A/N: As always, a big Thank You to Ivory Keys and my Anonymous Pal (I have told A.P. that the Dan/Blair community will be open-arm-welcoming). The feedback, brainstorming, bouncing of ideas, and overall support means so much (and not just from a fan fic stand point)
A/N 2: A HUGE shout out to the DBN gang at Fan forum-seriously, you are all amazing. I love your stuff so much and now you're writing MORE! It's my go-to when I'm too stressed to write and you are all fabulous for letting me "play"…even if just for a bit. My guilty pleasure inside a guilty pleasure.
A/N 3: Thank you to everyone who is still reading, and everyone who takes the time to post reviews. I love to hear from you so much and I truly appreciate it!
One Hundred and Ninety Second
The One Hundred and Ninety-Second date brought Dan and Blair together in the first call of duty of their marriage. A duty that would test their bond and strengthen their union.
It all began two days before Blair and Serena were scheduled to leave Milan; rejoining their husbands in the city. Though both had enjoyed their time together; shopping and attending show after show, they were ready to go home. Blair was happy to find that the clothes and the shopping paled in comparison to time with her new husband; only reaffirming her decision to become a Humphrey.
They had two days left in Milan and it was this early morning that set in motion what would come about on date one ninety-two. Both ladies had risen early and Serena was out running a quick errand when Blair's phone rang out into the room.
Showered, dressed and ready for all that this day was about to bring her, Blair hurried across the room towards her phone; her face instantly brightening when she read the ID.
"Good morning Humphrey," Blair smiled wide as she answered.
"Good morning Waldorf," Dan's voice held the low roughness of sleep though she could tell, even from miles away, that he was smiling.
"Are you ever going to start calling me Humphrey?" She perched atop one of the stools by the wet bar.
"Not likely," he chuckled.
"Wait a second…" Blair's eyes landed on the clock as her mind quickly did the math. "Dan, it's three o'clock in the morning there. What are you doing? Are you okay?"
"Of course I'm okay," he tried to brush it off and then grew slightly embarrassed as he admitted, "I wanted to talk to you first thing in the morning…first thing in your morning." Her stomach fluttered just a bit; a mixture of awe and nerves.
"You miss me." It wasn't a question. It was fact.
"I do… I really do." He let out a breath and looked around the room he was standing in. "But…it looks like you're having a good time."
"You're talking about all the clothes I've sent home?" She rolled her eyes knowing he was most likely overwhelmed.
"I've been signing for so many deliveries, I was starting to think that another person was moving in with us." He chuckled and she laughed.
"Where have you put it all?"
"Well, I thought about putting it in the closet and then I actually opened your closet and…let's just say, in order to preserve our young marriage, I'm going to stay out of there."
"So wise…" He laughed.
"It's all in the green, fuzzy room."
"The green fuzzy room?" Blair raised her eyebrows.
"The spare room. With the green fuzzy pillow," he explained. "Or your new closet; whatever works for you…"
"I miss you too Dan," her voice was quiet, sincere and it caused him to pause in his line of thinking.
"Yeah…" He breathed. "It's very odd being home without you."
"I would imagine," she looked down to the floor; a wave of homesickness washing over her. "But I will be home in two days. You can even meet me at the airport if you would like."
"Yeah. About that…" Dan cleared his throat. "I am actually being sent off to write a piece."
"Really?" Her head snapped up; mostly excited for him, but kind of sad. "Sent off to where?"
"Colorado?" Her nose bunched up. "What kind of piece is this?"
"We're running a series about festivals and fairs across the states; a slice of life thing…." He reached for his paperwork. "I am going to be attending The Great American Beer Fest."
"Lovely," Blair's eyes flashed wide. "How long will you be there?"
"Till Saturday, around noon."
"Saturday!" Her lower lip stuck out slightly. "I'm going to be home alone for two days?"
"Yes," he laughed with a sigh. "My flight arrives around noon. I'll go to the office, file the story and head right home to you. I took Monday off so we could have something of a weekend..."
"You know what, don't focus on that. Focus on now…You're in Milan, shopping with your best friend. Speaking of…how is Serena? What are you two doing today?" Blair stiffened and glanced up to the door as Serena walked in carrying a small paper bag. Gulping back a lump in her throat, she smiled and shrugged.
"Oh, you know…girl stuff."
As Blair continued her conversation with Dan, her eyes never left her best friend. Serena smiled softly and walked past her into the living space. Sitting on the couch, she took a deep breath and opened the bag; pulling from it two pregnancy tests.
Blair avoided looking at the tests throughout the remainder of her conversation with Dan; afraid she was too close to telling him what was about to happen. Having just yesterday decided that this wasn't a discussion to have over the phone, she quelled her desire to blurt it out, and remained mum. Only after they exchanged I love you's and good-byes, the phone going dead in her hand, did she turn to face Serena.
"I don't know, S…" Blair shook her head, moving to join her friend on the couch.
"What don't you know?"
"This…" Blair waved her hand towards the table. "I feel ridiculous taking a pregnancy test."
"Why? I'm taking a pregnancy test."
"Yes, but you think you might actually be pregnant."
"So do you," Serena chuckled at her friend; having had this very same conversation just the night before.
"Not really though," Blair rolled her eyes. "When you were listing off your symptoms, I thought I had them too. But…fatigue? Breast tenderness? That could be anything."
"Sure," Serena shrugged. "It could also be a baby. Tell me this; did you and Dan have sex this last month?"
"You know the answer to that," Blair's eyes settled into a glare; her face flushing slightly as she remembered the last few weeks.
"Unprotected sex?" Serena smirked; thinking it was cute how Blair seemed slightly uncomfortable with the discussion.
"Only kind of."
"What does 'kind of' mean?"
"It means that while we didn't use two forms of contraception," Blair rolled her eyes. "I am on the pill."
"Which is what? Only ninety-one percent effective," Serena pointed out, reaching for one of the boxes. "And…your period is late."
"By not even a day," Blair countered. "It's probably too early to tell anyway."
"Nope," Serena waved the box in the air. "It says here that this is the 'only test that tells you 6 days before your missed period'. So, one day late…not too early."
"Fine." Blair snatched the box from her hand. "I'll take the damn thing."
"Now we're talking…" Serena stood, reaching for the other box. "Want to meet out here and wait out the three minutes together?"
"Three minutes," Serena eyed her best friend and offered an encouraging smile. "It will be fine, Blair. I promise."
"Fine," Blair sighed and moved towards her bathroom. "I'm just going to go pee on a stick; a ridiculous little stick." She held up the box and Serena laughed as she moved towards her own bathroom; towards her own fate.
The two friends sat on opposite couches, facing each other while they waited out the agonizing three minutes. The sticks lay on the table in front of them; having taken great care not to confuse the two. As the time ticked by and the tension grew, neither of them said much of anything. Blair tried to sort out her feelings, tried to figure out what she wanted. Though she and Dan had just discussed wanting children, they had also just discussed waiting for two years. Yet here she was, taking a pregnancy test with the slightest hope that it would be…
"You okay?" Serena's voice cut into her thoughts.
"I'm nervous," Blair looked down at her hands.
"Yeah," Serena smiled at her friend. "What part makes you the most nervous?"
"What part…" Blair let out a breath and tried for a smile. "What if Dan's mad?"
"Mad?" Serena laughed lightly. "Why in the world would Dan be mad? He adores you. You're married. I would imagine the two of you have talked about having children."
"We have," Blair nodded.
"And? What did he say? Does Dan want to have kids?" Though she was pretty certain she knew the answer, she wanted Blair to hear it out loud; from her own mouth.
"Yes…" Despite her nervousness a warm smile spread across her face as she remembered the journal; the talk they had. "We both want to have kids. Just…we wanted to wait for a couple of years. We wanted to be married for a little while. I wanted to finish school…"
"Sure," Serena nodded, knowing all too well what it felt like to have a baby surprise you; turning your world on its head. "But what if it's not in a couple years? What if it's now?" Blair sighed.
"Now? I don't know…I…" She trailed off, her mind coming to grips with Serena's hypothetical. "I don't know…is it crazy that I think I might actually be ready for this?"
"No," Serena grinned. "It's not crazy. What is crazy is thinking that Dan would somehow be mad about it."
"Yeah?" Blair raised her eyebrows and Serena nodded. "Yeah…you're right. You are." Blair took a deep breath and played at the hem of her skirt. "You know Dan wrote me this book."
"He did?" Serena leaned forward; interested.
"Well, it's his journal really. He…he took all of his journal entries since our first date and had them bound and gave it to me for a wedding present."
"Wow…That is incredibly romantic."
"Yeah, it is." Blair felt warm as she spoke of it. "And there was this entry he wrote after Evan was born. He had seen me holding him and in his journal he wrote about what it might be like for us to have children; to try to have children, to be pregnant to be…" Blair trailed off, feeling slightly embarrassed; as though she was telling a deep, dark secret. Lifting her head, she met Serena's eyes and gulped at the lump in her throat. "You're right. He wouldn't be mad."
"No," Serena grinned. "He wouldn't. He would be…"
The alarm on Serena's phone rang out, signaling the end of the three minutes. Both heads snapped out of the conversation and to the two sticks on the table; waiting to be read.
"Well..." Blair sighed and leaned forward.
"Here we go," Serena smiled anxiously, doing the same. Blair scooped hers up into her hand; her eyes looking at Serena, her knee bouncing nervously. "B, what is it?"
"I can't do it…" Blair shook her head; her stomach flipping. "It feels…wrong…to be doing this without Dan. I don't think I can look at it…"
"Hey…" Serena's voice was soft, soothing. "Do you want to wait till you get home? Till you're with Dan? Because you can, Blair…"
"No!" Blair interrupted, shaking her head. "I took the test, I have to know what it says. I can't not know. It's just…"
"Here, I have an idea," Serena held her stick out to Blair. "Trade me. I'll read yours. You read mine. You can do that, right? Find out if I'm pregnant?"
"Yes," Blair took a deep breath; nodding slowly. "That's a great idea. Let's trade."
"Okay." And just like that, each friend held the fate of the other in her hand. Blair bit her lower lip. "Who goes first?"
"You read mine first," Serena suggested, finding the slightest bit of humor in Blair's rollercoaster of nervousness. "I have a son. It's not nearly as mind blowing for me as it is for you."
"Okay," Blair smiled at her friend and then, looking down at the stick, she stared at the tiny window. Reading the results, she wasn't sure if she should be happy or sad. Offering her warmest smile, she spoke, "negative."
"Negative?" Serena leaned up and over the table slightly, wanting to see for herself. Letting out a breath of relief, she smiled. "Okay…"
"I'm sorry, S."
"Don't be," she shook her head. "Come on. Evan is not even one yet and my body is…barely getting back to normal. Nate and I really should be more careful; we're not really ready for another." Serena waved her hand; dismissing any concern Blair had.
"Thank God," Blair grinned. "I would hate for you to want to be and not to be…"
"How about you, B?" Serena's grin matched Blair's as she held up the second stick. "You ready?"
"Yes," Blair answered, her head shaking in contradiction. "Go ahead…no wait! No…." Blair took a slow, calming breath and smiled. "Okay. Go." Serena's eyes stayed on her friend for one long moment, waiting to make sure and then she looked down at the stick in her hand. Her eyes flashed wide for a split second before she looked up to Blair, a smile playing at the corner of her lips.
"What?" Blair whispered, tears springing to her eyes.
"Blair, it's positive; see," Serena held the stick out showing two clear, bold lines. "You're pregnant." Serena watched and waited for her friend to say something. "B?"
"I'm pregnant?" Her face remained absolutely still for a beat and then; it completely lit up. "Oh My God! I'm pregnant!" Serena felt tears spring to her eyes as Blair smiled wide.
"Yes you are!" And she was off her couch, pulling Blair into a hug. "Blair…You're pregnant…"
"With Dan's daughter…" Her hands drifted to her stomach; making her feel foolish and giddy all at the same time.
"With Dan's...daughter? Wait. What?" Serena pulled back; looking at her friend through confused eyes. "Did you just say daughter?"
"Well of course it's going to be a daughter," Blair rolled her eyes. "Can you even imagine me with a son?" She laughed at the thought.
"Okay," Serena laughed along with her; shaking her head. "Whatever you say. Do you think Dan has a preference?"
"Dan! Oh my God…I have to call him…" Blair jumped from her seat and moved to find her phone and then stopped suddenly in her tracks. "Wait. I can't just call him up and…"
"Why not?" Serena laughed; Blair was very rarely this frazzled.
"Because this is…this is something you tell somebody in person, right?" She bit her lip and thought it over.
"I think you probably know the best way to tell Dan that he's going to be a dad." Blair felt a lump in her throat as Serena said the words. Blair stood in the center of the room, silent as she contemplated that. And then it hit her; she knew. Nodding, she swallowed back her tears.
"You're right…" She collected her purse. "I do know the right way."
"Wait…" Serena watched her as she moved towards the door. "Are you going somewhere?"
"Yes," Blair smiled and wiped at her eyes. "And you're coming with me."
"Okay…" She was slightly hesitant, but reached for her purse anyway. "Where exactly are we going?"
"A bookstore," Blair's excitement was evident in her face, her voice, the way she moved. "I need to buy a children's book. It's really the only way to tell Dan…" She let out a breath; her excitement bubbling up. "It's really the only way to tell Dan we're going to have a baby."
The Next Day
It had been barely a day that Blair had sat with this new, wonderful secret. Barely a day since she had discovered she was pregnant. She had initially been nervous, afraid it was too soon. But as the news settled in, so did the joy it brought with it. She was no longer nervous; Dan wanted a baby—he had made that clear in his journal and in his words. And she wanted a baby; she really wanted a baby.
Since she and Serena left the suite that morning, she had been smiling so much it hurt. She had practically skipped through the streets in search of the perfect book and when she found it, Guess How Much I Love You—In French no less—she almost jumped up and down. As she placed the book in her carryon bag, not about to take a chance at losing it, she whispered the title to herself "Devine Combien Je t'aime…" and the thrill that had been coursing through her veins only intensified.
It had been a day; one long, excruciating day spent fighting every urge she had to call Dan and let him in on this new adventure. One day trying not to sound too excited, too happy; too pregnant. After Blair had found the book, she and Serena had spent the day laughing and fantasizing about the baby that was to come. The trips to the park they would share, the play dates; the memories. She had sworn her best friend to secrecy and then reveled in the knowledge that this surprise was going to be one of the best surprises she had ever bestowed upon somebody.
Blair had thought she would be sad leaving Italy; the scene of her wonderful honeymoon, the location of her extravagant shopping spree, the place where she learned such great news. But as they climbed into the car and headed towards the airport, she had not one ounce of sadness in her; only elation. She was heading home to her husband…who was about to find out he was going to be a father.
And when their plane landed in New York, though it had been many hours and it was early in the morning, Blair was still just as refreshed and happy as she had been since it all began. As soon as the plane taxied to the gate, they hurried from their seats, they hurried through customs and finally, when they emerged to see Nate and Evan, who looked so much bigger than she had remembered; Blair felt the lump in her throat again.
She was going to have a baby. A baby; just like Evan but with her dimples and Dan's smile. She halted as her emotions stunned her; her emotions for this barely-there baby. The pause in her step went unnoticed by Serena as she flew to her husband; sweeping Evan into her arms and stepping into Nate's. Feeling more than a little jealous, Blair stood back and waited; her grin still in place. As the family pulled apart, they turned their attention to her. Nate, hugged and kissed her hello as they began walking towards the exit.
"Want to hug Aunt B?" Serena handed Evan to Blair and he went happily. Kissing his chubby cheeks was exactly what Blair needed to welcome her home. He cooed and blew little bubbles of spit. And when Blair laughed, he smiled up at her and she very nearly cried.
"I brought you so many presents little man," she thought of all the gifts she and Dan had purchased, most likely piled high in the green fuzzy room awaiting distribution. "Books and clothes and toys and…"
"And a new little playmate…" Nate grinned; eyes shining.
"Serena! You told NATE?" Blair spun around to face her friend; her voice lowering only because Evan was in her arms. "I thought I swore you to secrecy."
"I'm sorry!" Serena's eyes went wide. "But he's my husband! And he's Nate. He won't tell anyone!"
"Serena! I haven't even told Dan yet." Blair's irritation with her friend conflicted with her overall joyous mood.
"Hey…" Nate spoke up, voice calm. "She's right. I won't tell a soul. Come on, Blair. I'm a dad. This is big news and I wouldn't want Dan to find out about it from anyone but you…"
"Nate," Blair turned her eyes to him. "I swear, if you even so much as joke about it before he knows I will…"
"Hey, hey! No need for threats Waldorf…" He held his hands out in surrender.
"It's Humphrey now," she corrected, the corners of her mouth turning up slightly.
"No need for threats, Humphrey," he smirked. "I already said I would keep my mouth shut. He won't hear it from me."
"Or me," Serena spoke up, eyebrows raised in hope of forgiveness.
"Fine," Blair huffed and tried for calm. Looking down the bundle in her arms, her smile returned. She kissed his little head and sighed. "That's right Evan. Aunt B and Uncle Dan are going to have a little baby girl for you to play with."
"Hold on…" Nate spoke to Serena as they found the car. "She can't really know it's a girl yet, can she?"
"No," Serena chuckled, kissing her husband. "But…it's Blair. Pregnant Blair."
"Ah…" Nate nodded and then smirked. "Good luck Dan."
"Humphrey, it's your wife…" Blair yawned as she spoke to Dan's voicemail. "It's Friday morning and I am home. I am unpacked and…exhausted. Are you still sleeping? Or are you already drinking beer at the fest?" She walked around their home; reacquainting herself with her surroundings. "I miss you. I…I love you. Call me; drunk or not. I would love to hear your voice." She ended the call and looked around the newly dubbed 'green fuzzy room'. Pulling the pillow into her arms, she held it tight to her and sighed. At the moment, her Italian shopping spree overtook the room; still needing attention. But it looked too tiring of a task to take on at the moment. As she flipped off the light and left the room, a small thought crept into her mind. Maybe the green fuzzy room would be perfect for a nursery.
And there it was; the thought that had consumed her mind for days. The baby. Her mind drifted to the baby; always. As she wrapped the book she had purchased and sat it on Dan's desk, her mind drifted to the baby and what Dan's reaction might be. As she slipped off her shoes and crawled into her big bed, her mind drifted to what the baby might look like, what she might smell like. As she moved to Dan's side, taking in the scent of her husband, her mind drifted to images of a family; her family. And as she fell asleep, her mind simply drifted.
The harsh tone of her cell phone jarred her from her sleep. Fumbling for its location, Blair tried to get her bearings. She was home, in New York; in her bed. And the sun was still out. Finding her phone, she lay back on her pillow and answered.
"Waldorf!" It was Dan. Her lips curved into a smile.
"How many times do I have to tell you people…it's Humphrey now."
"Fine, fine," he dismissed that. "You sound sleepy."
"I was sleeping," she stretched out a bit; still feeling sluggish and a little crampy. "After I left you the message, I decided to take a nap."
"Yeah," she nodded, though it wasn't entirely true. "I'm just tired and achy."
"Oh no, Humphrey," she laughed. "You're the one who can't handle the flying. This is like second nature to me."
"Coming down with something?" He sounded worried. And Blair felt slightly bad that he didn't know the true reason for her fatigue. Wanting to avoid this discussion, she decided to divert.
"Don't worry about it. How are you? How is…Colorado?" Her nose pinched as she said it.
"It's actually…it's really beautiful. Once you get into the city you can see the mountains. It's nice. But I'm spending most of my time indoors."
"At the fest."
"Drinking beer." Her eyes closed as she settled against the pillow.
"Yes," he laughed. "Well, only a little bit. I still have to write something. So, I haven't been drinking too much."
"Hmmm…" She nodded. "You going back tonight?"
"Yeah. Actually, I'm on my way to meet with one of the 'Brew masters' for an interview and then I'm going to a local brewery for a tour…" Dan trailed off. "What does your day look like?"
"Oh you know…a hot bath, more napping, some food…maybe some reading. I saved the last journal entry for when I made it home," her mouth turned down into a frown. "What am I going to do when I finish it?"
"Don't worry," he chuckled. "I started another."
"You did?" Her eyes flew open.
"Of course. And next time you'll get to read about our wedding and our honeymoon and…"
"Is it wrong that I'm incredibly turned on right now?" She smiled wide; wishing he were there.
"Nah…only wrong that I'm here and you're there." His voice was low and she could tell he missed her.
"But you'll fix that tomorrow."
"A little bit after. I'll call you when I land."
"Will you call me tonight before you go to sleep?"
"I will. Though it might be late."
"I don't care. You can leave me a message if I'm asleep," Blair's hand moved down to her stomach and her mind drifted to the baby. "I love you."
"I love you too."
Even after the call had been disconnected, she laid in bed. With Dan's voice no longer a distraction, she began to take note of her body and how she was feeling. She really did feel awful. Maybe being pregnant made her less adaptable to travel. Shrugging, she decided that was something she was willing to sacrifice. She was exhausted and achy. Glancing at the clock to see it wasn't even noon, she decided to get out of bed. She needed to eat something and take a bath. And then maybe she would allow herself another cat nap. Sighing, she tossed her phone aside and moved.
And when she did, she felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. A pain that was different than the achy cramping she had been experiencing; a pain that made her instantly alert; instantly nervous. Her hand moved instinctually to her stomach as a dull ache settled over her. This wasn't normal. The book she had picked up had said there might be mild cramping at the very beginning of a pregnancy, when the baby was attaching to her, but this wasn't mild.
Taking a deep, steadying breath, she willed herself to move. She sat up, swung her legs over the bed and stood; heading straight for the bathroom. It was there that she discovered the soft red spots that caused her heart to stop and her stomach to sink to the floor.
No. This wasn't mild. Far from it.
Summoning all of her strength and willpower, Blair moved herself to collect her things, walk out the door and straight into a cab. She stayed strong and collected when she called her OBGYN's office and demanded an appointment. She stayed strong and collected when she insisted the driver move faster. She stayed strong and collected through the horrendous music in the elevator. It wasn't until she was there, in that small room sitting on that paper covered table, telling the nurse that she had just found out she was pregnant and was worried that she might be miscarrying, that she allowed the smallest crack in her armor; and the tears filled her eyes. The nurse drew blood and smiled softly before slipping out the door. Blair waited, an impossibly long time, all alone in that room, fighting the urge she had to scream and break things. She waited; hands balled into fists, teeth biting at her lower lip.
When her doctor came in, Blair knew instantly that it wasn't good news. Her smile was soft and her eyes sympathetic and in that moment Blair hated everything about her. The doctor explained in the kindest and bluntest way possible that sometimes these things happen. That women are probably technically 'pregnant' much more often than we would ever know. That it is only recently, with advances in technology and inventions of Early Detection tests, that women are even aware of these pregnancies; these pregnancies that were never going to make it anyway. She told Blair that they had drawn blood and measured the HCG levels and that she would have to return tomorrow at the same time; twenty-four hours later. They would draw blood again and know for sure if she was in fact miscarrying and if there were any additional procedures she would need to have. Though they were pretty certain about the former.
And unfortunately, if she was miscarrying, there was nothing they could do. It was simply too early. The doctor made an appointment for Blair and then, with a heartfelt "I'm sorry" and a prescription for pain pills, she said good-bye.
Blair was numb; mostly. With the exception of the pain in her lower abdomen, she was numb everywhere else. Her mind was numb, her heart was numb. And she was eternally grateful for whatever it was in her body that was making it so. Arriving home, she kept her thoughts, her feelings at bay just long enough to take the pain pills and choke down a piece of toast. She shed her clothes, put on pajamas and crawled into bed. Though this time, she made it a point to avoid Dan's side; knowing the smell of him would surely send her over the edge. Mercifully, the pills and her fatigue from travel worked together and she was soon drifting off to sleep.
And she slept, hard and deep, for the majority of the day and into the night. In those brief moments when her body hinted at waking up, her eyes filled with tears and she forced herself back to sleep. She wasn't ready to deal with this reality quite yet. She slept through lunch, she slept through dinner. She slept through texts from Serena and a phone call from Dan. She slept until her body physically wouldn't sleep any longer.
And then she woke up. The pain pills had worn off. The numbness had faded. And she was devastated. Burying her face in her pillow, the sobs flowed from her in an almost violent sense. She was miserably aware of what was happening and her complete inability to stop it from happening. The doctor had told her she still needed to come in to have blood tests to confirm if she was miscarrying. But Blair didn't need the confirmation. It was her body, her baby. And she knew. The dream she had only just realized she wanted, was being painfully taken away.
She really didn't know how long she laid there in bed, letting her tears fall. She only knew that when she rolled out of bed to go to the bathroom, the sun was up. It was time to face her day. She showered, she dressed, she ate another piece of toast, she sent Dan a text telling him she didn't feel well and was going back to bed. And then she did just that. She crawled back in her bed; waiting until she needed to be at her appointment. She avoided looking in the office; the book sitting on Dan's desk was too much to handle in that moment. She avoided looking at his pillow, knowing he would be sleeping next to her was too much emotion. She avoided a phone call from Serena, knowing that telling anyone what was happening would simply be too much. She couldn't deal with it in that moment. She would deal with it later, once she knew for sure.
And later that day, after the blood draw, after the agonizing hour at home waiting for a phone call, she knew for sure. It was over. She was standing at the door to her balcony when the doctor told her the news. And it was there that she stood as it hit her. It was over. Her hand moved to her stomach and the tears started to flow.
It had been barely a day that Blair had sat with this terrible feeling. Barely a day since she had discovered those spots that left her devastated. She had initially been hopeful; maybe it was normal to experience cramping and light bleeding. But it wasn't. And as the news settled in, so did the sorrow that came with it.
It had been a day; one long, excruciating day spent fighting every urge she had to call Dan and grieve over this baby that would never be. One day trying not to sound too sad, too upset; too depressed. She was in desperate need of comfort, yet there was no comfort to be found. She thought of calling her mother or Dorota, but the thought of telling them the whole story made her sick. She thought of calling Serena, but couldn't bring herself to erase all of the excitement they had shared the last few days.
She needed Dan, her husband; her reliable source of comfort for years. But her heart was conflicted. Somewhere deep, deep down, she really longed to keep him far away from this grief she felt; keep his heart from sinking to where hers was. He had called. He had landed and was most likely sitting at his desk in that moment, typing away; oblivious to what was happening at home. And she almost preferred it that way.
It was terrible; the thought of telling him. The look she knew would spring to his eyes, the words she knew he would say in hopes of comforting her. And she hated it and hated herself. Because, even though Dan didn't know about the baby, didn't know about all of the plans she had already made in her mind, she still felt like she was taking something away from him. And that broke her heart more than anything.
She was going back to bed. She needed to pull it together before he came home and the only way to do that was to try and sleep off some of these emotions. Stopping by the kitchen for toast and some water to take with her medicine, she heard the buzzer ringing out, alerting her to a visitor. Groaning, she moved to the intercom.
"Jesus Waldorf, would you answer your phone already?" It was Nate. "Let me up."
"Go away Nate. I'm…" She took a deep breath. "I'm not in the mood for you."
"What the hell? Blair, let me up. We've been worried about you, you know. And you sent something of yours to our place and Serena made me bring it over and…you know what. Let me up! I'm just going to stand her and continue to buzz you if you…"
And because she would rather eat glass than listen to Nate ramble over the intercom, she caved. Hitting the button to allow him up with more force than necessary, she hurried to the bathroom. Taking in her appearance, she knew it was truly hopeless. No way was she going to be able to pull of bright and happy. She shrugged. It was Nate. Maybe he wouldn't notice.
But he did. The second he walked through the door, box in hand, his speech about the importance of answering the phone flew from his mind.
"What is it?" He asked softly.
"What do you mean?" She played coy for the briefest of moments before tears sprang to her eyes.
"Blair…" He sat the box on the ground and scanned her for any physical signs. "Is it the baby?"
"There is no baby," she shook her head, tears falling onto her cheeks. "Not anymore." And then, because it seemed the only natural thing to do, Blair moved into Nate's outstretched arms and cried. And Nate held her close. He knew she was trying to tell him what had happened through her muffled tears, but he couldn't understand her. And it didn't matter. He knew what had happened and he felt terrible for his friend; for his friends. It was a long time before she began to quiet; a long time before the tears slowed.
"I'm so sorry Blair. I don't know what to say...I…" He rubbed her back with his hand. "At least Dan's back. How is he taking it?"
"Dan doesn't know," Blair wiped at her eyes as she pulled back from him. "And I don't want him too."
"What?" Nate's eyes went wide with shock. "Blair…you can't be serious."
"Why not?" She gulped at the lump in her throat that grew at the mere thought of telling her husband what had transpired. "He didn't know there was a baby to begin with. Why tell him now? Why hurt him unnecessarily? It doesn't change anything..." Her voice had a frantic note to it.
"But...he's your husband. He's..."
"Nate. I don't want him to know."
"Blair..." Nate held his hands out to her.
"No!" Her eyes grew angry, her tone final. She knew it was probably not rational, probably not for the best, but she didn't care. The thought of hurting Dan made her sick to her stomach. "This is none of your business Nate. This is mine to handle. You weren't even supposed to know! You just..."
"Fine. Fine." He surrendered the fight; never one to out-fight Blair Waldorf. "I get it. I get it." He watched as her stance relaxed slightly. "Listen, Blair…is there anything I can do? Anything at all?" She thought for a moment and sniffed before answering.
"Yes. You can…you can tell Serena for me and…" She took a deep breath. "And in the office, on Dan's desk, there's a book wrapped in…in pink paper. Would you just, could you just take it with you. I bought it to tell him about the…and I can't look at it."
"Yeah, yeah," Nate nodded. "No problem. I'll go get it now."
"Thank you," Blair tried for a smile, but failed miserably.
"Of course," Nate rubbed her arm and then stepped away. Blair watched as he headed down the hallway and then, grabbing a blanket, she moved towards the balcony. She needed some air. If she was every going to be able to face Dan when he came home; she needed fresh air.
After checking to make sure Blair wasn't walking behind him, Nate stepped into the office, flipped open his phone and dialed. And when Dan answered, he only paused for a moment before he spoke,
"Hey man, it's Nate. Great. Hey, listen…I hate to be the one to do this. But I'm here at your place and…you need to come home. Blair needs you. No, no…she's fine. She just…she needs you. Nah, I'll let her tell you. But she's fine and…yeah. Yeah, I'll stay here till you get here. But come now. Okay. Yeah, no problem. Bye."
When Nate emerged from the office, the offending book in hand, Blair had settled out on the balcony. Sitting the book on the small table next to the door, he went to her. The afternoon air was chilly despite the sun beating down on them. Moving silently to her side, he stood at the railing and looked out over the city. It hurt him to see her like this. It had barely been twenty-four hours since her eyes had been wide with excitement and now it was though all the color had drained from her. Clearing his throat, he spoke softly.
"You know, there are three things that can pull me out of any funk." Glancing in her direction, he continued. "Really great food, really great sex, and a really great story." He was encouraged to see that her mouth twitched slightly; her eyes rolling upwards. "Since we both know I cannot cook to save my life, and your husband's in charge of the really great sex from here on out, all I have to offer is a really great story."
"Nate…" Blair began, not sure she was in the mood for this.
"About me, a cab, and some fried chicken." Despite her desire to wallow in her grief, she couldn't help the way her ears perked up.
"You're going to tell me the fried chicken story?"
"Without me having to bully you into it."
"Because…" His voice grew soft. "Because you're sad and I hate seeing you like this. Because you're my friend and you're in pain and…because it will take Dan about fifteen minutes to get here…"
"Dan?" Blair turned to him then. "What do you mean it will take Dan fifteen minutes to get here?"
"From his office. It takes him about fifteen minutes…" Nate grew slightly nervous about the way she was staring at him.
"But he's working."
"No, Blair," he took a deep breath and stood tall. "No he's not. He's on his way home. And I promised him I would stay with you till he got here."
"You told him," she scowled, her face red.
"I didn't tell him what happened. I told him he needed to come home; that you needed him."
"I told you not to tell him anything."
"SO?" Her jaw clenched and her eyes welled up. "Damn it Nate! I didn't want to have to tell him this. You're supposed to be my friend…"
"I AM your friend, Blair. And I'm his and…if the situations were reversed, if Dan ever knowingly let Serena go through something like this without me…." He looked to the ground and shook his head. "I would never forgive him. I had to tell him. I had to. You can be mad at me if you want to be…"
"Oh I am," she glared though he could see her face soften.
"I'm okay with that," he shrugged and flashed his brilliant smile. "It's not the first time, surely won't be the last." And then he watched as Blair processed it all. He watched as her anger faded and was replaced with the sadness that had taken up most of her day and when she wiped at the tears in her eyes; tears that came with the thought of having to tell Dan the terrible news, Nate looked away and gave her a moment. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she turned a slightly irritated glare his way.
"Well what?" His eyes went wide in confusion.
"Are you going to tell me the damn story or what?"
"Ah…" Nate chuckled and nodded. "Yes. Yes, I am going to tell you the story." Nate followed Blair to an outdoor couch and sat down next to her. She settled into her seat; feet tucked up underneath her. "Ready?"
"Ready," she took a deep breath and focused her attention him.
"Okay. You remember that summer Chuck left me with his Black Book?"
"Oh God," Blair groaned. "Please tell me this is not how you began your life as male prostitute."
"Do you remember?" He narrowed his eyes at her.
"Yes." She rolled hers at him.
"So, there was this woman…"
"Why do all of your stories begin that way?"
"Want to hear the story or you want to keep poking fun at me?"
"Honestly?" She smirked and he laughed; happy to see it was working. He continued.
"Her name was Celia…or Cecilia…or…." He stared off as he tried to remember and Blair couldn't help the small laugh that bubbled up. Of course he didn't remember her name. "Celia. Never mind. Doesn't matter. She was a bit demanding but she did things that…" He trailed off as he caught himself. "Never mind."
"Doesn't matter?" Blair finished his thought.
"It really doesn't, except to say this. I was supposed to meet her at this exclusive event she was attending with a small group of clients. And I don't know why she invited me because I was younger than her…"
"Of course you were."
"And I was nervous. So, I did what I usually do when I'm nervous."
"You got high."
"I got high." Their eyes met and they shared a small grin. "Anyway, I was at the Empire, so I got into Chuck's special stash and let's just say…it was special. I mean, I am quite sure I've never felt so…hazed…in my entire life. It was a trip I had never been on before, and one I hope to never be on again. It was as if I was floating in the…what's the very outer layer of the atmosphere?"
"The Ionosphere," Blair answered without blinking.
"I was higher than that."
"So, I call a cab and we're heading to lower Manhattan. And we're driving really slowly. I mean, I don't know that we're actually going that slowly, but it feels slow to me. And everything is moving by in this weird, walking-through-Jell-O sort of way…"
"You sure it was only weed you were smoking?"
"Not entirely." He admitted with a smug grin. "About half way there, I'm starving. Famished. It was like I hadn't eaten in years. And just as I realize this, I look out my window and I see this…human sized chicken; waving at me."
"A human sized chicken."
"You know…like the mascots." Nate explained and went on. "So this chicken is waving at me, from in front of one of those fast food chicken places-which, seriously, why would a CHICKEN be promoting the eating of CHICKEN to begin with?" He looked to Blair who nodded sarcastically. "And remember, I was starving. So, I made the driver stop and I ran inside for a bucket of chicken. And while I'm waiting in line, the chicken, from outside, comes in for a break. And this chicken comes over and starts talking to me."
"Nate," Blair's tone had warning to it.
"I would not lie to you about this. The chicken was talking to me. Totally freaked me out. I mean, that would freak me out on a normal day, but during this little trip of mine…there really aren't words for the experience." Nate shuddered as he remembered. "So…turns out this chicken is a woman. And she's flirting with me."
"You were flirting with a human sized chicken?"
"Of course not," he shook his head. "The human sized chicken was flirting with me. She was about to get off of work and wanted to share a cab. And in my…haze…I agreed. So we get in the cab and she takes her head off; the chicken head…" Blair shook her head, mostly in disbelief that she was even still listening. "She takes off the chicken head and she is…gorgeous; a perfect ten."
"I'm talking perfect skin, a beautiful smile, and legs…" He trailed off noticing her eyes moving slowly into a glare. "A solid ten."
"A good-looking chicken…"
"Smokin'," Nate laughed and Blair couldn't help but smile from the absurdity of it all. "So there I am, in a cab, eating an entire bucket of chicken while I'm talking to a GIANT CHICKEN."
"Are you sure you didn't dream all of this?"
"No way, Waldorf. This is all real…" He shook his head. "Though it felt like a dream once the high started to wear off. Anyway, as I'm starting to come down, we're at her stop and naturally I want to get her number…"
"And before I even ask, she's grabbed my receipt…"
"The fried chicken receipt," Blair offered.
"And she's writing her number on the back of it. She stuffs it in my pants pocket, kisses me like…" He let out a breath and Blair rolled her eyes. "And she gets out of the cab."
"Just like that?"
"Just like that," Nate laughed. "So I arrive at the party and I'm trying to hide all traces of this crazy trip; wiping my fingers off…"
"On your dress pants I'm sure," the annoyance in her voice was clear.
"Yeah, well, I was still a little lit. I finally find Celia…Cecilia? Anyway…she waves me over and she introduces me and I laugh and nod and you know…"
"Oh I know."
"And the first moment we get alone, she's pulling me behind her and into the coat room…"
"Exactly!" Nate exclaimed. "And I'm thrilled because, well, come on…who's going to pass that up?" Blair raised her eyebrows in sarcastic agreement. "And she's tearing off my tie, unbuttoning my shirt, and then she just…stops. And she's looking at me like she can't remember my name…like she's trying to figure something out. She moves her hands to my pants and then she realizes what's in my pocket."
"The receipt with the phone number on it?"
"Yes. And…" Pausing for dramatic effect, he watched Blair's eyes widen in curiosity. "A chicken bone."
"A chicken bone? What in the world…"
"I was trying to hide everything!"
"In your pants?" Blair chuckled.
"Not my brightest moment, I agree."
"So…" She waited for the punch line.
"She slapped me right in the face."
"I bet she did."
"And not for the reason you think. It wasn't about the girl."
"Then why?" Blair's eyes were dancing with entertainment; smile wide. Nate bit his lip and his eyes twinkled.
"She was a vegan. She was mad about the chicken."
At first it was slow and quiet but soon Blair's laughter rang out over the terrace. Nate watched as his friend, just a moment ago overwrought with grief, laugh with her whole body. It didn't even matter that she was laughing at his expense. She was laughing. So much so that when Dan stepped through the doors, he wasn't entirely sure if his wife was happy or sad. Sliding the door closed behind him, he walked towards where they sat.
"Hey," he called out; a hesitant smile on his lips. Nate and Blair both turned in his direction and the laughter slowly faded; the emotion filling the space it vacated.
"Hey…" Nate tried for a smile and rose to his feet. Leaning to kiss Blair's cheek, he knew it was time to leave. He met Dan's eyes as he moved past him; a whisper of a thank you passing between them.
And then they were alone. Looking her over, Dan tried to take stock of her state; she had been crying, clearly. She was covered up in a large blanket, despite the relative heat. And when they faced each other, there was a conflict of emotion on her face.
Despite the gloom that had reigned over her day, Blair was genuinely happy to see him. They had been apart for a week and his simple presence did wonders for her overall state of mind. Reaching out for his hand, she pulled him closer. And he went, kneeling down to pull her into his arms. Hugging her close, he whispered into her hair.
"God, I've missed you."
"Me too…" And he could hear the tears in her voice. "I'm so glad you're home. I know I told Nate not to call you, but I am so happy you're here." He turned his head to kiss the side of hers.
"Why would you not want Nate to call me?"
"Because…" She sniffed and pulled back, revealing tear filled eyes and red cheeks. "Because I didn't want to tell you. I didn't want you to be upset…"
"Hey," he wiped at her tears, holding her cheek in his hand; his eyes searching hers for some clue as to what was happening. "You didn't want to tell me what? What's going on?" She stalled, trying to find the strength to say the words she was still searching for. "Waldorf…"
"I told you, it's…"
"Humphrey," he interrupted her with a sad smile. "I know. It's Humphrey now. Please, Blair. Please tell me what it is that's making you feel this way." Her eyes held his and she nodded. Dan moved to sit next to her, taking her hand in his. He sat, silently, waiting for her to let him in on what was happening.
"Okay," she took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. "So…when Serena and I were in Italy, we were…we were up one night talking and laughing and she told me that she thought that she might be…she might be pregnant again." Blair's eyes left Dan's and focused on a potted plant that sat off in the distance. "And she was listing off the symptoms that she had; fatigue, tenderness. And every symptom she listed, I thought I had too…So the next morning we both decided to take a test. And it was silly. I felt ridiculous taking it without you, but there was no chance that I was actually…" And she choked up as she remembered.
"Blair…" Dan's voice was a whisper; his stomach clenched. "Are you pregnant?" And she hated the slight upturn in his voice at the end; the slight bit of hope she was about to dash.
"No…" She shook her head as the tears started to come again. "But I was." And his heart fell with her tears. When she looked up at him, she could tell by the miserable look in his eyes; he knew. Crying, she moved to him, taking refuge in his embrace. And it was there, soaking his shirt with her tears, that she explained the events of the last twenty-four hours. How she had discovered she was pregnant. How she couldn't wait to tell him. How she had discovered that something was wrong. Her trip to the doctor; the pain meds, the blood work, the results.
Dan tried his best to hold it together, tried to be the strong, solid husband he knew she needed him to be. But he couldn't help but shed a few tears; tears of sympathy for his wife, tears of sadness for the baby that almost was, tears of confusion at how his world could go from such a high to such a low in the matter of two sentences. Not knowing what to say, he simply held her; stroked her hair, planted kisses to the top of her head. The sun had dipped below the horizon before Blair moved an inch away from him. Looking up into his eyes, she tried to prepare herself for his reaction.
"Are you mad?" Her voice was small.
"Mad?" His eyes went wide incredulously. "Of course I'm not mad. My God, Blair…I am so sorry I don't even know what to…"
"Don't," she shook her head quickly, tears returning to her voice. "Please don't be too…too nice. Don't apologize, don't…it's just….I just. I can't take it right now."
"Okay," he nodded and gulped back the lump in his throat and wiped at his eyes. Summoning his strength, he let out a breath. "What do you need from me right now? You want me to cry with you or…"
"I want you to help me stop crying," and when her eyes met his, he just about lost it. They were wide and full of tears and in that moment he would have done anything to take the hurt from her. Forcing his emotions from his face, he let out another breath.
"Hey…do you want to get out of here? We could go down to Bergdorf's and pretend not to know each other?" He got a small smile and a tad of a chuckle out of her. Wiping at her eyes, she shook her head.
"No. I appreciate the idea, but I would really rather just stay home." She had been away from home for so long and now she needed to be home; so much.
"Want to try on all of your new clothes?" His mouth curved up in half a smile. "You could give me my own private fashion show." And her sadness cracked the tiniest bit further.
"Ha…that's more like it," she managed a small grin. "But I would rather just sit."
"Okay…" He sighed as she settled back into his arms. "How about some wine?"
"I can't. I'm taking pain pills, remember?"
"Ah…well," Dan shrugged. "My mom does like it better that way." And Blair couldn't help but laugh; the image of Allison at their graduation party flooded her mind. And Dan was relieved to see that she was still in there, still whole. He chuckled along with her; holding her tighter to him.
"Maybe we can just sit like this for a little while," Blair suggested, breathing in his scent; nuzzling closer to him.
"Absolutely." He kissed the top of her head and propped his feet up on the table in front of him. And there they sat, looking out at the city, up at the stars. It was a good hour or so before Blair spoke again, but when she did, she seemed a little lighter. Turning up to look at him, she confessed,
"It's just that I had these two amazing days where I was going to have your baby and...and it made me so happy; deliriously happy. And I know we had talked about waiting two years and it was unplanned and… but for those two days…I wanted it so much." She paused for a moment, wiping at her tears and smiling through her sadness. "Two years right?" Dan smiled sweetly and nodded.
"Sooner if you want." His words touched her heart and her smile widened.
"I love you," she leaned into him; pressing her lips to his in the first real kiss they had since she had returned from Italy. Though she had initially been excited about the possibility of a baby, she knew they should wait. She should finish school; they should enjoy each other for a little bit longer. Knowing that, knowing Dan was surely dealing with his own grief, his offer meant that much more.
"I love you too…" He smiled and kissed her again; enjoying that she was there, in his arms; home.
Though it would take a little longer before either of them was truly able to move on from this terrible bump in the road, they would move on and they would be stronger because of it. The One Hundred and Ninety-Second date brought with it an ultimate high and an ultimate low. It brought Dan and Blair together in the first call of duty of their marriage and, as with most brothers in arms, it only served to strengthen it.
Guess How Much I Love You (Devine Combien Je t'aime) by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram