The Unforgettable Fire
The Unforgettable Fire
It was the last full week of March, and all of Paris could feel the hints of spring in the air. After the gala with Louis, Blair floated to school on Monday. She had not enjoyed herself this much in months. She felt like a person again, and Louis was so kind to her.
Entering the great green doors of Henri IV that morning, everyone was talking about her. What had been rumors before were now out in the open. All the girls wanted to hear the details; what was the Prince like? Did she dance with him? Who was at the gala?
By the end of the day, Marie was livid that Blair was usurping her position, and the man she wanted. But Marie had been doing her homework. The two girls came head to head exiting the school.
"I cannot imagine what Louis sees in a pathetic little American like you," Marie spat, frowning at Blair.
"His Highness apparently enjoys my company more than any of the French girls he has met," Blair replied haughtily. All of the students murmured, and Blair began to push past Marie.
But Marie snagged Blair's sleeve for a moment, and hissed in her ear, "You know you love me."
Blair's step never faltered, her face remained cool and pristine, but inside she was shaken. She stepped quickly toward her waiting town car. What had Marie found?
Blair was still preoccupied when she came home and walked into her room. Like all the weeks before, there was a giant vase full of pink peonies. It shook her down from the last bit of her cloud of happiness, and she sighed. Pulling the card free, she sat on her bed, fondly touching the letters of her name across the envelope. She lifted the envelope up, inhaling its scent before she realized what she was doing. There was an overwhelming shock of tender memories coming to life at the slight smell of him. Oh, the idea of lying in his arms again! Her breath shuddered and it took all her strength to push the memories away. She opened the envelope and read his note:
"When a man has lost all happiness, he's not alive.
Call him a breathing corpse." ~Sophocles
Enough. Enough! Why was he doing all of this? What was his goal with all this torment and torture? Blair went to her desk and pulled out a sheet of stationery.
In place of tea that Wednesday, Blair and Louis walked through the gardens at the Trocadero, enjoying the fresh air and the little bit of sunshine that was peaking out from the clouds.
"Blair, you were delightful at the gala. Thank you so much for going with me," Louis smiled. "Will all the attention and speculation not bother you?"
"No, I enjoy our friendship. No one ever seems to believe men and women can only be friends." The irony of her words was not lost on her; she thought of Chuck and how they had pretended they were only friends in front of her family. She wondered if he would hear news of her outing with the Prince, but she pushed the thought aside; an entire ocean was between them and she was safe.
Louis seemed to follow her thoughts and breeched the topic, "Might you finally tell me now… what happened with Chuck?"
Blair's eyes were wide when she looked up at him, "He broke my heart. Isn't that enough?"
"Not if we are truly friends." Louis would not let her drop the topic. They came to a bench and sat, as Blair pondered how to explain Chuck Bass to a stranger.
"It was… a strange relationship to begin with. Chuck is famous, even at our age, for living a hedonistic and indulgent life. One day, I caught his attention and after that… we pushed each other, and challenged each other. I discovered a whole new part of myself with him, and after awhile there were feelings…" Blair began thinking of that last night together in Paris, "I think… I know he felt them, too."
Louis kept quiet, but reached out to hold her hand.
"He was good to me; he was different with me. I never asked him for anything, yet… I gave him everything." Make me yours- only yours, Chuck. "He took me to the winter ball, and I was so happy. It was all so perfect, and we were dancing. It was heaven, and he kissed me… and I said 'I love you.'" Blair felt her throat closing, as the words grew thicker in her mouth. Louis put his arm around her, squeezing her tight. She closed her eyes, trying to shut out the pain of the memory. But she saw him, she saw Chuck's cold eyes, his face hard as he looked at her.
"I didn't mean to… " Her voice was pleading, the words meant for Chuck's ears rather than Louis'.
" I mean it wasn't planned- it just slipped out." Blair felt her chest tightening as the memory rolled back onto her, "He snapped; in front of everyone. He ripped my heart out and called me a whore."
Her voice slowly dipped into a whisper, "But I loved him…" A single perfect tear slipped down effortlessly, though she had not felt tears and had hoped by now she had no more tears left for him.
She inhaled a shuddering breath and straightened her back, pulling herself upright, "But I will not be weak anymore! That is why I am here- to grow stronger, without his shadow hanging over me. It is taking time… I am not strong enough yet, but… someday."
"You are already quite strong, Blair." Louis smiled softly at her and held her in his arms for a few minutes longer. "Now… in exchange, how would you like to hear a scandalous story about Prince William?"
Blair laughed and smiled appreciatively up at Louis, "I imagine there must be more than just one scandalous story!"
"Very true!" Louis laughed, "But I'll only spill if you get Chinese take out and agree to dinner in my flat tonight?"
Blair cutely faked pondering his proposal, pursing her lips, before smiling and saying yes.
After classes the next day, Blair went to ask her French literature teacher about her ideas on the next paper before going home. She pushed the classroom door open without a thought to knocking on it. Glancing into the room, she froze, her brow furrowed.
Mr. Fournier was undoubtedly the most attractive male teacher at Henri IV. He had stunning blue eyes, dressed impeccably well, and had the most beautiful voice. When Blair saw him sitting at his desk, she froze not from his powerful magnetism, but more from the sight of the girl on her knees before him. And not just any girl… it was Marie Girard. His eyes were closed, and neither heard her open the door. He groaned, "Oh god, yes, Marie… like that… I love it when you suck me like that…"
Quickly, quietly, Blair pulled out her phone and took several seconds of video before sliding away. She leaned against the wall opposite the classroom door, smiling as she held her phone, waiting. Marie had yet to expose whatever it was she had learned from Gossip Girl but Blair was about to make sure she never could.
A few minutes later, Marie exited the classroom, smiling as she fluffed her hair. Then her smile dropped as her eyes fell on Blair, who was grinning like a cat, "What ever do you want, whore?"
Blair quirked her eyebrow at Marie's choice of insult, "Mmm, I'm a whore?"
Marie narrowed her eyes, "Isn't that what he called you that night, in front of everyone?"
"Perhaps…" Blair flicked her phone open, "But no one ever had hard evidence to prove him right…"
Marie looked at the screen on Blair's phone and gasped.
"Can you imagine, Marie? Our classmates… the teachers… your parents… Mr. Fournier's job?"
Marie's face grew hard, "What do you want?"
"Leave. You will never breathe a word against me, and you will find some other dark corner of Paris to inhabit." Blair's grin was wicked with triumph as Marie's head dropped in defeat.
Chuck was anxious as he arrived back at the Palace Thursday afternoon. He was already packed and ready to depart in a few short hours. Maurice, the concierge, stopped him before he went up to the suite, "You have a piece of mail, sir."
"Mail?" No one sent Chuck mail. Finances were handled by the family accountant, so whatever would he receive mail for? Accepting the elegant ecru envelope, he felt his heart begin to race. His name and address were written across the front in an elegant flowing script and when he turned it over, there was her name and address. Nodding to Maurice in thanks, Chuck hurried up to his room.
He dropped his bag down without a second thought and rushed to sit on his bed. He cherished the envelope for several long, loving moments; touching it, learning if it smelled like her. He felt light-headed and his hands grew cool in his anxiousness. Opening it, Chuck imagined Blair's mouth on the envelope- though he rather knew better, that she would never lick an envelope. But just the idea made his blood hot.
At last, he freed the card and initially, he could barely focus on the writing, in the excitement that she wrote to him, and it was not some cruel device to return something to him. How naïve he was to think it would not be cruel.
"Happiness: an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another." ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
It was a cold shock. Now, he was even more eager for tomorrow to come.
Friday evening Blair was blissful once more. She was Queen of Henri IV, her and Louis were great friends, and she was attending a charity performance at l'Opera Garnier. She was happily seated between her father and Roman as they looked down on the stage from their box seats. She held her father's hand as the concert unfolded; feeling beautiful in an ethereal dress made of layers of red material that whirled down from the bodice into a long train. Blair began to look about the theatre as a woman on stage sang Caccini's Ave Maria. Little opera glasses in hand, she spied other people fortunate enough to have box seats. A sweet elderly couple in one box, a garish woman in last season's Valentino, and then… suddenly, the glasses tumbled to her feet, and she squeezed her father's hand.
Chuck only wanted to be near her, to see her; he did not trust himself to speak to her- not yet. She had come without the Prince and he was enjoying the simple pleasure of watching her, unfettered by jealousy. He would find her at intermission and then he would discover how she was and what she was doing with the Prince.
"What is it, Blair?" Her father asked, stroking her hand.
"Chuck…" She whispered. Tears already threatened to spill forth, she could not be here, not even in an opera house full of people knowing he was here.
From across the theatre, Chuck saw Blair stand, exiting the box with great haste. Shit. Perhaps he would not be waiting until intermission.
Blair choked back a sob as she fled. Her heels clattered on the marble floor as she ran through the opulent golden hallway, chandeliers casting their warm light on her, the music thrumming throughout the space. The red fabric floated behind her as she flew down the grand staircase, tears streaming freely down her falsely pink cheeks. She was not strong enough to see him; she knew that- why! Why was he here?
Chuck came from the shadows and Blair, in her duress, ran straight into him. His arms fell around her, holding her close. He nuzzled his face against the top of her head, she felt so… so perfect. She trembled and sobbed, crying out, "No!"
He lifted her tear stained face with the gentle touch of his fingers. Blair was so beautiful, and it pulled him in. Oh, how he had missed her…
"No…" She whispered, a tear running down as his lips brushed against hers. Every thought and feeling- that flame that burned deep inside her that she had fought to bury, burst into an inferno and spiraled through her body, turning her thoughts to ash.
There was no thinking; they were overwhelmed with what they were feeling as they fled the opera house together, slipping away into the dark of the night in Chuck's limo. They found each other again in those few minutes as Paris passed by the windows. Grabbing, pushing, pulling- had his hotel been much further away, it would have been more than Chuck's fingers seeking the heat to be found under her skirt.
In the elevator, Blair shoved him against the wall kissing him as though she were attempting to make up for all the days since they had last kissed. She needed this, all the dreams she had been having, the way her body craved him, there was no denying her yearning. Yet… I will not be weak anymore. Her broken heart was still patched together and she could not allow him anywhere near it tonight. She would allow him access to her body, but it was just sex; she had to be smart about this.
Throwing the door to his room open, he knew they would never make it to the bed. The soft light of the city fell through the ceiling-to-floor windows as he kissed her furiously, pulling her dress open, pushing her towards the sunken living area. Finally freeing her from her dress, Chuck pressed her against the nearest surface- a gleaming black baby grand piano.
Blair was panting, her head swimming as she came to recline against the piano, instantly wrapping her legs around him in search of that delightful friction. Chuck was shifting to push off his jacket and his shirt, which she had already ripped open, just like he had taught her. Grabbing a lapel, she reached inside his jacket, slipping her hand into his breast pocket. Somehow, she knew… this was Chuck Bass, right? Pulling open his wallet, she found the little foil wrapped package.
It was overwhelming, Chuck thought, how he could not stop kissing her. He had already torn her underwear away and now his hands held tight to her corseted torso, groaning as her hips ground against his. He felt her little hand reach inside his jacket before it slipped away from his shoulder to the floor. He heard the crinkle of foil as her hands moved to open his trousers, and he was instantly confused.
"What… are... you… doing… Blair?" he asked breathily between kisses. Suddenly, he threw his head back, moaning as her hand hotly wrapped around his cock.
Blair held the wrapper in her free hand and tore it open with her teeth. The wrapper dropped away, and she felt bitter. She stroked him, the feel of his bare skin against hers. In that moment she hated him; she had to do this because he had changed them.
After the surge of pleasure from her initial touch subsided, his eyes fell back to her, and suddenly he knew what she was doing.
"But we never…" Chuck began to say.
"I can only imagine where… and what you've done since then." Blair's breasts heaved against the corset as she spoke, her eyes sparkling with lust and fury. Her gaze was cruel as she rolled the condom over him.
He was angry. Oh, he was so incredibly angry. He wanted her so badly, and this was such a slap in the face. He never had to before, and in his mind, nothing had changed. She was the only one he wanted to bury himself in. So he grabbed her hips and slammed into her without the slightest warning. He grinned wickedly when her head fell back and she cried out, exposing her pristine white neck to him. He gripped her tighter and dropped his head to sink his teeth into that spot just behind her ear, his mouth sucking hard until he tasted salt and iron. She cried harder- louder, and shook against him and he drove himself into her deeper, again and again.
Blair felt she had fallen to pieces in his arms. She felt complete… it killed her inside, and it made her hate him more. She clawed at his back as she clung to him, her nails breaking skin as hot, angry tears streamed freely from the torrent of conflicting emotions. It was bliss and agony, love and hate, everything she wanted and the one thing she could not have. His touch, the feel of him, branded her anew, and she came, the heat of him rippling through her.
The sound and the feel of her coming made his heart beat even faster. She fell away from him in exhaustion, laying out before him all whiteness wrapped in the darkness of her black corset, her eyes shining at him through a haze of tremendous satisfaction. He dragged her hips towards him, rocking… shaking her against him with violent need until he let out a desperate groan, more powerful than any word that could describe his torment, as he shuddered inside her.
When his tremors subsided, they gazed upon one another; the only sound their panting breaths slowly quieting. Chuck was incredibly careful and gentle pulling out of her- quickly discarding the condom as Blair pushed herself up from the piano. He stood before her once more, and the look on her face was more shy and ashamed than he had ever seen her look in all this time. He pulled her long silky hair aside, and heard her gasp at his touch. She leaned into him as his hand traced down her back, and pulled the long line of hooks and eyes apart, releasing her from the corset.
Looking back at her face, he cupped her cheek as she looked up at him, her eyes large and round, so deep they pulled him out of this slipstream of time. He lifted her into his arms, and carried her to the shower, her arms wrapped around his shoulders, tucking her head under his chin.
The bathroom light was harsh, and Chuck wished this were his suite, for there would be candles. She stepped away from him, tugging on his heart as she moved into the shower. He was still angry… he could feel it throbbing in his veins, but it somehow made him even more vulnerable.
Blair stood under the shower head and turned the water on, cold drops spraying down on her. He had torn her again and she felt in shock, how could he do this- all her cool resolve, all the feelings she had buried with hate, shaken to the surface by his powerful hands, his burning lips. She shook as the water slipped over her skin. What had just happened?
Part of him felt like he should leave her in peace… but her pull was too strong. She looked so small under the water, her back turned to him as she simply stood there. He could not leave her… he wondered if he could ever leave her?
Stepping behind her, his breath caught for a moment as he considered where to put his hands. Grasping her shoulders, he pulled her against him, the water freezing as it splashed over their bodies. "No…" he whispered, reaching out to make the water warmer and pressing his mouth against the cold skin of her back.
She wanted to cry at the feel of him. The water grew warmer, seemingly loosening all her feelings with it. Blair turned towards him at last, and gazed up at the man she… loved… loves?
When his eyes met hers, the eyes that had once sparkled up at him were hollow and empty, and it reached all the way down to his core. He had done that and there was no denying the fact. He lifted his hands and held her face, brushing his thumbs over her soft cheeks. Blair closed her eyes to him and furrowed her brows as if the pain was too much. Tilting her head, he placed the softest kiss on her cheek.
She inhaled sharply at the feel of his lips on her and she felt part of herself fall away. She slipped her arms around his waist and leaned her head against his chest as he pulled her close. Chuck had always felt so… so warm…
Passing his hand over her wet hair, he smiled a tiny bit at the feel of her. She made him feel… so many things. But he frowned at the thought that all he had done was cut her. He whispered in her ear, "Please…"
Blair looked up at him with those wide, hollow eyes again, and it shot through his heart. In penance, he started by washing her, digging his fingers into her hair and rubbing her scalp until she could not help but smile a little bit. He then reverently washed her body, soaping every curve, peak, and plane that he had missed and dreamt of. She was so beautiful and he was incredibly attracted to her. Yet, as he placed chaste kisses across her body, it felt as though his attraction transcended all of that, and those idealistic butterflies began to beat their little wings once more.
Blair was drowning in him. His touch, his kisses- each one built on the last and she could no longer think. His actions, the look of him, it was all working its way towards her heart. No- this was only physical and she could take no more of… what he was doing to her. She shut the water off and grabbed a towel, her naked feet pattering on the floor as she fled the bathroom.
"Blair!" It was desperate as he watched her go. Grabbing a towel, he quickly dried himself a moment before going after her. His feet barely touched the carpet before she was wrapped around him, pulling him to the bed. She had another foil wrapper clutched in her hands.
"Again," she whispered, a plea falling from her lips. She felt him respond, full of ardor, pressing her into the bed. His mouth fused with hers and her blood rushed hot between her legs. He pulled away and kissed down her neck and she whispered yes, before lust filled her, passion clouding her eyes, and overrunning all else. She needed to feel him, she wanted to forget it all and lose herself in the pleasure he gave her.
Blair grabbed him, and rolling in the sheets, she pushed him onto his back. He trembled from the look on her face. Chuck had never seen her so in control and the sight only caused his cock to stiffen more. She was incredible. She grinned as she slid between his legs, her tongue suddenly lapping against him- he groaned, his fingers in her hair as his eyes rolled back. "Fuck..."
The feel of him filled her mouth and she pushed further, slipping him deeper. His hips shuddered, and the sound of his groaning, his praise of her, made it so hot and wet between her thighs. She teased and tormented him for several more long delicious minutes. Only when her jaw began to ache did Blair at last sit up, smiling at him as she reached for the condom. But he grabbed her as her fingers curled around the tiny wrapper.
"Not until I know you're wet for me, Blair," he growled. He pushed her down into the bed, slamming two of his longer fingers into her, watching her cry out in pleasure. His heart pounded in his chest a moment, as the thought of how much he missed this… missed her, fluttered across his mind. He worked her hard as he stared at her, mesmerized by her mouth, her breasts- her entire body. The roll of her hips as she writhed, her hands furiously clutching the sheets.
"Please!" She cried, pleading for him.
That made him grin, and pulling his fingers free, he stuck them in his mouth, savoring the heady taste of her. With his free hand, he snatched the condom from her, tearing it open, and sheathing himself quickly. Grabbing her waist, he pulled her up and flipped them so he might lie back and watch her.
Blair greedily straddled him, and locking her eyes with his, she slowly sank down onto him, fighting as her eyes struggled to roll back at the sensation of him filling her… more and more. "Oh… Chuck…" she whimpered.
He let her be, only gently stroking her body with his hands as she ever so slowly began moving over him. Chuck let her use him, as his eyes hungrily roamed over her curves, the play of shadow and light on her body, the expressions on her face as she cried and praised the feel of him inside her.
She felt so hot… he made her feel this fire inside. Through her pleasure she gazed at his face. It was open, and adoring, and her heart ached in her chest. Her eyes locked with his, and suddenly there were tears, was she crying? And the look of concern on his face, it pulled at her, and she pleaded, "Chuck…"
Her hips still moved against him, but he pulled himself up, wrapping his arms around her, holding her close as they moved together. He began to kiss her face, her cheek, and then down, working towards her perfect mouth, "Sshhh…" he implored, "I'm sorry… I'm sorry…"
They kissed, and it was the final massive surge of pressure as their bodies joined, wrapped together, so lost in one another all that was left was the explosive power of a supernova to burn everything away, screaming in their ears, blinding them with light until everything went black.
Chuck roused some time later, staring at the ceiling in absolute bliss. Long minutes passed, loving Blair's little body curled up next to him. He turned towards her, drinking in the sight of her slumbering form. Stroking strands of her long hair away from her face and neck, his heart swelled, and ached. His smile was sad and the words tumbled out of his mouth, "You broke my heart."
He curled his body around her, content to hide in this dream, a magical twist in time, as long as he could hold on to it- on to her.
Blair dared not move, or open her eyes. Sleep weighed heavily on her as she focused on keeping her breathing steady while his words rang in her ears. You broke my heart.
The warmth of his body wrapped around her lulled her closer to sleep, his arm keeping her close, his hand holding her hand. She at last succumbed to sleep at the feeling of their broken hearts beating against one another.
Blair stirred from the deepest sleep she had felt in months. Inhaling deeply, she stretched out. Her body pressed not into cool sheets, but against something warm and soft and she smelled…
Her eyes flew open. Chuck. She was in bed with Chuck. She spent the night with Chuck! Suddenly her brain was whirling with the memories of last night, and she was fully awake. Slowly… calmly… she slipped from the bed, watching his face to see if he would wake. He looked so peaceful, and it tugged at her heart. No, she berated the traitorous organ. Quietly, and as quickly as she could, she dressed. Still she watched him and still her heart ached. Before she slipped from his room, she could not help but have one last kiss.
Chuck lazily drifted into consciousness at her soft lips brushing against his. No one kissed him the way Blair kissed him. He lay there, warm and happy, mentally waiting for her to curl up to him, to kiss him more, for this bliss to never end. The soft click of the door sent shockwaves through his delicious dream state. He sat up and looked at the mess of empty sheets next to him, inhaling, he could still smell her; she was here, she had been with him. Tearing the sheets aside, he stormed to the door, nearly pulling it from its hinges. The hallway was desolate. Letting the door swing shut, he turned to the large window that looked down on Paris below.
There she was, bright and beautiful in the morning sun, the red dress flaming out around her as she slipped into a taxi. His hand pressed against the cold windowpane, the chill reaching through his veins, working its way straight to his heart. He had shown how he cared for her last night- he had finally apologized; yet here she was running from him. It crushed him, deflating his hope, leaving him feeling lost and horribly confused.
Despondent, Chuck methodically packed, forgetting what had spurred on his visit, and found himself on the Bass jet heading back to New York. Soft jazz pulsed over the sound system as he watched the amber scotch swirl in its crystal tumbler.
Ev'ry time we say goodbye,
I die a little
Ev'ry time we say goodbye,
I wonder why a little
Why the Gods above me,
Who must be in the know
Think so little of me,
They allow you to go.
A small mirthless laugh escaped as he pondered the timeless lyrics.
When you're near,
There's such an air
Of spring about it
I can hear a lark somewhere
Begin to sing about it
There's no love song finer
But how strange the change
From major to minor
Ev'ry time we say goodbye
His heart ached. He sat back in his seat and closed his eyes, letting the music soothe him. The warmth of the scotch spread through his body, relaxing him. There she was… Blair never really ever left him. He saw her that day in the garden, her eyes wide, the sunlight playing on her beautiful hair. When he spied on her, watched her undress to reveal that first set of lingerie he had bought for her. That first kiss, how it pulled him in- it had been fun, enjoyable, but it had also intoxicated him. Talking in the park… holding her hand. The memories began to hurt, flashing faster. The first time he made her orgasm, when she teased him in the shower, kisses… so many kisses. Scheming to make her happy… laughter… his heart beating in his ears…. Her birthday. When she came to him. Paris. How she felt, holding her in his arms when they danced. I love you.
Chuck came out of his repose and held his head in his hands.
AN: Title borrowed from the story by Maribells, check it out ^_^
More of Georgia's majestic editing on this chapter!
Credit to Hayley Westenra's performance of Caccini's Ave Maria, as featured on her album, Odyssey and Natalie Cole, for Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye from the De-Lovely Soundtrack.