Disclaimer: I own nothing…forgot to say it before…but true… so true. This chapter also contains some dialogue directly from the show, clearly not mine again!
AN: Thank you to everyone who read and especially those who reviewed. My eternal gratitude to MegamiTenchi that was forced to beta this in a couple of hours and did an awesome job as usual! Hope you enjoy, and I appreciate any comments, positive or negative, you may have!
Two pairs of hurried footsteps echoed through the Waldorf's penthouse, but Blair did not bother to raise her head from the latest issue of Vogue. After all it was not hard to guess whom they belonged to. Glancing at her watch she had to admit that he had made the distance from Brooklyn in record time. He must have actually taken a taxi as it had been only thirty-five minutes ago that she had called him, and there was no way he would have made it in so little time by either subway or bus. She found his…she would have to call it obsession with learning the paternity of her baby sort of sweet, sort of funny and sort of… unsettling.
Dan obviously had come to care for her and she cared for him too. This last year he had turned out to be a great friend when she had desperately needed one, especially with Serena gone in LA. He had been a lifesaver actually. Because aside from Louis, she felt like she had no one left. It felt like during the summer, she had lost the two most important people in her life. Excluding Louis, obviously. It was a blessing she at least had Dan to rely on, though he could be really aggravating at times.
However, Humphrey had been the furthest thing from her mind yesterday. She had spent the entire day trying to find the courage to tell Louis and debating whether she should also notify Chuck. It had taken her all day to reach a decision and by the time she was done with Louis as well, they had rushed to their celebration and she had no time to call Dan. Being honest with herself, she had to say that she had not actually called him and instead left him to agonize over the outcome of the paternity test all day on purpose- he deserved it for being so pushy. So she called him this morning. And apparently, he had run to her immediately.
True enough, the footsteps reached the living room and finally looking up, Blair was met with a disheveled Dan, followed by a panting Dorota.
"Blair-," Dan started but was interrupted by the clearly irritated Polish maid.
"Sorry, Miss Blair. Mister Humphrey did not wait like I said he should," Dorota announced throwing him a disdainful look.
"It's alright, Dorota, I was expecting him. Do bring us some tea, please?"
"Yes, Miss Blair," Dorota replied and turned to leave, letting out a last annoyed huff as she passed Dan.
Dan sighed to himself, and walking into the room, he reached the sofa Blair occupied and took a seat next to her.
"I thought she liked me," he commented with a grimace, referring to Dorota.
"Of course, she does," Blair said rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, she seemed extremely fond of me just now…"
"You should see how she is with Chuck and she loves-," Blair cut herself off; "anyway, if she didn't like you, she wouldn't have let you pass. Believe me."
Dan still did not look convinced, but then, he had more pressing things on his mind.
"So, will you finally tell me what happened?" he asked without stalling anymore. "I called you a dozen times yesterday and left tons of messages."
Blair huffed, "I had important matters to take care of, Humphrey, and I did respond to one of those messages."
"To tell me we would talk today, when and if you had time! C'mon, Blair you could have at least told me the test result!" Dan said in exasperation.
"I do not see how that was of your concern; it was not like you might be the father," Blair persisted, clearly annoyed. She knew she was being mean and Dan was only insisting out of genuine interest for her, but she was still angry by the way he had pressured her in reading those results when she had not been yet ready. That had turned out pretty well, had it not? She had nearly had a breakdown after reading them, and two days later she still had to apply a double layer of concealer to hide the puffiness under her eyes.
"That's not fair, Blair," Dan protested just when Dorota came in with their tea.
Blair would have probably apologized if Dorota had not interrupted them, but as it happened, she just gestured for her to serve their tea and waited until she left. Dorota for her part seemed to pick up the tense mood and tried to be as quick as she could. When she finished, Blair dismissed her, turning her attention back to Dan.
"It was all too much yesterday, talking to both Chuck and Louis…It was hard," she explained in lieu of an actual apology.
"So you talked to both of them already? Blair c'mon, tell me what did the results say…!"
Blair picked up her cup, enjoying the sight of Dan squirming, after how much she had agonized and suffered for those damned results, it was a relief to watch someone else share her pain. "The baby is Louis', Humphrey," she finally revealed arrogantly after taking a sip of her tea. She assumed a half-bored expression, but her eyes remained set on his face, interested to gauge his reaction.
Dan seemed… Well, she would not call what she saw in his face relief. She would almost say she could see a hint of disappointment there. She knew that Dan had been becoming inexplicably close to Chuck lately, but she could not fathom that he actually wanted her to leave Louis and be with Chuck. One of life's facts was that Dan Humphrey loathed Chuck Bass; and Chuck Bass despised Dan Humphrey. So when the hell had they become best pals? Though she had to admit that sounded a tad hypocritical coming from her, because the truth used to be that Dan Humphrey loathed Chuck and Blair, and both Chuck and Blair despised Dan. Now, that there were no longer Chuck and Blair… the irony was not lost on her.
Still, when she had first admitted to Dan to sleeping with Chuck, he had not seemed happy. At all. He had gone all judgmental on her like Dan always used to, in the past, but not so much lately, at least not with her. So she must have misread his expression, there was no way that Dan was disappointed that the baby was not Chuck's. He was probably just…okay, she had no idea, why he was still speechless.
"Humphrey?" she asked impatiently.
He seemed to snap out of it and nodded his head mechanically, "Good, that is really good."
"I told you, Dan, there was no way this baby was not Louis', '' Blair declared with a triumphant smile pushing the memory of two nights ago deep within her. "We had no reason to worry."
Dan nodded one more time, before awkwardly picking up his cup and taking a huge gulp. "So how did Louis take it?" he asked finally recovering his ability to speak.
Blair's face was graced with a smile. "Louis was ecstatic," she replied, "he was so sweet about it. He is such a great man, a real prince."
It was true; Louis' reaction was the only positive thing Blair had to keep focusing on these last two days. From her own erratic breakdown and her talk with Chuck, to her fears about how Louis was going to react to an unplanned pregnancy before their wedding… she had been driving herself half-mad. But seeing how happy the announcement actually made Louis, Blair was able to pull herself together and she was determined to let these last days become a distant memory.
Dan smiled at the happiness she showed. "That's great, really great, Blair. You must be relieved."
Blair suppressed a cringe at hearing that word. "There was no reason to feel anxious in the first place," she blabbered on, "I was absolutely certain that the baby was Louis' and I was almost as certain that the news would make him happy," she lied effortlessly.
It was Dan's turn to roll his eyes now. "That's why I had to practically force you to open the test results?"
Blair frowned, "Do not think that I have forgiven you for that, yet. I admit I might have perhaps been a little apprehensive about telling Louis, because we are not married yet, and he is a prince and his family will be angry about this. I suppose I might have used waiting for the results as a means to delay telling him."
Though delivered perfectly, the look on Dan's face showed that he was not entirely convinced. But thankfully, he decided not to press any further. However, the topic he decided to pursue next, made Blair wish he had actually continued on his previous line of thinking.
"Wait, you said you also talked to Chuck?" he questioned.
Blair took a deep breath, "I thought…It was only right for him to hear it from me."
Dan showed deep concern now. "And, how did that go?" he questioned apprehensively.
"Fine," Blair shrugged, getting up from the couch and walking to the dining table where a bunch of bridal magazines formed an unstable looking tower. "You know, I have to go through all these magazines before noon. Princess Sophie is coming over to talk flower arrangements and she cannot find me unprepared," she attempted to change the subject.
"Fine?" Dan repeated her words incredulously, completely ignoring her lame attempt at changing the subject.
Blair started dismantling the glossy tower; she did not want to talk about this. "I went to Chuck's, met Monkey, told him about the baby and left," she replied in a clipped tone.
"Just like that?"
"What did you expect?" she snapped. Why could he not leave well enough alone? It had only lasted a few minutes, but it was not something she wished to revisit. Not that she had stopped thinking about it or seeing Chuck's face in her head every time she closed her eyes.
"World War III?" Dan attempted, not really joking.
Blair turned her head furiously. "Chuck made his choice months ago. He has no reason to be angry now. I think we have already clarified that, are you that slow on the uptake, Humphrey?"
Dan gulped, but then his face scrunched up in a curious grimace, "Actually, how did Chuck look to you? Did he seem like he was saddened at all? Did he seem indifferent?"
"Humphrey!" Blair almost stomped her foot. She did not know what made him think he could actually go there. This was personal. Very personal. This memory was not to be shared and she would not be thinking about it anymore, that chapter was closed for good after she had talked to Louis and she could now focus on positive things. Not on how she had felt when she saw Chuck…not on how he had looked when she told him. God the way he had looked….
She had woken up that morning, all cried out, exhausted with puffy eyes, and before she had even time to throw some water to her face she had to throw up courtesy of her pregnancy. It was a wonderful morning, she had acknowledged sarcastically, and the rest of the day did not look more promising.
She knew she had to tell Louis. But she did not want to. She was scared of his reaction. She was scared of her reaction to his reaction. Lately, their relationship had not been all roses, and she was afraid that this would be the proverbial straw that broke the camel. Reading his interview in Hello Magazine did not help with her apprehension. She had thrown up again.
But telling Louis was not the only thought tormenting her throughout the day. She was also thinking about Chuck. About telling Chuck. She had to tell him, naturally. She had to tell him before the news about her pregnancy went public and he read it somewhere and then hope that the baby was actually his and not her fiancé's. Only, truth was, she was not sure that Chuck would hope the baby was his when he would hear the news. Not that it mattered. It did not. Because the baby was Louis' and that was the end.
But, even in theory, Chuck would have hated the idea of them having a baby. If anything Chuck was not father material. So besides her own dreams and aspirations no longer being endangered by this pregnancy, that the paternity of the baby belonged to Louis was probably what Chuck himself would have hoped for. Not to mention that Chuck could hardly take care of himself. He had proven he could not take care of her. He had managed to hurt her time and time again, though he did love her. She could no longer doubt that. And she also had no doubt that he would have loved the baby as well, had it been his. Because Chuck, despite not knowing it, or never really believing it, he did have a big heart- a great heart. However that was not enough as history had shown. The important question was, would he be able to take care of their baby? Had it been his…but it was not.
Still she could not stop herself from being consumed by these… useless thoughts for hours on end. They only stopped when she saw his picture in Gossip Girl. He was taking an adorable pup to get put down. It was then the third time that Blair had to throw up. Apparently, her baby could not handle stress that well. At least the Gossip Girl blast managed to effectively erase any doubts she might have had about Chuck's parental instincts. Not that it mattered, the baby was Louis'.
Still, it was early evening now, and though Blair had not yet told Louis anything, she found herself riding the Empire's elevator, heading for its penthouse. She had to tell him sometime. Now was as good a time as ever. She had to get this over with, the sooner the better. She would tell him and then go to Louis and give him the happy news. It was simple. Chuck might feel hurt, but it had been his choice that they were no longer together. Blair feared that he might overreact at first, but she was sure that when reason prevailed he would realize that he did not want a baby. That this kind of life was not for him and it was a good thing this baby was Louis'. So she just had to tell him, and she just had to remember to breathe… she concluded the pep talk she had been continuously repeating to herself since getting in the car to go to the Empire.
She was ready now. She knew what to tell Chuck, she knew how to counteract his anger. The elevator doors slid open, and Blair walked hesitantly into the semi dark foyer. The only light was coming from the bar, as Blair was not surprised to notice and she hesitantly made her way there.
Chuck was sitting by the bar, his scotch in hand and the familiarity of that picture immediately hit her hard. The moment he heard her footsteps he turned to face her and she cursed her Louboutin heels that did not allow for a noiseless entrance that would give her the time to pull herself together. Her breath caught in her throat, and her heart painfully thudded in her chest, and all her elaborate plans flew from her head at once. For all the pep talks she had given herself, for all the things she had thought she could be prepared for; she had managed to overlook the simplest fact. She was going to be seeing Chuck again.
After almost three months of only reading about him in Gossip Girl and tabloids, she was now standing in the same room with him again. He looked as taken aback as she was, but their eyes were drawn together like always. She was not that surprised that she was also feeling the usual pull to go to him, touch him and just…just keep looking at him. So she started to talk.
"I need to talk to you," she began swaying slightly from one foot to the other to diffuse the nervous energy his eyes invoked on her body.
Unfortunately, he did not seem willing to help her with this. Per usual, Chuck always knew how to make everything more difficult than it had to be.
"I thought we said all we needed to say last time we saw each other," he offered, letting his bitterness show while still looking at her intensely.
"Chuck," she mumbled lowering her eyes. It hurt to hear him talk like this, and it only made what she had come to tell him even more difficult. He had asked her to let go, he should have let go as well. These were not words that suited someone that had let go. It was not fair of him to be doing this to her, especially now.
Apparently, Chuck realized what he was doing and thankfully averted his eyes. "Is this another misguided attempt by Dan to get me to feel something?"
His words made little to no sense to her. But she knew she had to get this over with. The more she stayed, the more difficult it would become.
"I'm pregnant," she blurted out, because now was her chance. Now that he was not looking at her.
Unfortunately her announcement made him turn immediately. Blair could actually see it, the hesitation, the hope in his eyes. And she could not stand it. Because he was not supposed to be hopeful, and she was not supposed to be crushing that hope.
"It's Louis'," she said, hating that her voice sounded apologetic. She hated even more the hollow look in his eyes, and before she could even think about it she was already taking a step towards him, "I-", she started not really knowing what she was going to say. I'm sorry? She was not. She should not be. She should be happy. She should be relieved.
She did not need to worry though. Chuck did not let her talk. He did not even let her go near him. Blair watched in shock as he turned his head away from her and raised his hand to stop her from taking another step. It hurt, so so much, but she knew he was, again doing the right thing. It was funny how he somehow had become the stronger one in their relationship. Gathering all her courage she resolved to show her own strength.
"I didn't want you to find out from someone else and…" she searched for the appropriate word to follow, fear? hope? "wonder if the baby was yours," she eventually settled.
While she was talking he had turned to look at her again, but Blair could not decide whether she preferred him to not be able to look at her or to look at her the way he was.
"That's very considerate," he finally said dispassionately.
"Yes. Well…", she had been expecting anger, maybe some yelling, certainly not this. He seemed so calm about the whole thing, so…resigned, and his voice rang too cold. She had not been prepared for this and it seemed like all he did not seem to feel was overwhelming her at that moment. So she went on, hoping that he would agree with her, needing him to agree with her. "If I know anything about Chuck Bass it's that fatherhood isn't part of his lifestyle."
"You must have been very relieved when you realized you weren't carrying my offspring," Chuck told her in the same cold voice, even letting his mouth turn in a bitter half smile.
She hated this. She hated to see him like this. It unnerved her. And she hated that word: relieved. Life was not that simple, it was not just black and white. What did he want her to say anyway?
"This fairytale is…complicated," she admitted eventually.
Chuck did not reply and they stood there staring at each other again. Each waiting for the other one to do what? Blair could not really say. The pitter patter of light footsteps distracted her and looking behind her, Blair was shocked to see a dog happily approaching her. Not any dog, but the same pup she had seen in Gossip Girl that day.
"Blair, meet my dog, Monkey," Chuck startled her as she leaned down to pet the dog.
"Wha- I saw Gossip Girl… I thought you got rid of him," she questioned in confusion.
"I just sent him to get fixed. I thought it was the responsible thing to do," Chuck explained in that same expressionless tone.
And now it was all too much again and Blair felt like she was going to cry. Because she had been wrong. Chuck had not screamed or yelled or accused her of anything. She had been wrong and he did not look like he had completely let go of her as he had asked her to do. And she had been wrong in thinking he could not take care of a baby, she knew she had been wrong. Most of all she had been wrong about the test results. She had not been relieved when she had discovered that the baby was indeed Louis'. She had not been relieved at all.
"I should go," she mumbled because if she stayed any longer, she would not be able to stop her tears.
"Yes." No objections, no try to get her to stay to say something.
"Louis is waiting for me," she blurted out and if someone asked her she would not be able to tell why she did. Perhaps, she needed to remind herself.
"Of course," Chuck only affirmed, as expressionless as before.
And maybe she had lost all control of her mouth or her head. Or maybe she just wanted to see something in his eyes. Maybe she just felt that she had to say it. Because she could not tell anyone else, but he was Chuck and she was Blair, and Chuck had to know. "There was a part of me that really wanted it to be yours."
Dan's voice broke through her reverie and Blair turned to look at him in question.
"I asked you how did Chuck look to you?" he insisted.
Blair opened her mouth to reprimand him again but shut it again abruptly. "What is this Dan? Where does this sudden fascination with Chuck come from?"
"I'm just…I think…he's in a bad place right now, Blair. He needs someone."
Blair ignored her heart that clenched painfully. "Yes, yes, you told me he was up to something, that something was wrong…" she gestured with her hand vaguely. "But you did not tell me what exactly is going on."
"It's not my place to tell you," Dan replied shifting in his sit uncomfortably.
Blair smirked. "Nice try, Humphrey. Now, spill."
"No, Blair, you told me yourself the first time I brought it up that it was not of your concern anymore what Chuck was up to. Nothing has changed since then. If anything you now have even more reasons to not to want to deal with his mess and focus on your happiness and your baby's."
Blair bit her lip, yes, of course she remembered saying this and, she had every right in the world to not have to deal with Chuck's mess. But at that point, she had just been thinking Chuck was plotting something to ruin her plans…again. But if something was seriously wrong with him… Not to mention it was so damn frustrating not to know what was wrong with him, especially considering that Dan Humphrey seemed to have recently acquired a PhD in all things Chuck Bass. But how would she get the information out of Humphrey?
"If you told me what exactly I was looking for, then I might …" she trailed off looking at Dan hopefully.
"I told you, whether he seemed sad or angry or anything?"
Blair closed her eyes. It pained her to think about it again, especially since Chuck had acted so cold towards her. Was that what Dan wanted to know? But what did that mean anyway? Chuck's words flushed in her mind again… Is this another misguided attempt by Dan to get me to feel something? What was Chuck talking about? What was Dan afraid of?
"You know what? I think… I think I'll be heading over there to check on him," Dan's voice broke through her thoughts for a second time that day.
Damn it, he must have seen in her face that she was trying to work out what was going on, and then again, "What are you talking about? Why would you check on him?"
Dan had already gotten up from the sofa. "Just to see how he's taking the news…"
"Dan!" Blair whined, "why won't you tell me what's going on?"
"Nothing, everything is …fine," Dan stressed the last word with sarcasm.
Blair's mouth dropped open and Dan looked remorseful.
"Listen Blair, don't worry about it, really. Everything is fine now, but I just think Chuck may also need someone to talk to right now."
"You?" Blair blurted out incredulously.
Dan shrugged, "Why not? Besides, I told you he's also helping me with …a thing of mine, some business I need to take care of."
"Hm…" Blair murmured doubtfully, "you didn't tell me what this business of yours is either," she concluded raising an eyebrow in curiosity.
"Some other time, I … I need to catch Chuck before he goes… well, where he does… and you have to do… the flower things you said?" Dan finished his not so eloquent rambling in a hurry and Blair scoffed even more. "I will call you tomorrow, okay?"
She had hardly managed a nod and a bye and he was out of the door. Not of her concern or not, Blair was determined to find out not only what this mysterious business Dan had that actually required Chuck's help, but also- and most importantly- what was wrong with the Basstard this time around.