A/N: To my loyal readers, I apologise if you get a story update and think that this is me updating the promised Part 2 earlier than Friday. It is a lie. I got some constructive criticism that telling me that while my story was a good idea the grammar was terrible and that caused them to stop reading. I feel I should note that the complaint was for this chapter, which was written four years ago. As some of you might know I don't do well with constructive criticism, it does terrible things to my confidence and I repeat the negative words in a loop in my head. Usually I'd just let it go but I know that the first 3 chapters of this story were not my best. This was the first story I'd ever published and it was me trying out different writing styles to see what worked. I had been meaning to edit them but with the infrequent and often long awaited updates, I figure my time was better spent rewarding those who pushed through those early chapters. However I spent all day sitting on it, my enthusiasm to edit the new chapter gone as I replayed those negative words - even if they were not intended negatively. So I figured why not give it a shot. I did not really change any of the story, just updated the flow a bit. Hopefully it is a bit more palatable but that is as much as I am willing to edit it as I am proud of the work I did when I was younger. It shows that I was at a different point in my life and I had much to learn. Sorry about the long explanation but I needed to get it out.
For you new readers I hope you enjoy the story ~ Gabz
24th December 2006
Her ebony hair was quaffed to perfection. Her silver dress glittered under the unflattering museum lights, yet all he saw was beauty. Her initial physical beauty was there and it was guaranteed that in a crowd she was destined to turn heads. But her true perfection, as he'd learn later, was not visible unless you were lucky enough to hear her infectious laugh. Her undeniable wit. Her love for classic movies. Not to mention her extensive knowledge of classic literature.
The way she held herself was as if she belonged to a different era. Her clothes which were more modest than most only enhanced her allure. There was an air of regality and finality that was not missed by those who passed by her.
Surrounded by people who were envious, adoring and beneath her, she should have been ecstatic. Yet it was all she could do to keep from wrapping her arms around herself in an attempt to hold herself together.
In the crowd there was one boy who wasn't fazed by the act. One boy who on any other occasion would not have made the step towards her. It certainly wasn't the like the boy to be the one who placed a seemingly possessive arm around her shoulder and walked her out onto the patio.
What made him act as he did was that as he met her eyes, he had seen the confusion and uncertainty that he knew had no place being there.
Neither had met before, yet it was as if they had known each other for years.
She was simply grateful for the gesture, his arm felt as if they were holding her together when she was unable to. The cool air from the balcony whipped around them, causing her cheeks to redden while also helping her to breathe deeply again.
An involuntary shiver ran down her spine, and as someone who bases her life on being able to control everything it was a true sign of how lost she was. Moments later the soft material of his jacket was placed on her shoulders.
Reveling in the remaining body heat that had seeped into the jacket, Blair turned to her rescuer. Taking him in from head to toe, there was an aspect of familiarity, yet she was positive she had never met him before in her life. She was Blair Cornelia Waldorf after all. It only makes sense that if they had ever met before he would surely remember her. He would know her. And surely she'd remember him. From his neatly styled black hair to the curious sparkle in his brown eyes.
Sitting down on the bench they huddled together, each reasoning that it was simply to combat the weather.
"Are you okay?" he asked tentatively, somehow understanding within minutes of meeting her, that she was someone who did not easily show weakness.
Glancing into his brown eyes she saw the concern in them and frowned slightly. Slowly Blair felt her resolve crumbling. It had been months since anyone other than Dorota had shown her true concern. No motive behind it. No scheme in place. No masking of malicious emotions. His voice held the familiar New York twang but instead of causing her to worry about a potential Gossip Girl leak, it simply reassured her that he was someone she could trust. Just maybe he would be able to make sense of the chaos that had become her life.
"No" she finally admitted feeling defeated. "Nothing is going according to plan. How can one person leaving, change a plan that has been in place since kindergarten? My best friend abandons me without so much as a phone call, text or email. Even a letter would have sufficed!"
"My boyfriend... if I can still even call him that, has pulled away from me ever since and I'm positive she is the reason why. But it hurts to believe it. I came here to escape." Pulling the jacket tighter around her body, Blair breathed in the scent of it, letting it soothe her. "My father is here on a business trip and I figured why not. Maybe this amazing city would be able to shed some light on my love life. Fix whatever it is that I'm doing wrong. But here I am, on Christmas Eve and neither have called me. I just don't know what I did wrong."
As the tears sprang to her eyes, she fought to keep them from falling. After all, a Waldorf does not cry. She felt one tear escape the confines of her tear ducts.
He watched enraptured by her story. He could not understand how her best friend could do that. Couldn't comprehend how her boyfriend was unable to simply pick up the phone and call her. If she was his, he would never be able to leave her side. He watched as her eyes began to water and watched her control the tears threatening to spill over. As a lone tear escape her eye, his hand instinctually moved to wipe it.
His warm hand caressed her cool cheek, stopping the tear in its tracks. There was a spark that neither could deny.
A connection made in that minute action, that made him forget the girl with the golden hair. The girl that he had loved from afar for the last two years, who had consumed his vision so much that he had never noticed just who was beside her.
A connection that made Blair feel alive, loved and wanted again, for the first time since Serena had left. That made her forget all about Nate and their questionable future.
It was that connection that made both of them lean together as their lips connected. They began moving in a rhythm that matched their heartbeats. Quick and light.
Pulling apart he reached towards her and held her small, smooth, delicate hand in his larger, calloused one. "You did nothing wrong. They don't know what they have." He replied breathlessly.
Suddenly he remembered that they hadn't even introduced one and other. An action that was so out of character for him that it felt as if he was living someone else's life. Or perhaps the life of one of the characters from the novels he read. "I'm sorry, I'm D-"
"No!" Pressing her free hand to his lips, Blair smiled softly. "I don't want to know your name. It's not real unless we know who the other is." Sighing, she grabbed his hand with her and brought it to her lips, pressing a kiss to it lightly. "The real things in my life haven't been going well recently, so don't tell me your name. You can give me something else to call you."
Nodding, as he understood there was nothing he could do that would change her mind, Dan smiled. "I'm Cabbage Patch" he announced, happily complying to her wishes, "it's nice to meet you."
The name brought a smile to Blair's face and she felt it suited him completely. It sounded like a name that Blair herself may have picked. The night was beginning to feel like one of her Audrey Hepburn movies, so she decided it was only right. "I'm Holly"
He beamed at her already feeling privileged to get to know her. It was with an intense rush of mystery and wonder in regards to how her mind worked that kept him captivated by her that night.
The following day Dan had discovered why she had picked the name Holly, when she had insisted they watched Breakfast at Tiffany's. Likewise Blair discovered Cedric, his cabbage patch kid, when she had found him on his bed as they watched Holly find herself.
It turned out that the Chateau that his mother Alison had been given by her investor, following her decision to visit Paris for inspiration, had been right next to where Blair and her father Harold where staying. At one of her mother's models house. A nice young man named Ramon.
Their parents decided that a joint Christmas dinner would allow their children to continue in their friendship. As the saying goes 'the more the merrier.'
Alison was glad Dan was able to befriend someone other than Vanessa who had moved back to Vermont a while ago. Whilst Harold was simply pleased to see the familiar spark in Blair that had been missing since Serena's departure.
Given the fact that Alison called Dan 'Honey' and Harold called Blair 'Bear', Cabbage Patch and Holly remained in tact.
Christmas quickly became Blair's third favourite holiday, after Thanksgiving and her birthday, of course. Since the pair had only met a day ago, there had been no time for gift buying and so they decided that handmade gifts were the best options. Covered in glitter, paint and clay, Blair was amused to find herself actually having a good time as opposed to worrying about the current state of her clothes. Similarly she was able to look past Cabbage Patch's polyester and plaid wardrobe.
She quickly found herself mesmerized by the intricacies of his project. His arm muscles coiled and relaxed in a rhythmic way that was soothing to simply watch. Realising she had been staring for the better part of five minutes she turned back to the messy table before her and began with new determination to make his present something he could cherish forever.
Dan was struggling with the calligraphy and was moving at a snails pace to counteract his usual scrawl. It hadn't taken, even thirty seconds of convincing for Dan to get Harold to let him into her room.
Once there he had headed straight to her dresser and grabbed the hair brush off it. Maybe it was the writer in him that needed to perform such dramatic actions. Or perhaps it was that he had never felt this way about someone before. Yet he took all the precision possible to engrave what he wanted into the back of the brush. "Holly, I'm in love with you."
Yes he thought it may have been rash and may lead to a disastrous result but if there is one thing Dan Humphrey does best it was being blatantly obvious.
Tracing the words with the gold paint he found that it suited her personality perfectly, Dan breathed a sigh of relief as he didn't mess it up. He knew even if she didn't, his Holly was destined for gold. Destined to outshine everyone in life. He knew that her determination and ambition would ensure that. If there was one thing that Dan was absolutely sure of was that he had never before met anyone who could compete with him in being brutally honest.
That evening the two exchanged gifts by the fireplace and when Blair gave him the bookmark she had made, the way he looked at it reassured her it was going to be cherished and put to good use. Ironically, she would have been able to buy him a solid gold bookmark with the swipe of a card, yet she felt that this one meant so much more. Throughout the design she had added various lines that hinted at the letter B, which quickly became intertwined with D's, remembering that before she cut him off he had started saying D.
Dan could see the obvious thought and feeling behind the gift and loved how her face had glowed as she watched his reaction. With her gift out of the way Dan quickly became apprehensive of his own gift to her. He was nervous and the butterflies making their home in his stomach were not helpful. Glancing at her expectant face, he sighed in trepidation. As her hand squeezed his reassuringly he realised it was now or never.
The confusion Blair felt when she was handed her own hairbrush, slowly morphed into amazement. As she turned it over, she delicately ran her hand over the changes. Her fingers tracing over the words. While she knew that they could be simply the lines from Breakfast at Tiffany's, she knew it was much more. What scared Blair the most though was that the thought of him loving her already didn't scare her. In fact it had the opposite reaction. She felt the last drop of hurt, betrayal and fear leave her only to be replaced by comfort, joy and a feeling stronger than she ever had with Nate.
Silently she reached over to where he was sitting, shoulders hunched forward a look of regret on his face. Moving her body slowly closer so that she was on her knees facing him, Blair held his face between her hands. Leaning in, she was surprised at how soft his lips were as she kissed him in thanks.
Feeling her pull away, Dan wrapped his arms around her, pulling her back into a giant hug as he kissed the top of her head.
Breathing in his scent, Blair seared it in her mind. It was a surprisingly spicy mix, but with a hint of waffles and coffee. Grabbing the brush and holding it to her chest tightly, Blair didn't let go of it as she fell asleep next to him, signifying the importance it now held to her.
It was New Years Eve and a fast friendship had blossomed between the two. Yet they had gone further than a light kiss.
A few drinks later and that was no longer the case.
It had been clumsy, nerve wracking and somewhat painful but neither of them could bring themselves to regret their loss of their virginity the following day. The unspoken love between the two had only grown with the act.
Blair and Harold were leaving that afternoon and both Blair and Dan came to the conclusion that it was time for reality to set in.
Blair was in a loveless relationship, that was socially acceptable and Dan was used to his role of the observer. Neither wanted to completely forget the past week, so their real names were still not exchanged. Thus allowing a small section of their fantasy to live on, held in place by the presents they each had in their bags and their memories.
New York City, New York
22nd September 2007
What happened in Paris stays in Paris.
It was the unspoken agreement that allowed Blair to continue her relationship with Nate, and allowed Dan to go back to his pit of self wallowing.
At least it had stayed in Paris until Dan made the stupid decision to seek out the girl with the silky hair, whose favourite actress was Audrey Hepburn and whose real name began with B. The little clue in the bookmark had not escaped him.
Still as the months blew by she was becoming more of a distant dream, the only reassurance that the whole thing was not a dream was his bookmark.
Finally when the blond hurricane he'd been previously pining over blew back into the UES, Dan was more than happy to forget the Brunette Vixen that invaded his dreams.
In 8 months a lot had changed.
Alison left Dan's family for her investor. Harold left Blair and Eleanor for Ramon. Ironically the four of them were co-inhabiting peacefully as neighbours.
Serena returned and Dan got a date with the girl who use to consume his dreams. Only to discover it was her best friend he really wanted, her silky words echoed around in his mind reminding him of just how unstable Serena was.
Blair felt as if she had once again come in second to Serena. As she watched her Cabbage Patch and Ex-Best Friend leave the party with her newest minion, little Jenny Humphrey.
When Blair's worst suspicions of Serena's return had been confirmed she had wanted to seek out the boy who she knew would make her forget. The boy who she could have been with for the past eight months if it hadn't been for Nate's selfishness.
She knew that was the real reason she had gotten mad at Nate when he'd gone to see Serena. They had drifted so far apart that it was as if they were strangers and not in a relationship.
Blair knew the only reason she had forbidden Nate from speaking to Serena was in the hopes that both her boyfriend and best friend would have to feel what she had to suffer through for the last year. That they'd have to know their love was somewhere close by but not be able to do anything about it.
Blair couldn't help it when her heart quickened and broke at the same time, as she saw her Cabbage Patch take control of matters, reminding her of how willing she was to relinquish control that night.
She couldn't help the blush that lined her cheeks at the memory any more than he could help the way he immediately knew the emotions that were brewing behind her appearance.
He could see it in her eyes as easily as he had the first time they had met. Those emotions that made him want to have her in his arms again. To ensure she knew just how much he loves her, to tell her how she has invaded his thoughts and become all consuming.
Despite his growing need to run over to her and sweep her off her feet in some romantic gesture, he reminded himself not only was he on a date with Serena, but in reality he was not Cabbage Patch and she was not Holly. Regardless how much both of them wanted it to be the case. Even so he couldn't help but meet her warm brown eyes, in hope of seeing something. As her eyes softened when they met his, he knew ever attempting to get over her would be a lost cause.
That night as Serena and he went their separate ways, he was unable to kiss her as his thoughts were somewhere else. So he did the first thing that came to his mind. He waved.
He knew it had not been what she had wanted, but images of brunette hair and brown eyes whispering his name were consuming him. He knew that it was only a matter of time before he knew her name and the illusion would be shattered and he wanted to hold it close for as long as possible.
Blair picked up her hairbrush and in a customary routine she traced her hand over the engraving on the back. She watched as tears streamed silently down her cheeks and knew she was truly experiencing heartbreak as she cried more over the loss of a man, who was never truly hers to begin with, a nameless stranger, than she did for Nate and Serena combined. Finally she picked herself off the ground. It was beneath her to feel this way. She was a Waldorf after all.
Little did the two of them know that this was just the beginning.