AN: Hugs and thank-yous to bethaboo, for being a fabulous beta, and to SaturnineSunshine, who inspired this (and is the best co-collaborator a girl could hope for!).


"Waldorf," he growled. "I know you're in there."

Silence greeted him once more, and Chuck sighed in frustration as he massaged his knuckles. They were slightly sore from rapping at the door of her Columbia apartment for the past half hour (she had opted for an apartment instead of the dorms this time). He had received numerous amused looks and curious glances from her neighbors-and a particularly frightening once-over from what he presumed was her "fabulously gay shoe advisor of a neighbor".

He had been at this since he had returned home to his-their-suite that morning for his forgotten Blackberry. Instead of finding her dressed and eating breakfast, half-naked in bed, or completely naked in the shower, he had been welcomed by an empty apartment.

He re-located his Blackberry on his night table, where he had placed it there before kissing her goodbye that morning. Needless to say, that one kiss had turned into a lot more when her well-practiced hands had reached for his belt buckle. It was also pointless to explain the reason why he had forgotten his Blackberry when he finally left the apartment thirty minutes late.

He had thanked his lucky stars for blessing him with an incredibly hot (and insatiable) girlfriend and a father who had made him CEO-so it really didn't matter if he was late. It did, however, matter that he had forgotten his Blackberry, also known as his connection to his assistant (and to dirty text messages from said girlfriend that alleviated boredom quite easily). It was something he had realized twenty minutes into his regular half-hour commute. Because apparently, Blair Waldorf also had an effect on his ability to think straight.

It seemed, however, that a message had been opened in his absence, and Chuck winced as he opened the series of pictures.

He had cursed quite a bit, then wasted no time in calling Cam and cancelling his meetings for the morning. Chuck decided Cam deserved a raise for being able to schedule meetings and alleviate board members with efficiency.

Once at her apartment, she had flat-out ignored him as he pounded away at her door. The litany of reassurances that had fallen from his lips had seemed quite unlike Chuck Bass, but he didn't care.

He knew she was in there, knew by the quiet shuffling and the even quieter breaths that she was also directly on the other side of the door.

Apparently he wasn't the only one that needed to feel her close by.

"Come on Blair," he pleaded. "Just listen to me. I can explain."

He heard her quiet scoff, and he knew that any explanation would be ignored completely.

Being Chuck Bass, he decided that if she wouldn't believe his words, she would believe his actions.

Whipping out his phone once more, he located the offending text (and accompanying pictures) and pressed the callback button with a determined look on his face.

"This is Chuck Bass," he proclaimed loudly, knowing that Blair could hear him from her spot on the other side of the door. "I was calling regarding—"

"Yes, I did receive them. I'm calling to—"

He grinned in anticipation as he heard her breathing hitch on the other side of the door.

"Enjoy them? Well actually, I—"

A small scream of outrage erupted on the other side of the door, and he very nearly jumped back in surprise.

"You better enjoy them, because you sure as hell won't be enjoying me," came the sound of her voice, her apparent anger unaffected by the wood between them.

"Clarissa," he said firmly, and he smirked at Blair's scoff. Clarissa, he could hear her murmuring, disgust evident in her voice. "I'm calling to tell you that any and all applications regarding Victrola should be directed towards the director, Greg Sheffer. That means that you may no longer send me pictures of yourself, in a dominatrix outfit or otherwise. Also, if you would tell me how you managed to acquire my cell number, it would be appreciated. It appears I have an employee to dismiss."

"Well yes," he continued, watching as the doorknob turned ever so slightly. "However, I no longer have a part in choosing the waitresses or dancers for Victrola. That is left to Mr. Sheffer."

The doorknob continued to turn, and the smirk on his face grew.

"I'm sure you're a very talented dancer—"

And the doorknob returned to its original position.

"No, I would not like a first-hand demonstration of your talents. I doubt I'd enjoy it, and I very highly doubt my fiancée would approve."

The door flung open then, revealing a flushed and astonished Blair Waldorf dressed in a Columbia sweater (and nothing else, really). Her hair was in disarray, and the fact that she had opted for the sweater coupled with her red eyes, affirmed his suspicions.

She glowered at him, or more specifically, the phone by his ear. But the look in her eyes contradicted the rest of her face.

"Your fiancée," she huffed. "Since when do you have a fiancée?"

Chuck smirked once more as he lowered the phone, simultaneously ending the call-he didn't need to hear the girl's rambling for a second longer when he had succeeded in removing the barrier between them.

"Since you agreed to marry me," he deadpanned, and her eyes grew wide.

"I did no such thing, you arrogant bass-tard!" She exclaimed loudly, drawing a frightened glance from a passing elderly man, who checked to see if his hearing aid had malfunctioned.

"You did," he told her with absolute conviction. "If I recall correctly, the night included a hotel room in Marbella, a bed, rose petals, and copious amounts of champagne."

"It doesn't count if I was drunk," she hissed. "And you don't even have a—"

"A ring?" he supplied, producing said object from the pocket of his pants. "I've been carrying this around for the past two months, ever since you took me back. Do you know how long it took me to find this thing? After—"

He was cut off by the strangled noise that escaped her throat—halfway between a cry of indignation and a gasp of surprise.

He continued to smile charmingly at her as she eyed him expectantly. After a minute or so of continuous smiles and repeated glowers, she huffed and grabbed the box from him.

Cracking it open slightly, she peered at the ring in the little black box, gauging its worth in a matter of seconds.

"Five-and-a-half carats, princess setting, pear shaped diamonds on the side, platinum band. Not bad, Bass."

"Is that a yes?" he asked cheekily, and her answering glare told him otherwise.

"It's a maybe," she returned, still looking at the ring in the box.

"A maybe?" he asked incredulously. "I buy a forty thousand dollar diamond for you, get shot trying to save it, and then chase muggers all over France for it. And all I get is a maybe?"

"You'll get a proper answer when I get a proper proposal!" she nearly yelled. But the ring remained in her tiny hands.

"Well then," he grunted, getting down on one knee. He eyed her expectantly, and she frowned in return.

"I'll need the ring for a proper proposal," he reminded her.

Flushing, she passed the box to him, her eyes following his every move.

"Blair Waldorf-soon-to-be-Bass" he started, and she rolled his eyes at his ego. "As incredibly demanding and utterly bossy you are—" she huffed and began to turn away, but he grabbed her hand just in time. "I still love you. In fact, I probably love you more because of it. So will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

He eyed her eagerly once more, only to be disappointed once again. "That's it?" she asked disdainfully.

"It was a proposal," he defended, his leg beginning to quiver slightly.

"You're supposed to list all the reasons why you love me," she said with faux apprehension. From the smirk playing at the corners of her lips, he knew that she was having too much fun with playing with him.

"Fine," he muttered under his breath. Clearing his throat, he launched into his speech once more. "I love you because you're just as manipulative, jealous, vain, flawed, and good-looking as I am. The mind-blowing sex we experience on a daily basis is also a contributing factor. And—" he paused slightly, taking a deep breath. "You were the first girl I liked and the first woman I loved. And you will be the last, I assure you. So will you do me the honor of tormenting me for the rest of my life, and marry me?"

Chuck's gaze was both expectant and slightly disgruntled as he looked up at her once more, his leg beginning to feel painfully numb.

"Well," Blair said playfully. "When you put it like that, how can I say no?"

He stood up on shaky legs (mostly due to him being down on one knee for an extended period of time), and removed the ring from its (former) home.

"Is that a yes?" he asked once more.

She began to nod-but stopped herself quickly, "No."

He heaved a sigh, "Waldorf, any more time on one knee and my leg is going to—"

"Delete the pictures," she told him firmly.

He looked at her in disbelief, surely she couldn't still be thinking about the pictures when he had just professed his undying love (perhaps not in so many words) to her?

"She sent them because—"

"I know," Blair told him with a wave of her hand. "I heard the conversation. Tell me, do you always yell into your phone like that?"

As he continued to look at her in a mixture of disbelief and devotion, she repeated her words once more. "Delete. The. Pictures."

Pulling his phone from his pocket again, he slowed his movements deliberately, his eyes trained on the screen.

"What's taking so long?" she asked in irritation, her eyes glued to the phone in his hand.

"I'm taking a moment to memorize—"

He stopped at the look on her face, smirked, and then proceeded to placate her. "They're already deleted. Blair, would I even need pictures of another woman when I've got you? You're beautiful, slightly insecure—and not rightly so—, sexy as hell, and I'm pretty sure you just agreed to marry me. You did just agree to marry me, right?"

If her answering kiss was any indication, he was quite sure of her intentions.

Blair Waldorf had dreamed of romantic proposals on top of the Eiffel tower, perfect candlelit dinners and her in Givenchy and Chuck in Armani. But standing here, her in a Columbia sweater, him in a plain grey suit, Blair Waldorf couldn't think of anything she'd rather do.

She'd rather be married to Chuck Bass in a paper bag than anyone else in a couture gown. Not that she'd stand to be married in a paper bag, of course. But the simple truth of it was, when she was with Chuck, Blair didn't care so much about pomp and circumstance.

She just wanted to be Blair Bass.

(of course, she'd still have her dream wedding)

His phone dropped onto the marble floor with a slight crack as they stumbled inside, his hands at her waist as she threaded her fingers through his hair.

"Wait," she murmured against his lips as he pushed her against a wall.

"What?" he asked, attempting to suppress the irritation in his voice.

"The ring," she told him breathlessly. Looking at his hand, he noticed that he still clutched the diamond in his hand, and he couldn't think of a better moment in his life as he slid the ring onto the fourth finger of her left hand.

That statement could be contested, of course, by what followed immediately after.


fin