A/N: A little something that came into my mind and wouldn't leave. I do not owe these characters. Just using them for some mild entertainment.
A/N: Different from The Date, this is my take on what happens after the Season Finale. All things that happened in the Finale have happened prior to this story.
A/N: I will be continuing with The Date (in case anyone was worried)
sanctuaries, plural. A place of refuge or safety.
- people automatically sought a sanctuary in time of trouble
The first time it happens, Blair shows up in the Hamptons; teary and scattered and not at all like herself. It was exactly two days after they had said their good-byes in Lily and Rufus' living room. And as far as Dan knew Blair was supposed to be in Monaco, most likely sunning on the deck of an impeccable yacht next to her future husband. He and Eric had arrived in The Hamptons and had already made themselves at home. They had fallen quickly into a 'lack of routine' routine; comfortable with the lazy ambiguity of it all.
But when Dan rose to answer the unexpected knock on the door, that unseasonably chilly evening, he was stunned right out of his vacationed haze.
"Blair?" He blinked, concerned his mind had numbed to the point of illusions.
"Dan…" She barely spoke as she implored him with her eyes to step aside and allow her in. And he did. Her eyes flashed a thank you as she moved past him.
She walked right through the door and in a very tentative voice spoke to Eric. Dan struggled to hear what she was saying. But it wasn't until Eric nodded and pointed to the staircase that it began to come together. Dan glanced back through the still open door and saw one lonely bag; waiting. Blair was staying.
In true Dan fashion, he reached through the door and retrieved her bag, closing the door behind him. An in true Blair fashion, she barely glanced in his direction before starting up the stairs, leaving her luggage behind for him. Dan and Eric had a silent exchange of shrugs and confusion before Dan followed behind her; luggage in tow.
When he reaches the small suite she has stayed in numerous times over the course of her friendship with Serena, Blair has already cast aside her bag and her sweater and is at the window, pushing it open, letting in the cold chill. Making more noise than necessary, Dan moved into the room, setting the luggage aside. Crossing his arms and leaning against a bureau of drawers, he waited; studying her. She seemed okay; physically. All of her limbs were present and accounted for and that small tiny cut he had been eyeing with apprehension was a faint memory on her cheek. Hating himself for checking, he noted that the enormous ring gifted to her by Prince Louis was still weighing down her hand. He was entirely unsure if he felt relief or frustration at that.
Blair took a few deep breaths of the fresh, sea air before turning to face him. It was not lost on him how different her face looked; strained, tired. His breath caught in his chest as her eyes met his.
"I just needed to get away…" Her voice was sad as she began.
"From a royal, luxury yacht off the coast of…"
"Yes," she interrupted him before he could continue.
"And you came here?" He raised his eyebrows.
"I needed a friend," her voice caught on the last word and Dan immediately softened.
"Blair…" His voice was full of concern, not accusation.
"I will explain…everything," she breathed slowly. "I promise, I will. I just need a little time to…" She took a deep breath. "Can I just have a little time to be here first?"
"Of course," Dan nodded and then, for clarification and tiny bit of humor he had to ask. "Does Louis know that you're gone? I mean…should we be expecting a whole fleet of sentries storming the gates, looking for the captive Princess?"
"No," she managed a light laugh; a sad laugh. "He knows that I've come back to New York. He knows I'm in the Hamptons." Her eyes glanced to the ground and then back up to his. "Though he doesn't know I'm with you."
"Okay," Dan nodded, acutely aware of the way his heart sped up.
"Okay," she breathed.
"Blair, I have to ask. Is everything…"
"Humphrey," she interrupted him, frustrated. "I just…I need a friend. I need a moment of…sanctuary. A place where I can just…be. With somebody who can just let me be… A friend, Dan. And you were the first person I…Can that be you?" There were tears in her eyes as she looked to him. "Or did I come to the wrong place?"
"No," Dan shook his head, swallowing the lump in his throat. "I mean, of course that can be me. Of course you came to the right place."
"Thank you," she smiled up at him; relief washing over her entire body.
"You're welcome," he offered a warm smile as he pushed away from the bureau. "I just don't want people to be unnecessarily worried about your safety. Does anyone know where you are?"
"Dorota," she answered with a wistful smile. "Everyone knows I am back in New York and…that I am okay. But only Dorota knows I am here."
"Works for me," Dan clapped his hands together. "Is there anything you need? Anything I can do before I…" He nodded his head towards the door, sensing she wanted some time alone.
"No," she shook her head and he could tell that her smile was forced. "You already have."
"Okay," he stepped through the door and turned back. "Well, if you need me…I'm just…"
"I'll find you," her voice was strangely solemn. Dan nodded simply and then stepped out of her line of vision, closing the door behind him. Blair waited only until she was certain she heard his footsteps taking him away from her door. And then she collapsed onto the bed; a heap of tears and distress.
It was three full days later before Blair emerged. Three days of Blair locked up in her suite, not once coming out to join them. Three days of what Dan was certain was crying. But Dan did his best to be there for her, in whatever way she needed him.
So, three times a day Dan would take food up to her. And three times a day she would smile and thank him before he left her alone in her room. Though he was growing more and more confused and worried about his friend, who did not appear to have showered or changed since she had arrived; he was happy to see that she was eating. So, he continued on, allowing her the sanctuary she had sought in him.
Eric was way past confused. Every time Dan returned from Blair's room, he faced the expectant gaze of his step-brother; and every time he had nothing more to tell him. Eric's concern did not stop at Blair. He was concerned for Dan too. He knew very well that Dan cared for Blair, more than Dan was willing to admit to anyone else. And Blair's self-seclusion in the Hamptons two rooms down from Dan was not necessarily what he needed in order to "move on."
But on that third day, after Eric had left to spend a few days with Lily in the city, Dan loaded up a tray with the items she seemed to be eating; hot tea, an assortment of cookies, a bowl of berries, and yogurt and ascended the stairs. But this time, when he reached her door, it was already open.
"Blair?" He called out, the possibility that she had fled in the middle of the night flashed across his mind and panic arose out of nowhere.
"Come in," she called from the bathroom. With a sigh of relief, he rested the tray on the table next to her bed and glanced around the room. Her bag had finally been moved from where he had left it and it appeared that she had done some unpacking. Though the shades were still drawn, he could see that she was slowly coming round.
"Humphrey…" She stepped out of the bathroom; showered and dressed, but lacking makeup.
"Waldorf," his face turned towards her voice, a smile on his lips. "I brought you some breakfast," he gestured towards the tray.
"Thank you," she smiled but did not move from her spot. She was trying; this he could tell. But it was still a struggle. He watched as tears began to surface.
"Listen…" His hands reached out, wanting to pull her into his arms and hold her. "Blair, you said you came here for a friend…for a sanctuary. How about you let me be that? I know that whatever it is that's going on…it must be big. But you don't have to do this by yourself. I'm right here. Ready to listen."
"I know," she sniffed and wiped at her eyes. "I know. I'm just not ready…"
"Okay," he interrupted, offering her a smile in surrender. "Okay. I'll drop it. You know," he kept his voice light, despite how it made him feel to see her like this. "Eric's gone for a couple of days. If you want to come down and join me, we could have breakfast on the deck. It's a beautiful day and I promise I won't even speak to you if you don't want me to. What do you say? A little fresh air couldn't hurt?"
"I…" She opened her mouth to protest, but closed it. Despite the scattered feeling in her stomach, there was a small part of her that perked up at the idea. Her posture straightened and she nodded. "You're right. A little fresh air couldn't hurt."
"Great!" Dan exclaimed, clapping his hands together. "Good decision. The sun will do you some good. And the view is just…"
"Humphrey," Blair cleared her throat, her eyes narrowing. "You just promised me no speaking and here you are yammering away like a…"
"Sorry," he grinned, happy to see even the tiniest bit of the Blair he knew. "Sorry." And then, with a slight roll of his eyes, he closed his mouth.
Carrying her tray, Dan followed Blair through the house and out onto the deck, where they ate breakfast in a contended silence. Though it pained him a great deal to resist asking her any more questions, he was beyond pleased to see that, towards the end of the meal, she seemed to be breathing a little easier. After the last sip of her tea, she offered Dan a genuine smile before collecting her tray and returning to the house. He didn't follow and he didn't call after her. He simply let her be.
And later that day, as he prepared sandwiches and a light pasta salad for lunch, she emerged from her room, collected the glasses of tea he had sat out and walked out to the deck. And so, for the next two days, Blair took all of her meals on the deck with Dan. Every time they would sit in silence. Every time she would return her plate to the kitchen. And every time, she would return to her room; leaving a confused Dan in her wake.
It was three full days later before Dan learned the true reason Blair sought sanctuary in The Hamptons. After their dinner consisting of grilled chicken and salad, Blair had cleaned up her plate and returned to her room. Dan, not quite tired yet, had opened a bottle of beer and settled onto the couch, searching the TV channels for something to entertain him. Two beers and half way through Citizen Kane, Danhad dozed off on the couch.
It was there that he was sleeping when Blair crept into the kitchen; in search of sustenance. Hearing the clattering sounds she made as she moved about, Dan was jarred from his sleep. Scrubbing a hand over his face, he stepped into the kitchen, illuminated only by the dim light from the open fridge.
"Blair?" He called out, confused. She froze and then, quite slowly, she rose to her feet, her eyes meeting his in the process. "Hey…" He grinned, happy to see her out and about.
"I'm hungry," she confessed with a guilty look on her face.
"I gathered," he grinned, moving closer to her. "Looking for something in particular?"
"I thought I saw some cheesecake in here…"
"You did," he nodded and moved around her. "Here. Let me get that for you," pulling it out from behind some containers, he moved to the counter, setting it down and reaching for some plates. "Do you mind if I join you for some? I know it's not one of our regularly scheduled meals, but I still promise to be quiet..." He laughed at his own joke as he turned to see her response. But instead of a smile or even a smirk, Blair was quite nearly on the verge of tears.
"Hey…" His voice dropped, soothingly. "I don't have to eat with you. You can just take it back to your room and…"
"Oh for God's sake, Humphrey! It's not that!" She rolled her eyes in exasperation as tears began to fall.
"I know…" He nodded, fighting his urge to pull her into his arms. "I really want to do the right thing here, Blair. I just don't know what it…"
"I'm pregnant," she blurted out, voice barely above a whisper; hoping maybe he wouldn't hear her; hoping he would let it go. But he heard her. He heard her loud and clear.
"Whoa…" He breathed, taking a half a step back as the weight of her words hit him.
"Yeah…" She agreed, wiping at her eyes. "Yeah."
"How do you…" He swallowed. "How do you know?"
"I took a test," her voice was small; her eyes focused on her hands. "Before I left to meet Louis I had taken a test. I was rushed and hurried and I thought I had waited the right amount of time…but apparently I left too early." She took a deep breath. "I was on my way to the airport when Dorota called. The test had been negative when I left. But, when she was cleaning, she came across the test and called me…And it was positive."
"Oh my God…" Dan's eyes were wide as he took it in. "Blair that's…"
"I know," she nodded. "I know. So, I took another test; to be sure."
"Positive," her voice cracked.
"Wow," Dan was having a difficult time finding words. "So you came here to…"
"Think," she finished his sentence. "I came here to come to terms with my new reality; to figure things out." She looked so tiny; so fragile standing there in the kitchen, in the dark. Dan's protective nature kicked as he moved closer to her.
"What did he say?" Dan's voice was small as his mind tried to come to terms with what her words meant.
"Who?" Blair seemed genuinely confused.
"Who?" Dan repeated, slightly thrown. "Louis. Your fiancé. The Prince. What did he say when you told him?" Though based on her current location, Dan could only assume it was bad.
"Nothing." She looked down at her hands guiltily.
"Nothing?" Dan's face twisted up. "Nothing? I don't understand. He seemed like a decent guy. Where is he? Why is he not standing by you right now?"
"I haven't told him," she swallowed at the lump in her throat, clutched at the ache in her stomach.
"God, Blair…" Dan groaned. This just kept getting more and more out of his comfort zone. The soon-to-be Princess was pregnant with the heir to the throne and, instead of telling the lucky Prince, she had run off to the Hamptons to see him. It made absolutely no sense. And, just as he was about to tell her such, she tossed him a curveball.
"It might not be his." Her words landed with a thud. Suddenly Dan wanted to know nothing more about this. Suddenly he wished he could go back in time and just shut the door in her face and never let her in. Suddenly he wanted to be anything but the place Blair ran seeking sanctuary.
"It might not be…" Dan breathed, his body acting on instinct; preparing him for the hit he just knew he was about to take. Her eyes lowered, ashamed before she answered.
"Chuck." And there it was; the fatal blow to his heart.
"Ah…." He exhaled, unsure if the ache in his chest was for him, for her, or for them both. The dark room prevented her from seeing the pain evident on his face, so she continued.
"It happened after the ordeal with Russell Thorpe at the…"
"Stop," Dan held up his hand. "I don't need to know the story, do I?" Please, God, he thought.
"No, I guess not," Blair sighed. "But I think it's important to note that it was…good-bye." She looked up to Dan who had a confused look on his face. "The sex. It was good-bye. Chuck and I, we said good-bye."
"Before or after?" Dan couldn't help himself. Blair smacked his arm but allowed the tiniest of smiles to come to her lips. "Blair…" It took all he had to keep the judgment from his voice.
"I know, Humphrey—believe me, I know." She leaned back against the counter in defeat and they sat in silence for a moment.
"Do you…" Dan cleared his throat. "Do you still love him?"
"Who?" Feeling embarrassed to have to make the clarification.
"Yes?" She shrugged. "No. I don't know. I…I love him as much as I can love him. But nowhere near enough as I should." And there was a sad ominous truth to her words.
"Have you told him?"
"Are you kidding?" Her voice rose several octaves. "He is…" She gulped. "He is the absolute last person I want to tell. The absolute LAST."
"You know that eventually you're going to have to…"
"I know!" She blurted out, pushing away from the counter. "You don't think I know that? You don't think that I've been going over and over it in my head! Why do you think I came here?"
"I thought you came here because you needed a friend," and the way he looked at her, the softness in his voice, was instantly disarming. All of the fire rushed from her; her shoulders sagging, her eyes growing sad.
"I did…" She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I did." Her eyes welled up with tears as her hand reached out; resting on his arm. His eyes flew to hers, his skin hot under her touch. "You still up for the job?"
"Yes," Dan nodded his eyes holding her gaze. "I can be…your friend."
"You're welcome," he patted her hand with his, watching as she relaxed slightly. "So…what happens next?"
"I don't know," she smiled softly, not moving her hand from his arm. "I think…I think that saying it out loud has helped."
"Good," he smiled back, not moving his hand from hers.
"And maybe tomorrow I can start to…I don't know. Maybe I can start to figure things out." She moved then, taking a step away from him. "But maybe tonight…cheesecake?" Dan chuckled at the hungry look on her face.
"Cheesecake," he nodded, pushing away from the counter and moving to retrieve the plates.
"Join me?" She offered.
"I'll even let you talk," she smirked at him as she cut a slice of cake.
"How very generous of you," he smirked back, offering her a plate. And so it began, the push and pull they were used to; the Dan and Blair they knew. But with a new air of trust between them; a deeper level of friendship. Eventually they finished their cheesecake and Blair collected the plates and placed them in the sink. Together they turned off the kitchen light and made their way upstairs to their rooms.
The next morning, when Dan awoke and made his way to the kitchen, the scene before him stopped him dead in his tracks.
"Good Morning," Blair smiled up at him. She had showered and was dressed in pajamas, standing at the stove.
"You cook?" He arched an eyebrow as he moved tentatively into the kitchen.
"I cook well," she nodded, adding a pinch of something to the pan.
"You continue to surprise me Waldorf," he shook his head and poured himself a cup of coffee that she had already brewed.
"Oh?" she chuckled lightly. "You would think that after last night's confessions, me cooking breakfast would not phase you in the slightest."
"You would think," he smiled, slightly taken aback by her frankness. "Listen, about that…I was thinking. Maybe you should see a doctor."
"Two steps ahead of you, Humphrey," she moved to grab some plates. "As usual."
"You have an appointment?" He took the plate she was handing to him.
"I have an appointment," she nodded, gathering her plate and following him out to the deck. "It's still two weeks away. They won't actually see you until your six to eight weeks pregnant." She stumbled on the last word before taking a breath and continuing. "Do you think I could stay here with you until then? I mean I know that I…"
"Of course," Dan interrupted, taking a drink from his cup. "Of course you can stay. Eric actually called last night, between dinner and cheesecake and thought he might stay longer in the city…I'll tell him I'm fine out here without him."
"Thank you," Blair exhaled and reached for her juice.
"So…" Dan grinned. "Was the ban on speaking lifted only for late night cheesecake or am I free to converse at all meals now?"
"Well," Blair considered this for a moment. "I suppose now that you know…the moratorium can be lifted." Dan chuckled. "But, I reserve the right to resume it at any moment."
"Fair enough," Dan shrugged and took a bite of his food.
"So, I have a favor to ask."
"Oh?" He raised his eyebrows.
"Would you…do you think you could…" She took a breath, frustrated with herself. "Would you come to the appointment with me?"
"Where is this appointment?"
"Upstate?" He laughed. "Really? You won't go upstate for lunch, but you'll go there for…this?"
"Well, I can't very well go to a doctor in Monaco because Louis will find out. I can't go to a doctor in the city because Chuck will find out. And if I go to a doctor here, I run the risk of people seeing me and then…God, who knows who will find out." She groaned at the thought. "So…I'm going upstate."
"So? Will you come with me?"
"Scared you'll get lost without me?" He smirked and she smiled.
"Yes," he answered, touched that she wanted him there. "Yes, I'll come with you."
"You're welcome," Dan took another bite of his food. "This is really good Blair."
"I told you, Humphrey. I cook well."
"Yeah, well," he shrugged and swallowed. "I think that over the next two weeks, you are going to have multiple opportunities to prove that to me."
And so they fell into a routine. Blair would be staying for at least the next two weeks. And Dan would be going to her appointment with her. In the mean time, Blair would relax; finding peace in the light air between them. Finding answers in the conversations they had. Finding comfort in the sanctuary he provided for her.
"Can I ask you something?" Blair blurt out one evening as they sat on the deck, having just finished dinner.
"Sure…" Dan nodded, leaning back in his chair, his feet propped up on another chair.
"How early do you think they can do a paternity test?" Dan sat up in his chair, his attention snagged.
"I…well, I don't know," he frowned. "I know that it's safer for you and…and the baby…to wait until after the baby is born. But I'm not sure."
"Yeah," she breathed. "That's what I was afraid of."
"What was what you were afraid of?" He asked softly.
"I had thought, hoped really, that once the doctor told me the due date, she would be able to tell me the conception date…or close enough to it and then I would know who might be the father."
"Sure," Dan nodded.
"But, if she can't or if it's too close…and it's possible it could be either of them. I"ll have to do a test and…I don't know. The thought of waiting nine months to have an answer just…" She shrugged. "It's just a lot to think about."
"I would imagine," Dan nodded.
"But hey…maybe I don't have to figure it out," she thought out loud. "Maybe…I don't know. Maybe I could find a way to convince Chuck to keep quiet and just let Louis believe that it's his…it would be better for Chuck. Better for me. Better for the child. What do you think?" She looked to Dan, eyes wide, searching for answers and was met with a frown.
"Wow, Blair…" Dan took a deep breath, slightly unsure of his next words, not really sure where he stood with her. Unsure of his right to say anything about any of this. "You know as much as I dislike Chuck, and I do. I really do…I just don't think I could ever come down on the side of lying about a baby's paternity. It's just…it's not fair." He looked down at his hands and she understood. Blair instantly felt bad; instantly felt guilty. She could see the sadness on his face and felt terrible she had put it there.
"Dan…" Her voice was soft as she leaned towards him. "I'm sorry. I…I was just thinking out loud and being…insensitive. I forgot about your summer with Milo."
"Yeah," he nodded, a sad smile crossing his face as he thought of it. "Well...I just think that honesty is probably the best way to go in these situations. Sooner or later it all comes out anyway."
"You're right," she agreed, sitting back in her chair. "Of course you're right." Silence settled over them for a moment before Blair began to laugh.
"What's so funny?" He looked to her like she was losing it.
"It's just…" She grinned at him. "First Georgina and now me…It's like you're a beacon for pregnant women, Humphrey."
"Ha!" He laughed out loud. "You mean crazy pregnant women. I'm a beacon for crazy pregnant women."
"Yes," she agreed. "Yes you are." And the conversation faded into the background as they returned to breakfast.
Though he knew there were conversations to be had, he would wait for her to initiate them. But that didn't stop his mind from reeling. Late at night, alone in his bed, that ache in his stomach that had appeared when she had first told him the news, was far from gone.
"It might be his, you know," Blair's voice called out, startling Dan who was just emerging from his bedroom; having showered and dressed for bed.
Three days had passed; three days of her avoiding this very discussion. Three days of him being the strong, silent support she was looking for.
"So we're talking about it again?" He eyed her as she rose from the bench in the hallway and walked towards him. She was focused. She had purpose.
"It might actually be his," her arms were folded across her chest as she stood tall.
"His?" Dan raised his eyebrows.
"Louis'!" She exclaimed.
"Ah," he nodded.
"There is a very good chance that it's his," she explained, following him down the stairs. "I mean, Chuck and I only had sex once…" Dan groaned and rolled his eyes. "And Louis and I…"
"I get it," he interrupted, eyes narrowed. "The odds are in his favor."
"And the doctor might give me a conception date that's far enough away from…Chuck that I would know that it's Louis' without ever having to do a test."
"Okay…so, it might be Louis' baby."
"And then what?" He stopped at the fridge and reached for a bottle of beer.
"Then what?" She repeated. "What do you mean then what? Then I go back to Monaco. We get married. Start a family."
"Just like that?" Dan moved to sit on the couch.
"I…I don't know," Blair shook her head, standing in front of him. "Yes?"
"You're really still going to marry him?" Dan didn't know from where this boldness came, maybe it was the sleepless nights, maybe it was from watching her deal with this alone. He didn't know from where it came, but it came nonetheless.
"Why wouldn't I still marry him?" Her voice had an edge to it.
"I don't know," Dan chuckled bitterly. "Because…because right now you think that you could be pregnant with his child, Blair. And instead of telling him; the man you're going to marry, the man who is going to swear to love you forever, the man you want to spend your life with…you're here. In the Hamptons. With me."
"You know why I…" She started.
"Yes…I do," he nodded and took another drink. "But I just…I don't know Blair, don't you think that maybe, just maybe…"
"Louis deserves better than this?" Blair interrupted him. "Is that what you were going to say? That Louis deserves better than this? Yes, of course. Of course I think that. Of course he does. He has been nothing but kind and loving and…and good to me. Of course he deserves better than this. And…as soon as this is settled, I will give him better than this. I owe him better than this. Much better than this."
"I meant…" Dan cleared his throat. "I didn't mean that."
"What did you mean then?" Her eyes bore into him and he suddenly looked nervous, unsure.
"I meant…" His fingers played with the label on his bottle. Taking a deep breath, his eyes rose to meet hers. "I meant, don't you think you deserve better than this?"
"Me?" Her wide eyes registered her shock.
"Yes, you. You." Dan stood and moved past her. "Don't you think you deserve somebody better than this?"
"Better than Louis?" The thought was preposterous to her.
"Yes, better than Louis," Dan rolled his eyes. "Better than somebody who would let you deal with this without him…"
"I told you that I didn't tell him," she interrupted angrily.
"Yes, I know," he shook his head. "And what? That makes this okay? You just got engaged and you up and leave his yacht, fleeing back to New York without telling him where you're going or why you're leaving. And he doesn't know you well enough to know that something is drastically wrong? The second I saw your face on the other side of that door, I knew something was wrong!"
"Blair, you deserve somebody who is not going to put up with that! Somebody who would see that you're running from something and stand in your way and say NO. Stop running. Tell me what's going on. Tell me what it is you're running from. Because being with me means you aren't alone. Being with me means we deal with this together…"
"Dan…" She tried to speak, but he continued.
"Where is he Blair?" He looked around. "Has he even called?"
"Of course he has called…"
"Does he even care what you're doing…"
"Of COURSE he does…"
"Then where is he?" Dan's voice boomed out over the room and Blair flinched. And just as quickly as his anger had come, it left. His voice lowered. "I'm sorry. You just…you deserve somebody who makes you happy, somebody who makes you so happy that sleeping with Chuck doesn't come within ten miles of crossing your mind. You deserve somebody who…somebody you just can't help but be faithful to. Don't you think that if you're going to marry somebody and spend the rest of your life with them that maybe, just maybe it should be with somebody who deserves all of you? How is it that Blair Waldorf is comfortable with settling for less?" And when his eyes met hers, a silence fell over the room. He knew he had crossed a line. He knew that, even though she had come to him seeking shelter, seeking friendship, this was way past his scope of comment. He knew that. But it was too late. It was out there.
"Are you finished?" Her voice was shaky.
"Blair, I'm sorry. I…" He started but stopped as she raised her hand.
"Maybe you're right, Humphrey," her eyes welled up with tears. "Maybe you are. But…here I am, in this predicament. And there is…there is very little I can do about all of that now."
"Blair…" He reached his hand out, wanting to touch her, wanting to make it all disappear.
"I think that maybe I should go to bed now," she forced a smile to her lips. "I'm tired and it's late and…"
"I would still be here," his eyes met hers and she stopped. "If you decided to go back to Monaco, marry Louis, and start a family…. I would still be your friend. I would still stand by you." From the look in his eyes, she knew that he meant it and it brought tears to her eyes. She nodded and moved away from him then. Unable to even begin to process how exactly she had managed to find such a friend in Dan Humphrey, she turned in the doorway and offered a smile.
"Thank you." Her hand moved involuntarily to her chest, covering her heart as she swallowed the lump in her throat. "Good night, Dan."
"Good night, Blair," he sighed and watched as she walked away.
When she disappeared from his sight, he fell back onto the couch in a big, sad sigh. He was disappointed in himself. She had come here seeking his support; seeking selflessness and here he was, yelling at her. Over what? The choices she had made? The choices she was making? The choices that didn't involve him whatsoever. As he sank back into the cushions, a small thought arose; maybe that's what was bothering him the most.
Certainly Dan's outburst had been a road bump for the conversation, but the conversation was far from over. In effort to show him she wasn't angry, she had rejoined him for breakfast the next day. Though neither of them spoke a word about the baby, they both knew it was bound to come up again.
And it did. Two nights later, long after they had cleaned up dinner, they were sitting on the deck, chairs facing out to the ocean dancing in the moonlight. Dan's feet were propped up on the railing and Blair's tucked up underneath her. She was nursing a glass of lemonade and he was working on his third beer. They had been mostly silent, enjoying the peaceful sound of the water and the breeze. So when she finally spoke, in a quiet whisper, Dan didn't quite hear her.
"What?" He leaned slightly towards her voice. "What did you say?"
"I said…" She cleared her throat, eyes staring straight out over the water. "What if it's Chuck's." And Dan felt his breath hitch. He had known that, at some point, they were going to end up discussing this very subject. It was inevitable. Taking a long, slow pull from his bottle, he looked over at her, watching her face.
"I don't know…" His voice was low. "Do you…do you want to be with him?" And for a reason that alluded him in the moment, Dan held his breath. For one full minute, Blair stared, speechlessly out into the night sky before her eyes dropped to her hands.
"No…" Her voice was so tiny, so simple. Dan let out the breath he was holding as the gravity of the admission settled over them. It was two long minutes before she spoke again, her eyes focusing on the water again. "Would you still be here? Would you…I mean, Chuck would provide for the baby, I'm sure and…and he would want to be involved. But…I would need somebody to…I would still need a friend…You said you would stand by me if I married Louis and started a family. How about if it were Chuck's and I needed a friend?" He could hear tears in her voice, though his own emotions made it so he could not look at her. "Could that still be you? Would you stand by me then?" Dan felt tears come to his own eyes as she waited for his answer.
No. He thought. I can't. I love you Blair. I have…for a long time. But there is simply no way I can watch as you have Chuck Bass' baby. I can't do it. It would kill me. But then, as his hand reached out to take hers, he surprised both of them when he answered.
As the days passed and the appointment growing closer and closer, it seemed as though Blair was coming to a point of acceptance. Her wit and confidence seemed to be returning. She seemed as though she just might be able to handle what was happening; she just might be able to get through all of this. She seemed as though she was finding her way along this crazy new path that was her life. And seeing this in her, made Dan happier, more relaxed, more content.
So on that late summer night, three days away from her scheduled appointment, when she came into his room to wake him, Dan was utterly stunned. It was three in the morning and he had been sleeping hard. And when he heard the knock on the door, the creek in the wood floor, the soft sound of her crying; it almost didn't wake him. But it did. His eyes opened slowly, his mind taking in the scene.
"Blair?" His voice was gravely as he sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes awake. When she came into focus, his heart ached. There she stood in the middle of his room; cheeks red and eyes puffy. "Blair…" He pulled back the blankets and moved to get out of bed. "Are you okay? Are you…"
"I don't want a baby…" Her voice choked and her chest heaved, but he heard her.
"I don't Dan. I…I…I'm too young. I'm…I'm not even done with college," her eyes were scattered as she looked to him. "I want to finish school. I want to have a career. I want to…I want to be in love; completely in love…." Her tears increased as she spoke. "I want to be happy…I…I don't want a baby. I don't want a baby…." She shook her head.
"I know." And then, because he lacked the strength to keep away, he moved, pulling her into his arms; holding her tightly to him. And she went willingly, easing into his embrace. It was not lost on either of them that this was the first time in the two weeks she had been there that he had really touched her.
"I don't want a baby," she whispered, sinking into him.
"It's okay…" He whispered into her hair as he rocked her in his arms. But he knew that it wasn't. In this moment, at this time, for this woman, it wasn't. So he just held tightly to her and let her cry. And she cried; for a very long time. She stood in the middle of his room, safe in his arms and she cried.
And when the tears began to fade, when she began to grow quiet, Dan took a deep breath and said the words they had been avoiding the whole time.
"You know…you don't have to have a baby." His arms tightened involuntarily around her. "That is one of your options."
"I know," she whispered, nodding against his chest. "And I have always been a supporter of a woman's right to choose…I just…I never wanted to have to make that choice."
"I know." And he did.
"Could you…" She took a deep, shaky breath and looked up at him, fear and sadness in her eyes. "Would you still be my friend…if that were my choice?"
"Yes," he gulped, placing a kiss to the top of her head. "Yes I would." Blair pressed closer to him still and nodded, unable to speak.
"Dan…" She whispered. "Can I stay here tonight?"
"Yes." He whispered back. And, though Dan knew this would only cause his heart to eventually hurt more than he ever imagined it would, he led her to his bed. And, though Blair knew this would only cause her more confusion than she was already juggling, she crawled in next to him. That night she slept soundly, snuggled close to Dan's side with his arm wrapped around her shoulders. And that's exactly where she slept for the next two nights.
The night before the appointment brought with it a certain amount of celebration. Strange as it seemed, Blair felt an enormous amount of relief knowing that, after the appointment, she would at least have some direction. Though there was a chance that she would still be unsure of the paternity, there was also a chance that it would become much more clear. And either way, she knew that she had a friend, a place of refuge, in Dan. And maybe that was a larger part of the relief she felt.
They had worked together to prepare dinner; Blair chopping and tossing an impeccable salad and Dan marinating and grilling chicken and corn on the cob. She had set the table on the deck while he brought their food out. Settling into the silence, they enjoyed their food. Though the conversation remained on other topics, he could tell that Blair's mind remained in neutral; lost in thought, focused on the impending appointment and the answers it may or may not bring.
But it wasn't until much later that she was able to articulate her thoughts. They had finished dinner. They had cleaned up and they had moved back to the deck. The moon was big and bright as they sat together on an outdoor loveseat with Blair tucked under his arm. As Dan looked out over the water, Blair looked up at him.
Her friend, her sanctuary. How had she been so lucky to stumble upon a friendship with Dan Humphrey? He was above and beyond anything she felt she had any right to expect. And he had just opened the door and let her in. Without any thought to how it would affect his own life, how it would affect his summer, he opened the door and let her in. Asking no questions, demanding no answers, he had just let her in.
The friendship he had offered her was unparalleled in her life. He had been there with the support she asked, the space she had longed for. Even when she wasn't ready to speak about it, he had spent all of those meals remaining absolutely silent. Just to be the friend she needed. She knew it must have been incredibly difficult for him to do, but he did it. And here he was, going with her to the appointment and promising to be her friend regardless of the choice she made. She couldn't help the small laugh that escaped her lips as she thought of him.
"What?" Dan looked down at her, amusement in his eyes. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," she shook her head, smiling up at him.
"Ah come on, Waldorf," he nudged her lightly. "Share the joke with the class."
"No joke," she sighed. "I was just thinking."
"You," she shrugged. "And the baby and…" A confused look crossed her face as she registered the words she was about to speak. "And…how there's this small part of me that wishes…that it could just be yours." And Dan stopped breathing, his body froze next to her and she instantly began to backpedal. "I mean…you're just such a great guy, such a good friend and I…"
"Stop," his voice croaked. "Please stop."
"Dan, I…" She hurried to apologize, to take it back. But it was too late. The words were out there. Moving quickly, Dan stood, putting space between them.
"Please don't say that." He took a deep breath, trying to steady his nerves; scared of the emotions her words evoked. "Listen, I will…I will be your friend, Blair. I will stand by your side. I will be here for you, whatever you decide. I promise," his eyes met hers and her heart skipped. "Hell, I'll even go with you to tell them both….But. But you can't say stuff like that to me."
"Okay," she nodded; eager to erase the pain on his face. "I'm sorry, Dan. I didn't mean to…"
"I know," he shook his head, swallowing a couple of times. "I know. I just…I really need you to not say stuff like that to me."
"I know. I know and I'm sorry."
"I am, Dan."
"I know," he met her eyes then, trying to hide the emotion he just knew was there. "Listen, I'm tired and…we have a big day tomorrow. I think I'm going to head up to bed." He moved towards the house, stopping to glance back at her. "You coming?"
"You go ahead," she smiled at him. "I'm going to sit here for a little while longer."
"You sure?" Though his mind was racing, he still felt the instinctive need to make sure she was okay.
"Of course," she nodded. "I'll be up soon."
"Okay. Good night Blair."
"Good night Dan," she lifted her hand in a wave and he disappeared through the door. In that moment, as she turned back towards the water, Blair vowed that she would be more careful. She would watch her words, she would think before she spoke. Though she didn't truly know the root of Dan's reaction, she did know one thing. In the last two weeks, he had been the best thing in her life; her friend and anchor. And she vowed then and there that she never wanted to be the cause of even the tiniest bit of hurt in Dan's eyes.
So, that night, when she went to bed, she was careful not to wake him. And when she laid back against the pillow, she made it a point to stay on her side. It took her a while longer to fall asleep but she eventually did. And in the morning, when she woke, he was already up. She slowly left his bed and went to her room, showering and dressing and preparing for this big day.
The drive to the doctor's office Blair had found took them just over three hours. The wait in the small, brightly-lit waiting room took them ten minutes. Blair sat, straight and tall in her chair, trying to ignore the irritating way Dan bounced his leg, ever so lightly. He was clearly nervous, though she had no idea what he had to be nervous about. Both pairs of eyes shot up to the door when a nurse stepped out and, glancing at the file, looked around the room.
"Misty Beamon?" She called out.
"That's me," Blair raised her hand and reached for her bag.
"Misty?" Dan raised his eyebrows, a small smile playing at his lips.
"You thought I would use my real name?" She muttered under her breath.
"I suppose not," he shook his head with a chuckle. Blair gathered her bag and turned towards the nurse.
"Your husband can come back if he would like to," the nurse smiled, glancing to Dan and back to Blair.
"My husband…" Blair followed the nurse's gaze as Dan's eyes grew wide. "Oh! My husband. Of course. Honey?" Her eyes met his, pleading with him to just go along with it because if she was honest, she kind of wanted him to come with her.
"Honey?" Dan's voice was cautious as he stood, looking to Blair for direction.
"The nurse said that you could come back with me."
"Fantastic," he grinned and clapped his hands together.
"Yes, well," the nurse smiled at the two of them, guiding them through the door. "It's not fair for the father's to miss out on all the fun, is it?"
"No, of course not," Dan chuckled nervously and followed the nurse as she directed him into an examination room and Blair to a restroom where she was to provide them with a urine sample.
Entering the examination room was a surreal experience for him. It was almost as though he could feel his blood pressure spike. Taking deep breaths, Dan controlled his emotions. This wasn't about him. This was about being there for Blair, however she needed him to be. And, in this moment, as she returned to the room and took a seat, she needed him to sit next to her and at least pretend to pay attention to what the nurse was saying to them.
After she went over a long list of routine questions, taking down notes and giving them some information, she handed Blair a gown and instructed her to completely disrobe and put on the gown. And then she slipped out of the room, leaving them alone. As soon as the door shut behind the nurse, Dan was on his feet, ready to follow her, but Blair reached out for his arm, stopping him in his tracks.
"Where do you think you're going?" Blair hissed.
"I'm stepping out," he pointed towards the door.
"Why?" She reached down to remove her shoes.
"She just told you to take off all of your clothes and put on that robe," he pointed to the flimsy fabric in her hands.
"You think that means you get to leave?" She narrowed her eyes at him.
"You're kidding, right?" His eyes went wide. "You're going to be naked."
"Which is something she thinks you have seen before; being the father of the baby and all."
"Ah…" He nodded, understanding setting in.
"Yes," Blair nodded. "Ah…"
"But you're going to…"
"Stand in the corner," she placed her hands on his shoulders, turned him towards the wall and gave him a light shove. "And Close. Your. Eyes."
"Done." He moved with great quickness to the corner of the room. His eyes squeezed shut as she moved around behind him. He could hear her shuffling things and he knew when she moved to the table covered in the white paper. After a few moments of settling, she called out to him.
"Okay, you can open your eyes," her voice was small and he could tell she was nervous. "You can turn around. But you have to stay up here by my head." Very slowly and cautiously, Dan did as he was told, moving quickly towards her head. Thankfully, there was a chair next to the table, because seeing her on that table made his stomach flip flop. His eyes met hers and he could see she was scared.
"Hey…" He smiled, reaching for her hand as he settled into the chair. "It's going to be okay, you know. Whatever happens, it's going to be okay.."
"You think so?" Her eyes were wide, tears threatening at the surface.
"I know so," he nodded and squeezed her hand in his. Blair let out a long, deep breath and squeezed his hand back.
"Listen, Dan, about what I said last night…"
"Blair," he interrupted.
"Please, I just want to…"
"You don't have to," he reached a hand out to smooth a hair behind her ear. "That's not how things are between us, Blair. You don't have to explain."
"But, I want us to be okay, Dan." She searched his eyes. "You are my friend and I want, I need things to be okay between us."
"They are, Blair," he assured her. "They are. Okay?"
"Okay," she smiled and shifted on the table.
"So, are you ready for this?" He looked around the room, taking in the baby themed décor.
"Ha!" She laughed. "God, I…" She was cut short as the doctor breezed into the room; a warm, welcoming smile on her face.
"Mr. and Mrs. Beamon," she looked to the two of them. "It's so nice to meet you. I'm Dr. Groves. You must be…Misty," she smiled at Blair and then looked to Dan. "And you are?"
"Dan…" He answered reflexively. Blair coughed. "Dan-ny. I'm Danny Beamon." He recovered terribly.
"Good, good," she nodded and glanced over the paperwork in her file. "Well, Misty, why don't we take a look at this baby of yours. I'm just going to wash my hands and we can get started." When she turned away, Dan moved to the edge of his seat next to Blair's head.
"Danny?" She mumbled; sarcasm in her voice. "Original."
"Well, not all of us had time to…" He trailed off as the doctor turned back to them.
"Now, Misty, I'm going to need you to move a little further down…" And though Blair hated the smile on the woman's face, hated the cheer in her voice, she did as she instructed.
Finding it incredibly difficult to fake the expected excitement, Blair took a deep breath and lifted her legs into the stirrups. Doctor Groves began explaining the internal ultrasound; how it worked, why they used it, what they would be able to see. But Dan could tell that Blair was distracted. He could tell that she was struggling. Taking her hand in one of his, he reached out with the other and let it rest on her shoulder.
"I'm right here," his voice was low but steady. And she began to relax.
"Okay, let's take a look at your little one," the doctor flipped a switch and positioned the ultrasound wand. Blair took a deep, calming breath as the doctor began to study the images projected onto the screen.
"Will you be able to…" Blair cleared her throat. "I'm sorry, will you be able to tell when the baby was conceived?"
"We should," the doctor smiled, her eyes trained on the screen. "We can usually narrow it down to within a week."
"Great," Blair smiled, hopeful. Dan's eyes moved from Blair to the screen, watching the dark images that the doctor seemed focused on. As the moments passed and the doctor remained silent, Dan began to get nervous.
"Is everything okay?" He glanced to Blair and back to the doctor.
"Misty, when did you say your last period was?" The doctor ignored Dan's question and looked to Blair.
"About seven weeks ago."
"And you took a home pregnancy test?"
"Two of them."
"Okay," the doctor turned back to the screen; pressing some buttons and moving things around. Blair looked up at Dan with wide eyes. All he could do was hold her hand. After a few more moments, the doctor removed the wand and flipped off the machine. With a somber face and sad eyes, she turned to face Dan and Blair. "Mr. and Mrs. Beamon, I am…really sorry to have to tell you this, but you are not pregnant."
"What?" Blair exhaled.
"What?" Dan's forehead twisted up.
"But, my period," Blair moved, sitting up slightly. "My period is late and…"
"Yes," the doctor nodded. "Sometimes periods are late. There are a variety of things that can cause that; abnormal amounts of stress, drastic changes in eating habits, illness. Has your period ever been late before?"
"Yes, but…" Blair was struggling, her mind scattered slightly to the left of normal. "But…the tests. I took TWO tests that both said I was pregnant."
"I'm so sorry," the doctor mistook Blair's questions for denial, for sadness. "Sometimes tests provide us with false positives. Granted it is pretty unlikely. Even more so to get two false positives. But it does happen."
"I'm…" Blair's throat was dry and she had to swallow before she could continue. "Are you really saying that I'm not pregnant?"
"Yes," Doctor Groves nodded gravely.
"Are you…are you sure?"
"How sure?" Dan spoke up feeling a slight bit of anger. "Because those tests are supposed to be…you know…pretty sure."
"I am ninety-nine percent sure," she looked at them, pity registering on her face. "But, to make up for that one percent, I'm going to step out and get the results of the urine tests. But I am certain they are going to show the same thing. I'll just give you two a minute," she moved towards the door. "And again, I am…so sorry." The doctor quietly slipped out of the room, the door closing shut behind her.
And for a split second, neither of them moved. It was as though time stood still. He didn't breath. She didn't speak. And then, in a roar of emotion, everything moved at once. Dan rose to his feet and pulled her to him. And Blair hurled herself at him; tossing her arms around his neck; overjoyed.
"Oh my God…" She breathed, tears of relief spilling from her eyes. "Oh my GOD. Dan…she said…she…"
"I know," he muttered, shaking his head in disbelief.
"Can you believe it?" She pulled back slightly so that she could look at him. "All this time I've been…"
"And now you're not…" He finished her thought, his emotions for her catching in his throat.
"Oh my God," she moved back to his embrace, a wide smile spreading across her tear streaked cheeks. "I'm not pregnant Dan."
"I know," he whispered, placing a kiss on the side of her head. "I know." And this time, when she pulled back slightly, the shared emotion between them was palpable. Their faces were inches apart, their heavy breaths in time with each other. Blair's eyes moved from his only to glance down at his mouth, his mouth that was smiling wide, just like her own.
"Dan…" She breathed as she moved just the tiniest bit closer to him. And Dan didn't move. He knew he should. This was his friend. His friend who, just moments ago thought that she could be pregnant, from one of two men; one of which she was still very much engaged to. He knew he should move, but he didn't. He couldn't. The elation, the emotion, the build up from this shared experience, was too much for him to fight on his own. And as her eyes fluttered shut and her head tipped slightly, he surrendered.
"Blair…" His voice offering one last attempt at stopping what was about to happen. But when he heard her moan softly, his smile widened. It was too late. He was going to kiss her.
And then, just like the hand of fate, the door swung open and the doctor rejoined them. The kiss died on their lips, never fully realized. They pulled apart. Mistaking their teary embrace for sadness, Doctor Groves offered her condolences before telling them that the urine tests supported her findings. She gave them some information about trying to conceive and some flyers about grief and loss and then, with one last smile, she stepped from the room; leaving Blair to change back into her clothes. Dan, fighting to regain control of his emotions, excused himself to the restroom, telling Blair he would wait for her in the lobby. And when she joined him, he offered her a friendly smile. And she smiled back. The moment had effectively passed.
As they emerge out into the summer sun, Blair felt renewed. She felt free. She felt whole. Dan laughed out loud as she practically skipped to the car. Their trip back to the Hamptons was full of music and laughter and spirit. Everything seemed brighter to her; the sun, the sky, even the house seemed brighter as they pulled up outside and emerged from the car.
"So, Waldorf," he grinned at her as he opened the front door. "What are we going to do now?"
"Ah…" She sighed, her face lit up. "I think we should celebrate."
"Yes! Let's…let's do all of the things you shouldn't do when you're pregnant; all of the things I haven't been doing."
"Such as?" He lifted an eyebrow.
"Let's get ridiculously drunk and eat sushi…" Her laughter was contagious as she moved through the house into the kitchen. "And soft cheese! And caffeine!"
"Sounds like quite a night," Dan beamed as he followed her.
"Oh it's going to be…" She came to a stop as her eyes met his; a moment of seriousness breaking into her excitement. "Dan…"
"Blair," he smiled her name.
"I will never be able to thank you for this." Her words caught on the lump in her throat.
"You never have to thank me this." He shook his head, his eyes dark and intense.
"But you were…you were my refuge; my sanctuary…" She wiped at her eyes and sniffed before she stood tall, smiling wide. "Thank you, Humphrey. For…for being here, for letting me be here, for listening and talking and going to the appointment and…for everything."
"You're welcome, Waldorf." He reached out and lightly slugged her shoulder. "That's what friends are for, right?"
"Yeah," she chuckled, not able to imagine any of her friends stepping up the way he had over the last to weeks.
"So…" He clapped his hands together. "Ridiculously drunk?"
"And lots of sushi," she grinned. And, as she turned towards the wine cellar, her phone rang out in her purse. Turning towards the counter, she pulled it out and glanced at the screen. "It's him." Her eyes rose to meet his, her grin fading.
"Him?" Dan raised his eyebrows.
"Ah…" A wave of understanding washed over him, bringing a frown to his face.
"Dan…" She began.
"You should answer it," he pointed towards the phone. "He's probably worried about you."
"But…" She shook her head, her eyes sad.
"Answer it," Dan encouraged. And, with a sigh, she did.
"Bonjour," her voice was bright and fluffy and…fake. Dan watched as she hurried from the room speaking nothing but French. As soon as her voice was completely out of his range of hearing, he moved to the fridge. Opening two bottles of beer, he moved out onto the deck where he pulled on his sunglasses and sank into his chair. Tipping his head back, he took a long drink from the bottle, mentally preparing himself for the blow he was about to take.
Twenty minutes and two beers later, Blair joined him on the deck. He could sense her before he heard her.
"Dan…" And when she spoke his name, her voice told him all he needed to know. The sadness and regret was evident. Without turning to look at her, he took a breath.
"When do you leave?" And she didn't have to see his face to know; she was breaking her vow. She was causing him pain. She moved around him, sitting on the small table in front of his chair so that she could force him to look at her.
"I have to go," her voice was small. He opened his mouth to protest, but words failed him. "I have to, Dan. He's…he's my fiancé. He's going to be my husband. And now that this is all..." As her words hit his ears, all he could do was nod. He knew that. He had always known that. She had not come to him seeking anything other than friendship, refuge, sanctuary.
"When do you leave?" He asked her again, thankful for his sunglasses.
"A car will be here in twenty minutes. I just have to go pack…" She looked down at her hands folded in her lap. "Humphrey…"
"It's okay," he forced a smile to his lips. "It's…"
"Thank you," she interrupted him. "I know it's not enough, but it's all I have to offer. I…I never would have made it through the last two weeks without you. Never. Please know that I know that. Know that I understand what that means. Know that I owe you…"
"You don't owe me…"
"I owe you," her hands moved to his knees. "You were there for me when nobody else could be. And I won't forget that. Okay?"
"Okay…" He whispered; afraid to speak.
"Are you…if I leave…" She felt ridiculous even thinking it. "Are you going to be okay? If I leave." When his eyes looked at hers, he knew she was struggling. He knew she felt bad, guilty, sad. He knew that she was trying to sort it all out; trying to come to terms with the upheaval she had experienced that day. He knew it was hard. And in that moment, he knew he couldn't add to it. He couldn't lay anything else at her feet. Because, above all else, she was his friend and he was hers. And now he needed to do what a friend would do. Steeling himself, he forced a wide grin to his lips and leaned forward.
"Okay?" He chuckled. "I'm going to be more than okay, Waldorf. You think I came to the Hamptons hoping I could spend my days delivering meals to some crazy pregnant lady who locked herself in a bedroom?" She laughed at that.
"No, I suppose you didn't."
"I didn't," he shook his head, reaching out to pat her hands. "Now, you get your stuff packed and get back to the Prince. I have books to read, sea to sail…"
"Townies to meet?" She played right into the moment.
"Exactly," he nodded. "I'm going to be fine."
"Okay," she smiled.
"Okay." Dan stood. "I think I'm going to shower and head into town, grab some lunch. You can let yourself out?" He looked down at where she sat.
"Yes, of course."
"Great," he took a deep breath and leaned down, planting a kiss on her forehead. "Take care of yourself, Blair Waldorf."
"You too Dan Humphrey," she closed her eyes as his lips pressed to her skin. And then, just like that, he was gone.
Blair sat on that small table, watching as he walked back into the house and out of her sight. Turning to look back over the ocean, she felt the tiniest surge of regret. What if Dan was right? What if she deserved better than this? Better than what she was rushing off to. Something closer to what she was rushing away from.
Shaking her head, she pushed those thoughts deep into the corners of her mind. Standing tall, she looked down at the ring on her finger. The time in her sanctuary had come to an end. It was time to return back to normalcy; back to her life.
And as the car took her away from the house and the plane took her across the ocean, she knew that things had changed for her and for Dan. There was no denying it now. He had stood next to her through one of the most terrible times in her life and then, just as great friends do, he had let her go. As she closed her eyes, settling into her seat, she vowed that, should she ever get the chance, she would stand up next to him and be the friend to him that he had been to her.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Stay tuned for Chapter Two!