A/N: Wow hi remember me guys? Remember how I said I'd update on time? Oops. Anyway this chapter's way too short and a bit rough around the edges, but hopefully it serves its purpose…I don't think my oneshots are even this short! I know I'm long overdue for an update, and that it's now after Season 6, not 5, has ended. I hope I still have readers following this story who are still interested in where I take things though…? I'm still trying to get myself out of this goddamned writer's block. I'm so sorry. And also, I promise my writing will become less flowery in the next chapter. It's a promise.
Oh, man, you guys were too kind in your reviews. I'm flattered that you're all still shipping Carterena... ;_; I miss them so much, ugh. Your reviews honestly mean the world to me as a developing writer.
[insert mandatory disclaimer and suggestive Carter Baizen related comment that I refuse to type out because mundane monotony]
Atlantis and the Atlantic
An Ocean of Nowhere and a Sea of Nothing
So just lay head down low
Don't let anybody know
That it's hard to live
It's hard to live
In the city
Serena wakes up on her first day in the Hamptons tangled in a mass of her own golden hair and familiarly unfamiliar Egyptian cotton sheets, face cradled in the crook of a nameless man's neck. There's no need to ask the sleeping figure for his name – he's irrelevant; they're all irrelevant. She left New York to do one thing: she left New York to forget her past. Forget Blair, forget all her failed relationships, forget her irreversible mistakes and innumerous imperfections she couldn't seem to ever shake off, though society demanded that she remain constantly perfect. Perhaps Humphrey's somewhere out there typing away at his supposedly debonair vintage typewriter, chronicling her fall to the ashes and how he supposedly became so essential, so embedded in her world, that he was the catalyst that pushed her to run away from the world she held in the palm of her hand, a coward with her tail between her legs. (Not true – complete bullshit, in fact; the reason she even decided to leave Manhattan in the first place was because she'd seen how everything in her life was about to tear itself apart and crumble before her eyes like a gloriously majestic mountain coming apart at its seams, and so naturally, she'd put self-preservation above the inconstant, and hauled the mess she was away from the prying eyes and unhealthy undercurrent that always seemed to reside in the Upper East Side.)
The art of avoiding an awkward morning after is a practiced one, and the blonde bombshell's movements are swift and smooth as she slides her impractical Versace back on, yanking her bag to her side as she exits the stately summer estate while pulling her hair haphazardly into a messy ponytail. A quick glance at her iPhone tells Serena it's a bit past one in the afternoon, so she heads back to her hotel. (CeCe's stately summer property now belongs to a little imposter with an overly raspy voice). Fifty-eight minutes later, she reemerges back into the sunlight to add some new pieces to her currently sparse wardrobe, gelato in hand and the prospect of a new beginning fresh and tangible, absolutely glimmering with myriads of possibilities. (It feels a bit like sophomore year all over again, Serena reminisces, what with the train ride out and the desperate desire to turn the page and forget history.) The doors of Barney's swish open like they always have, and the nostalgic smells of creamy Italian leathers mixed with fragrance samples linger about every corner and rack, from romantic Alaïa to idiosyncratic Marni, whimsical Nina Ricci to sophisticated Thakoon. Her black AmEx is swished again and again, not just in Barney's but at Tory Burch too, and of course Ralph Lauren. The shop girl is wrapping up the last of her purchases when Serena notices it. Undetectable by the average eye, a lifetime of being hounded by both amateur and professional paparazzi informs her of a well-hidden cluster of fourteen year olds furiously snapping away on their phones, a valiant effort, so it seemed, to capture every second of Serena's moment in the boutique. She'd have honestly been fine about it, had one girl not turned around and whispered conspiratorially to her friend, "Gossip Girl is going to love this. Can you even imagine? Maybe she'll even want to meet us personally, with all the drama we'll stir up with these few shots! I can even predict the caption – 'Poor S, fallen from grace and Manhattan at the hands of Lonely Boy.' What do you think?"
Drama. Serena's lived with it for twenty-one years straight, and experience proves that anything on Gossip Girl is something with a consequence. She left this summer to start over where no one knew about her, where there would be little drama and where no one could judge her based on her past – based on rumours and Gossip Girl and her family's status. The Hamptons had been fun for the brief few hours it'd lasted, but in hindsight, Serena realized she'd been so preoccupied with simply getting out of the city that she hadn't paused to realize that the Hamptons were really just an extension of the Upper East Side. If she truly wanted freedom, she'd have to find it elsewhere – across the Atlantic, in Europe. She rushes back to her suite, a competition against the clock to get the hell out of town before anyone can get any more camera clicks in. The first line of cocaine calms her down enough to enable successful packing, and she rewards herself with a second helping for figuring out the necessary transportation to arrive at Ibiza in less than twenty-four hours.
Ibiza is excessive and beautifully gaudy, and Serena's never been happier seeing the familiar landscape. Her evening blends into night in a blur of tequila shots and swirling club lights, beautiful men and dancing on tables. She decides on a whim that she's going to start a temporary Gauloise habit – just for the summer, she promises herself, like she's fifteen all over again, carefree and sunning on CeCe's deck in the Hamptons. (Incidentally, with Carter and Blair, but Serena tries her best to push those memories – and people – far, far away. It's not like she needs a reminder of how two of her oldest and closest both somehow ended up leaving her heartbroken and lost in the grand scheme of things. Plus, he wasn't supposed to have been anything more than a fling – some summer fun, nothing more – but though she'd never consciously given him her heart, he'd somehow managed to crumble it to dust all the same. It'd possibly hurt even more than the whole Dan Humphrey debacle, because at least she could've predicted that one coming, considering they'd always had too many problems and too little progress. Most importantly, though, at least she'd never revealed Dan – or anyone else, really – everything about herself; Carter was the only one she'd ever showed her full, true self too, and yet he'd ditched her for his own future in the end.)
The clubs change, but the girls seethe in silent jealousy and the boys crowd at her side all the same, and Serena feels wanted and vibrant and alive again finally, so she twirls haphazardly in the limelight, a vixen nymph, alluring and effortless and confident. She's a golden phoenix, rising from the scorned ashes. There's no question that she's the most beautiful girl they've ever laid eyes on, and she works it to her advantage, leaving men dangling off her every word and action. When the sun begins to creep up along the horizon, she's narrowed her entertainment down to two handsomely roguish lads, both eager to please (in more ways than one, too, she's sure) and desperate to be chosen by the charismatically wild and untamable beauty. Indecisiveness gets to her, and she wavers between Option A and Option B until she gives up and takes them both up to her room, snagging a bottle of tequila along the way. She tries hard to concentrate on the two figures in bed with her, but her mind flashes images of Carter-Dan-Nate-Ben-Aaron-Gabriel-Carter-Dan-Nate in an unrelenting cycle until she's not sure whose eyes she's looking into anymore, so she shuts her eyes tightly and envisions the nice white space her psychiatrist from once upon a time used to tell her to go to. Conveniently, her climax takes her right up there into the brilliant and peaceful nothingness without her even having to try for that long.
Girls are so fucking clingy, Carter mentally curses as he slams the door in the face of last night's girl for what seems to have been the twenty-third time in the last two hours. Either she's purposely not getting the point, or she really just doesn't understand English (along with French, Spanish, and Italian) very well. The Riviera is as awe striking as ever, but he's getting bored of the scenery, both literally and metaphorically. Wandering richly cultured Barcelona would be fun, Carter supposes, but first he'll stop for a few nights in Ibiza to blow off some steam, just like old times. (He shakes off the thought that he's supposed to be too old for that shit now – he's twenty-five, for Christ's sake, not forty – he's not too old to bask in tasteless luxury quite yet.)
A line of coke knocks him into a club-hopping mood, and he flirts with the girls who attach to him, begging for a few minutes of his attention. None of them catch his eye, however, so he resorts to nursing a glass of scotch in a VIP booth, surveying the uninhibited crowd, occasionally tipping a suggestive wink at an ogling girl and eliciting a deep blush on her features.
For a fleeting, heart wrenching moment, he swears he sees Serena van der Woodsen out of the corner of his eye, sitting on the rich wood of the bar surrounded by a swarm of admirers, but he brushes it off as his overactive imagination – it's been acting up a bit recently, what with the whole 'hey beautiful' incident and whatnot that all happened in the Riviera. But when he turns around again to confirm his suspicions, it's only to realize that he's lost her (if it even was her) in the throng of partiers, her little legion having long dispersed onto the dance floor. And so, like the lost little boy he is, Carter takes the first decent girl he sees up into his suite, having long lost track of how many girls he's used up to date in his attempt to forget a certain Serena van der Woodsen.
A/N: Reviews are always appreciated! Thoughts, predictions, suggestions…they're all welcome Do you think Carter and Serena are going to meet in Ibiza? Or would that be too simple of an unfolding of the story?
To each their own,
P.S. Wow, it is seriously harder than I thought to picture Gossip Girl as anything close to what I used to see 'her' as now that we know Dan Humphrey was supposedly GG…I'm not sure yet if I'm going to make Dan Gossip Girl in this fic – but for now, just pretend like you don't actually know who she is…however hard that may be to accomplish? I liked how the actual character of GG was before the reveal - mysterious, somewhat glamorous and extremely...elitist. Ironically.