This story is actually six separate stories. Each chapter is through the eyes of the parents of the Gossip Girl teens and the role they played in making their kids who they are (and the moments that defined them). I will not name the order; that will be a surprise. I'll warn you that these will be a little sad at times but happy at others. It depends on the character, really. It's based on the TV show. Please R&R!
Disclaimer: I do not own Gossip Girl (though I'd totally own Chuck Bass in bed).
Fallen Angels: Part 1
I remember when he first came into this world.
I was at a business meeting in Washington when I got the call from Misty, informing me that her water had broken. I sat in the stuffy board room, a small smile creeping across my lips. Though I didn't leave. No, I didn't leave. It was a major corporate political thing, and if I had left the opportunity would never have presented itself another time. It's a long story, so I'll spare you the details and tell you that I did end up at the hospital the next day. I took an urgent overnight flight and was in her room by morning. Misty awoke when I entered, smiling at me tiredly. My wife always was a pretty woman, with big brown eyes and straight dark brown hair that went past her shoulders. I looked from her to around the room.
"Where is it?" I asked. I glanced back at her, and she looked like she was going to fall asleep again. "Or should I say, what is it?" Misty laughed once, weakly.
"We have a son, Bart. It's a boy."
I sighed out of relief. I needed a boy to carry on the family name more than anything. I don't read much, but I did happen to come across a novel called "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck in college. I remember that one of the minor characters said that a baby girl is like the New Year's pig: you raise it and feed it and in the end it goes to another family. That was the last thing I wanted. I looked around once again before spotting the little plastic-barricaded cart off to the side of the room. I walked over to the cart and peered inside to look at my son.
He was the most beautiful baby I have ever laid eyes upon, and I'm not just saying that because he's mine. I'm a very self-possessed individual, and I don't often think sentimentally about anything. However, when I gazed down at that child, I couldn't help myself. He was wrapped in a soft blue blanket, a sleeping round face poking out from above. Most babies' hair changes after a while, but he always had his mother's dark brown, poker straight hair since day one. He was surrounded by a certain glow that all new children possess, and he had an extremely white skin tone. I don't know where he got that from to this day; neither Misty nor I have that whiteness in our families (that we know of). When I first noticed that, I couldn't help but wonder if it was a problem. I hoped he would grow less pale with age. I didn't want my son looking sickly all the time. The only color he displayed was the tint of rose in his cheeks. His lips were so thin, and as I examined him more I grew worried, hoping that he wasn't dead. His little chest rising from under the blanket ceased those woes, but I still hoped that he wouldn't be too fragile.
"What name did you choose?" I asked, looking over at my wife. She didn't respond. I walked over and rubbed her arm a little. "Misty? What name did you choose?" She rolled away from me slightly, and spoke as if I were talking to her in a dream.
"Charles…I named him Charles…" She drifted back to sleep, and I walked slowly back over to the babe. When I looked back down, I saw that he was waking up just as his mother was falling asleep. And then I saw those eyes.
His eyes were darker than the purest chocolate. They were darker than the blackened skies I have seen when I was a poor boy growing up in Harlem. As he opened them wider I became mesmerized. They were as wide as saucers, and I was dumbstruck by their childlike glisten. Again, I don't know where his eye color came from. I have grayish-blue eyes, and not even Misty's eyes were that dark brown. I have never seen eyes his color.
He looked up at me and smiled a tiny, baby smile. Then he seemed to look behind me, enthralled as if something more interesting stood there.
Misty loved him more than anything. I would be out on business trips and sometimes she would call me to ask about something. I would always ask her what she was doing, and she would always be somewhere with Charlie. Either she would be sitting on the couch with him and holding him, or she'd be out shopping with him in a stroller.
We lived in a penthouse back then, one similar to the one the Waldorf family currently owns. I was rarely home; business consumed my life, as it does now. However, whenever I did come home, Misty would be waiting excitedly to tell me about our son. It went from him growing an inch to how he needed a haircut to how he said his first word (which was mama, by the way). I would nod in reply, thinking about how great he would be one day when he took over my business.
Whenever he would cry in the middle of the night, she would run to him as though the place was burning down and she had to rescue him. Then I would hear her singing to him. It was a song from one of her favorite childhood movies, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." I have never seen it, but I remember her rocking him gently in her arms and softly crooning the words.
"Cheer up, Charlie…give me a smile…what happened to that smile I used to know? Don't you know your grin has always been my sunshine…let that sunshine show."
She would come back to bed, not angry at all that he had awoken her. It irritated me. He would never learn self-discipline if she consoled him all the time. So I asked her one morning to stop going into his room if he cried.
"For Christ sake Bart, he's three months old!" she had exclaimed. As the years went by, we disagreed on so much more than that. Whenever I began coming home we would get into earth-shattering arguments. That's how I got back into loving alcohol as much as I did as a teenager. Soon she stopped calling me when I was away. One night I came home from India, and we exploded into an argument. She accused me of never being home and never being there when Charles needed me.
"He has you!" I had exclaimed. I still remember myself shaking in rage, looking at my wife with hot rage.
"He needs a father!" she yelled back, just as furiously. She got right into my face, seething. "You have never been here for any of his birthdays, or his first day of preschool, or anything! He's four years old now and he barely knows what you look like!"
"I do what I do so that you and he can have a good life!"
"How can we have a good life when you're never home and don't even give a damn about your own son?!"
That was when I slapped her. I honestly didn't mean to. We were in a wild mix of emotions, and I have never been one to handle my anger very well. I had never hit her before. I felt ashamed of myself, because I swore that I would never become what my father was. I thought I could control myself, unlike him.
Misty put a hand to her bleeding lower lip and looked upon me with hurt and disgusted eyes. My heart cracked in two, realizing that I was about to lose her.
"Misty, I'm so sorry-" I began pathetically.
"Who are you?!" She asked it in an exclamatory whisper. "More like, what are you?! Do you see what you're turning into?!" I looked away from her, dejectedly. "Bart, I look at you and I don't see the man I love anymore. I see this cold, engaged, strange man who I'm afraid of!" That hurt the most. Misty turned on her heels and went for Charles's room.
"Where are you going?" I asked sharply. She continued walking, not looking back.
"I'm leaving. I'm leaving and I'm taking my son with me."
"He's my son too, God damn it!" I exclaimed, running after her. I pulled her back before she could reach the door, and I guess I pulled too harshly, for she let out a scream. Then she turned and slapped me with her other free hand.
"Let me go!" she exclaimed. Shocked at myself, I did, although she wasn't expecting me too. She was about to hit me again with great force, but her hand hit nothing but thin air. She moved as she swung, causing her to trip and fall forward. She hit the ground headfirst. I knelt down next to her, frantically calling out her name. I turned her over, praying that she would awaken. Her eyes were closed and she wasn't responding at all.
"Daddy?" I looked over at the direction of the tiny voice. Charles stood in the doorway of his room. His dark, widened, frightened eyes made me chilled to the bone. He wore blue spaceship pajamas that his mother had bought for him.
"What are you doing up?" I asked, slightly angered. I couldn't deal with Charles seeing this.
"Why is mommy on the ground?" he asked, his voice shaky.
"She'll be fine," I urged with a wave of my hand. "Go back to sleep."
"Is she dead?" Charles asked. He was only four, yet he could form sentences. His voice trembled more, and his soft little hand grasped the side of the doorway. I scowled at him, becoming more frustrated. He was confronting me with what I didn't want to hear.
"Charles, don't you dare say such awful things. Go back into your room," I demanded.
"She's not going to die like the sheep, is she daddy?" Charles asked. He was referring to a story his preschool teacher read him, in which a sheep passed away. I looked down at Misty, and then back at my son. Charles was starting to heave, getting upset. His normally pale skin turned red as tears began to cloud his eyes. They say children can always sense when something bad is happening.
"Charles Bartholomew Bass, get into your room this instant!" I screamed, my own fears getting the best of me. He didn't. He stood there, frozen like a statue, looking upon his unconscious mother. I stood up violently and walked over to him. I jerked him by the arm aggressively and threw him into his room. He couldn't find his footing, and he tripped backwards until his back hit the wooden footboard of his bed and stopping him. He wailed piercingly, and I closed the door. I couldn't worry about him at the moment. I pulled out my cell phone and called 9-1-1.
Misty didn't have a brain fracture. She was only knocked unconscious, but the doctors feared that she wouldn't wake up. By some divine miracle, she did a few hours after she was admitted into the emergency room. She stayed in the hospital for a day, not wanting to see me. On the day she was going to leave, I came into her room. She was folding up some extra clothes I had brought to her.
"I guess you're leaving, then," I said, truly downhearted. I did let my sadness show. She folded a shirt, not looking at me.
"You've become something terrible," Misty said. "I can't live with it anymore, and neither can Charlie."
"Charles isn't going with you," I said. "He's staying in New York." At that statement, she looked up with menacing eyes.
"He's mine just as much as he is yours. I'm leaving this state and I'm never coming back, so there's no way we can do the weekend switch-offs. You were never there for him before; I'm the better parent for him to grow up with." Her voice was bitter and demanding. I wasn't fazed.
"I'll have my lawyers all over this," I replied. Misty walked over to me angrily.
"No, I'll have mine all over this!" she exclaimed. I took advantage that she wasn't as rich as I was.
"You get your support from your father. You have one lawyer that can't possibly match my many lawyers. If you take me to court, Charles will be in my custody anyway-I'll make sure of it. So why not save us both the trouble and just leave?" I asked calmly. She looked at me for a few moments before she started crying.
"You can't take my son from me!" Misty exclaimed, her tears heavy. "I'm not one of your business adversaries; you can't just threaten me and make me go away!" I just turned around and began to walk out of the room. Suddenly I felt something hard hit the back of my head, and I heard something hit the floor with a tiny clang. I turned around and saw Misty's wedding ring lying on the ground. I looked back up and saw her crying on the bed. At the time, I didn't care. It was all about conquering, getting what I wanted.
I walked out of her room and into the waiting room. Charles sat in a chair, swinging his little, brown-shoed feet back and forth. I still remember his bedraggled hair and the navy blue suit I had dressed him in. His small hands were folded on his lap. He looked up at me, his eyes large and worried.
"How's your back?" I asked him. As soon as the paramedics came for Misty I had gone to him and bandaged the small wound in his lower back.
"It's okay. Where's mommy?" Charles asked. I bent down and looked up into his eyes.
"Mommy's going away for a long, long time."
"Where?" he asked. He was persistent for information back then, and always would be.
"I can't say. But I won't leave you like she did, Charles. I'll always be here." I took him by his tiny hand and we walked over to the elevator. He continued to look behind him. We got into the elevator and I pressed the down button.
"Why is she leaving? Does she still love me?" he asked innocently. I looked down at him.
"Of course she does. She'll always love you." When those words left my mouth, I realized for the first time what I was doing. I felt sick.
Yet I let the elevator door close.
We moved out of the penthouse and into a fancy hotel, similar to the Palace. A few days before Charles turned five, he came home from preschool one day, ran into his room and collapsed on his bed. I came home late, and the new maid explained how he wouldn't come out. I went into his room and saw him just lying on his side and staring at the white wall. He still wore his little preschool uniform.
"What is it, Charles?" I asked. His eyes glanced over at me, and then back at the wall.
"I'm sad, daddy."
"Don't be sad," I said sternly. "You remember what I told you, about crying?"
"I haven't cried," Charles replied meekly. "But I'm still sad." I looked down at him with hardened eyes, but I figured that asking him would be more to my benefit.
"Why?" I asked. Charles adjusted his one arm so that it lied on top of the other. He looked at his hands, not talking for a few minutes.
"Blair and I were on the swings, and then Blair went off to play with Nate," Charles said, his voice upset. "I hate Nate."
"I thought Nate was your friend," I said.
"He is, when he's not hanging out with Blair." He said it stubbornly, and I almost laughed.
"Do you think she's pretty?" I asked.
"Yeah…but she's always ditching me to go to Nate," Charles said. I walked over to his bed and sat down beside him. I knew how important keeping the Archibalds close was. They were a prominent family, and I wanted my son to have friends from good families.
"Don't be angry with Nate, Charles. Your friends will always stick by you. Girls won't."
"Why?" he asked, finally turning on his back and looking over at me.
"They can hurt you. Your friends won't. Like your mother, for example. She left us, Charles. Of course you can still like Blair, but don't sacrifice your friendship with Nate because of it." It felt like I was talking to a preteen, yet he was only four. He nodded slowly, and I wondered if anything I said sank in.
"Okay daddy, I won't be mad at Nate anymore," he said. I patted him on the shoulder.
"That's my boy." I stood up. "And Charles? From now on, call me father."
"Why?" he asked. I hated when he asked questions, even though it was a natural part of childhood. He would never understand formality, not at that age.
"Just do it," I said lowly. He looked away again, back at the white wall.
I can't help but think of that day as when I taught him to be a loyal friend-and a womanizer. I am proud of it and regret it at the same time.
Charles always liked suits. He was always a refined child, never one for casual things. Whenever I came home he would be in a new suit. He would often strut around in them. Sometimes he would go to the mirror and run his hand through his hair and down his suit coat a few times.
"You think you're hot stuff, don't you?" I asked my nine-year-old son one day. I was sitting on the couch and reading the economy section of the newspaper while he admired himself in the mirror.
"Yes," he answered with a large grin. "You can tell I'm your son, right?" he asked. I smiled.
"People could tell you are my son more if you got better grades in school, and not just walk around pompously," I said. Charles was never a good student. He was extremely intelligent, but he despised studying. Over the years I saw his grades decline from A's to C's to F's.
Charles looked at me and frowned.
"I hate school," he said loathingly.
"You need to learn. School was how I got to be what I am today; you know that. You do want to stay rich and well-respected, don't you?" I asked. He nodded with an enthusiastic grin.
"Of course," Charles answered. "I want to be like you." Then he turned back to the mirror.
Back then he was getting C's. After we had that conversation he started to get A's. Even the maid told me how hard he was working. One night, close to the end of the year, the school was having an award ceremony to congratulate the students on their hard work. Charles got one certificate for straight A's the last two quarters. I didn't go to the ceremony because I had a dinner date with an important client.
He never got A's after that.
I don't know where he got that scarf. It's puzzled me for years. As he got older, I stopped coming home a lot more. He was older, after all, and he had the maids and drivers to do everything. One night I stopped by the hotel for an hour to have a drink before I had to go to a meeting. I remember coming in and seeing Charles sitting at the built-in bar. He had a glass of brown liquid in front of him, and was running his finger along the rim. He wore the red and yellow scarf around his neck, over his black suit's collar. I looked at him for a few minutes, his pale skin and dark hair fascinating me like it had when he was a baby. He looked like a male model.
"Where did you get that scarf?" I asked, walking over to the bar myself. He dramatically raised an eyebrow, but he otherwise didn't look surprised that I didn't know.
"I've had this scarf for three years," Charles replied. I grabbed some scotch out from under the bar and I realized that it had been opened. I looked over at my son's glass and realized that the liquid looked thicker than Pepsi.
"Have you been drinking?!" I asked. He dropped his finger off of the glass and looked at me.
"Yeah," he said, admitting. I immediately got angry.
"Charles, you can't be drinking! You're far too young!" I exclaimed.
"Everyone at my school drinks," he replied, keeping his voice calm.
"Nate and Serena Van Der Woodsen. Nate drinks stuff all the time, and Serena just stole her mom's vodka."
"That's ridiculous," I said. "Don't you remember the horror stories I told you from when I was young?! My father was a drunk, I was a drunk-"
"And you're alright," Charles said sharply. He looked up at me, his eyebrows lowered. "You can't tell me not to do things that you did yourself." I looked down at him angrily, knowing that he had me there. I was about to yell some more when suddenly his cell phone rang. Charles reached into his pocket and answered it.
"Hello, Nathaniel." His eyes went wide. "What?" he asked. "Okay, I'll come right over." He snapped the phone shut and looked at me. "I have to go. Nathaniel's parents were fighting again. Their entire penthouse is a wreck." He stood up and began to walk away. However, I had noticed something else, and I wasn't about to let him go before I asked about it.
"Charles." He stopped and turned around to face me. "What are those little cuts on your face?" He looked down, shuffling one foot over the other. He looked embarrassed.
"A razor," he replied. "I was trying to shave."
"You can't have hit puberty yet. You're too young," I stated. Charles looked back up at me, no disappointment showing in his dark eyes.
"Father, how old am I?" he asked. I paused for a minute.
"Eleven," I said. He shook his head slowly, his eyelids still lowered.
"I'm going to be thirteen in a month."
He turned and walked away, and I noticed for the first time that his voice was deeper than I remembered. Charles walked out the door and shut it behind him. If he was upset about that, he didn't let it show. I couldn't help but sigh and think back to my ex-wife's words.
He was thirteen when he became a womanizer. And I witnessed it.
I had come home from a business trip at one in the morning and discovered that Charles wasn't home. I called his cell phone, and there wasn't an answer. I figured that he was hanging out with Nate, so I just watched some TV and relaxed. At about two fifteen, Charles entered the door-with a teenage girl who looked two years older than he. I gaped as I saw the two of them, but they didn't see me. Charles grabbed the bimbo by the waist and pressed himself against her. He kissed her on the mouth, and I watched as his tongue played with her lips.
"Oh my God, you are so not a virgin," the girl said. Her cheeks were flushed.
"What, you thought I was?" my son asked, smirking cockily. He leaned in and whispered something in her ear, she and giggled. My eyes went wide as I saw his hand move from her lower back up to her hair, and then down her shoulder towards her chest.
"Having fun?" I asked loudly. He pulled himself off of her and looked at me, shocked beyond belief. So was his little friend.
"I thought you said he was on a business trip!" the girl exclaimed.
"He was!" Charles exclaimed back. He sighed, glancing from me to the girl. "You'd better leave. This scene is going to be a huge turn off." The girl obliged and left. Charles turned to face me again, knowing he was about to get yelled at.
"Charles, how could you?!" I asked. I was more surprised than enraged. My son just smiled.
"Come on, father. If there's one thing I've learned from you it's that this is the only way to live."
"I have never taught you to run around with any women you want!" I exclaimed, getting angry because of the accusation. Charles laughed mockingly.
"You think I'm blind to all the women I see getting into your limo? Give me some credit, father. I'm not stupid," Charles said. I knew that. I noticed that he still wore the scarf around his neck.
"How long has this been going on?" I asked. "I heard you distinctly say you're not a virgin anymore." He smiled and folded his arms.
"You don't want to know," he said. I walked forward briskly, and his smile faded. I grabbed him by the shoulders and looked down at him furiously.
"Tell me, damn it! When did you start?!" I asked. He looked away from me.
"Two days after my birthday," Charles answered. I dropped my arms, looking at that soft face. All of these years I thought that he had done well without me. I looked back at the bad grades, the drinking, and now this. I asked myself how I could've been so blind. My son stood there, still looking away from me. He had the brains, the looks, and the money to be successful in life. He even had the overconfident attitude. But it wasn't enough.
"Do you realize how disgraceful this is?!" I asked, outraged. "I do not work myself so that you can run around with girls and drink and slack off in life! And I'm not paying for STD treatments!"
"Yeah, you're a true saint," Charles said bitterly. He looked up at me, and I stared right into those dark eyes. "You did the same things when I was your age."
"Stop saying that!" I exclaimed angrily. "I didn't have the resources to know better. You do! You just never try to better yourself!"
"I do try! You're just too busy off elsewhere to notice when I'm trying to get your approval!" he yelled back. His eyes started flaring. "I'm nothing different then what you are. You even told me yourself that women will leave you. And you know what? You're right. So I'm just doing things with them the way you do."
Finding no words, I hit him the way I hit Misty that one night. Except this time, I meant it. He looked back up at me, and I was expecting to see the hurt eyes that my wife gave me. Instead I saw a look of menace and hatred combined with the dark color. It made him look almost evil. He spun around, nearly whipping me in the face with the extended end of the scarf. He walked to the door.
"Charles," I called.
The door slammed, and he was gone. I went back to the couch and sat down. I shut off the television. All I could think about was how much Charles had failed me. I remembered him at nine years old, standing in front of the mirror. Back when his pale face was still young and his mannerisms were still bright and innocent.
"I want to be like you," his small voice echoed in my head. My face fell when I realized that he had. He hadn't failed me-I had failed him. I regret that every day.
I lied down and stretched across the couch, thinking about how it would have never happened if Misty had taken him with her. Instead of giving him a wholesome life with her, I kept him in New York for the future of my name and my business. I had put my own interests ahead of my child. I cursed myself and my selfish pride, knowing that now it was too late to do anything. The angel had fallen, and it was entirely my fault.
Charles didn't come back home that night. When I called him from the business meeting, he answered slurred, and I heard two female voices in the background. I would have wept had I found the courage to do so in front of the businessmen-or to do so without them there.
Charles stayed that way throughout his teenage years. He became a smart aleck, a player, the boy who the others wanted to punch the daylights out of. The maid quit because he brought so many girls home and she couldn't deal with it anymore. I didn't blame her. Besides, Charles was older now, and he already made it clear that he didn't need help. He and I lived two separate lives, even though we technically lived under the same roof.
He graduated eighth grade-another ceremony I missed-and went to St. Jude's. He continued to fail classes and get detentions. I continued to travel, never hearing from him. When he was seventeen I bought the Palace Hotel and we moved there-or, he did at least. He grew more attractive and debonair as he aged, making more than a few ladies' heads turn. He never dated though. He used them and left them, just like I had done.
I worried about him. I worried more than I ever had before in my life. During the day I wondered what class he was in and what he was thinking. At night I wondered which club he was at. In my anxious dreams I saw him sitting at a bar in a pressed black suit (the scarf draped around his neck), smiling as a few girls walked by. I often wanted to call him but I figured he wouldn't want to talk to me. One morning I came home and hosted a brunch at the Palace. I noticed that Charles had a black eye.
"Are you alright?" I asked him. "Are you in some sort of trouble?" He smirked.
"Only of my own making."
I never tried to stop him because not only was it too late, but it would take forever to make up for seventeen years of neglect and hurt. I would have to quit business altogether. When I started dating Lily Van Der Woodsen, all I thought about was my son. A stepmother is not as good as the original, but she may be better than nothing.
There was one time when I became so proud of him and it looked like things were changing. He approached me with the idea for investing in Victrola, and I couldn't believe the genius behind the plan. He almost convinced me not to do it, but then he convinced me again to do it, if that makes sense. After that night, he seemed happier. I had a feeling it was something else besides the investment, because he was smiling more than normal when I came home and saw him. He also didn't talk about the girls he had bedded the night before. I thought possibly he had stopped sleeping around, but I got that thought out of my head.
There was one moment, though, that defined all others. It was a week before Christmas, and I was at a meeting when suddenly my phone rang. I apologized to the others present, forgetting that I had left it on. Then I looked and saw who was calling. I excused myself and left the board room. I answered the call.
"Charles? Is it you?" I asked.
"Yes, it's me," my son answered back. I smiled, not remembering the last time he had called me.
"How was a cotillion?" I asked. I had remembered the big event was taking place that night. Lily's mother was the head of the entire thing.
"It was interesting," Charles replied. "I'm not interrupting your meeting, am I?"
"No, no," I said. "Is something wrong?"
"Everything's fine. I'm in the limo now." There was a long pause. "Father…can I ask you a favor?" Charles asked.
"Certainly," I answered.
"Can I go somewhere for Christmas? Maybe somewhere warm?"
"Of course, but why?" I asked. He sighed.
"I just need to get away." I detected the trembling in his voice, although he was probably trying to hide it. I didn't scold him for it.
"Charles, you sound shaken. Are you sure you're alright?" I asked. I couldn't help but think that something went wrong at the cotillion. Charles never cried, especially to me, and that sure sounded like what he had been doing.
"Trust me father, everything's fine," he replied. His voice was normal and assuring. I wondered if I had just imagined that he was upset. "It's the snow and the cold. It's bringing me down a little." He lived that way his whole life and never complained. He loved New York. I knew that wasn't the reason, but I ignored it, deciding not to push him further.
"Monaco's always a nice place," I offered. "Sunshine and skinny girls in bikinis should make you feel better." He laughed slightly, his deep voice flowing and gentle. It was a nice thing to hear.
"Thanks, father," Charles said. You can always tell when someone's smiling when they talk to you over the phone. I knew he was.
"You're welcome; remember to be careful," I advised.
"I will, I promise."
"Yes?" he asked. I didn't believe what I was about to say.
"I love you."
It was the first time I ever told my son that I loved him. I truly meant it, too. It's terrible that it took me so long to realize that I did, but I did. There was a short pause on the other end of the line, and I wasn't sure what Charles would respond back. I was sure that he would ask "since when" or just hang up the phone. If I were him, I probably would have done that.
"I love you too."
And that's how I discovered that really, he wasn't me.
He was someone better.
END OF PART 1