So obviously I'm the worst. Sorry its been so long! Hope this installment makes up for it.
She moved first. That's always been his defense. It was her choice to slide across the car. Close that space between them for good. In the end, who was he to deny her? Especially since he had been looking for that kind of opportunity ever since he realized there was much more fire to Blair Waldorf then ice.
It is loyalty that brings her to the Thai hotel. Most people don't see that side of her. She is much more comfortable with sharp knives and naive backs, but she'd go to war for him. For Serena, for Nate, for the sparse and eclectic collection of people who have managed to steal her pen and write their names on her heart.
It is his thirtieth birthday. An event which he had been planning to celebrate not with the world assumed bang, but with a recently craved whisper. He is rich, richer then her, richer then Bart Bass could have ever dreamed. Even after his recent divorce. The thin gold band he should have known better then to buy sits on his dresser. And he thanks god two years ago he had a good lawyer who had composed a brutal prenup. That the brunette who is currently bribing a Thai maid to open his door had known him well enough to say all the right words.
His wife had been blonde. Ex wife. And that should have been the first clue. She was sweet, almost distastefully so. And for awhile that had been entrancing. She called him baby, which made Blair roll her eyes and feign a choking noise, and he had enjoyed that reaction more then had ever enjoyed the earnest moniker. She had grown up in California, knew nothing about east coast decorum or scheming. And he had loved that. Become obsessed with the way she said exactly what she felt no matter who she was talking to. That she didn't play games because she didn't know how.
After so long acting the dark knight to Blair's queen it had been refreshing. This beautiful blonde who stole his heart not with dark looks and low whispers, but with happy exclamations and bright grins. She was no Blair Waldorf. But as an alternative. As a substitute. He had found her satisfactory. Maybe could have lived like that forever.
But of course not. Not when he was still in New York and so was she.
It was some sort of poetic symmetry. He had ruined her marriage to Louie. Which had been annulled after two months when their indiscretion and its result had come out. She had lost the child. Their child. He doesn't remember much of that week. Except that he had spent a night holding her in a hospital bed. And that after she had taken the rest of the semester off and disappeared to South America with a loyal Serena. Returning right before Christmas with a haunted glimmer in her eye he still catches sight of occasionally when she looks at him for too long. Every so often he dreams of a different future. Of swollen stomachs and children with hyphenated last names.
They don't speak of that loss. Haven't in years. She'd forbidden the subject almost immediately after her return. And it was fine with him. Because when he thought about it. That hope that had tugged at his heart when she'd told about the baby. And in contrast the memory of the hollow brown eyes that had stared at him when his shaking hands had opened that hospital door…the tightening in his throat was nearly unendurable.
In turn, she had ruined his marriage to Elissa. Not with such a flair, she was beyond things like that now, but with the the same dark looks and low whispers that he had been trying to escape. Elissa would tell him everything, but he had never been able to afford her the same intimacy. He had only seemed able to share his secrets with one woman in his entire life.
They are friends now. Because after everything that was inescapable. It was unbearable to even contemplate living without her. And it had been that way for years. This almost physical pull that bound them together inescapably.
The door opens quietly. And he knows it's her before he catches her eye. Broken boy and cold girl connected, dragged together, held together by past and present sins.
"Why Thailand," she wonders to herself as she crosses the room in a few strides and falls across his bed. Hair splaying across his pillow. Her white blouse is tucked into a high waisted, flowing red skirt, she has on matte gold heels. He mentally counts the hours of her flight, how many phone calls she'll have to make to keep her office running in her absence.
"For the beautiful women of course," he says from his spot on the leather chair. Where he's been sitting for two day in an old dress shirt and pants sipping scotch and watching a news program blankly.
"Elissa sacked your apartment about a moment after you boarded your flight," Blair recalls, tucking a fly away behind her ear, "Took everything that wasn't nailed down."
"She can have whatever she wants," he replies. He is not bitter. He knows this is his fault.
In the end his pretty wife had given him an ultimatum. Give up Blair or she would give up him. He would never tell either woman that the choice had ben easy. He'll only ever be sure that he should have known. That even for him marrying another woman when he would always be in love with Blair was too selfish. Too infantile and self absorbed.
And maybe that's what she had learned. Because while Blair was never alone, she had never married again after Louie. Had even rejected the proposal of a wealthy stock broker a few years ago. She had built a company out of nothing. Was now the premiere interior designer of New York City. The baubles Elissa had pilfered from their former home together had been placed there by the clever hands of Blair and her hired minions.
"Your dining set alone cost a small fortune," she grumbles into the Egyptian cotton comforter, hand coming up to trace the intricate stitching absentmindedly.
"I'll buy a new pent house," he responds as he watches her intently, "you can decorate it even more expensively"
Blair sighs, lifting herself up on her elbow to glare at him across the distance. Her voice is earnest but her lips twist into a smirk, "I hated her."
He downs the rest of his glass, "I've hated your last seven."
She grins gamely and quips back vapidly, "Are you committed to that shirt? I can smell you from here."
He rolls his eyes at her, at her complaints. But he can't be mean. Because she cared enough to find him. Because she cares even when he is so far from worth it. So instead he rationalizes, "I've had a few too many drinks to mind."
She sits up, pale legs stretching out and curving back onto the plush carpeting. Her hair falls at odd angles around her face. He knows she has aged, that he has too, but when she looks at him like that all he sees is her at sixteen. Dark curls and dark eyes, about to change both their lives in the back of a limo. She smiles cunningly, "Unfortunately, I can't allow this type of behavior on your birthday."
She stands, skirt whispering around those perfect legs as she stalks towards him. Not annoyed but on the verge of becoming so. He wants to say something kind. Something that will make her smile, make her stay with him here where there are no appearances or people to get in the way. But his head buzzes and his stomach lurches. And none of the right words come to mind, "Blair, in all seriousness-"
She gets to him too fast, soft hands reaching out. "Stand up Chuck," she commands. And he stands of his own volition and without her assistance. Face to face she looks at him sternly, "I flew to this god forsaken country, you will at least take me to dinner."
He wants to tell her what a terrible idea that is. That he isn't in the right state. But saying so would lead to pursed mouthes and separate hotel rooms. And it's too good to see her. It can't end this quickly. A second nature smirk finds his face as he tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, "My pleasure Waldorf."
She wears a white sundress to dinner. Her hair pinned up high. And he doesn't know how it happens. Not a clue. But somehow during dinner the stars align and he persuades Blair to drink with him. To get drunk with him.
Alcohol tends to dull her sharp edges. Make her infuriating stubbornness a little more pliable. And it ever so slightly suppresses the electric current that seems to jump through his body whenever their skin so much as brushes. And with this fluke he can make her laugh, wrap an arm around her waist, convince her to turn her phone off and stay out all night with him.
They end up on the beach under the stars. And he sits on a hotel provided chaise as she races the waves. A beautiful cliche as she runs in time with the swells. Laughter bubbly and eyes bright like a child.
He is starting to fall asleep when she appears in front of him. "Unzip me," she commands.
"Excuse me," he questions distractedly, eyes heavy with all the hours he should have been sleeping.
"The water's beautiful," she breathes, wonder a tad uncharacteristic. She hasn't had a proper vacation in years. Can't remember the last time she went swimming. And with the alcohol egging her on she is suddenly desperate to feel the salt water against her skin.
He indulgently pulls down the long zipper hidden under a fold of fabric. Exposing the small of her back to the night air. Recognizing her intentions he warns, "Blair even I know night swimming alone is a bad idea."
"So come with me," she returns, slipping out of her wedges and leaving them discarded in the sand.
His sense of adventure is nil at the moment. He is drawn and has been perpetually intoxicated for what feels like weeks. He wants to fall asleep with the sound of her laugh in his ears, "I don't think so."
She smiles wanly, and if she were sober he would think she was trying to seduce him, "So watch me then." Her dress hits the sand and she takes off running. It takes a moment for him to realize she isn't wearing a shred of underwear. And then he is out of the chair, trailing after her into the water.
He remembers the last time he saw her naked. It had been the night before his wedding. When drinking and reminiscing with her, Nate, and Serena had turned into her alone in his shower. Her under his sheets. And on the morning of his wedding he had woken up with her in his arms.
"Tell me not to," he had whispered into her hair.
She had turned towards him, kissing him sadly on the cheek. And he had known he was about to be disappointed, "Congratulations Chuck."
She had sat in the pew between Serena and Eric. Head held high when he said I do. He knows better now. Should have known better then. He had seen what marrying Lily had done to his father. What it was like to love someone who could never return the sentiment correctly. It was a punishment no one deserved. Least of all a woman he had cared enough to propose to.
"What are you doing Waldorf," he asks when he finds her in the water. Treading the surface, face lit up under the full moon.
Her face is conflicted and he wants to reach out and touch her. But he's deathly afraid she will pull away. She briefly allows her gaze to rest on him. "Serena says I shouldn't have let you marry her," she confides in a whisper.
He groans. His blonde, blissfully married sister is the last person he wants to talk about at this particular moment, "I don't care what Serena says."
She lets out a deep breath, and he can feel the current her legs created as they pinwheel, "It was easier when you were married."
He catches her calf, pulls her close until the only natural thing is for her arms to wrap around his neck. "For you maybe," he points out, his lips pressed to the shell of her ear.
"This was a bad idea," she mumbles against his throat even as her legs come to wind along his hips. Something between a gasp and a moan escapes her when he uses his mouth and then his teeth to mar the skin of her perfect, exposed neck.
"Actually I think this one of your best yet Blair," he argues into the skin just under the curve of her jaw, smiling lecherously when he adds, "I'm surprised I didn't think of it myself."
"You're drunk," she manages to counter before he tilts her chin just right and finds her mouth with his own. He's trying to decide how many steps and how much protest he will have to endure to get her to the lounge chair. Where he can lay her bare and see every inch of her.
He's still deciding when the stupid words dart from his mouth. In his nostalgic haze of drunkenness, just a little too sentimental said an inch from her lips as she draws in a breath, "I miss you when I'm sober too."
He remembers the hours they spent on the beach very clearly. Down to the most obscure detail. But he can't recall how they got back to the hotel room. Only that the sun was threatening to break the horizon when they toppled atop the fresh sheets.
They awaken like that. His head pounding dully against his skull. Her dress is only half zippered and her bare leg is curled over him, forehead pressed against his arm. She wakes up surly and sore. "That's the last time I let you convince me of the merits of tequila," she groans as she lifts her heavy head, "God knows what diseases we picked up, or how long it will take to get all the sand off my body."
He smirks up at her, feeling like a weight has been lifted from his chest, "You weren't complaining last night."
"I didn't know my own name last night," she shoot back, hand moving to clutch her aching forehead.
He smiles wryly, "You're welcome darling."
She looks at him reproachfully before her resolve cracks and a smile breaks through, "You're horrible." Her head falls back down to the bed, now resting on his shoulder. And he kisses the top of her head.
They lay like that comfortably until he can't stand it anymore. "I shouldn't have married Elissa," he admits suddenly. In a serious tone even though his hair is thick with sea salt and he's more then a little hung over, "You should have told me not to and I should have known myself."
It's too early for this conversation in her opinion, "Chuck-"
It's too late though, he's finally figured it out, "It should have been you. It always should have been you."
"We were young," she rationalizes, eyes heavy with past mistakes and missed opportunities, "We wanted different things." She sits up, heart pounding erratically. Horribly. Last night's alcohol threatening to bubble up her throat.
"And now?" He questions, forcing himself to stand when she does, her body rigid as she crosses her arms over her chest, "I think we've spent enough of our lives apart."
There is only a foot between them, but it might as well be miles. "It'll end badly," she answers with her eyes closed, "It always does."
He reaches out, using the skirt of her dress to pull her closer. Her eyes still remain on anything else but him as he explains, "Ten years ago it ended badly. Because we were playing at adults and had no idea what we were doing. When the baby-"
She reaches out suddenly, fingers gripping his arm tightly. "Don't," she hisses.
"I shouldn't have let you run away then," he exclaims, refusing to let go of her, clinging to the fabric of her dress like a lifeline, "Or any of the other dozen times you've done it since. It should have ended a long time ago. But I'll settle for now."
There is a quiet. A silence that drags as they stand together in dirty clothes with sticky hair hanging clumps. They are a mess. Her jaw is clenched, trying to suppress the war in her head. He is empty, waiting for her to close the distance. Change their lives yet again.
Her hands find his, tracing up his arms to his shoulders and locking behind his neck as she takes a step forward and folds back into him. There are tears in her eyes and she doesn't know why, "Are you sure?"
He tilts her chin and kisses her an answer.
Kind of inspired by the impending season premiere. Although I'm more then a little nervous. How many horrible Chair situations are we going to have to endure this time?