Chapter: Chapter 3
Spoilers: None, started this in the midst and wasteland of Spoilers aka Summer
Disclaimer: I own nothing except a great love for CB/BRo and the many inhabitants of the UES.
Summary: A post finale fic with AU turn, follows the twists and turns as the worlds of GG & HIMYM collides. Two couples work at figuring out what comes after ILY. Unexpected connections are discovered while danger and intrigue weave its destructive web. CB/BRo
Prologue->Midnight Flights & Morning Afters -- http://jenndeve.livejournal.com/1743.htm
Chapter 1-> Masters of the Universe -- http://jenndeve.livejournal.com/2798.htm
Chapter 2-> Plan of Attack & Head in Bag -- http://jenndeve.livejournal.com/3119.htm
Chapter 3-> Get a Clue -- http://jenndeve.livejournal.com/3472.htm
Down the Rabbit Hole
Less than forty five minutes after the Bass private jet finally took off, Blair had searched every place that she could think of three times over. Every compartment that she could get herself into. The cockpit. The sleep cabin. Even the lavatory and still she came up with no trace of this mythical trunk.
She didn’t exactly return to her seat empty-handed. Mouth pursed against a small smile she studied the small velvet purse resting in her palm. She’d found it in the sleep cabin, resting between plump white pillows. As she’d done when she’d first found it there, Blair loosened the ties and dumped the contents in her palm.
Conversation hearts. Tiny candies that usually meant Valentine’s Day rested there. A rainbow of colors, each with the same exact message. “Love U.”
At first, she’d wondered if someone else might’ve left them behind. Lily and her male mistress as Chuck so fittingly put it. But then she’d found the small scrap of paper, a quick note in Chuck’s hand.
“Eat me.” It said.
The gesture was sweet. She had no intentions of chomping away on the nasty little candies. As much as she loved all the little ways they spelled out his love. No it was the scrolled note that held her attention. Two simple words that could’ve been completely innocent coming from anyone other than Chuck Bass. Two simple words rife with suggestion.
Shaking her head, Blair carefully slipped each piece of candy back into their velvet encasement. Handling them as she might have handled precious jewels.
The blonde returned, “Miss Waldorf. May I get you anything? Something to eat or drink?”
“No, thank you.” She gave a quick shake of the head. Her extensive and ultimately fruitless search had left her famished but she was feeling to actually eat.
“Of course, Miss.”
Once again Blair was left by alone. Her “clues” settled in her lap. The sleep mask and velvet bag. Eric’s words about a trunk and seeing her tomorrow. She worked the puzzle of them, trying to make jagged pieces fit but there was no shape for them to hold.
The flight attendant returned minutes later with the same inquiry and again, Blair turned her away. Wanting to be left alone while she put things together. The third time the woman came back, Blair snapped at the poor woman.
“Are you deaf? I said no thank your. In case it escaped your notice, I’m trying to concentrate here. So unless you have something to contribute…please go away and don’t come back. Not until I call you, anyway.”
Jeez, next time Chuck decided to kidnap her, he’d damn well better hijack Dorota, too.
Her cellphone vibrated.
Give up? he texted.
Don’t hold your breath, Bass.
Good. Having fun yet? His reply came and she could almost picture him with that completely sexy and totally infuriating smile.
Absolutely certain that you won’t throw in the towel?
Bass… her crimson nails tapped out.
Either tell me what you’re up to or give me my next fucking clue, Blair ordered, fidgeting impatiently.
Well, aren’t we feeling testy? Enjoy your candy?
Nope. Stop stalling. Clue, please.
Okay. Here’s your clue.
Blair held her breath, waiting. She was just about to tap out a new message when her phone buzzed again. Finally.
Stop torturing my staff.
Ha!!! Blondie tattled on me. Color me terrified.
Be nice or I’ll have Michael turn the plane around.
Her laughter filled the cabin at his empty threat. No way had he gone to so much trouble just to call things off because she’d been mean to his flight attendant/spy.
Face lit up and smiling hugely, she typed, Yes, Bass.
Please eat something. We’ve got a long night ahead of us.
Well. When he put it that way. Still not the clue she’d asked for, but he was sweet…taking care of her. No one ever really did that. Well, except Dorota, but that didn’t count because…well it was Dorota.
Otherwise, it was usually fell to Blair to take care of the people in her life. Serena. Nate. Even her underlings had been more hindrance than help, needing her to remain on top of things lest all go straight to hell.
“Fine, send her back.” Blair murmured aloud and quickly texted him the sentiment.
She’s afraid of you. Apparently, she’s to wait for you to call for her.
God, had Blondie reported back their entire exchange. Or rather her bitching.
Get something to eat and be nice to the help.
We’ll see, she retorted but called out to the other woman. Tossing her phone aside and effectively ending her part in their “conversation.”
She greeted Blondie with an icy smile as she returned pushing along a silver service cart.
“Thank you…” Blair dismissed, with an airy wave of her hand.
“I just need to…”
“I can get it.” She lifted one silver dome and felt her mask slip. Beneath was what looked like a simple sandwich, sliced in diagonal halves and no crust. He’d remembered. Her fingertips peeled one edge, confirming her suspicions.
Peanut butter, jelly and white chocolate. A combination they’d come up with after school one day. Dorota away on vacation and her parents off doing their own thing. The four of them, the non-judging breakfast club left to their own devices, as early as fourth grade.
Dropped off by Chuck’s limo, the foursome had headed immediately for the kitchen and wanted nothing that had been left prepared for either Blair or her parents to simply heat in the microwave. Instead they’d come up with their own version of PB & J and proceeded to stuff themselves silly. They’d made themselves so damn sick that she hadn’t thought of having another in years. Had completely forgotten the fun they’d had that frigid Winter afternoon.
Still smiling she lifted the second silver dome and knew just what she’d find.
A crystal, sherry glass filled to the brim with amber liquid.
Well, she had to hand it to Blondie. The woman hadn’t spilled a single drop.
She didn’t need to taste to know that it was Brandy. Same as when they’d been nine and ready to experiment with their first taste of the forbidden.
“Thank you.” Her expression softened as she said the words again, infusing even a measure of sincerity this time around.
The other woman smiled, appearing to relax but she didn’t stick around long after that. Remember Blair’s earlier remarks.
Despite the sudden roiling of her grumbling belly, she didn’t scarf down the sandwich. No, she savored the taste of it on her tongue. White chocolate and peanut butter thick on her tongue and the roof of her mouth. Raspberry jelly invariably settling at the corner of her mouth.
God, it tasted as good as she remembered and she wasn’t thinking about the hours that night that she and Serena took turns holding each other’s hair as they threw up the entire contents of their bellies, even when there should’ve been nothing left. Chuck and Nate dreaming up inventive ways to replace the brandy they’d taken or at least make it seem as though none had been taken at all.
Even then, she hadn’t been able to resist a challenge. A dare from Chuck. Childish yes, but they’d so young back then. He’d dared and she’d taken the bait. Same as always.
She reached for her glass now, fully prepared to toast the Basstard for stirring the long forgotten memory. Her fingertips brushed against the slip of paper she hadn’t seen before, somehow curled about the crystal stem, reminding her to let herself not become distracted.
Blair cradled the curling edges, unfurling as she went along. “Drink me and…” the message left off.
“And what?” she whispered. Something about the message striking a familiar chord. Only she couldn’t remember what it could be. Hell, she couldn’t figure the message itself.
Eat me, the first had said.
Drink me and…
Dammit. Her cellphone buzzed to life and she snatched it up. Not bothering with the back and forth of text message. Instead she called him.
As before he picked up almost immediately, though his manner and words seemed almost negligent.
“And what?” Blair demanded, cutting to the chase.
He whispered,“Look down.”
“Down where? Would you stop being all cryptic and mysterious. It’s getting on my nerves and I don’t find it the least bit romantic.”
“Oh, get off it, Blair. You’re loving every minute of it.”
Blair tried not to smile, “You drive me crazy, you know?”
“Likewise.” Chuck said, “Admit it, though. You’d hate me any other way.”
She rolled her eyes, opting to say nothing at all. There was no hating Chuck. God knew she’d tried.
His laughter rolled through her, making her body feel as warm and languid as the brandy had. “No more clues, Waldorf. I’ll see you when you get here.”
This time he cut her off, hanging up before she could dog him with any other questions. Demand more clues.
Suddenly, she remembered the final clue he’d give her.
Blair looked down, first at her lap where he sleep mask and velvet pouch lay. Her gaze fell to her stocking clad toes and the carpet below.
Slipping from her seat, she checked the compartment beneath her seat. She’d stowed her purse beneath earlier, preoccupied with checking the plane to see if Chuck was onboard. Come to think of it, she hadn’t revisited this particular spot during her search for clues. No way could she have been sitting right on top of a clue the entire time.
Only one way to find out, she told herself and sank to her knees. Blair retrieved her purse and peeked beneath it.
Pumping her fist, she hissed her victory and snatched the small shopping bag from its hiding place.
Yet another note awaited her inside the Bergdorf bag. This one instructed, “Wear me,” attached to a beautiful concoction of lace and silk.
Blair couldn’t help laughing, her hands full of the fragile material. She didn’t need any clues beyond Chuck’s present/clue to know how he intended to end the evening. Dressing for a romantic dinner, she’d already hauled out the sexy La Perla set she’d bought the day before, but Blair found herself hurrying into the sleep cabin to change into the ones Chuck had left for her to find.
All the while, she couldn’t some smiling. Her clues suddenly coming together to make a crazy kind of sense.
Eat me. Drink me. Alice in Wonderland. The “Wear Me” and her La Perlas were all Chuck.
How appropriate since she felt as though she’d fallen down the rabbit hole, the very moment she realized that she’d done the craziest thing in the world and fallen in love with Chuck Bass.
One thing she could always be certain of with loving Chuck. No such thing as a dull moment in a relationship with the guy. He’d been right earlier. She loved their little games.
Finally dressed in her newest black corset and lace-trimmed panties, Blair considered her image in the mirror, her face lit up and looking happier than she could remember feeling in a very long time.
“Miss Waldorf?” Blondie’s voice sounded on the other side of the door. “The captain says that you should take your seat. We will be landing shortly.”
They’d been in the air just over an hour. Definitely not Europe, but where. It seemed that she was going to find out sooner enough.
“Ready or not, Bass. Here I come.”
He’d meant it earlier when he told his attorney that he wouldn’t be taking over officially at BI for another three weeks. Still, that didn’t mean that he was willing to walk in there cold. Unaware of what was happening with his company on every level.
Yes, his father had delegated up to a point but there was little that went on in the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that his father hadn’t known about. Bart Bass may not have been the best of fathers or husbands but Chuck couldn’t think of anyone he wanted to emulate more when it came to business matters.
Chuck knew very well that he had enemies on his own board of directors. Those who would have preferred that he leave the company to his father’s widow or preferably another party entirely. Someone whose strings could be pulled s they saw fit.
Well, as far as Chuck was concerned, that was just too damn bad. The company bore his name. His father’s name. And despite all their issues, his father had trusted him to carry on his life’s work.
No way in hell was fucking this up.
Which was why he sat there, surrounded by stacks of folders and paperwork that he’d brought along. Figures, spreadsheets, and proposals that he planned to pore over during the next three weeks.
He was sure that he’d have plenty of downtime when Blair would be off doing her thing. He just needed to make sure she didn’t see any of this shit.
“Sir,” his assistant poked her head in. Taking in the room that he’d transformed into his office for the duration. “You asked to be informed once the jet arrived. The pilot just called.”
Chuck smiled, glancing at the heavy watch on his wrist. “Good. Running on schedule. Is everything else in place?”
“Yes, Mr. Bass. Exactly as you specified and awaiting Miss Waldorf’s arrival.”
She began stacking folders as he wandered to the open French doors and out onto the balcony. “Waiting at the airfield.”
The stars were out in force, shining against a velvet black backdrop. The moon full and heavy, looking as if it could fall to the Earth at any moment to kiss the ground. It almost made the twinkling lights his people had strung up unnecessary. Hands braced against stone, Chuck drank in the night air and surveyed the scene below.
People active and scurrying about.
Blair would love it.
God, he almost couldn’t believe his own excitement for his girlfriend to arrive so that the night could well and truly begin. Getting it all planned over the past two days had been a bitch, mostly because he’d spent almost every waking moment within earshot of the woman he’d been trying to surprise.
She’d walked in on him more than once. Each time he’d admitted that he was on the phone with his late father’s personal assistant, Eileen, letting her believe that he was discussing business with the older woman.
Of course, he’d glimpsed annoyance in those brown eyes after the sixth or seventh time she’d walked in on them discussing financial reports. But Blair never actually voiced a complaint, obviously wanting to give him room to make a go of it with the company.
He remembered her annoyance when they’d spoken earlier on the phone, not quite covering up the anticipation in her voice.
No way would he figure out exactly what he’d been doing.
“My suit?” He sighed, slipping back inside.
His PA nodded, “Pressed and hanging in the master bedroom.”
Good. The drive from the airfield would take only a matter of minutes. Long enough, though, for him to get dressed for the long evening ahead. The festivities in store.
He thanked the woman and dismissed her for the remainder of the evening. Chuck hurried from the room, wanting to be ready before Blair could arrive at the front gates.
He wondered how Blair had enjoyed all of her surprises. Yes the candy hearts in themselves were textbook and more than a little lame. The sandwich and brandy had been a last minute addition, the half-forgotten memory of that entire day, coming to him in the middle of the night as he’d watched her sleep.
The little present he’d picked out himself from Bergdorf’s had been just as much for him as for her. Okay, well maybe totally for him.
Quickening his pace, he wondered if Blair had remembered to check the trunk.
She turned to Arthur the moment her Loubontins touched down on the tarmac, demanded he open the trunk for her. Eric’s words ringing in her ears.
It was dark by that point, but the trunk’s illuminated interior all but put a spotlight on the black garment bag lying inside. She lifted it out, reaching for the zipper at once. Blair squinting in the darkness, trying to get a good look at the gauzy, beaded material.
“Miss Waldorf. You left this on the plane.” Arthur held out something to he once she was in the backseat, the garment bag settled across her lap.
Blair frowned, glancing down at the sleep mask that she had indeed abandoned on the plane. She’d figured apparently incorrectly that she wouldn’t need it any longer. Going by Arthur’s expression, she’d figured incorrectly. “Thank you, Arthur.”
Once she took it, he didn’t close the door softly. No, he stood there watching her. Waiting.
Brown eyes rolled, replete with understanding of exactly what he waited for. “You’re kidding, right.”
“Unfortunately not, Miss.”
Blair wanted to argue. She wanted to refuse, being blindfolded but even more, she wanted to see exactly where this little game of Chuck’s ended. Or rather, picked up from here. She slid the mask over her eyes and sank back against the plush seats. The jolt of the door shutting and engine thrumming to life filled the silent interior.
She didn’t bother trying to cheat. Blair wouldn’t have put it past Chuck to have given his driver instructions to stop the car immediately if she rebelled midway.
So instead she waited, her hands sweeping inside the garment bag. Fingers caressing the beaded material and her body enjoying the feel of the silken scraps hugging her hips and cradling her breasts. She’d put back on her own dress but now she was chomping at the bit to slip on her gown.
Blair couldn’t be sure exactly how long she sat there. Hyper aware of every moment. Every dip in the road. And the silence.
She’d expect the stop and go of traffic. Was used to impatient chorus of car horns. But all she heard was silence beyond the purring engine. No twists and turns in the road either but a straight trip wherever they were headed.
It seemed though, that just as quickly as they’d landed and hit the road. They were finally slowing.
Her fingers itched to rid herself of the mask, but she kept it in place. Even as she heard Arthur behind the wheel, static filling the air.
“I have Miss Waldorf. We’re expected.” he told the person on the other end.
She heard a buzz and then the heavy click and swing of metal.
When they finally stopped, pulling into the circular drive, she expected Chuck to be waiting there. But it wasn’t he who led her still blindfolded self from the car, reassuring her as the garment bag was taken from her.
“You’ll get it back.” Someone said, a wholly unfamiliar voice. Soft, cool hands on her wrist and back as they lead her forward.
Her heels clicked against stone. She was instructed to step up twice, before she could feel the difference in the air. Felt the change as she stepped inside.
“Almost there.” Blair was told.
She heard voices whispering indistinctly. Music in the distance.
“Here we are. You’ll be collected in ten minutes. Your dress is on the bed. Makeup and everything else you’ll need in the bathroom.”
Blair yanked the mask off, just as the door was being closed and…locked. They’d actually locked her inside.
Where in the world was Chuck? Where in the world were they?
She glanced around the sumptuously decorated bedroom. At the four-poster bed where her garment bag lay waiting for her.
It was almost done. Their little game. The puzzle he’d dreamed up and she was still only beginning to understand what the man she loved was up to.
Blair dressed quickly, the black and red gown feeling lighter on her body than she’d first thought. Exchanging her heels for the matching shoes that she’d found tucked inside with her dress. She’d already refreshed her make-up before leaving the jet, still she slipped into the bathroom to pin-up her hair, leaving her shoulders and back completely bare. Retouching her make-up just for the hell of it, Blair was puckering her blood red mouth in a quick kiss when she spotted the final piece to her costume.
Shaking her head, she turned and reached for the lacy mask she’d finally seen in the mirror. She carried it back into the bedroom.
“Miss Waldorf?” As promised. The woman who’d left her, returned. “Oh, you look beautiful. Can I help you with the mask?”
Blair nodded, glancing through the open door, half-expecting to see Chuck standing there, but of course he wasn’t. “Where is he?”
“Waiting for you, Miss. There.” The dark-haired woman stepped back to admire her handiwork, reaching out to loosen strands of Blair’s hair until wispy tendrils hung about her face.
Blair followed behind the maid as she led her from the bedroom. She grabbed her cellphone at the last moment, dropping into her velvet bag of hearts before hurrying from the room. Her eyes searched anxiously, drinking in everything as she finally got a glimpse of the house or rather a seemingly neverending series of hallways and closed doors.
Then finally they just stopped. Not in a dining room or ballroom. No instead, she stood before a set of French doors leading outside.
The night was ablaze with lights and finally she heard it. The buzz of noise that became a roar of joined voices as the maid swept open the door, motioning
She wasn’t aware of just when the woman disappeared from her side, too engrossed in assimilating the scene before her. The crush of people who, like herself, all wore masks and costumes. Some were more colorful and flamboyant than others. A few wore elaborate headdresses and full-face make-up that obscured their features completely.
Blair spotted a courtjester or two. A man on stilts.
Everyone seemed to laughing and talking over the Zydeco music floating on the air.
The entire thing reminded her of pictures that Roman and her father had sent to her. Photographs of trips to Venice and Nice for Carnaval. Mardi Gras.
No way had her plane ride been nearly long enough to make it even as far as New Orleans. Besides that, they were a few months late for this to be the real deal.
Blair tipped her face skyward, knowing exactly what it felt to have the balmy kiss of New Orleans’ air skimming her skin and this was most definitely not it. No humidity here. Only a cool breeze playing at the wispy strands handing about her face.
She stepped out into open, searching the faces of the crowd and finding nothing familiar in even one of them. Right then, she felt the velvet bag hanging from her wrist start buzzing. Her phone.
“You look breathtaking.” Chuck’s voice hissed sensuously in her ear.
Clutching the phone, she swept the crowd again, looking for him. “Where are you? What is all this?”
“Haven’t you figured it out yet, your Highness?”
Smiling, she glanced again at her velvet bag of hearts and her red and black dress. Queen of Hearts. Down the rabbit hole, he’d made her his Queen of Hearts. She looked again.
“Do you remember the masquerade ball? Our junior year?”
The night she’d humiliated herself yet again, throwing her virginity into the wind as prize for Nate. He hadn’t even bothered. She’d waited hours and he’d never even come looking for her.
Why in the world was Chuck bringing that up?
“Vaguely,” She murmured, jaw clenched.
He demanded, softly. “Do you remember what I said to you that night?”
No. Yes. She smiled slowly, remembering the look on his face when he’d realized that little Jenny had gotten one over on him. “Yes. And I still don’t want to know how you got that tux.”
“Before that…” Chuck said.
If I were your man. I wouldn’t need clues to find you.
Her smile stretched as she suddenly knew what he meant. Despite the fact that he’d been apt to chase almost anything in a skirt and his role as best friend to her then boyfriend, she’d felt excitement run through her at his purely male appreciation. Even then he’d made her feel something aching and forbidden inside. Something that even Nate hadn’t inspired in her and she’d refused to acknowledge. Yes. She definitely remembered.
“So you do remember.” He whispered, obviously close enough to witness her revelation.
Blair planted a hand on her hip and grinned saucily into the crowd, “No, fair, Bass. You already know what I’m wearing. Even in this crowd, you’d find me easily, enough.”
“I know. That’s why you’re going to find me.”
“Yessss.” Chuck replied, “I even left you a few clues, but first…tell me, Waldorf. Are you wearing my present beneath that dress?”
“Maybe…why don’t you show yourself and find out?”
“Oh, I plan to. Later, though. Need I remind you of your clues so that we can begin.”
Blair shook her head, her tone low and provocative as her free hand smooth across the material of her dress, lingering on his other present that she wore beneath. “Wear me.”
“Do that again.” He growled, watching her hands.
She ignored him, “Drink me…taste me.”
“Not exactly how it goes, but we’ll try that later, as well.”
“You are perverse.”
His laughter hot and thick, swept down her spine, offering dark promise. “All the more reason to love me. Now you’ve got your clues, my queen. Come find me.”
Her eyes honing in on one of the more outrageously outfitted courtjesters, she teased, “I already did, my sir fool.”
“Very funny. But I don’t think so. Try again.” Chuck sighed, “Good hunting.”
Once again, the line went dead in her ear.
Teeth sinking into her bottom lip, Blair glanced away from the courtjester who even from this distance was obviously too lanky and tall to be her boyfriend. She began her search in earnest, walking careful down the steps and mixing in with the crowd.
The music and party atmosphere pulling at her senses. Excitement leaving her feeling drunk as she searched one face after another looking for her king.
A/N: I'm exhausted and will look through this again tomorrow. *kiss*