“We don’t have Comp Lit together anymore but your Gender Studies is in the same building as my Playwriting so I can walk you without being late.”
Dan squints at the schedule on her phone, shielding the screen from the sun. They’ve trekked from the store back to campus, salted sidewalks crunching under their steps, arms brushing and bumping against each other too many times to be accidental. Classes start back up today, but they both had the morning free, Blair waltzing around the bookshop waiting for his shift to end, finding herself continually drawn back to the shelf with his name under Capote’s.
She stops abruptly, a cold drop dotting her nose, and then another, until she’s covered in them, like the crisp air finally snapped, shattering into snowflakes. They duck under an overhead of a long brick building, still too far from where they need to be.
“You’ve made yourself late walking me to class?”
He shrugs, leaning a shoulder against the bricks. “Once or twice.”
The snow only storms down harder, unrelenting, gathering up like a hedge just next to them, out of reach.
“You want some hot chocolate?”
The gloved tips of her fingers reach for the bare tips of his, not quite holding, but it beckons him closer with a crooked smile.
“I like this,” he says, reaching out to touch her necklace lightly - new diamonds like icicles glinting in the sun spelling out her initials. “Looks pretty on you.”
“My Christmas gift from Daddy and Roman.”
“Spoiled brat,” he says, curling the chain around his finger.
“Pretentious dick,” she counters, folding his free hand through hers more firmly.
“Says the girl wearing a beret -“ he tugs it down over her eyes, taps her nose for effect, “just after coming home from Paris.”
Her mouth drops open in mock affront, and when she adjusts her hat back, he’s right there, his breath in the air indistinguishable from hers. She curls his scarf around her hands, tugging him forward, her nose bumping his.
“I’m seriously going to strangle you with this atrocious -“
And then they’re kissing, the only natural progression of their position. Her gloved hands finds his hair, letting out a frustrated groan against him when she can’t feel it, can’t grab a proper fistful between her fingers. He laughs, his teeth bumping against her mouth, and it only makes her hold him down tighter, wanting to swallow it and keep it for herself.
He backs her up against the brick wall, the force of his tight grip on her waist stronger than the wind. She almost can’t breathe but doesn’t really mind it, knowing any intake of air would be cold in her lungs. She wants more, but she’s smiling too much to really get her tongue in his mouth, and so is he, so she settles back against the wall and lets him kiss and kiss and kiss her, a flurry like the snowflakes that fall down around them, melting like she is against him. The little moans she’s letting out would be embarrassing if he wasn’t holding her face in both his hands, thumbs pushed into her puckered cheeks, if he wasn’t making the same sounds himself.
He breaks away, but doesn’t move far, his forehead on hers, hands still tipping her jaw up, ready for him to kiss again.
“I have to get to class.”
“Mm, skip it.”
“Bad influence,” he presses a kiss to her cupid’s bow, the apple of her cheek, the corner of her eye. “ You need to get to class.”
“Goody two shoes,” she nudges into him, his lips still at her eye, soft over her lashes. She feels the start of a hot tear welling up, and buries her face away in his scarf, sniffling.
“No,” she says, whiskey warmth spreading through her. “I’m so happy.”
She pads around the room barefoot, tying her hair in a bun and undoing it enough times to drive her insane. It’s been three days since the kiss and between trying not to fall asleep in class as she adjusts back to Eastern Standard, and the full swing of the spring semester, she hasn’t seen him outside brief coffee runs and walks to class, punctuated with the occasional light kiss, too chaste to satisfy her but enough to make the cold easy to brave.
Her phone lays open on her dresser to the come over text she’d sent him, the stupid little smiley face grinning up at her. She studies herself in the mirror, in just the lace set she’d picked out, dotting perfume on every pulse point – and a few extra, to be sure – with unsteady hands, spending way too much time deciding what to wear before just throwing on the sweater – his sweater, although not really anymore – and her silk pajama shorts. Why are you so nervous it’s Dan fucking Humphrey.
She knows why - she hasn’t had sex with anyone other than Chuck in a long time, and she knows that the things Chuck liked are definitely not the things Dan likes. Dan is sweet, she knows it even though he’s hardly touched her. Sweet isn’t what Blair’s used to. She’s not sure what she’s more afraid of – that she won’t like it, or that he won’t like her.
She’s sitting in the kitchen when he knocks, feet dangling off the stool, kicking impatiently at the bottom of the island. She’s done this countless times before, let him into this place on the tenth floor with hardly a view, but it’s different this time. There’s expectations, now. That’s usually where the problems start.
He just stands there in the doorway, staring at her intently.
“Nothing,” he laughs, a little shake of the head. “I want - I want to kiss you.”
Her eyebrows raise as her feet do, chin and toes tipping up. “Then kiss me.”
And he does, hooks his arm around her waist and pulls her in, still half in the hallway. She sighs into him, palm running flat over his chest, onto his neck, and she’s not sure how she’s ever going to get used to this, the fact that Dan Humphrey is making her knees weak like she’s a smitten schoolgirl.
The door shuts with a bang behind them, Dan tossing his coat on the arm of the couch and stumbling into a seat, scooping her up into his lap. She sucks hard on his bottom lip, unrelenting, making up for all the times she stopped herself. He tastes like the beeswax lip balm she bought him – when the cold kept splitting his cut lip back open – that she was sure he lost.
“Listen,” he mumbles, kiss-swollen lips brushing light along her jaw. “I know it’s not Christmas anymore but I brought -“ he breaks away from her to lean over and fish through the inside pocket of his coat, producing a DVD case. Christmas in Connecticut.
She feels a hell of a lot like that stupid little smiley face she’d sent him, grinning through heavy breathes. She settles into him, his chest a hearth under her head, and she can feel how hard his heart is beating, blood pumping loud in her ear. His lips hardly leave her forehead, a constant stream of mumbling blending into kisses, his honey-smooth voice coaxing her to sleep the way it had over the phone with an ocean between them.
She wakes up with hard plastic beading making an imprint in her cheek, some tacky homemade throw pillow of Dasha’s stuck under her head. The pillow under her head, and his lap under the pillow.
“Hey,” he says, sweeping her hair out of her eyes, the glow of his phone screen lighting up his face. She’d put on a lingerie set and perfume on the inside of her thighs only to fall asleep on him. “Movie ended an hour ago. I didn’t want to wake you.”
“Nothing against Stanwyck,” she says – yawns. “I think I’m still jet-lagged.”
He combs a hand through her hair, over and over, and she silently thanks herself for leaving it down, a pleasant shiver running up her spine.
“You don’t have to go,” she says, although she realizes he hasn’t said he would. “And you don’t have to sleep on the couch. Or the floor.”
Blair wakes up to the smell of pancakes on Sundays, Dasha half finished with her breakfast by the time Blair drags herself to the shower. It’s as ritualistic as Sunday service, like the church bells that toll across the street at ten in the morning every week once the dishes are already washed and put away. But it’s Saturday, Blair knows this when she wakes up, and she knows she wasn’t alone when she fell asleep.
The windows in the living room are open. She watches him for a moment before she steps up, standing in the kitchen, and it strikes her that not a lot’s going to change, nothing really has to be different. This little life she cultivated, that she wasn’t even fully aware of until it had already formed, taking the shape of blueberry pancakes and coffee with milk and honey.
“You foiled my plan,” he says without turning around. “I wanted to bring it to you in bed.”
She rests her cheek against his back, brings her arms around his waist, the kitchen cold with frigid January air everywhere but him. Blair thinks she can swear off blankets now.
“You want me to burn the house down, Waldorf?”
Her hands have snuck under his shirt, finding themselves in the coarse hair above his waistband, stroking lightly.
“Dasha’s going to be very angry with you for using up her pancake mix,” she mumbles, revelling in the warmth of his stomach, heating up under her touch. “And her fresh blueberries.”
“I’ll get her more,” he says, turning suddenly, moving in to kiss her. She stops him, a finger to his mouth.
“Did you brush your teeth?”
He nods, pressing a kiss to the pad of her finger. She narrows her eyes at him, despite the fluttering in her chest. “If you used my toothbrush I’ll have to kill you.”
He rolls his eyes, wiggling his own finger in her face. She allows it, arms twining around his neck to pull him down into a kiss, deep and slow, almost lazy. Blair had gotten so wrapped up in the feeling of time running out – always walking the ledge, skirting around the land mines. But here – in the sunlit kitchen with the curtains dancing in the cold breeze – Blair feels like she has all the time in the world.
Dan’s hands slide under her ass, gripping tight and hoisting her up for only a moment, a half-gasp escaping her before he sets her down on a stool.
“Breakfast’s gonna get cold.”
His mouth turns down against hers. “I should’ve cuffed you to the bed before you woke up.”
When she leans back, brows raised, his cheeks are pink.
“Not a bad idea, Humphrey.”
She hooks their ankles together between the stools as they eat – don’t tell anyone back in New York that I’ve conceded to a Humphrey breakfast – dipping his finger in the maple syrup and sucking it off slow, watching his eyes go wide.
She hops off the stool to take her plate to the sink, but he’s behind her, crowding her space before she can turn. The stubble of his jaw scrapes over her temple as he presses a kiss to it, then to the corner of her eye, moving down until she can feel his hot breath on the side of her neck. “I didn’t think you wore secondhand.”
It’s the first time, she realizes, that he’s said anything about the sweater – just one in a laundry list of things they’ve left unsaid. His fingers span her hip bone, and as she leans into him, they skate over the waistband of her shorts. She feels his chest rising with heavy breaths, matching her own, shivering with anticipation. His teeth graze over her ear. “Can I?”
She nods, but his hand still stalls, his mouth coming down wet on her throat. She covers his hand with hers, urging him on, and he slips behind the silk, into her panties, agonizingly slow, cupping her in his palm then dipping his fingers between her folds. His breath hitches, a small grunt of fuck bitten into her neck.
“Pancakes must’ve been good.”
“They were burnt,” she says, arching into him, her lips brushing his jaw, tongue flicking out against the stubble. The rough pad of his finger swipes over her entrance, the heel of his hand heavy on her clit.
“Dan,” she says, breathless, nothing short of a whine. “Come on.”
He brings a finger into her, then another, curling them inside her, her knees going weak, his arm strong around her, keeping her up. She presses back against him, until they’re backed up against the fridge, his chest hard and steady behind her.
“Want you right here,” he mumbles into her hair.
“Shameless,” she gasps. “We’d need to - deep clean after - sanitize everything.”
“Like you know how to clean a kitchen,” he says, rough. She laughs, tipping back, trying to find his mouth again.
Blair thinks she hears bells toll, but realizes that they’re the jingle of keys on a chain, the sound of the front door opening and shutting making them jump apart.
Blair tries her best to fix herself as Dasha steps into the kitchen, Dan turning his back to her, busying himself with a dish towel.
Dasha’s nose wrinkles. “Was something burning in here?”
“You can’t keep kissing me to shut me up.”
Outside, dark grey sky, a sludge – not quite rain or snow but something in between – drumming against the window. Inside, her knees pressed into his ribs, straddling him, his thumbs twirling circles just under the hem of her shorts. He’s gone to work and come back, she’s tried to power through homework and failed in her state of frustration and now they’re back, no movie tonight, just the heat between them sparking like a fireplace.
Dasha’s been notified of the metaphoric sock-on-the-door, and Blair’s forgone the sweater, opting for the slinky tank that matches her shorts. Dan came in – clean shaven and curls damp, a nick at the edge of his jaw, a cut from an unsteady hand – bitching about some asshole from his Film Theory class who came into the shop only to continue an argument about Truffaut they’d had the day before, taking a seat on the couch and asking for a towel to dry his hair .
“Watch me,” she says, lips barely grazing his neck, raising goosebumps in the skin. She leans back, hands on his chest, and she can feel herself, slick from the moment he walked through the door and growing slicker, the thought of how he’d touched her this morning alone making her dizzy. “You know, you get increasingly more irritating as time goes on.”
He breaks out into a big, stupid grin, and she leans forward again, planting a big, stupid kiss on his face.
Blair wants to wipe that grin off his face with more than just a kiss – and it’s her speciality, having mastered finding just the right vein to draw blood from, the pressure point to pick at. She used to use it to tear girls down in one go. But it can be employed for good use, too.
“All those times you were in my bed, going on and on with your inane bullshit,” she slips the straps off slow, revealing the sheer ivory lace of her bra, trying not to cringe when she drops the tank onto the rug. “And all I would think about was how badly I wanted to shut you up.”
That does it, goofy grin going straight, a dent growing between his brows. “Why didn’t you?”
A loaded question, and definitely not the point – so she acts like she didn’t hear him, covering his hand with hers and bringing it up to her chest.
“You brought my bags up, after the train ride,” she says. “And I wanted you to stay.”
He swallows, his eyes stuck somewhere between her chin and collarbone, like he’s trying hard not to stare, like this is the time to keep being respectful. “You made me coffee. We talked about Cassavetes.”
“ You made me coffee,” she reminds him. His hands – rough, cold cracked, because he lost his gloves and when she had Dorota send over a nicer pair he lost those too – don’t need her guidance anymore, touching the small diamonds that spell out her name lightly, the way he had just before he first kissed her, then settle flush on her rib cage, fingertips pressing into her back like he could lift her up at any moment. He looks like he’s going to ask again, a little crease in his forehead that says, Why didn’t you?
“You drive me crazy,” he says instead, matter-of-fact, like this is one of their normal conversations over textbooks or a bowl of popcorn. “They should classify you as a mind altering substance.”
“That’s cute,” she snarks, moving in to kiss him again, but his grip tightens, tipping her onto her back on the couch. Then he’s over her, situated between her legs, the full force of his tongue in her mouth, his touch self-assured but still gentle, like he’s mapping out each part of her, committing it to memory. He’s going to melt her into a puddle before he’s even made her come.
He licks hot along the line of her throat, mouth latching onto the hollow, pressing into her rib cage, and she feels malleable, like clay slipping on his hands, shaping herself to him. He pulls back suddenly, looking over her face, a crease between his brows.
There it is, she thinks.
“Are you okay?”
“You’re so -“ he squeezes her arm for effect, “tense. Just relax.”
She balks up at him for a second, still between her legs but lifted away, hands braced on her side and above her head, not touching her. It hits her that maybe he’d been waiting for the same moment too, some nullifying realization, some adverse reaction.
“I’m okay,” she says, barely a whisper, reaching up to run the back of her nails over his cheek. He nods, smoothing a hand over her hair, tucking a stray strand behind her ear.
“You feel so good,” he says, just as quiet, leaning back in to kiss her, everything suddenly slowed down but somehow even more feverish.
“I wanted you to stay that night,” he mumbles, tracing a big hand down her hip, her outer thigh.
“In Brooklyn. After the wedding.”
She hesitates again, this time with a small smile, head tilting, but he doesn’t see it, kissing along her jaw.
“I wanted you in my bed,” he continues. “I thought about you all night. I couldn’t wait to see you in the morning. I thought I’d been like, cursed by a poltergeist or something.”
“Inane bullshit,” she says, his gruff laugh going straight between her legs.
He pulls back to look over her, circling his thumb on her hard nipple, his jaw tense.
“You wore this for me?”
“No, I wore it for the other guy who’s coming over after you.”
He rolls his eyes, but lowers his head, runs his lips over the lace.
“Be nice,” he murmurs, then closes his mouth lightly over her nipple through the fabric, tongue running over the netting.
“Yes,” she gasps. “I bought it for you.”
He stops, tipping his head up. “You bought it for me?”
“That’s what I said,” she curls her fingers in his hair, nudging him back down. “I bought it to wear for you.”
“That’s -“ he nods, seemingly more to himself than to her. “That’s hot.”
“How eloquent,” she says, petting through his hair, flushed with affection. Maybe aiming for cold stone, untouched marble, was wrong all along. Maybe all the sugar he’d brought her over the months had softened her insides, sweetened her touch.
“Can I take it off?”
She nods, touching a button on his shirt lightly, and he complies without having to be asked. Blair is done baring herself to boys who won’t do the same back.
“Blair,” he says, deadly serious, the look in his eyes setting her chest on fire, her heart rattling against her rib cage loud enough she’s sure he can hear it. “You’re so beautiful.”
She laughs, not able to help herself, bringing her hand over his face. “You’re so dramatic .”
He catches her wrist, tugging it away – the moan that escapes her too loud to pass him by – and leans down to press a trail of wet kisses on her sternum, until his lips reach to the spot over her heart, his eyes on hers. He can feel it, he must, her pulse vibrating through her skin into his. As she watches him, his eyes closing as he drags his mouth down, she thinks about her porcelain music box, a wall away, a long crack in the base.
He pinches her nipple, tight with want, suddenly between two fingers, making her hips buck up against him despite herself. There’s a part of her, an old gear that still turns despite not being oiled anymore, that’s afraid he’ll laugh, taunt her for how much she wants him. But he only moans, closing his mouth tight on the pale pink of her nipple.
Her hands move from his hair down his neck, running flat over the muscles of his shoulders, his back, before biting her nails into the skin, pale from lack of sun exposure, no freckles or beauty marks punctuating the plain of skin. A clean slate.
His moan, too, is too loud to pass her by, so she does it again, then drags her nails down as much of his back as she can reach. They’re blunt, too short to have much effect, she thinks, but it’s doing it for him, the moans from the back of his throat humming through his mouth and into her as his teeth and tongue work over her sensitive flesh, the center of her panties soaked through, working towards the seam of her shorts.
She tugs at his hair, yanking him up, already missing having that tongue in her mouth. His response is enthusiastic, sucking on her lip, licking at the roof of her mouth, intent with enough desire to make her pop like a cork.
“Dan,” she says, although it comes out more as three unintelligible letters, his lips pressed to hers. “I’m going to file a formal complaint if you don’t touch me soon.”
“Spoken from a true place of privilege,” he mumbles.
“Look who’s talk - ing,” she says, or tries to say, words lost in a mewl when his fingers push the satin center of her panties aside. His mouth pauses against her, and now she’s the one laying kiss after kiss on his lips, his chin.
“Earth to Humphrey,” she says, voice so soft, punctuating with a kiss to his nose. She can be sweet, too.
“Sorry,” he says. “You are so wet.”
“I’m aware,” she says, leaning up to dip her tongue back in his mouth, hanging open. ”Can we please stop talking?”
Her eyes are closed, but she doesn’t need to see to know he’s raised his brows, feeling the way his cheeks are puckered in a smile. “Say please again.”
She pinches his shoulder, and a bolt of electricity shoots up through her when he lets out a small, involuntary groan.
“Okay,” he says against her collarbone, as unintelligible as her, letters like magnets on a fridge, hanging from his mouth onto her skin. “No more talking.”
He lays kisses down her rib cage, her stomach dipping under his mouth before her palm comes down flat on the top of his head, startling a laugh out of him.
“Ticklish,” she says, then looks down to see him wriggle his brows.
“I’ll save that for later,” he says, working her shorts and panties off in one go. There’s condoms in her nightstand, where she’d put them before he came over, opening up the new box and everything, to make it easier when the time came. She hadn’t expected for this to happen on the couch , but now she really doesn’t want to move.
And before she can suggest they do, he’s urging her thighs apart, her breath hitching again. Evidence of her arousal runs slick along the tops of her inner thighs, and he laps his tongue flat on the skin, cleaning her up before he’s even started. His mouth latches hard on the soft skin of her thigh, like he’s sucking a snake bite, and she can’t wait for the marks that’s going to leave, the tender bruises she’ll feel when she presses her legs together in class and remembers how his face had felt there.
He spreads her open, mouth obsessive, not playing around anymore, like he’s had enough of the back and forth, enough of everything that wasn’t what he was doing right now. Her hand bunches in the upholstery of the couch, the other a fistful of his still slightly damp hair, those same low moans vibrating through her core. His eyes are on her face, watching intently, fine tuning her with his tongue and fingers. She finishes fast enough to be embarrassing, but he doesn’t stop, kissing and working her over until she’s trembling against him, more than just her knees going weak.
He brushes his nose over her stomach, and she shoves him reflexively, her eyes snapping open only to close again as his laughing meets her lips.
She taps a light finger to his lips. “I knew that mouth had to be good for something.”
“Don’t get used to it.”
“Wasn’t talking about the compliment.”
She laughs, shoving him again, on purpose this time. This, too, isn’t what she’s used to, sex making her feel light instead of vulnerable, an already broken vase precariously put back together. It had been a wager, making her feel like there was a cord about to snap and leave her hanging heavy at the end, and before that it was sacred, something to be earned, not given away.
His hair’s more of an unruly mess than usual, his bruised lips twisted up in a wry smile. She reaches past him, to the shirt he’d discarded on the top of the couch, sitting up and slinging it on, soft and yielding, unlike the stiff, iron-pressed, cologne-doused dress shirts of morning-and-moment-afters past. She points to the scrap of lace that are her panties hanging off the arm of the couch, and he grabs it, holding it up out of reach.
“Be nice,” she mimics, shifting forward as he shifts back. “Or I’ll leave you here unsatisfied.”
He lifts a brow. “This is your house.”
“I’ll kick you to the curb,” she says, her own brow lifting. “Sans shirt.”
He concedes, and she slips back into her underwear before padding into the kitchen. She looks back at him, his eyes trailing over her, a sheen of sweat on his taut stomach, his hips shifting restlessly. She returns with a bottle of sparkling water, taking a generous sip then handing it to him.
“Even the water has to be expensive?” He presses the bottle to his smile, eyeing her up and down.
He shrugs, still smiling, then sets the bottle on the coffee table.
“You look cute.”
She arches a brow, then folds onto her knees, his smile dropping. She just sits there for a second, crouched between his legs, the rough fabric of the rug digging into her bare skin. She feels like hot wax, lit aflame and melting away as he runs his thumb over her cheek, brushes the hair from her eyes, the way he had the night before when she’d fallen asleep. There’s something in the way he looks at her that makes it feel like he’s the one on his knees.
He brings his thumb over her parted lips, and she presses a kiss to it, then sucks it into her mouth. He shifts, hand tense on her face like he’s holding back, and she runs a hand up his leg, tugging down the zipper of his jeans. She pops his thumb out with a smile, makes a show to kiss the pad of each finger, then the palm of his hand, feeling him react to each touch of her lips.
She ducks a little to kiss over the rigid skin on the back of his calf, a remnant from a childhood spent so different from hers. Sometimes, it scares her, that Dan sees through the hologram, the way his eyes bare into her like he knows what’s really going on inside, that he cares enough to really look, more than anyone else. She looks up at him now, batting her lashes as her tongue darts out, wetting his skin, and he’s doing it, gaze searing into her, heating her up, making her just as warm inside as him. She wonders if he knows, now, what she’s thinking; she was sleepwalking through life and calling it a vow, always have, always will, and he was laying out on the concrete laughing, consoling his crying sister even though he was the one that was bleeding.
She can feel him, swollen and pulsing, like his heart’s in her hand, like she’s going to swallow it whole. She peels his boxers off, that smart mouth of his falling open when she wraps a hand around him. She pumps her fist on the length of him, taking him into her mouth viciously slow, then pulling off again, sticking her lip out in a pout.
He laughs, but there’s no air in it. “Evil.”
She’s pleased with that, so she doesn’t waste any more time, eager herself, too, to take him all in. His hand stays clenched on his knee, and she uses her free one to guide it into her hair.
“Pull.” she says, a demand more than a suggestion, and he complies, the tightening of his grip raising a groan out of both of them.
He looks like he’s straining to keep his eyes open, grimacing like watching her is almost too much for him – an incoherent stream of mumbles under his breath, half curses and half praises, so good, so pretty, and part of her wants to pull off and ask him if he ever shuts up, but mostly, she doesn’t want him to.
She kisses over his stomach, his chest, on her way back up, and he wraps his arms around her, tugging her to his mouth, his kiss sweeter than this morning's syrup. His thumb rubs raw over her cheek, again and again. She doesn’t think she’s ever felt so admired.
His hand moves out from her hair to snake up the shirt to her bare stomach, tickling over the sensitive skin. She jerks, fist knocking his ribs, and he lets out a low groan like it had actually hurt. His hands are big on her sides, strong-arming her, pressing her tight to his chest and kissing her square on the mouth.
She narrows her eyes at him. “Evil.”