Chapter 11: A brand new phase

Serena and Summer were eating at one of the restaurants below the Apartment. Serena was sipping some Chai Latte while Summer was eating Mushroom soup. "So," Summer said, "How are you after…the Quinn thing?"

"I'm okay," Serena said, "What else could I be?"

"Hey—"

"Sorry," Serena said, "I didn't mean it that way. It's just...I feel like everything's falling apart. My marriage, my life…and then I found a new friend and what did she do?"

"I know it's really painful but…you know, what if her agent or her manager just asked her to do it?"

"She has her own mind," Serena said, "she could've said no."

"Well, you do have a point," Summer said and drank some water, "How are you and Dan?"

"Okay…" Serena said, "Not okay…I don't know. Sometimes, I just couldn't look at him. After the party…it just…it all went downhill…no, it has been for a while and—"

"I've been meaning to ask you that," Summer said, "Why did you bail on the party?"

Serena paused, "I," she said, "Summ, please, just…I can't talk about it."

Summer reached out for her hand, "Okay," she said, "I won't press you on it but…if you need someone to talk to, I'm here, okay?"

"Thanks, Summ," Serena smiled slightly. "How about you? How's the baby bump? I haven't told you but…I'm happy for you," she said, trying not to think about Nadine. Her Nadine.

"Oh, Serena, you have no idea—" Summer went on and ranted about how happy she is. She went on and talked about the joys, and pains of motherhood. Serena wanted to say that she knows. She knows exactly how it feels. She's been there. She felt all those joys and pains—and then it was cut short by death. She wanted to share how she was feeling, but after what Quinn did, she doesn't know if she can anymore.

After a while, they got out of the restaurant. Serena then saw Puck coming out of the building. He saw them, too, and went up to them.

"Hey," Puck said, "Summer…Serena,"

"Hi," Summer muttered.

Serena didn't really know what to say. "Looking for Quinn?" She said.

"Yeah," Puck said, "I know you probably want nothing to do with her but…I'm sorry, for what she did. I know it's wrong but…Quinn's a nice girl. Sometimes, her heart's just not in the right place."

"You don't have to say anything for her," Serena said, "I'm not…mad at you but…I'm hurt."

"I know," Puck said, "I'm sorry. Anyway…did you see Quinn? I went up to her unit but no one's answering."

"She left," Serena said, "I don't know when but the landlady posted some "for rent" stuff the other day online. Didn't you know?"

"No," Puck said, surprised, "I…had no idea. We had a fight the last time we saw each other…She's not answering my calls."

"Oh," Summer said, "I'll try calling her if that could help."

"No, nevermind," Puck said, "She…won't answer. I probably should just go," he said, "Thanks, anyway. And…Serena, I'm really sorry."

Serena merely nodded her head.

Xxxx

Serena was surprised as she got inside her and Dan's unit because Dan was sitting on the couch, with luggage on his feet.

"What's going on?" Serena asked.

Dan stood up, his voice breaking, his eyes full of pain, "Serena, I'm sorry," he said, "I just don't think this is working."

"Not working…" Serena muttered, her own eyes beginning to fill up with tears, "You mean…us."

Dan did not answer. He took her hand, "I'm sorry," he said, "I think, maybe, we should spend some time apart for a while. We should…I don't know. I'm not…breaking up with you, it's just…I have to leave for a while. Maybe, come back to Brooklyn or something. You can do the same thing—"

"You're leaving because we can't have kids,"

"You know that that's not the point," Dan said, "Serena, you know I love you more than that."

"But you're leaving,"

"I have to," Dan said, "We can't…we can't live like this. On pins and needles. Trying not to say the wrong thing. Trying not to mention Nadine—"

Serena was crying now, "Dan,"

Dan held her and wrapped his arms around her, "Just think of this as…As a break. A breather. A vacation. Serena, I love you. But we can't be this way all the time and not think that there's something wrong. There is. We both know there is. And maybe…maybe, this break would be good. Maybe it'll help us find each other again."

Serena couldn't say anything. She just kept on crying.

"I love you," Dan said and kissed her on the forehead, "I'm sorry."

And then Serena watched him leave. His steps were small, and it felt like an eternity just standing there, crying, watching him go.

Xx

a/n: Just like you, I'm wondering what I'll be writing for the next chapter. And P.S. the finale of Gossip Girl is in the background. Felt like re-watching tonight