A/N: So this is the second o/s in a week. I don't think this will be a habit or anything, but here we go. It's a sort of AU/abstract/I'm not really sure what it is sort of thing. And not really sure what to make of it.
Summary: "My entire life, I thought I had to settle," she says. "I thought grand love stories were for the story books. I loved him. I thought that's what it was. I could be content with that. I didn't think I would ever have…""Fireworks."
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. All character are Gossip Girl. No beta, so all mistakes are mine.
She thinks that it's the first time she's seen him.
But it might as well be. His blood splatters the floor of his expensive penthouse as her boyfriend crouches over him, slamming his fist into the boy's face.
Man. It's a man that doesn't cover his face. He takes the beating—almost as though he's bored.
She stands there, helplessly, not sure how it got to this point, but knowing exactly.
And standing is another man with hair that matches the one on the floor, but not the eyes.
The brown haired crystal eyed man could stoop to the floor and stop all of it.
"Don't worry, uncle." The man says it through gritted teeth and blood. Her boyfriend has stopped pounding. "He doesn't have a better punch than he was when he was sixteen."
This takes her by surprise.
She isn't sure if she knows him - or that her boyfriend should.
The uncle helps the man to his feet. They don't have a fond familiarity, but more of a begrudging one.
"Your punching bag is safe," he assures the older man. She doesn't understand anything but this is a place full of darkness. She is sure that it's supposed to scare her.
As he stands, he looks impressive, even with his paisley covered in blood. But she doesn't see anything else. Her boyfriend pulls her along by the hand.
But she does get one last look. Not a good one, but a last one. His smoldering eyes penetrate her.
It's the first time she thinks she's seen that stare before.
She doesn't like cab rides. She never gave a thought to them before. What she really thinks is she doesn't like her boyfriend next to her. His knuckles are bloody and she really doesn't want to go to Brooklyn.
She doesn't think she's a Brooklyn girl anymore. She isn't sure if she ever was.
But she finds it curious why all of that has changed. She wonders how something so significant happened so quickly.
"He spoke as though he knew you."
"So you decided to imprint your fist into his face?"
Her boyfriend stares at her for a moment. "You know why I did it."
She doesn't like how he holds her hand anymore. It isn't like he's holding it at all. It's like he's leading. She doesn't like that at all. She doesn't like he assumes he knows what's best for her. She doesn't like how he's making decisions for her.
In the loft, she peels out of his grasp. He never held her hand. He always pulled it.
The man with the smoldering eyes never pulled it. She's starting to think that she knows him from somewhere.
When she walks out, it's snowing. All she wears is an inappropriately fitting dress and no jacket. She doesn't hail a cab. She doesn't even think she remembers how to call for a car.
She walks all the way across the bridge.
The elevator is warm. It's dark purple and for some reason, the blinking camera in the ceiling is a comfort. When she walks through the doors, she wonders if the concierge had even called up, or if she was just let up.
His back is to her when she walks across the foyer. He's wearing the same rumpled clothing he had on when he was on the floor. He's at the sink, with the water running.
But he knows she's there.
For the first time, she feels at home. Somehow, in this stranger's place, she feels at home for the first time.
He turns around. His face is bloody and bruised while her arms are blue from the cold. She knows that he notices.
Without even a second more of hesitation, they stride towards each other in synchronization, taking one another in each other's arms, their mouths mating furiously.
He doesn't wince when she kisses his hurt face, but he rubs feeling back into her arms.
"Did you take a cab?"
"How many blocks?"
"Across the bridge."
He pauses. "The whole way?"
"The whole way."
"That's a very long walk."
"It took too long to get here."
"Come to finish the job?" He spreads his arms, completely vulnerable. She wonders why he didn't hit back, but she sort of knows. She sort of know shim. Now she knows she's seen him somewhere before.
"I don't understand the point."
"Your uncle just stood there."
"Your boyfriend's tussle was meaningless," he replies. "Not enough to threaten his investment. Your boyfriend was protecting his."
"You don't know why that showdown was so dramatic." He's confused. Neither of them know why she's here. All the know that something is.
"I don't know why he hit you."
"Yes you do."
"You were looking at me," she says, somehow causing blush to color her porcelain cheeks for the first time.
"Men look at you," he says. "Does he know I'm the one who sends the flowers."
"He must have…"
"Is that enough of a reason for you?" he asks. "Some guy looks at you? A lot must."
"Not like me?" he asks cheekily. "He didn't hit me because I looked at you. He hit me because for the first time, you looked back."
For the first time, she can be self-aware. "You're the only one who's ever sent me peonies."
"Is that because you hate them?" he asks.
"It's because no one knows they're my favorites," she says. "But you do."
"Is that a surprise?"
"You don't even know me."
He shoots her a look. No one looks at her like that. Everyone she knows treats her with either reverence or disdain. They don't do this. They don't level with her.
"If that were true, you wouldn't be here right now," he says. "If we weren't aware of each other, wouldn't it be strange that this isn't the first time your boyfriend has thrown a punch at me?"
"High school," he muses. "A club. A party. The train. It doesn't really matter, does it? It matters that I know your favorite flower and when your boyfriend hits me, I don't hit back."
"My entire life, I thought I had to settle," she says. "I thought grand love stories were for the story books. I loved him. I thought that's what it was. I could be content with that. I didn't think I would ever have…"
Their eyes meet and she finally realizes that she knows him. "I never had that before."
"You never met me before," he smirks easily. She knows she loves it. She knows there are sparks setting her heart ablaze.
For the first time in her life.
"That's why you're here," he says.
"Charles," she sighs with a smile.
She loves him beneath all those bruises.