prompts, moving towards the couch. Late nights had been no stranger to Lily the past few months, her tireless search for Chuck coupled with her attempts to keep the Empire running on his part had worn her down considerably.
"It's Chuck," Lily said tearfully, proffering the paper she held in her hand.
Call off the search party. Coming back tomorrow.
AN: Why yes, another S4 fic! I wanted to get this out before we got too far into S4's plot, and like Atonement I hope to have it done soon. Also, I am borrowing a page from twilight's fandom for this story. I'll send all reviewers a teaser for the following chapter:) Hugs to bethaboo for being an awesome beta, and if any of you have twitter follow me (_stephau), bethaboo (bethaboo555) have been hosting GG watchalongs live (9PM PST Mondays) and non-live (to get through Eva angst!) on twitter ggwatchalong.