A/N: Right now I'm currently entangled in an 'it's complicated' situation with this guy. None of our friends know this is going on, and I just got to thinking about what would happen if the thing between us came to a complete stop and we had to keep interacting like nothing happened/was wrong in front of our friends. Then, naturally, it just kind of morphed into this CB story and, of course, I related it to Chuck's perspective. So it might be slightly OOC and the time frame is very abstract, but I kind of like it and I think you will too.

You walk into the room and like a magnet your eyes lock with hers. You didn't even know she was going to be there (okay, you suspected as much, but you hadn't been positive).

You see the briefest flash of panic on her face before she wipes it away with a big, tight smile and comes over to greet you, exclaiming about the fact that she hasn't seen you in ages.

You want to walk out. Every fiber of your being is screaming to turn around and get out of there as fast as you can. But you've always been a masochist and you seem to thrive on the awkwardness these situations create.

So you take a step forward and take part in one of the stiffest embraces Manhattan has seen (which is really saying a lot) and when you move back you see that her smile has become just a bit more relaxed, because although the awkward tension is still thick in the air, you are going to cooperate. There will be no dramatic scene to feed the gossips today.

Your heart is being torn apart standing this close to her. You can barely look her in the eye and you can't stop fidgeting like some nervous adolescent. Your thoughts are muddled by her presences and it feels like all your comments come a beat too late, but like the proper Upper Eastsider you are, you do the right thing and ask all the right questions; inquiring about her mother (she's loving retired life), the business (it's growing everyday), and, though you almost choke on the words, her love life (it's non-existent).

And then, following the rules of society as she always does, she returns the question, asking if you have anyone special in your life. Without thinking you give her your trademark smirk and tell her that once you've had perfection it's hard to find someone who measures up.

Her face drops and the already unbearable tension suddenly becomes ten times worse. It was said in jest; meant to flatter her ego just the way she liked, but instead you just approached a whole slew of history and emotions that neither one of you want to even consider, especially not in front of dozens of other people.

Luckily, unlike you she is a pro at this, and she easily slips her mask back on and laughs it off. You continue making small talk for a few more minutes before she is called over to great someone else.

And as she walks away you shout in your head that it's not supposed to be like this. It's not supposed to be all controlled emotions and stilted conversations at dinner parties, not for you two.

Whatever happened to the late nights scheming together, the banter flowing easily without any effort or thought? Whatever happened to expressing everything to each other with a simple glance across the room? Whatever happened to 'I'll always be here' and 'I'll always be your family'? Because in the end she had left. Everyone always leaves him, and she had been no exception.

So now, just like then, you watch her go. And even though your heart longs to pull her back, hold her close, and keep her with you, you let her leave. Because that's what she wants, and you've never been able to give her anything but exactly what she wants.

Even if it means ignoring everything you need.

And you know, as you watch her throw her head back in laughter at something her latest companion has said, that even these brief, few moments of interaction with her has completely undone all your hard work to stuff all the feelings and emotions so far down into yourself that everything is bearable; so that you can at least ignore the pain and act like your insides aren't being torn apart being so distant from her.

You know that tonight you are going to have to drink some scotch, a lot of scotch actually, and probably indulge in some comforting white powder too. It's the only way you will manage to survive until tomorrow, because now her presence is back in your brain. Her scent fills your nose and her face dances before your eyes when you dare to close them. And you know from previous experience that it is not an easy process to make that go away.

A/N: Continue? Possibly. I desperately need to update Resilience, but I did think about a more happy ending for this.