Rating: PG (for this part at least)
Summary: Dan and Blair are left to their own devices for the duration of winter break. With all of their friends gone, it seems that the two frenemies will have to rely on each other for entertainment.
Notes: This is my first Dan/Blair fic. I was so excited by the end of 4x11 (I think every Dair shipper was!) that I had to write something about all of the time they have to spend together over break. And this is what resulted.
Blair stares hard at her phone, squinting so hard she fears she'll have to call up Dr. Osment for an emergency Botox injection, just between the eyebrows.
Surely there's someone else on the Upper East Side - no, the whole state of New York for that matter - to occupy my time, she thinks to herself, chewing at her lip as her mind fights back and forth. In the meantime, she fiddles with the Blackberry in front of her, scrolling through old text messages, checking her calendar, watching a video of a cat jumping in and out of a box.
"Damn it to Hell," she mutters out loud, the sound quickly being captured by the lush bedding and carpet in her bedroom. Before she can take it back, she scrolls to the H's, presses the name "Humphrey" and puts the phone up to her ear.
"Blair Waldorf...calling me?" Dan Humphrey's low, humored voice sounds into her left ear and Blair instantly regrets her decision.
"Believe me," Blair rolls her eyes, if only for her own sake, "I'm just as surprised as you are - maybe even more so."
He chuckles on the other end and she almost wishes he were in her room so she could punch him right in the face. "Well then, to what do I owe this displeasure?" She can hear him on the other end, metal clanging, things being chopped. Ah, cooking. As much as it pains her to admit it - and the only person she'll ever admit it to is herself and she won't even say it out loud - Humphrey is a good cook, with the exception of that disgusting chili that his father always seems to be cooking.
"There's an art gallery showing tonight. I would like someone there to entertain me, even if the only form of entertainment will be you making a fool of yourself in front of cameras and people whose names you can't even pronounce," she states matter-of-factly, rolling over onto her back on top of her bed.
"I'm sorry, is that a) supposed to sound remotely enticing and b) is that even a question?" Blair hears all of the background noise go quiet and she's sure that he's so flustered he had to stop cooking. Baby.
"Yes, considering the fact that anything not in Brooklyn is enticing and no, it isn't really a question. See you at my place at 6. And Humphrey?"
"Yes your Highness," he puts on an air and again, Blair wishes she could hit him in the face. Well, there would be plenty of chances for that later, wouldn't there?
"Please, take a shower and bring your A game. You'll at least be passable that way," she smiles sweetly into the phone even though he can't see her and hangs up without a goodbye. "Dorota! I require champagne and a wardrobe assistant!"
Dan stares at his phone, the words "Call ended with: Blair Waldorf" shining up at him and he can practically see her beaming at her little achievement. He thinks about just not showing up - she's Blair Waldorf, what could she possibly need him for? She knows everyone and anyone she doesn't know already, she would undoubtedly make a beeline for and introduce herself (and share her life story).
And the thing is, he would have agreed to go with her - well, agreed to go with her less begrudgingly - if she had asked him like a normal human would have. But then again, this was Blair Waldorf, the antithesis of a normal human. She was a tiny, brunette juggernaut of a girl. Nothing could get in her way and if it did, she'd knock it right down and keep on going, leaving only dust and rubble behind.
Because of this, he had a tendency to thank God that she didn't loathe him enough to launch an all out attack on him. At least she hadn't yet.
The fact of the matter was, he was glad to have somewhere to go, even if it was with Blair. With Vanessa staying with her parents for a while, Nate spending time with his grandfather, Serena off finding herself, and Rufus and Lily being unhappy with each other, he was left by himself in the loft to read and write and cook and play music loudly.
Once Dan has finished glaring at his phone and putting together a dish of fettucine alfredo, he finds that it's already 4:30 and that - not because of Blair's suggestion in the least - he should shower and get ready.
Well, at least there would be art.
Dan arrives at the Waldorf residence five minutes early and steps out of the elevator, only to be ushered inside and up to Blair's room by Dorota.
"Miss. Blair would like to see you in her room. She say what you're wearing will not do," Dorota says quickly, sounding breathless and terrified at the same time.
Dan turns and looks around him, bewildered. "But, she hasn't even seen me yet."
"Miss. Blair say she knows." Dorota gives him a meaningful look before knocking on Blair's door, only opening it when Blair calls "you may enter."
"Humphrey, you're here. And," she looks at the clock in her room, "you're punctual. Well, at least you've got that going for you."
"So, Dorota tells me that my outfit," he gestures to himself, "is not to your liking?" He (carefully and thoughtfully) selected a charcoal suit (or so the store clerk had claimed but all Dan had seen was black), off-white button down, and an indigo tie. "Which surprised me because she said this before I'd even stepped out of the elevator."
"And?" Blair stops what she's doing and looks at him pleasantly.
"And...either you've acquired the gift of foresight or you just assumed that what I'd chosen to wear wouldn't be up to par," he finishes as Dorota pulls off his jacket and hangs it on a metal clothing rack on wheels. If he didn't know any better...
"The latter. Despite the fact that you can now afford designer suits that actually fit you - thanks to Lily's income..."
"Thanks Blair," Dan tilts his head at her and gives her a sour look, but Blair continues on, unperturbed.
"...you still continue to wear suits from Macy's that cost 200 dollars. In other words, you might as well be wearing a sport jacket and parachute pants that you picked up at the local Salvation Army."
"Actually," he finally sees what she's doing - laying out a grey suit and all of its parts on her bed, "I got this at The Men's Warehouse. The guy guaranteed me that I'd like the way I look. Evidently, you don't share that sentiment," he nearly takes a step back as she strides toward him, a crisp white shirt in her hand.
"Evidently," she says with a saccharine sweet smile before holding the shirt up to him, trying to figure out if it's right.
"All right, Dorota, I think that's everything. It's as good as we're gonna get," she opens the door for Dorota, the maid pulling the metal rack out of the room behind her. "Okay, you put that on and we'll go," she says, gesturing to the articles of clothing on her bed.
He looks from her to the bed and back to her. "I think I should be offended by all of this," he wonders out loud, but moves to the bed and begins unbuttoning his shirt.
Blair has her hand on the doorknob, ready to close the door and leave him be, but the curve of his pelvis down to his...Blair reels back, disgusted with herself. How could such a thought even enter her mind? It almost made it all the way there!
"Uh...Blair?" Dan stares at her, his shirt now off and his hand at the button of his trousers. "Did you want to stay and make sure that I get dressed adequately?"
Her eyes bug out for a second before she exits the room and shuts the door without a word, but not before she gets another eyeful of Humphrey's not-so-horrible-looking body - which is both surprising and disturbing to Blair.
Almost as soon as they get in the car, Dan starts talking.
"So, remind me why you asked me to come with you tonight?" Even he has the decency to ask her to do things instead of commanding.
Blair sighs heavily, already starting to regret asking him to join her. "Can't we just have a nice, quiet ride to the gallery? Remember, I'm not Serena, I don't want to talk to you."
"Then..." he trails off, unsure of how to respond to that, "what is it you intend for us to do tonight?"
"I intend to get my picture taken, look at art, mingle, and be complimented all night long," she grins cheekily at him, "I'm not sure what you have in mind for yourself."
"Then what did you need me for?" Dan asks, genuinely confused.
Blair huffs and whips her head around to look at him. "You're a little bit more than neurotic, Humphrey."
"So I've been told."
"Well," Blair says slowly, like there's a special meaning behind every word she says, "I'm not sure if anyone bothered to tell you this part, but it isn't what one would deem...a quality."
Not even 10 minutes into their...what would one call this sort of situation? Outing? Evening together? It wasn't a date. That much was sure. Regardless, not even 10 minutes into this thing and he was already speechless. Perhaps it's a good thing Blair doesn't want to talk to him.
For the time being, Blair enjoys the silence and smiles happily at the city whizzing by.
Blair is having the time of her life for the first 45 minutes at the gallery. The art is mediocre - at least in Dan's opinion - and the only people he's spoken to are the cater waiters. Maybe they recognized a kindred spirit in him.
Until a stunning redhead sits down next to him in front of a massive mural.
"What do you think?" She leans toward him when she asks him, giving him a small smile which he returns.
"I, um..." he looks around, wondering how many people can hear him, "I'm not all that impressed."
"Really?" She looks at him then back at the painting. The image is frantic and haphazard - it's red and purple and orange and pink and it looks like flowers and fireworks and blood and hearts. "Actually, that's kind of refreshing to hear. What don't you like about it?"
He takes in the painting again. "It's not that I don't like it it's just that...art is so subjective. This particular piece doesn't speak to me. It doesn't...I can't connect with it and I don't get the emotion behind it."
"Love," she says softly. When she sees him staring at her quizzically, she continues. "The emotion is love. The kind of love that makes you feel everything all at once. Love, hate, happiness, anger, carefree, frustrated, excited, nervous...it's everything. Everything you never knew you could feel at one time. When you fall in love...I mean really fall in love, maybe this painting will make more sense to you."
"You seem to be well-versed on the topic," Dan says, watching her carefully. Her assessment of the mural throws him - surely he knew what it was to be in that kind of love. Hadn't he had that with Serena? Hadn't he felt everything with her?
"I should," she responds, turning back to look at him, "I'm the one who painted it." She grins at him, not a trace of anger or resentment for his earlier comment. He stumbles over his words trying to apologize, but Blair is striding toward them, her heels clicking on the marble floor, and he shuts his mouth.
"Bree," she embraces the girl and kisses her on each cheek, "I see you've met my...I see you've met Dan."
"Yes," Bree's eyes slide over to meet his gaze, "Dan was just telling me that he doesn't enjoy my mural."
Blair looks like she's going to faint. "Oh, I'm sure he was just kidding," she pretends to punch him in the arm lightly but instead hits him very hard.
Bree laughs softly. "Like he said, art is subjective. Not everyone is going to 'get' it. But someday...maybe you will. Thanks so much for coming, both of you." She grasps both of their hands before meandering around to talk to other people.
Once outside of the gallery, Blair doesn't waste a moment to start berating Dan, even going so far as to smack him a few times with her clutch. "I cannot believe you insulted Bree Ferguson's work - and right to her face no less!"
"Ow! Ow! Okay, Blair, I think you've thoroughly injured me," he tries shielding himself from her final smack, but she manages to hit him anyway. "I didn't mean to insult her. I didn't know she was the artist!"
Blair huffs before throwing herself into the limo. "Didn't know she was the artist," she mocks, crossing her arms and looking away from him. "Oh Humphrey, what am I going to do with you?"
At 2 PM the next day, Blair's phone rings and she opens it, miffed. "Humphrey? Maybe you missed the memo, but I'm the one who does the calling." She takes a bite of her caramel-filled chocolates and smiles at the sweetness.
"Nope. No one ran that particular memo by me. So, Blair, I was wondering how you would feel about going somewhere with me tonight." Blair nearly drops the phone. Dan Humphrey inviting her somewhere with him? On purpose? Just one night after she assaulted and insulted him? Maybe he was a masochist.
"And why would I want to do that?" She retorts smartly.
"Because otherwise, you'll end up spending the night eating chocolates and watching old Audrey Hepburn movies." Blair glances down at the box of chocolates resting on her stomach, before quickly putting the lid back on and pushing it away from her.
"Are you stalking me?" She says, glancing around the room as though he had the capability of seeing into her room which was more than a few flights up in her building.
"Yes Blair," he says sarcastically, "after our incredible evening last night, I've decided to devote the rest of my years to following you around like one of your minions."
"Ha ha, very funny. Just what is it that you had in mind, Humphrey?" She surprises herself by even considering joining Dan Humphrey anywhere at his request. It's not that he's awful - he's actually funny and intelligent and...mildly attractive - not that she'd every say that to anyone. But he was from Brooklyn and practically problem-free. How gross and boring.
"You're not gonna like it..." Dan trails off and Blair immediately bristles at such an assumption.
"And how would you know, Dan Humphrey?"
He laughs, as if she's making a joke, which she most certainly isn't. "Because, Blair, whenever you come into Brooklyn, your nose is all scrunched up and you sanitize your hands way more than necessary and you say something like 'Ew. Brooklyn.' at least a dozen times. And where I'm asking you to go...well, it's the epitome of Brooklyn, let's just leave it at that."
"You think I can't handle some stupid event in Brooklyn? You think I can't deal with getting my hands a little dirty?"
"All right. Prove me wrong." She curses herself for giving into what was probably his plan all along. "But Blair?"
"What Humphrey?" She snaps, angry with him and angry with herself.
"Wear something that won't result in the end of world if it gets...tarnished and please bring your A game. Wouldn't want you rubbing people the wrong way."
And with that, he hangs up, smirking and victorious.