Begin Again

Episode 1: It's a van der Woodsen Life

Lily van der Woodsen waited patiently outside for her husband to meet her at Cinq Étoiles, which of course translated to "Five Stars." It was the new five star French restaurant that had just opened up. It was already the talk of the town, and extremely hard to get into. Lucky for Lily, she was married to a rich and powerful doctor. True, he might not be as rich and powerful as her not so dearly departed ex husband, Bart Bass had been, but he was rich enough, and powerful enough for them both to live comfortably. Also, there was her own money, and Bart's money. Of course, she had split Bart's money with her stepson Chuck, but she still had more than enough money to live comfortably for the rest of her life.

William finally showed up.

Lily grinned, and held out her arms to him.

He took her into his arms, and they kissed.

"You didn't have to wait out in the cold! It's thirty degrees out here! You should have waited for me inside," William told her as he held the door open for her.

"It's fine. I'm bundled. Besides, it was getting a little stuffy in there. You would think they'd have made their waiting area bigger. They had to know it would be packed the first few months of being opened," Lily stated.

"You would think. The owners are probably stingy, and didn't want to spend the money. They want to make the money, but not have to dish out any more than they have to," William stated as he stomped the snow off his boots on the upscale welcome mat.

"But they make it back with what they charge," Lily said.

"Well, lucky for us, we don't have to worry about that!" William kissed Lily's cheek, then stepped up to the hostess station, and gave their name. "Van der Woodsen."

"Right this way, Mr. van der Woodsen," the hostess said with a smile. She was cute. She was short—she looked to be about five feet tall—but she had sparkling blue eyes that were just stunning. She wore a red velvet Santa hat over her wavy dark brown hair. Her hair looked healthy and shiny, and rested over her shoulders. She wore a cute red velvet dress with white fur trim at the bottom. Around her waist was a black belt with a shiny silver buckle. She wore sheer stockings with black knee-high boots with white fur trim at the top.

"That is a darling little outfit!" Lily commented to her as the hostess sat them at a cozy table for two by the fireplace.

She grinned. "Thank you! The boss thought it would be cute for all the workers to dress up like this. Well, all the female workers that is." She motioned to the waiter behind her. "As you can see, the guys wear the male version." The waiter she motioned to wore red Santa pants that fit him perfectly instead of being baggy. He wore the same back boots, only with a more manly style, i.e. rounded at the toe instead of pointed, and of course flat at the bottom and not heeled. His shirts was a red dress shirt with a white fur collar and white buttons. He also wore a black man's belt around his pants. His hair was light brown, and messy underneath his red velvet Santa hat, but it looked sexy.

"Your waiter will be with you in just a moment!" she said. She smiled politely, and did a little curtsey, then took off back to her station.

"Cute, but a little tacky for a five star restaurant, wouldn't you say?" Lily asked.

William smirked. "I thought you liked the outfits!"

"I do, but I still think it's a little gimmicky for a restaurant like this," Lily said, looking over her menu.

"Would you like to eat somewhere less tacky?" William asked, a hint of amusement in his tone.

Lily peered at him from over her menu, and returned the grin he was giving her. "Not on your life!"

William threw his head back and laughed. He then took her hand in his from across the table, and winked at her. "Glad to hear it."

She grinned brighter, then went back to look at her menu. The only problem she had now, was choosing one thing when everything on the menu looked so delicious!

~Begin Again~

"Ugh! I can't eat a single bite more!" Lily said, patting her semi bloated stomach. After having a starter soup, a main course, and dessert, she felt she was going to burst.

"Everything was so good though," William said with a content sigh.

"Indeed it was," Lily agreed.

Their waiter came back with William's credit card, having run it through to pay the bill. William handed him a hundred dollar tip.

"Thank you, Sir! That is very generous of you!" the waiter said, the surprise written clearly on his face.

"Don't mention it! Merry Christmas early!" William said with a polite nod.

"That was very nice of you," Lily said as William pulled out her chair for her, then helped her with her fur-trimmed petty coat.

William shrugged. "It's Christmastime, so I figured, why not? I'm sure even at a five-star restaurant, he can't be making much, and we have more than enough money to go around. Tis the season for giving!"

Lily pulled him close, and kissed him softly on the lips. "You're amazing, you know that?"

William grinned. "You didn't think that at one point in our life. You divorced me once, then of course there was the whole cancer thing."

"You're a changed man. I can see it. We've been back together for five years now, and married for two years. You're not the man you used to be. Well, you are, but only in the sense of being the man I first fell in love with. And, in all fairness, you did only tell me I had cancer so that you could spend more time with me. True, it was a horrible way to do that, but that's all in the past now." She gently rubbed his arm.

William nodded. "Far in the past, and I promise never to do such a stupid thing again! I still haven't forgiven myself for that."

"Well, you should! I have," Lily said.

William grinned at her, and they nuzzled noses before kissing softly on the lips again.

They then walked with their arms around each other toward the doors.

When they passed the hostess, William winked at her. "Have a wonderful Christmas..." He paused to look at her sterling silver-plated name tag. "Samantha."

Samantha smiled, displaying a row of perfectly white teeth. "Thank you, Sir. You too!"

"Thank you!" William said as he gently ushered his wife out of the restaurant, walking out right behind her.

"She's a pretty one, isn't she?" Lily asked.

"I didn't notice," William said with a shrug.

Lily smirked. "Come on. She was a knockout!"

William shook his head. "You're beyond a knockout, so I only saw you."

Lily kissed him again. "You always have the right things to say."

William shook his head. "I'm just stating the truth!"

They kissed again.

"All right, as much as I hate to, I have to get back to the hospital. I have an appendectomy I have to perform in an hour. I need time to prepare," William said to her then, both her hands in his as he stood facing her.

Lily pouted, but then smiled. "It's all right. It will give me a chance to finish up my Christmas shopping!"

William smirked. "Are you doing any shopping for me?"

"I might be," Lily said coyly.

William put a hand on his hip. "Well, it better be something good!" He grinned to show he was only teasing.

Lily smirked. "Oh, it is. I assure you!"

"What is it?" William asked, sounding as excited as a little kid.

"You're going to have to wait until Christmas to find out!" Lily said, shaking her head.

It was William's turn to pout.

Lily kissed the pout off his face, her hands resting over his chest. "See you tonight!" She bat her eyelashes seductively at him.

"That you will!" he said. Then, after one more lingering kiss, he was off, turning around to smile and wave at her.

She grinned, and blew a kiss at him.

He grinned in return, pretended to catch the kiss, then blew her one in return.

She pretended to catch it.

They continued to grin at each other, then William turned and headed one way, and Lily hailed a cab to take her to Madison Avenue to do her shopping, the happy grin still on her face.

~Begin Again~

The truth was, Lily had already gotten William's present. At least, the big one. It was a genuine leather doctor's bag with a gold plate on it that had his initials engraved on it. The doctor's bag he had already was well-worn, and he had had it for years. He was well overdo for a new one. Serena and Dan were holding it at their apartment so that William wouldn't accidentally stumble upon it, or in his case, snoop and find it. Lily grinned at the thought. He never did like to wait for surprises. She would probably pick him up a couple dress shirts, and maybe a nice sweater or two today for him as well.

So, she spent the next four hours shopping for her family and friends. Time sure flew when shopping—especially when she had so many family and friends. She thought of buying something for Rufus. Even though they were no longer husband and wife, they had grown to be good friends. Besides, he was the father of her son in law, and they did share a child together. She picked out a nice Gucci sweater for him in a dark blue green that she was sure would bring out the color in his eyes. After purchasing the sweater, which was her last purchase of the day, she headed out of the store, and down the street, her hands laden with bags.

She could hardly see where she was going, being so laden down with bags and boxes, so she knew she should take a cab. However, this time of the year taxis weren't the easiest to catch—especially when you didn't exactly have a free hand to hail one. Besides, she lived only five minutes away. Getting a cab seemed almost silly.

Suddenly, she slammed into someone, sending most of her bags and packages tumbling to the ground.

She sighed. "Oh, come on!" She wasn't angry with the person she had bumped into. It was her fault for walking without being able to see well. She was just upset that all her nice things were now on the dirty ground, and she was going to have a heck of a time trying to pick them all up. Her arms were still quite full even with the bags and boxes her arms were now free of.

"Sorry, Lil. You came out of nowhere."

Lily looked up at the oh so familiar voice. Sure enough, she saw that the person she had just walked into was none other than her ex-husband, Rufus Humphrey.

"Hello, Rufus." She gave him a peck on the cheek at the same time he gave her a peck on the cheek. "I'm sorry. It was entirely my fault. I couldn't see where I was going, I bought so many things for Christmas! I guess the trick is not buying everything at once!"

Rufus smirked. "Or investing in a cart. If the homeless people can find one, you surely can get your hands on one," he joked.

Lily laughed. "Ha! Wouldn't that be a sight?" She tried to bend down to retrieve her packages, but Rufus stopped her. "Let me. I'm only carrying one."

"Thanks," Lily said. Her eyes then fell upon the bag that was already in Rufus' hand. She was surprised to see it was a bag from the jeweler.

She nodded toward the bag. "Is someone getting something special from you this Christmas?"

Rufus blushed, as if he hadn't wanted her to see it. "Um, yeah." He picked up her fallen bags, and handed her them, but kept her boxes. "I'm going to be proposing to Lisa."

"Oh really?" Lily asked, and eyebrow raised.

Rufus nodded. "Yeah. We've been dating for two and a half years now. I figured now is the time."

"Are you sure about this?" Lily asked.

Rufus smirked. "I wouldn't have purchased the ring if I wasn't sure, Lil."

"Well, it's just how you said, 'Now is the time.' It sounded kind of like you're only doing it because you think you have to after dating her for two and a half years. There's people who date even longer than that before getting engaged, you know," Lily stated.

"I'm sure, Lil. I'm ready to marry again, and I want it to be with Lisa. Besides, I knew her way back when she opened up for Lincoln Hawk. Remember how she opened up for us around the time you married Bart?" Rufus asked.

"Yes. And then again two years ago when she opened up for you guys," Lily stated. She remembered.

Rufus nodded. "We grew close that last time she toured with me, and after our six-month tour, we decided to date exclusively. Now, two and a half years later, I'm ready to marry her."

"Did you have feelings for her when she toured with Lincoln Hawk the first time?" Lily asked. She knew it didn't matter now, but she was curious.

Rufus shook his head. "Are you kidding me, Lil? You know I couldn't even think about another woman as long as I had you."

Lily felt better. Much better, in fact. "And I couldn't even think about anyone but you. Well, there was Bart, but my heart was with you. We both know that."

They stood there in awkward silence for a moment.

Rufus broke the ice. "This is too much for you to carry on your own. How about I walk with you home, and help you carry them?"

"That's all right. I don't want to put you out of your way," Lily said.

Rufus shook his head. "I don't mind at all. You only live five minutes away. It's not a big deal."

"Well, all right then. If you're sure," Lily said. It would be a big relief to have someone to help carry the load.

"I'm sure. Let's go," Rufus replied.

And so they walked toward Lily's apartment. They started off in silence, then Rufus brought up old times again.

"Remember that time that guy tried to hit on you, when we toured The Staples Center in Los Angeles?" Rufus asked.

Lily laughed. "Oh my gosh! I almost forgot all about that! What was that? Nineteen Ninety-five?"

"Yeah, it was! He tried to buy you a drink, and you said no. Then, he traded seats with the person next to you, and tried to offer you a sip of his drink," Rufus reminisced.

"I pushed him away a little bit too hard. The drink spilled all over his shirt, and he called me a bitch with an explicative before that!"

"Then you gasped, and slapped him hard for calling you a bitch!" Rufus said.

Lily shook her head. "I still don't understand why I was the one thrown out," she grumbled. "And all you did was laugh," she then added, shooting him a look.

"Hey—you were handling it fine on your own. If things got out of hand, trust me, the guy would have been out cold on the floor," Rufus assured her.

"As drunk as he was, I'm surprised he wasn't already," Lily stated. "But you didn't have to laugh when I got kicked out."

Rufus laughed. "I'm sorry, but it was funny! You were so mad! You're cute when you're mad."

Lily blushed, not knowing what to say.

"Besides, I followed you out," he quickly continued.

"Yeah, after you finished your beer," Lily said, shooting him the look again.

Rufus shrugged. "Why let a good beer go to waste?"

Lily rolled her eyes, but smiled nonetheless.

After another brief moment of silence, she sighed. "Are you really in love with her?"

"With Lisa?" Rufus asked.

"No, Rufus, with Mrs. Clause," Lily said sarcastically.

"Cute," Rufus said just as sarcastically. "Lisa is a wonderful person, and I've known her for years. Also, like I said, I've been dating her for two and a half years. I love her very much. I wouldn't be proposing to her if I didn't. Why the sudden interest in mine and Lisa's relationship anyway?"

Lily sighed. "I don't know. She just doesn't seem right for you."

Rufus stopped walking, and stared at Lily. "Why not?"

Lily stopped too, and faced him. "I don't know. She just doesn't seem like you're type."

"You barely even know her, Lil. It's not like the three of us hang out a lot," Rufus said skeptically.

"I've seen her plenty of times at family get togethers. She seems too quiet for you. She doesn't say much ever," Lily said calmly.

"She's just shy. She opens up when she needs to," Rufus defended.

"She shouldn't be shy when he's a performer. She performs in front of people as much as you do," Lily tried again.

Rufus shrugged. "It's different when you're a performer. I don't know. If you were a performer, you'd understand. It just gives you this invincible feeling, having everyone cheering for you. It feels like you're a better version of yourself. You can be bolder when you're on stage."

"Well, she's too perky. She never shows any kind of emotion. She's always happy, happy, happy," Lily stated.

Rufus made a face of disbelief. "And what's wrong with that?"

"Well, doesn't it get annoying after a while?" Lily asked.

"No, not to me. Why are you picking on Lisa all the sudden anyway? What about you going back to William? He made you believe you had cancer, for Pete's sake!" Rufus said, now sounding annoyed.

"He did it only to be able to be with me. He had fallen back in love with me. It was a dumb thing to do, but he apologized, and he's—"

Rufus cut Lily off. "Let me guess, he's changed."

Lily nodded, holding her head high in defiance. "Yes, he has. He knows what he did was wrong, and he has apologized plenty of times. Besides, that was years ago. It's time to forgive and forget."

"What about the fact that he not only slept with your sister behind your back, but also conceived a child with her, both while you were still married to him?" Rufus asked.

Lily sighed. "Oh, Rufus, that was so long ago! Like I said, he's a changed man. He made a mistake. We all make mistakes. I slept with you the night before my marriage to Bart. Remember that? I'm not really one to judge."

"But you didn't conceive a child with him," Rufus said.

"It's not really all that different. Cheating is cheating. It's not like he purposely planned to get Carol pregnant," Lily defended.

"With William, you never know," Rufus said with a snort.

Lily shot him a look. "Why would he? It makes no sense. What's with your sudden interest in William anyway? I've been back together with him for five years, and you're just now bringing this up?"

"Well, I've been with Lisa for a while, and you're just now bringing your concerns up?" Rufus shot back.

"You're getting engaged to her!" Lily snapped.

"So? Why the hell do you care?" Rufus snapped back.

"I don't!" Lily said, looking away from him. If she had free hands, she'd have crossed her arms. But crossing your arms was kind of hard to do when your hands were holding four bags apiece.

"William tried to break us up. He knew you were married, and he still tried to win you back," Rufus said quietly.

Lily looked over at Rufus again. "What does it matter now, Rufus? Huh? Frankly, our marriage dissolving had nothing to do with William. It was all you."

Rufus laughed. "Are you kidding me? You were being unreasonable!"

Lily was the one to laugh this time. "Unreasonable? Are you kidding me? Ivy turned out to be the biggest, lying, most manipulating little bitch I've ever met! The biggest you've ever met too probably! And there are many lying, manipulative little bitches in New York City, so that says something right there."

"We didn't know she was at the time!" Rufus snapped.

"Whatever, Rufus. The thing is, William's and my relationship is none of your damned business, so just drop it!" Lily snapped.

"Well, the same goes for you then! Lisa's and my relationship is none of your business, so you just drop it!"

Lily narrowed her eyes at him. "Give me the packages, Rufus, I can carry them home myself."

"Don't be ridiculous, you could barely walk with everything," Rufus stated.

"I'll manage," Lily said coldly.

"Fine. Here's something else I'm gonna drop then." Rufus purposely dropped the packages back on the ground.

"You're such an ass, Rufus. I honestly don't know why I ever married you," Lily snapped.

"That's funny, Lil, because I constantly find myself asking the same question about why I ever married you. See you around. Or, if I'm lucky, I won't." With that, Rufus headed across the street.

"Well, good then!" Lily screamed out at him, ignoring the stares she was receiving. "Finally something we can agree on!"

She let out a frustrated scream, then bent down, and tried to pick up the boxes that Rufus had so rudely dropped on the ground. In the process, her bags accidentally slipped to the ground as well. She cried out again in both frustration and annoyance. Damn that Rufus Humphrey! He made her so angry! Getting their marriage dissolved was the best decision she had ever made. She gathered up her boxes and bags, then stormed off the rest of the way home, wanting to rip someone's head of. Particularly Rufus Humphrey's, and maybe, just maybe Lisa Lobe's too.

~Begin Again~

Rufus stopped by Dan and Serena's on the way home to have them keep the ring there. He didn't want Lisa accidentally coming across it.

"You're proposing? Oh my gosh, I'm so happy for you!" Serena had said cheerily. She gave him a hug.

"Yeah, Dad, congrats! I'm glad you finally found someone to make you happy. I thought you'd never find the right one after Lily," Dan said.

"I'm glad you both think so. Lily kept giving me a hassle about it," Rufus grumbled.

"Really? Why?" Serena had asked in surprised.

"She said she didn't think Lisa was right for me. She thinks she's too shy, or something. I don't know. Nothing she said was making any sense," Rufus said, getting even more angry now that he was recalling it to his son and daughter-in-law.

Serena smirked. "My mother can be like that sometimes. I wouldn't put too much thought into it. Sometimes you just have to take the things she says with a grain of salt."

"You'd think she'd just be glad you're not with Ivy Dickens anymore," Dan said.

"I know, right?" Rufus sighed. This whole thing is one of the biggest reasons I'm not with Lily anymore. We're just too different. I don't get her anymore, and apparently, she doesn't get me either."

"Well, at least you found someone who does get you!" Serena said sweetly, her hands over Rufus' shoulders. She hugged him again.

Rufus hugged her back. "I'm so glad we can still be on good terms even though I'm no longer with your mother."

"Trust me, I know how my mother can be. Besides, she's back with my Dad, you're happy with Lisa, and you're my father-in-law. Doesn't get any better than that!" Serena said with a huge smile.

Rufus laughed. "No, I guess it doesn't." He kissed her cheek, then headed for the door. He then stopped, and faced them again. "You're coming to my place for Christmas, right?"

Dan and Serena both nodded.

"We wouldn't miss it!" Serena said.

"Duh!" Dan added.

Rufus grinned, and shook his head. "See you then!"

"See you," Dan and Serena called back in response.

Rufus then left Dan and Serena's, still thinking about Lily, and becoming angrier and angrier the more he thought about her.

~BA~

I don't know why I let her get under my skin. You would think that after almost thirty years of knowing her, she wouldn't get to me like that anymore. You would think. Sadly, she still does. One minute, she can be your best friend, and the most wonderful person to be around. The next minute, she can be judgmental, hypocritical, and let's face it, a total bitch! I love Lily. A part of me always will. After you'v loved someone for as long as I've loved Lily, a part of them will always be with you. You never stop loving them. True, you can fall out of love with them, but you're still always going to love and care about them.

But oh does she make me angry! Today for instance. How dare she go and say that Lisa and I aren't right for each other, or that Lisa isn't right for me? What about William for her? I mean, come on. She got angry with me to the point where she could never be my wife again simply because I trusted Ivy Dickens, and wanted to help the poor girl out. True, she turned out to be the manipulative, lying bitch that Lily knew she was all along. But, how was I supposed to know that? At the time, to me, Ivy was someone who I thought had just been caught in an unfair game. She had needed money, and did what she had to get it. She never really turned wicked until Lily treated her so horribly. Maybe if Lily hadn't treated her like that, Ivy never would have turned out the way she did, and Lily and I would still be married.

Anyway, Lily just couldn't forgive me for that, yet she easily forgave William for lying to her about her cancer, and she also forgave him for cheating on her and conceiving a baby with her sister of all people! That is what makes me the most angry. I did one little thing that wasn't even that bad, and she couldn't forgive me. Yet, when William did all those horrible things that only a sleazy jerk would do, she almost instantly forgave him.

You know what? It was actually a good thing, the whole Ivy situation. It made me see Lily for who she really is—a coldhearted bitch! I'm glad I got out when I did.

~BA~

Rufus arrived home, and took off his jacket. He threw it down so hard on the couch that a loud smack echoed off the walls.

"Wow, something got you in a mood," Lisa said, coming up behind him and wrapping her arms around him.

He sighed, and held onto her hands. "More like someone," he grumbled.

"Who?" Lisa asked; curious now.

Rufus turned around to face her. "It's not important. They're not important. I missed you."

Lisa giggled. "We were only apart for a few hours."

"That's a few hours too many!" Rufus said.

Lisa smiled. "Maybe we should make up for lost time then." She gently stroked his cheek with the back of her hand, and spoke in a low, seductive tone.

Rufus' eyes lowered with love for her. "Mm, I really think we should."

She grinned, and he picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.

I don't need Lily anymore, he thought to himself. I got a woman who loves me and appreciates me the way that I deserve to be loved and appreciated. And she's not a judgmental bitch either!

He smiled.

"What?" Lisa asked with a laugh.

Rufus grinned. "I'm just happy to be with you."

"And I'm happy to be with you!" Lisa said, kissing his lips.

Rufus kicked the bedroom door shut behind them, then laid her down on the bed. Lily was wrong. Lisa was the perfect woman for him. And he really didn't give a damn if Lily didn't like it.

~Begin Again~

Lily was steaming mad. How dare Rufus act like such a jerk when she was just trying to be helpful? All she was saying was that Rufus should be a hundred percent sure before he went proposing to Lisa. Lisa was always so quiet and reserved. That had to get old after a bit, didn't it? It's not that Lisa wasn't nice, Lily supposed. She was. It was just... Honestly, Lily didn't really know. All she knew was that Lisa wasn't right for Rufus.

"I've known you for thirty years. I know you, and I know what type of woman is right for you. Lisa isn't it," she grumbled to herself as if Rufus were there.

Plus, not that Lisa was dumb, but she wasn't exactly the brightest woman on the planet either. Lily honestly didn't think Lisa could be counted on for any deep conversations, or counted on if Rufus really needed someone to talk to.

Lily sighed. She arrived at Dan and Serena's apartment. She had gone home to wrap all the Christmas gifts and hide them. Now, she was at Dan and Serena's to pick up William's new doctor's bag. She wanted to wrap it, and put it with the rest of the gifts now that she had them.

She knocked on the door, and Dan answered. "Hello, Lily! Come on in."

Lily smiled, and stepped into the apartment. "Thank you, Daniel." She had called before leaving to make sure that Dan and Serena would be there, so Dan had been expecting her.

"Where's Serena?" Lily asked, looking around for her daughter, but not spotting her.

"Blair called, wanting her to come do some last minute Christmas shopping with her," Dan explained.

"I see," Lily said.

"Here's your bag. I'm sure William will love it," Dan said, handing her the bag.

"I hope so!" Lily said.

Dan smirked at her. "You know, you really ticked my father off today."

Lily rolled her eyes. "He came crying to you about it?"

"It happened to come up when he came over to have Serena and I keep the ring here. So, you don't like Lisa?" Dan asked.

Lily looked away. "It's not that I don't like her. It's just... I don't think she's the right woman for your father."

"Why not?" Dan asked.

Lily sighed. "Oh, I don't know. Call it woman's intuition!"

Dan looked skeptical. "Is it? Or is it because maybe you still have feelings for my father, and don't want him to get married again?"

Lily whipped her head around to face Dan. "Don't be silly, Daniel. I am a happily married woman! I just don't think she's your father's type. I still care deeply about him as a friend, and I don't want him to get hurt."

"Well, my Dad sure seems to think she's his type. And Lisa doesn't exactly strike me as the type to break his heart. She's a very nice lady. I like her a lot actually," Dan stated.

Lily sighed again. "I just think he's making a big mistake. That's all."

Dan crossed his arms over his chest, and shook his head. "No offense, Lily, but I don't think you're in any position to judge when it comes to someone's choice in spouse. At least Lisa never cheated on him and conceived a child with his brother. And, at least Lisa never made him believe he had cancer just so she could be with him."

"You sound just like your father! And, as I told your father, William has changed. He's not like that anymore," Lily stated, her head held high in defiance.

Dan shook his head and shrugged. "Can someone who did those things ever truly change?"

Lily glared at him. "Yes! They can, and he has. I've seen it."

"Well, Lisa's never done the things that William has done," Dan replied.

"Even so, it doesn't make her right for your father," Lily said, not backing down.

Dan sighed. "Let's just agree to disagree. All right? It's not up to us anyway. It's up to my father. It's not your business, and it's not mine. It's his business and only his business if he wants to propose to Lisa."

Lily nodded. The then pulled Daniel close, and kissed his cheek before hugging him. "Goodnight, Daniel."

"Good night, Lily," Dan said, hugging her back.

Lily then turned on her heal and left.

She sighed as she headed down the elevator.

~BA~

I don't know why I let Rufus Humphrey continue to get under my skin after all these years. It's ridiculous!

What is even more ridiculous is Daniel even suggesting that I still have feelings for Rufus. Hardly. That man lied to me about Ivy, and that is just unforgivable! Don't get me wrong. I will always care about Rufus. We do share a child after all. But as for romantic feelings, I'm happy to say that I no longer have any kind of romantic feelings for that man. Rufus and I just aren't right for each other. He can't handle the world of the upperclass, and frankly, I don't know how to live any other way than upperclass anymore than he knows how to live any other way than, well, lower class. The upper east side in my world. Brooklyn is his.

Our failed romantic relationship aside, I do love him deeply. You can still love someone deeply without being in love with them. And, as I said before, I care about him. I care about him so much that I don't want him to get hurt. I can't explain exactly what it is that I don't like about Lisa, or even why I don't think she is right for Rufus. Just call it a gut feeling. But, as it has been pointed out to me more than once today, Rufus isn't my business anymore. Nor is he my responsibility. He is free to marry whomever it is he pleases even if it's a mistake. I'm no longer his wife, so he's free to make his own mistakes. But let me tell you this. Once this whole marriage blows up in his face—and it will—I will be the first person to say I told you so.

You know what burns me up the most? The fact that Rufus and Dan had the nerve to talk to me about William. Rufus lied to me about Ivy, and took care of her even after what she did to us. Even after he knew how much, I his wife didn't like her. Heck, practically the moment our marriage was annulled, he slept with her.

As for Dan, look how many of his friends he betrayed? I honestly don't know why Serena was so quick to be with him after she found out he was Gossip Girl. So many private moments he exposed of both his friends and his family. Heck, he almost killed Chuck when he as Gossip Girl tipped off the paparazzi with Chuck and Blair's whereabouts. The paparazzi made their limo, crash, and for a while there, we weren't even sure Chuck was going to live. Dan may not have known that was going to happen, but it happened nonetheless.

I'm not saying William hasn't done terrible things. It took me a while to get over what he did to me. But, I've been able to forgive William. After all, I can't blame him for cheating when I myself cheated with Rufus when I was with Bart. As for Lola being conceived, it's not like they planned to have a baby. And, Lola is a beautiful and wonderful girl, so how can I be angry about her birth? As for the cancer thing, despicable as it was, at least he did it so that he could be near me. Besides, it wasn't like I was in any real danger.

Rufus and Daniel have absolutely no right to judge him. No right at all. And, getting back to the Lisa thing, if Rufus wanted to be stupid and marry someone who isn't right for him, then it's his prerogative. But he better not come crying to me when it all falls apart. I tired to warn him. It's his own fault he didn't listen.

~BA~

Lily smiled as she sent her husband a text. I love you.

William was perfect for her. He loved her just the way she was. He was the only one of her husbands who had never tried to change her. Plus, he was the father of two of her children. With William was exactly where she was supposed to be. He'd changed. He wasn't the old William anymore. Rufus and Dan may not believe it, but she knew it was true, and that was all that mattered.

~Begin Again~

William grinned as Samantha finished her shift, ran to him, and hugged him. "Were you waiting long?" she asked.

He shook his head. "No. I just got off work ten minutes ago. Are you ready to go?"

She grinned. "You bet!"

They left the restaurant together. "So, where to?" she asked.

"I made a reservation for us at The Mark. I figured we could have a little room service for dinner, and of course we can have a little fun in the hot tub...and the bed." William murmured, burying his nose in Samantha's neck.

Samantha giggled. "Sounds like Heaven."

"You look so sexy in that Santa outfit. You're the sexiest Mrs. Clause I've ever seen!" William grinned at her, and winked.

She smiled. "Except I'm not a Mrs."

"Well, one day you could be. You never know," William said to her with another wink as he took her hand in his.

She licked her lips and smiled. "And what about your wife?"

"What about her?" William asked.

"Where does she think you are now?" Samantha asked.

"She thinks I'm working late on surgery," William answered.

Samantha pouted. "I sometimes worry about her, you know. I don't think I like that you're still with her."

"Don't worry about it, Darling! I'll tell her about us soon enough. It's just something I'll have to break to her gently. She's going to take it pretty hard. She's still in love with me, but I'm just not in love with her anymore. I tried to break it off with her once before, and she cried so much, it guilted me into not breaking up with her. Don't worry though, I'm going to divorce her soon. However, I still care about her as a person, so I just don't want to push her too much right now. I'm going to sort of ween her off me, so to speak. You can understand, right?" William wrapped and arm around Samantha, and gently rubbed her left arm.

Samantha grinned up at him. "You're such a great guy, wanting to let her down gently instead of just telling her to screw off."

William kissed her cheek. "I try."

They grinned at each other, and kissed on the lips, then headed toward The Mark, their arms around each other.

~BA~

I know I shouldn't be doing this, but Samantha is young, and so incredibly sexy. Sometimes I just want a little variety. Of course Samantha means nothing to me. It's just about the sex. I only let her believe there's something more between us because I don't want to make her feel cheap. Besides, if she knew I was only in it for the sex, she'd dump me. She's too hot to not keep around for a bit.

It's not like the sex with Lily isn't amazing. It is, trust me. It's just that, sleeping with only Lily is so routine. I love her deeply, but I have needs. I need a variety. No man should have to sleep with only one woman for the rest of his life! I mean, it's like being forced to eat the same thing every day for the rest of your life, or being forced to drink only water.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a little fun with other women. It keeps the sex drive in the marriage alive, and it keeps things from getting boring. Of course, I know that Lily wouldn't agree with this. That is why I'm not telling her. She's not exactly the open marriage type. However, if she could forgive me for sleeping with her sister and conceiving a child with said sister, then surely this couldn't be so bad to her, could it? None of the women I sleep with mean anything to me. Yes, there has been other women. Many other women. Each one brought their own unique flavor to the bedroom. It's fun. It keeps me entertained, and it keeps me from being bored in my marriage and running for the hills.

Don't get me wrong. Lily is the one and only love of my life. I just don't think that means I can't enjoy a little fun with other woman too. After all, it's only for fun. And, as long as Lily doesn't know, which she never will, it's not hurting her in the slightest. So, what harm is there in having a little fun with someone else to keep my marriage alive and exciting? No harm at all.

~BA~

William's phone alerted him of a text. He looked at his phone, and saw it was from Lily.

I love you.

He smiled. She was so sweet. He quickly texted her back.

I love you too, my Darling. I'm sorry, but the hospital is a mess tonight. I have to perform heart surgery later tonight for a colleague of mine who was supposed to do it, but had to call off work because he has the flu. Right now, I'm taking care of both a stabbing victim, and a gunshot victim. What is wrong with this world, right? Don't wait up. I probably won't get home until tomorrow morning. I miss you already. A kiss goodnight to you. Love you! - Will

William sent the text to Lily, then turned off his iphone, and slipped it back into his pocket.

"Who was that?" Samantha asked, latching onto his arm.

William smiled, and kissed the top of her head. "No one important." He opened the door to The Mark, and let Samantha walk in ahead of him. He then followed behind her, ready for a hot night of passion with someone other than his wife.