DISCLAIMER: Gossip Girl and its characters are the property of Cecily von Ziegesar and Warner Bros. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Through Ep. 1.03
Not a Walk in the Park
"I'm so sorry for what I did. I didn't know how to be your friend I was ashamed. Ashamed about Nate, about why I had to leave you..."
"It's not like you haven't gotten drunk and slept with a cute boy before." Blair's lips curled into a small smile, that didn't quite reach her eyes. She hoped it was enough to take the sting out of her words. "Maybe if I had gotten drunk, let myself go with Nate "
An image, unbidden swam into focus. Serena felt a knot settle in the pit of her stomach. Her voice was pained when she spoke, "Blair, don't."
Blair reached out and stilled Serena's hand that was curled into a loose fist circling just above her heart. "I want my best friend back and I want to forgive you." She dropped her hands to her side. "But I don't know if I can. How am I supposed to forgive and forget when I don't understand why how do I know you won't disappear on me again?"
"I won't. I swear. I know it's difficult to have faith in me right now "
"Jesus, Serena. What aren't you willing to tell me?" Blair paled and looked at her with wide eyes, too many unfavorable scenarios screamed through her mind.
"Right now there's an olive branch between us, an uneasy truce. If I continue, if I lay it all out, then I don't know if our friendship survives."
"I don't know if our friendship survives if you can't tell me the unfettered truth," Blair's tone was resigned but not threatening.
"You don't know what you're asking of me, Blair."
Blair studied her friend and finally noticed the slouch of her shoulders, the circles under her eyes, and the slight tremor in her hands. Only Serena could wear exhaustion like a fashion and still be so beautiful. "You know it's been a long day, between the recruiters and this attempt to build a bridge. We can do this some other time."
Serena felt Blair's emotional withdraw more acutely than the physical. A gesture borne out of years of habit, she ran her fingertips down Blair's arm and captured her wrist.
"No," Serena couldn't stop her words from coming out in a desperate rush. "I may never have the nerve again. Will you sit with me?" At Blair's tentative nod, Serena laced their fingers together and drew the brunette to the bench.
"I can't stand the thought that I may have, hell I may still be throwing away our friendship." The wind carried Serena's heavy sigh away, blanketing the young women in a silence broken only by the late afternoon drizzle.
"Earlier that night, I saw you and Nate through the sheer curtain in front of your booth. I watched you kissing. Jesus I thought you were going to make love right there." Serena swallowed hard at the memory. Though months had passed, it had not faded. Blair straddling Nate, moving rhythmically against her boyfriend.
Blair tried to slip her hand out of Serena's, but her fingertips were recaptured by gentle hands. "Blair, it was the hottest thing I've ever seen, she whispered the confession.
An icy mask dropped over Blair's features as she extricated her hand and stood. "When you're feeling guilty you're supposed to say what the injured party needs to hear, not what you need to say to assuage your own guilt." She grabbed her bag and walked out into the rain.
"Blair! Wait!" Serena only watched her friend's retreating back for a second before she picked up her book and quickly followed. The wind caught her hat as she stepped out from under the protection of the structure and swept it away.
"Damnit. Blair, stop. Please! " Serena slowed her steps as Blair pulled up short and quickly turned on her heel. She couldn't tell if the moisture on Blair's cheeks were from the rain or tears. "B please just listen to me."
"No, Serena. I don't want the details of how watching Nate turned you on so much you had to sleep with him." Blair impatiently wiped the tears from her eyes.
Serena took a tentative step closer. "No. That's not what I'm saying." She caught Blair's wrist and tucked her hand to her chest. "Nate wasn't the person that turned me on."
She released her friend but stayed within touching distance as watched the first vestiges of comprehension flicker across her features. Blair staggered back.
"Blair." Serena spoke her name like a prayer. "It was you it's always been you " She reached out and wiped a dark, wet strand of hair from her face.
"I don't," Blair's normally controlled voice broke. "What you're saying doesn't..."
Serena turned her face skyward, wishing the rain could wash away her fear. Her voice shook, "I was so drunk and turned on. I went to the bar and found another bottle of champagne. All I could think of, all I could see was you and it scared me to death. I went in there to drink, to numb what I was feeling for my best friend."
It was the last thing Blair expected to hear.
"Then suddenly Nate's there and I'm falling off the bar. He caught me and you flooded my senses." Serena caressed Blair's cheek until her friend met her gaze. "Your scent was in his hair, on his clothes with every breath, I took you in and it was so easy to close my eyes and just pretend."
"S." The old endearment slipped out. Blair felt like as though she was paralyzed when Serena's eyes darkened and her gaze fell upon Blair's mouth. The look on Serena's face burned her, enough to pull her out of her stupor.
She took a shaky step back as she tried desperately to rein in her emotions and slip the quintessential, unaffected Waldorf mask back into place. And failed.
"Serena, you know I love you but I've just never thought about you as a a suitor."
Serena couldn't suppress a small crooked grin at Blair's old-fashioned choice of words.
Serena van der Woodsen reached out and framed Blair Waldorf's face in her hands. "I won't lie to you ever again, Blair. If this is too out there for you and all we will ever be is friends, then I'll find a way to accept it. But today, right now in this moment, I really hope that someday you'll be able to think of me as a suitor. And a lover."
And then with the agonizing slowness of the old romantic movies Blair was so fond of, Serena bestowed an obscenely romantic kiss on her best friend in the rain in Central Park. When she pulled back a slightly stunned and thoroughly kissed Blair looked up at Serena with what could only be longing.
That look made her want to crush her mouth to Blair's. Through sheer force of will Serena forced herself out of kissing and touching range.
"Are you okay? Are we going to be okay?"
Blair could only nod.
"Okay, then. I don't want you to say anything right now. I just want to look at you as I walk away. I'll call you tomorrow." Serena walked backward, giving herself just a few seconds more to memorize the look on Blair's face. "Love you, B."
That declaration earned her a genuine smile and she held that memory inside her heart as she turned and walked away.
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