DISCLAIMER: Gossip Girl and its characters are the property of Cecily von Ziegesar and Warner Bros. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I realized as I was writing this that I often have Blair switch between calling Eleanor by her name and calling her mother, which I think is fitting since she and her mother aren't close. Anyway I know there's not much action in this chapter but it's setting things up. Enjoy.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: The Dirtiest Kind of Clean.
A Blue Black Shade of Love
Dorota called out from the hallway telling them that her mother was waiting for them and slowly Blair and Serena separated from their embrace.
"Your lipstick's smeared," Serena told her with a grin as she bent to retrieve her purse and began to dig around in it.
"So is yours," Blair told her as she headed for the bathroom.
After a quick re-touch of her lipstick Blair took a deep breath and turned to face Serena who was leaning casually against the doorjamb with her lipstick expertly re-applied.
"So...?" Serena drew out the word watching Blair carefully. Blair wasn't sure what Serena was looking for so she arched an eyebrow and gazed back at Serena.
"What?" Blair asked, curious.
"You needed moral support," Serena continued. "Question is why?"
"It's Eleanor," Blair muttered and knew that alone should have been enough. But of course Serena could tell that this wasn't nervousness based on normal Eleanor behavior, but something else. "And I suppose it's an appropriate time to tell her about us."
Blair tensed slightly as the words slipped out. She watched as Serena's easy smile turned into a grimace and felt her nerves give way to confusion and little bit of anger.
"Unless by the look on your face you want to keep this hidden. Which is fine," Blair said sharply and brushed past Serena back into her bedroom.
She wasn't sure why Serena's apparent reticence upset her as she could see that maybe telling her mother wasn't wise right now, but she felt like she should get it over with as soon as possible, she wasn't going to hide it from anyone, least of all her mother.
Why should she?
"That's not it," Serena said and trailed after Blair.
Blair busied herself with picking out a coat to wear. Her dress was black but she didn't want to wear a completely black outfit so her coat had to be a different color. Something to offset her face and show off her new slingback Jimmy Choos.
"Then explain, please," Blair drawled out turning to stare coolly at Serena. Maybe Serena was having second thoughts about this. Maybe this had all moved a little too fast.
But then Serena had been the one to push this and Blair into this tentative relationship.
"Don't you think it's a little soon?" Serena asked with an almost apologetic shrug. Blair could tell she was trying for nonchalance but couldn't quite pull it off. Which meant that either that was how Serena really felt or she was lying.
Serena could never lie to her for long.
"Soon? How long are we supposed to wait? It's not like this is a secret relationship, Serena! Everyone who saw that video knows about us, and I doubt hiding will make things any easier or better. Unless you're ashamed?"
As far as Blair was concerned there was nothing to be ashamed about. Not at the moment anyway. The hard part would have been telling people but that had been taken care of and now to her thinking it was time to let Eleanor and soon, Lily, know all about it.
If her mother found out she'd been the last to know she'd never let Blair forget it and she didn't want to deal with that at all. But once her mother knew then she was sure that Eleanor would waste no time telling her father.
For a moment Blair held herself still as she imagined the look on her father's face when her mother told him. Maybe it would be better if Eleanor did tell her father, because she wasn't sure she could get the words out.
But it wouldn't be shame that kept the words from forming, she told herself. It would be a rather scary thing to tell her father and to find out his reaction.
Eleanor would be a cakewalk compared to telling her father.
"Blair," Serena sighed and then groaned. "We just started this. It's been barely two weeks since we decided to give this a try. And telling your mom is a big step. Are you sure?"
It was all very logical what Serena was saying but Blair couldn't help but look for a hidden meaning to the words. Why the wait? It wasn't like they were going to tell Lily as soon as they told Eleanor. This was her mother not Serena's so whatever the fall out it wouldn't be Serena who encountered Eleanor's wrath.
No doubt her mother would probably insist that she had manipulated Serena into this and that she should be ashamed of herself for using her best friend like that. Serena was only being a good friend by letting the farce continue, she could practically hear her mother's voice in her head.
"Wait," Blair said and narrowed her eyes. Her gaze turned speculative and Blair relaxed slightly as she stared at Serena. She thought she knew what this was about. "Don't turn this around on me. This is about you and Lily, right? If I tell Eleanor then you'll have to tell Lily and you don't want to do that. I know your situation is different since no doubt your mother would probably gladly send you to live with your father than for you to be with me, but she'll have to know eventually."
"I think we should prepare for this or something," Serena said quickly. "You're always planning things out so why is this different? We shouldn't spring it on your mom like this anyway. You said she invited you to lunch so there has to be a reason."
"Fine. Fine. Are you telling me that you want me to plan how we're going to tell our parents? Is that what you want me to do?" Blair asked as she turned back to her closet. Maybe it was about telling Lily and nothing else, she mused. But she doubted it and wondered why Serena couldn't just spit it out. It wasn't as if there was anything to be afraid of.
"I guess," Serena sounded uncertain and Blair wondered what exactly Serena was hiding.
"I can do that," Blair allowed at last. She could hold off for the meantime but the sooner everything was out there the better.
Secrecy and lies, she mused. She was not unfamiliar with them and though it irked her to have to use them in regards to her relationship with Serena, she could see why it would be better to hold off telling their parents.
"Mother's waiting," Blair said as she discarded coat after coat and finally settled on a burgundy cape.
"You understand right?" Serena asked as they left her room.
"Of course," Blair replied with a smile as she met Serena's eyes.
"Of course," Serena repeated tightly.
They found Eleanor seated in the living room with her glasses on scanning her laptop.
"Mother?" Blair called out straightening an invisible wrinkle in her skirt as she waited for Eleanor to acknowledge them.
"Have a seat girls," Eleanor requested.
"I thought we were going out," Blair said even as she and Serena took a seat on the couch opposite her mother.
Eleanor finally glanced up from her laptop and smiled at them.
"Well, now that Serena's here I see no reason to go out. It's better that you're here now too, Serena. I have some exciting news."
Eleanor sat back placing her laptop on the coffee table and taking off her glasses her smile widened.
Her mother actually looked quite pleased with herself and hadn't made any sort of comment about her dress or her cape. Blair assumed her mother wanted something.
She glanced briefly at Serena who was staring down at the coffee table seemingly enthralled with the dark cherry wood.
"What is it?" Blair asked nudging Serena with her elbow. If she was going to pay attention then so was Serena.
Serena glanced up quickly and straightened up.
"Well remember those pictures you two took all around the city? The ones you thought I might like, Blair? I just spoke to Laurel earlier and she told me Bendel's loved them and they want to use them! Isn't that exciting?"
She could feel Serena's gaze on her and meeting her mother's cool gaze Blair managed a small smile.
The news was not so much exciting as it was annoying. Her mother hadn't had the time for her when she'd apologized and offered the photos to her but now everything was wonderful, even the amateur photos. Granted her mother had the right to be mad but how she could think hearing the news about Bendel's was going to make everything better made no sense to Blair.
"It's amazing," Serena piped in trying to sound enthusiastic. Blair glanced at Serena for a second and Serena met her look with expectant eyes.
Right, Blair thought, time for her to say something just as enthusiastically.
"How nice for you," Blair murmured and watched as her mother's eyes narrowed.
"Blair " Eleanor's tone held a warning note.
"I mean really," Blair continued heedless of the warning. "That I now fit the image of Waldorf Designs is quite the accomplishment, right? Instead of being cold and aloof and rigid you get to see the softer side of me. Well That makes me so incredibly happy."
She felt Serena's hand settle against the small of her back and she sent her a glare. She was not in the mood to calm down or be mollified.
"This is what you wanted was it not? For me to use you?"
Never had anything her mother said been so fitting.
"No," Blair snapped and stood up abruptly. "You wanted Serena. And you had her. Now you want to use the pictures with both of us. I have no inclination towards being the face of Waldorf Designs at Bendel's."
"You must be joking," Eleanor snapped and rose to her feet too.
Serena slowly got up from the couch.
Blair could tell just from the set of Serena's shoulders that she was feeling completely uncomfortable.
"If Blair's not going to do it then" Serena started to say looking at Blair with mild concern.
"Oh, she will do it," Eleanor muttered cutting off Serena sharply.
"Why should I?" Blair demanded angrily. "What do I get out of this? You'll only use this to tell me at every chance what I should wear and how I should behave as the face of your company. You do it enough already as it is and the thought of you constantly berating me does not feel me with happiness, Eleanor. Besides I'm much too busy," Blair proclaimed.
Eleanor laughed sharp and hard.
"Doing what pray tell? You'll do this because I'm telling you too. I'm having a celebratory dinner tonight at seven. You are obviously invited, Serena. Blair, darling, Ann said she was going to bring the Vanderbilt ring so that we could perhaps start to get it re-sized."
"What?" Blair sputtered completely unprepared for what her mother had just said. "No I have plans already, Mother. Nate and I are not together. I told you that we broke up remember? And what are you even doing with the Archibald's? Didn't Daddy talk to you? About the Captain?"
"People make mistakes all the time Blair and whatever nonsense your father managed to conjure up is said and done. The Captain has things well in hand. Now I expect you to be down here at six-thirty to help me with anything I might need. Have a wonderful afternoon," Eleanor gathered up her laptop and swept out of the living room quickly.
"Do you see?" Blair asked lowly, angrily. "If we had told her she wouldn't be on this nonsense about Nate and the Vanderbilt ring. And this Bendel's thing! I'm not going to do it and she can't make me. You're not going to do it are you?"
"She seemed really excited about it, Blair. Maybe you should give it a chance," Serena suggested. As she knew Serena would because she hated being in the middle of things between Eleanor and Blair.
"You want to do it don't you?" She should have known. Of course Serena wanted to do it. Serena was built for it and Eleanor would do nothing but stroke her ego. Eleanor had wanted Serena all along so why even bother with her?
"I know you're mad because I didn't want to say anything about us but maybe you should try and think clearly about this. You were really excited about"
"Yes," Blair bit off. "But that was before I was told that I wasn't the image my mother wanted for her company. As far as I'm concerned that was the end of it. Yes those pictures we took were nice and I gave them to her to appease her anger, but I had no hope that she'd use them, and now that she's decided to do that, I'm not interested. And I'm not mad at you!"
"I can see that clearly," Serena said calmly. "I don't care one way or the other, really. You don't want to do it then fine. I don't care. But if you regret it I don't want you to start blaming me for holding you back because I won't let this be my fault. And obviously you have me confused with Nate, Blair, because I'm not going to just follow you blindly."
"And is where I'm leading so completely unappealing to you? What exactly is your problem?" Blair demanded.
"I don't have a problem. You're the one who's angry. I told you how I felt and now you're angry. I'm not going to apologize for how I feel," irritation coated Serena's words and a challenging expression settled onto her face.
"The reason I'm angry is because you're lying to me. You didn't think I noticed how you didn't agree with me upstairs about Lily, right? It's not because of her and you say you're not ashamed so what's going on?"
She wasn't sure what Serena was holding back but knew that if Serena was going to start keeping secrets then nothing good was going to come from it.
Here she was giving Serena an opportunity to tell her the truth and she was acting like Blair was the one with the problem.
"I came here to help you. Not to be interrogated by you, Blair. I'm going to go and when you're calmer you can call me."
Blair could only watch as Serena walked out of the living room towards the elevator.
How was this all her fault? How had Serena turned this all around on her? She had not been acting irrational and yes she was slightly mad but Serena was the one who wasn't being honest.
Was she acting unreasonable?
"I am calm," Blair muttered under her breath and with a sigh she headed upstairs to her room.
She wasn't going to apologize because she'd done nothing wrong, she told herself.
Serena was the one with the problem.
But what exactly was the problem?
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